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Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections :: Review by Z-Freak

Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections Album Title: Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections
Record Label: NTT Publishing
Catalog No.: PSCN-5029 (1st Edition); NTCP-5029 (Reprint)
Release Date: August 25, 1995; October 1, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


One of the greatest composers at Square, Kenji Ito, started one of Square's legendary series, known as Seiken Densetsu or Mana series. He released it a year after scoring Final Fantasy Legend II (aka SaGa 2 Hihou Densetsu) with Nobuo Uematsu. Despite his early collaboration with Uematsu, Ito was asked to compose the score for the first game of the Seiken Densetsu series on the Game Boy, named Final Fantasy Adventure in the US, on his own. Obviously, the game was a success as Square released several sequels to this game, composed by Hiroki Kikuta, Yoko Shimomura, and Ito himself. In Japan, there are three CDs dedicated to this game: the original score, an arranged soundtrack called 'Let Thoughts Ride on Knowledge', and the Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections, which features the arranged music and original music all in one CD. The arranged tracks are done by Takayuki Hattori of Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite fame. Anyway, let's take a closer look at this wonderful gem.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) First Chapter - Determination

Here, we are introduced to the "Rising Sun," which is lushly orchestrated and very pretty, although it's arranged via synthesizer. Not long after, we are brought to the "Fighting Arena" battle theme, which is dramatic at best, and you can easily imagine the hero fighting for his freedom. Soon, he is freed, as we hear the overworld theme, "Endless Battlefield," which is very majestic, powerful, and vibrant. Once these three lovely arrangements have featured, we are brought back to the title theme for the closure of the track.

2) Second Chapter - Menace

The second set of arrangements starts off with the Empire's Theme, "Glance Dukedom," which sounds quite eerie, not to mention somewhat evil. The violins used in this segment help give the track give a very sinister feel. It soon turns to the first dungeon theme, "Dungeon 1." While it may not sound like much, it's a decent and simple segment. It works well, as you can imagine the hero travelling in monster-infested dungeons. The track later builds up for "Fight 1." This segment is really powerful, played with acoustic guitars and brass, and it has a distinct Spanish flamenco feel. After two loops, the track comes to an end.

3) Third Chapter - Mission

The peaceful and emotional arrangements on the album are found in this track. The "Village" theme consists of a soft acoustic guitar, backed up by flutes. It makes the listener relax as it moves on the "Royal Palace" theme, which gives a strong feeling of hope. When it moves on to "Mana's Mission," it becomes VERY emotional. This is especially due to the the lovely vocals, which makes me shed a tear each time I hear it; this isn't because it is sad, but rather because of its sheer beauty. The acoustic guitar closes the track along with a few violins being added at the end.

4) Fourth Chapter - Friends

Oh yeah! Here we are treated to three very special segments, the first two utilising Nobuo Uematsu's Chocobo theme. This is the first use of the Chocobo theme outside the Final Fantasy universe. The first one is rather mellow and very comical, sure to brighten up anyone's day who hears it. The second theme is a parade-like march of the Chocobo theme, with lots of brass. They're are both wonderful renditions of the chocobo theme that we all know and love. It closes with a passage of very sweet melodies based on the "Dwarves' Theme."

5) Fifth Chapter - Parting

This theme has an Arabian feel and sound to it. It slowly builds up from "Dungeon 2" into one of the more impressive themes of the game, "Fight 2," and takes the listener for the ride of a lifetime. Here, the acoustic guitar plays the main melody, backed up by violins, trumpets and a Spanish folk instrument. After the amazing boss theme, we have the theme of sadness, "In Sorrow." Here, the piano succeeds in passing the feeling to the listener and we are then brought to a determination theme, "Let Thoughts Ride on Knowledge," which represents doing what it takes to overcome the evil and free the land of its curse.

6) Sixth Chapter - Decisive Battle

The first part of this track is the "Mana Palace" theme, which has a lovely piano introduction and is soon joined by violins. This perfectly represents the listener getting the feeling of exploring a large ancient temple. The music then moves on to "Julius' Ambition," which sounds very sinister, dark, and unnerving. It builds up little by little until we move on to an arrangement of "Last Battle." This one is a winner; the impression of power, survival, and hope are felt in this segment, and there is a nice acoustic guitar interlude towards the end of the track.

7) Last Chapter - Life

This is a lovely ending theme, which uses the "Legend Forever" theme. It features an assortment of instruments, including the acoustic guitar, some trumpets, some violins, and even a synthesized chorus. It effectively gives the listener the feeling that he or she has lived through a massive and wonderful magical adventure.

8) Rising Sun

Yay!! Original Game Boy music, at last. While it may sound terrible by today's standards, Ito concentrated his efforts on the composition rather than synth. He certainly brings us a refreshing title theme.

9) Fighting Arena

This track is somewhat repetitive, but its synth effects have a certain charm about them and the theme fits the scene just right.

10) Requiem

A theme of sadness, this is played whenver the Hero loses one of his friends during the adventure. While it won't make you shed tears, it still hits you emotionally.

11) Endless Battlefield

The overworld theme is a very enjoyable and somewhat epic theme. You get the feeling that you're off to save the world while fighting off minor baddies in the field.

12) Village

A very quiet and slow theme, which represents you taking your time to explore the town and relax while you're doing it.

13) Town Music (Unreleased Track)

Look! Look! It's a completely new theme! It sounds a lot more happy and bouncy, and it seems really fitting for a town theme. Why didn't they release this one?

14) Dwarves' Theme

This is a nice little theme, although it sounds a bit harsh on the ears, because the music sometimes gets a little too loud. Still, its compositional quality is excellent.

15) Glance Dukedom

The Empire gets an interesting theme. It is rather slow-paced and sounds slightly menacing, which is perfect when we see the villains plotting throughout the game.

16) Dungeon 1

This theme represents the depths of a cavern as you search every nook and cranny for treasure and fight off monsters. There's not much to say about this one.

17) Fight I

This is another theme I really like. It gives you the strength to outlast those wimpy bosses, and is easily a great example of Ito's expertise in battle themes.

18) Royal Palace

A slow and quiet piece that sounds a bit symphonic in nature, "Royal Palace" is effective when you're visiting castles and such places.

19) Mana's Mission

Even without the vocal in the arranged version, it still gives some emotion as you learn about your mission some more.

20) Danger!

This is a very short panic theme. There's not much to say here except 'Run, run, or you'll be annihalated'!

21) Jema's Realization

This theme makes me imagine that the character Jema thinks about how he has been stubborn in the past and wants to make it up to the Hero by joining him on his quest. It would fit such a scene perfectly.

22) In Search of the Holy Sword

This is an epic theme which shows the determination of the Hero as he searches the world over for the legendary Excalibur.

23) Birth of Chocobo

A cute little theme as a baby Chocobo hatches before your eyes and becomes your friend.

24) Chocobo Theme

This is the Chocobo theme as we know it. Although Ito arranges it slightly, it is still nice.

25) Dungeon 2

This is a dungeon theme that sounds Arabic; it certainly gives off a mysterious feel as you wander through more complicated rooms filled with traps and similar hazards.

26) Mowgli

This is the very first Moogle theme. Although it is really short, it is fitting for representing the temporary Moogle status element.

27) Dungeon 3

This dungeon theme has a more epic feel as you know you're getting closer and closer to your ultimate goal.

28) Fight 2

The second boss theme is another great example of how Ito is versatile with battle themes. This one is far more dramatic than the first as bosses at this point are far more complicated and you need to think carefully before you make a move.

29) In Sorrow

Another sad theme, this one makes a better attempt at capturing emotions. It must be played to represent important losses.

30) Let Thoughts Ride on Knowledge

I have no clue where this track is played, although I can say that it has decent composition and synth. It's very melodic, which is perhaps its best feature.

31) Mana Palace

The final dungeon certainly gets a pretty but epic theme. You know you're almost there and have to stay alive until all is over.

32) Julius' Ambition

The main villain, Julius, was granted a creepy melody. You can clearly see him plotting the death of our Hero while listening.

33) Final Battle

This is it: the decisive battle! Draw your sword and do your best! This is indeed a very impressive track; it gives you the edge in battle as you hold on to life while freeing the world from your enemy.

34) Legend Forever

This starts out with a very nice synth effect, re-using the title theme in different variations. You've earned this lovely medley of many themes from the game for beating the vile Julius, so congratulations! It's certainly a great ending theme, despite the weak synth of the time.


So there you have it! The Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections is indeed a great treasure for soundtrack enthusiasts and thanks to a recent reprint, it is readily available and fairly cheap. There's no reason why you shouldn't pick up this classic.

Overall Score: 8/10