- Western Games
  - Square Enix
  - Nintendo
  - Konami
  - Falcom
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Mistwalker
  - Cave
  - Basiscape

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


All Sounds of Sorcerian :: Review by Chris

All Sounds of Sorcerian Album Title: All Sounds of Sorcerian
Record Label: Polystar
Catalog No.: H30X-20006
Release Date: April 21, 1988
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Back in 1988, Nihon Falcom released a highly successful scenario-based action RPG Sorcerian. Led by Yuzo Koshiro, a team of four at the to-be Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. composed the music for the game and they were quite ambitious despite the technological limitations available to them. Between them, they offer some of the best setting and battle themes featured in any old game, and arguably in game music as a whole. All Sounds of Sorcerian was the first release of the game's music. It compiles the game's original music into scenario-based medleys and also includes two bonus tracks. However, in some ways it is inferior to the alternative release Music from Sorcerian.


The initially two medleys exemplify much of the material featured in All Sounds of Sorcerian. "Another Opening" compiles together "Opening", "Pentawa I", and "Pentawa II" into a four minute medley, yet oddly at the sacrifice of "Let's Meet Here". "Opening" offers a very mellow accompaniment to the title screen. An emphasis is placed on nostalgic melody that is synthesized with similar qualities to an electric piano. It's coloured during the development with deep, striking, yet unobtrusive chord changes in the accompaniment. As with many of Yuzo Koshiro's best themes for Falcom, this composition is simple yet individualistic. The two town themes are also fascinating deviations from RPG formula. "Pentawa I" initially sounds quite plodding yet is coloured by some ingenious jazz influences, while the more dynamic "Pentawa II" wouldn't sound out-of-place in The Revenge of Shinobi.

The majority of the compositions on the soundtrack are dedicated to specific scenarios. The music for 16 scenarios is featured on Music from Sorcerian and each scenarios features two to six unique compositions. Let's take a closer look at the three pieces featured in "The Lost King's Spectre". For "Dungeon", Koshiro takes the conventional chiptune format of 'simple melody with accompaniment' one step further by offering such a charismatic melodic shape and a contrasting jagged bass line. Yet what is most impressive are the development sections, which have a cantabile quality despite their humble synth. Later in the scenario, listeners are presented with the battle theme "Hydra", a dazzling synth composition blending heroic and haunting moments. To round off the scenario, "Survivor" meanwhile comforts listeners after the battle with uplifting arpeggios and brassy fanfares.

As exemplified by "Dungeon", the setting themes are easily among the most colourful of chiptune music out there. The Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. offer three different forest themes, yet each has its own unique quality: laid-back and pop-influenced for "The Lost Talisman"; inquisitive and samba-tinged for "The Mystery of the Red Jewel"; and bittersweet and lavishly decorated for "Medusa's Head". Elsewhere on the album, there are moodier and grittier themes like the "Underground Dungeon" themes, featured in "Lucifer's Floodgates" and "The Lost Talisman". In addition, there are a few sugary themes, such as the suite of Romancia arrangements for Dragon Slayer veterans. However, easily my favourites on the entire album are "Cave I" and "Cave II" featured in "The Ice Caverns" chapter. The former has the quality of a really expansive dungeon theme, yet the latter surprisingly doesn't take an even more epic approach: instead it's stripped down into pure and innocent chiptunes to ecstatic effect.

There is a considerable range in the action tracks too. The hostile "Kraken (Lucifer's Floodgates)" is impressive for the way it utilises the full dynamic range of the PC-8801 and includes some rather complex percussion patterns. There are also other darker compositions like "Debitel Priest (The Lost Talisman)", "Shadow Dragon (The Thieves' Tower)", and "Medusa (Medusa's Head)", though some really lack in terms of development. Those looking for more typical rock-influenced battle themes should leap straight to the likes of "Bloody River (Lucifer's Floodgates)", "Luwan and the Gold Dragon (The Cursed Oasis)", and "Double Devils (The Fountain of Youth)". Even with their primitive synth, these have the rhythmical impetus and catchy melodies. The final battle theme "King Dragon" aspires to the rasping dissonant themes now commonplace in orchestral action scores. Those looking for sentimentality will also enjoy the beautifully crafted couple of ending themes.

The album is sandwiched with two exclusive arrangements. The "Opening Suite" compiles six favourites from the original score into a three minute orchestration. It moves from a grandiose rendition of "Castle Romancia" into a succession of dramatic battle themes before reaching its essential climax from the 2:07 mark. Overall, it's quite a fluid arrangement that offers an interesting perspective on the pieces, as well as the score as a whole. The "Ending Suite" might raise eyebrows. It attempts to combine the music from "Harp" and "Desert" into some sort of madrigal — with a vocal performance and intricate lute backing. However, the vocalist was mischosen and offers a far too amateurish quality to the arrangement. The eventual reprise of the opening theme is welcome though. These arrangements are far from must-haves, but are still potentially welcome bonuses for those who bought this album instead of Music from Sorcerian.


All Sounds of Sorcerian is of questionable value compared to Music from Sorcerian. The medley-based format helps to emphasise the scenario-based approach of the game and condenses the number of tracks on the album. However, it is also potentially difficult to navigate and many will prefer the way all the tracks were separated on Music from Sorcerian. Though the two bonus arrangements are welcome, the omission of the classic "Where We Meet" is disturbing. Nevertheless, the music for Sorcerian is a must-listen for fans of chiptune music. After all, it is a compilation of mostly short chiptune compositions that have been emulated in more expansive RPG soundtracks since. There were plenty of catchy game scores at the time of Sorcerian's release and indeed this soundtrack continues that trend. However, Sorcerian also manages to be extremely rich and expressive despite its synth limitations, and indeed pushes the boundaries to be the very best of its time.

Overall Score: 8/10