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Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes :: Review by Charles

Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes Album Title: Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1003/4
Release Date: April 5, 1990
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes was the first in Falcom's line of Legend of Heroes titles, released for the PC-8801 back in 1989. A year after the game's release, the music was commemorated in a two disc album, the Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes. THe first disc contains the surprisingly charming original material, while the second disc features many arrangements by Ryo Yonemitsu and Yoji Oki. While they are not J.D.K. Band arrangements like on many other Falcom albums, some of the second disc arrangements are still worth checking, especially if you are looking for more than just chiptunes.


Though a chiptune score, the original version features some surprisingly details for its time. Right away, listeners will notice how Mieko Ishikawa develops the opening theme over five minutes. Over a repeating bell bass line, various melodic fragments enter and build up to convey a sense of impending adventure. While everything is kept quite simple, there is a surprising elegance and beauty about the melodic line. I also find the sound quality to be very high quality for its time. While the opening theme is expected to be expansive, there are some subsidiary themes that are surprisingly wholesome too. The game over theme is surprisingly long given its apparent context, for example.

The format of the original version is very reminiscent of a typical RPG soundtrack. Adhering to the format Koichi Sugiyama set out in the original Dragon Quest, there are the typical overworld, town, castle, and battle tunes, among others. Although typical in form, they still sound pretty great sounding for an old album. Whether the easygoing melodies of "Town", the uplifting bass line of "The March of Heroes", or the dark synthetic ambience of "Dungeon", everything is spectacularly composed and synthesised. Even the most derivative tunes, such as the "Battle", have their melodic charms and, in this case, a rocking spirit.

Moving to some slightly more unconventional tracks, "Field" is certainly one of the most interesting ones. It has a very old-school with its choppy bassline, yet the captivating melody definitely has that 'battling on the overworld' feel to it. It has a very nostalgic tone to it, even though I've never heard it before, demonstrating that this feeling that exudes from a lot of game music isn't purely contextual. Though "Ending 1" is quite laidback, "Ending 2" is refreshingly catchy and exhibits the happier tone that is featured more on later albums in the Legend of Heroes series.

This is certainly an old album, so along with the expectedly archaic music on the first disc, you will find some archaic arrangements. In my opinion, the arrangements themselves don't stand the test of time like the chiptune versions do. Take one of the highlight tracks, "Field", for example. The remix may have a slightly better quality and plays around with the funk, but the overly MIDI quality just makes it sound silly for an arrangement. Meanwhile the opening theme is superficialised in its 'new age' take here and overly emphasises the features that were only supposed to be hinted at in he original.

Despite the cheesy and retro sound, some of the arrangements are still worth listening to. There are some catchy ones like "Town" and "Pirate Island" that play around with a funk style to more success; the former is an especially catchy take on a relatively melancholy original. Neither exactly do justice to the original music, but they're still fun and some may enjoy them. It's also pleasing that the duo flesh out some of the features in some of the most impacting original pieces, for example transforming "Battle" into a synth rock fest and making "Neargead Castle" even more spooky and minimalistic than before.


Overall, Perfect Collection Dragon Slayer The Legend of Heroes is an interesting album in Falcom's extensive line. While the original music is old-school, it doesn't exactly have the simple chiptune sound that most would expect from early computer music. The composers adhere quite strongly to the traditional RPG soundtrack format, but ensure the compositions are still intricately developed and implemented. In some regards then, it stands the test of time well and will be interesting for those looking for something historic, although subsequent similarly styled soundtracks surpassed it. The arrangements are a mixed bunch, but there are some creative and humorous attempts, so are certainly worth a few listens. Regardless, this album has enough to justify purchasing for those looking for old traditional RPG music.

Overall Score: 8/10