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Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol. 1 :: Review by Chris

Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol. 1 Album Title: Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol. 1
Record Label: King Records (1st Edition); Nihon Falcom (Reprint)
Catalog No.: K32X-7708 (CD - 1st Edition), K28H-4708 (Tape),
K28G-7708 (Vinyl); NW10102250 (CD Reprint)
Release Date: September 21, 1988; December 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay


One of the unique aspects of Sorcerian was its scenario-based gameplay. Thanks to some technical innovations, Nihon Falcom were able to develop a series of add-ons containing additional scenarios for the game. Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol. 1 commemorates the music for the first of these productions. It features Mieko Ishikawa's score for Sorcerian Additional Scenarios Vol. 1, Sorcerian Utility, and the additional tracks for Sorcerian's ports. It also features six arrangements by Hiroyuki Namba, based on both the new material and the original Sorcerian. Let's take a closer look...


Despite headlining the album, Hiroyuki Namba's Super Arrange Version is not really a must-have. There are only seven arrangements in this album, compared with 13 from the original Super Arrange Version, and several of those are half-hearted. Despite featuring beautiful solo violin work, "Village (The Gods in the Heavens)" and "Harp" are too short to be major highlights. They're quite tragic since they had so much potential. In addition, "Ending II" has a very synthy and modest sound. While such a piece might have fitted in the first album, it's simply too lacking to really impress here.

The other arrangements are excellent. "Beautiful Day" captures the essence of Japan's jazz fusion scene, transitioning from a soft saxophone opening to a cool semi-acoustic guitar solo, and is a fine homage to one of the additional tracks created for Sorcerian's ports. The beautiful recorder work featured in the first album also returns in two deeply emotional performances, the jazz-influenced "The Choice is Yours" and the new age-styled "Village (Medusa's Head)". There are few rock tracks on the arranged version, but "Demonic Isle" from the additional scenario makes up for it and is a great reflection of Namba's more extravagant side. Evidently the production values have been much-improved since the first album.

When coupled with the new original music, the album becomes much more worthwhile. The additional tracks for the PC-9801, X1 Turbo, and PC-88VA ports particularly reflect the Sorcerian sound. "Sigh and Tear" is reminiscent of the opening theme from the original game with its mellow melodies and distinctive chords, while "Beautiful Day" is a slightly more dynamic and develops more excitingly. Although a little superficial, "Ending Theme" from the Romancia section has to be one of the catchiest themes from the franchise. The four tracks in Sorcerian Utility are also pretty poppy and one-dimensional, yet still fitting and likeable. "Happy! Happy!" in particular inspires exactly what it promises to offer.

The majority of the new tracks were specifically composed for Sorcerian Additional Scenarios Vol. 1. This add-on featured five new scenarios, each with two or three pieces representing them. The Isle of the Devil features a rock-influenced theme that offers both grit and development, while The Sacrificial Temple is characterised by accompanied by the urgent bass-heavy theme "Rescue Laura". While the background and battle themes for The Demon-Possessed Flower are cookie-cutter Falcom rock, "Darling Josephine" stands out as one of the most memorable of all Sorcerian compositions and the two themes for The Sword of the Amazons add a welcome exotic component to the experience. "Congratulations!" in another typically Sorcerian-flavoured composition that ends the album on a mellow and sentimental note.


The individual sections of Sorcerian Super Arrange Version II Plus Sorcerian System Vol. 1 probably couldn't have been sold on their own. Yet when bundled together, they produce an album jam-packed with highlights. Though there are some disappointments, Hiroyuki Namba's arrangements are quite impressive with their high quality instrumentation and greater acoustic focus. Mieko Ishikawa is usually hit-and-miss for me, unlike Yuzo Koshiro who headlined the original game, yet nearly all his original compositions here are wonderful. There's plenty of rocking, sentimental, and exotic compositions to go around. This album is highly recommended for those who want more Sorcerian music in their lives.

Overall Score: 8/10