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Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 :: Review by Totz

Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 Album Title: Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: SQEX-10097
Release Date: May 9, 2007
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


To start, a joke. Square Enix re-releases old games so much that now they have also decided to re-release old music. Where's that rimshot at, Johnny? Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 is a collection of battle themes, all from the old times where the Game Boy, the Nintendo, and the Super Nintendo ruled the Earth. Not all at the same time, though. Ever wanted to take a stroll down memory lane? Here's your chance. Featuring pieces from series such as Final Fantasy, SaGa, and Seiken Densetsu, this album is filled with classics that followers of the company have heard and loved time and time again. The question is: do they still want to hear them?


First of all, kudos to whoever chose the album's tracklist. It's very eclectic, and not focused on Square Enix's flagship Final Fantasy series as much as I thought it would be, which is a good thing. Expect a lot of Nobuo Uematsu and Kenji Ito, as well as some Yoko Shimomura, Hiroki Kikuta, Noriko Matsueda, Ryuji Sasai, Yasunori] Mitsuda, and even Masaharu Iwata. The lack of Dragon Quest maestro Koichi Sugiyama is a mystery to me, but maybe some of his works will be included in a future volume or something.

Each game has one piece of music representing it, so it was important to pick the right one, and I'd say their choice of music was excellent. For instance, Final Fantasy veterans will recognize the fourth game's "Battle with the Four Fiends," the fifth's "Nattle with Gilgamesh" and the sixth's all-powerful "Dancing Mad," the centrepiece of the album. Mana fans are treated to "Fight 1" from the first Seiken Densetsu, "Danger" from the second game, and "Nuclear Fusion" from the third. Not only that, but be prepared for music from Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, Front Mission, and, surprisingly, Hanjuku Hero, Gun Hazard, Rudra no Hihou, Live-A-Live, Bahamut Lagoon and Treasure Hunter G.

There's also a bonus track: an arrangement of Ito's "Last Battle" from Romancing Saga 2 by Mitsuo Suzuki. For an album that's choke full of intense battle themes, "Last Battle (Post Production Mitsuto Suzuki Mix)" really falls short. It is basically a repetition of the melody over some synth chords, making it very ethereal, but the lack of a steady beat for around half the track's length hurts any enjoyment we could have gotten out of it. And when the beat does get your fingers snapping, you realize it's much too loud, clouding the piano melodic line. Then, before you know it, the piece is back to dullness. However, as a last resort to angry the listener, Suzuki throws in some random sounds every now and then towards the end of the arrangement.


Being a Greatest Hits type album, Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 serves as a reminder to us of how old times were different, but also gives new listeners a leeway into each composer's style.

Now is the time when you ask yourself: Why do I want this album? If you were thinking of getting it solely because of Suzuki's arrangement, because, after all, it wouldn't hurt to listen to "Clash on the Big Bridge" again, don't. His mix is reason enough not to get it. To be entirely honest, and now I'm speaking with the fans, whilst this is a great album track-wise, it's just simply not enough to warrant a (perhaps another) purchase.

If you have never listened to the old Square Enix music team, the Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 are a good way for you to get to know those composers, and perhaps seek what they are doing nowadays. Square Enix aficionados are going to be eating the album up, though, so if you are one of them, go right ahead, because the Square Enix Battle Tracks Vol. 1 are like the Super Smash Bros. of old-school music from you favorite series. Except no one is fighting and there are no unlockables.

Overall Score: 6/10