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Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 2 :: Review by Andrew

Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 2 Album Title: Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 2
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1140
Release Date: April 21, 1994
Purchase: Buy at eBay


This is the second volume of the Perfect Collection Ys IV series and Ryo Yonemitsu is at the helm once again. Unfortunately it is also hard to review these tracks as arrangements as Ys IV has a bit of a messy history. Nihon Falcom is a company which develops games for the PC and after the success of the previous titles one would assume that Ys IV would be around the corner. Of course it did arrive, but not for the PC-88. Hudson Soft and Tonkinhouse, which had licensed out the series for console ports on the TurboGrafx-16 system and the Super Nintendo system respectively, had scooped up the games for themselves first.

The problem lied in the fact that each company also decided to put their own stamp on the game storyline and music. Ryo Yonemitsu who had worked on the arrangements for the TG-16 ports in the past was once again asked to do the arrangements and there was a different team dedicated to the SNES version. There is some overlap; in fact most of the tracks here overlap, but they are used in different spots and there are some tracks which remain unused. Does this sound fun? I didn't think so.

The closest thing you might find to an original soundtrack as comparison is the album entitled Ys IV J.D.K. Special - The Dawn of Ys, which contains Sharp X68000 versions of the tracks, or at least the tracks which exist on the SNES version of the game. Unfortunately the tracks which were exclusive to the TG-16 version of the game don't exist on that album. This is because Hudson strayed from Falcom's original story adding numerous elements and changing the order of events. The irony of this Perfect Collection is that it really only serves those who consider Dawn of Ys to be the definitive version of the game since it follows the naming scheme and track order of the TG-16 version.

Now some of you have read this far and have been waiting for me, the reviewer, to start talking about the actual music. And you're in luck; I'm going to talk about it now. The first thing that I will ask is if you enjoy or dislike power rock? The reason that I ask that question is because the answer determines whether you'll like this album or whether you'll think its trash.


Musically, the Ys series does have slower and quieter pieces of music — and Ys IV is no exception — yet Ys is also about high energy tracks which accompany the on screen action. And right from track one, we start off with a bang. "Lava Field ~ A Kiss from Eldeel" is classic Falcom rock, with heavy bass guitar keeping time with the percussion and a heavily distorted guitar in lead. Are you ready to rock? I hope so. For music lovers who like well developed harmonies and counterpoint, this album isn't for you so it's best to move on.

The second track is a small dramatic cue, but track three continues the hard rock vibe of this soundtrack with a boss theme. The theme "The Ordeal Becomes Great" is either the theme for the final boss, if you own "Mask of the Sun" the SNES version or just another one of the regular boss themes if you own "Dawn of Ys". I'm not a fan of the way that the track opens, as the rhythmic pattern isn't something I like. But once the theme rolls in, you'll probably agree with me in that it's a solid piece with a very catchy melody line that will hold your interest. Yonemitsu does draw things out a bit more with the B section of the track which starts at 1:31. In the original version, the track immediately jumps into the second section, but Yonemitsu does build up things a bit and actually improves upon the original. I should note "Walking the Path of Legend" which was chosen by Taito to be the second boss theme for more powerful bosses. This actually works quite well as a boss theme, although it was used merely as yet another map exploration theme on the TG-16 version of the game.

Even the first of two town theme on this album, "Leeza", is far removed from other games of similar types. The theme isn't a stirring peaceful or relaxing melody; it's much more energetic than that. Some find this off putting, but it does make things feel much more bustling. This, along with the second track that starts with the same name, are the only refuge from the relentless rock. Thankfully the second town theme entitled "Tension" is a bit more relaxed in its pacing. Unfortunately the melody isn't well defined with this track as it is more atmospheric than melodic. It might appeal to some, but I often skip the track because it feels under baked thematically.

If you scroll to the bottom of the album listings on the album itself, you might also notice that there are several strangely capitalized tracks (you won't see them on this site as it seems to have a no shouting policy for tracks!). These tracks are stolen straight from Music from Ys, but thankfully the tracks are given fresh arrangements. "Feena" is noticeably different from its original counterpart with a bolder arrangement at least in the second part. The first part sounds like it was stripped straight off the original. What on earth happened to "Tower of the Shadow of Death" though? Here I'm almost certain that Yonemitsu went a bit insane. I think it's the out-of-place trumpets using classic big band cues, along with the odd instrumentation sound. It's probably the most unique interpretation of that track, but still not what you would expect seeing the Koshiro classic popping up the list. And just for good measure, he adds a bit of funk to the track in the second half. Something is rotten in the state of this Ys album.


You might have noticed that I've not talked about a lot of the tracks. And the primary reason for that is because I'd be repeating myself. Thematically this album is primarily power rock and while it's good rock, it's also repetitive. This does drag down the album if you were hoping for some sort of variety, which never comes along. So in truth, if you answer the question "Do I love power rock?" with a no, you will probably give this album a 1/10 for effort and pass on it. If you do love rock as I do, the album will probably be given a 9/10 and you'll worship it every time you get a chance to. So really it all boils down to one simple question. For me, though...

Overall Score: 9/10