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Sorcerian Super Arrange Version III :: Review by Chris

Sorcerian Super Arrange Version III Sengoku Sorcerian VS Pyramid Sorcerian Album Title: Sorcerian Super Arrange Version III Sengoku Sorcerian VS Pyramid Sorcerian
Record Label: King Records (1st Edition); Nihon Falcom (Reprint)
Catalog No.: K30X-7711 (CD - 1st Edition), K25H-4711 (Tape),
NW10102260 (CD Reprint)
Release Date: March 21, 1989; December 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at eBay


In 1989, Falcom continued to monopolise on the success of Sorcerian by releasing two expanded scenarios. Sengoku Sorcerian was set in feudal Japan while Pyramid Sorcerian was influenced by ancient Egypt. Once again, Mieko Ishikawa was commissioned to create soundtracks that blended the Sorcerian sound with these worldly and historical influences. His results were presented alongside an arranged section in the album release Sorcerian Super Arrange Version III Sengoku Sorcerian VS Pyramid Sorcerian. Despite the supplementary nature of the scenarios, the soundtrack is another major landmark for Falcom.


The album opens with three of Hiroyuki Namba's arrangements from Sengoku Sorcerian. The opener "Snow on the Great Bridge" is astonishingly good. Namba establishes the sound of imperial Japan with passionate flute wails and koto backing, yet still keeps the Sorcerian feel alive with the memorable melodies and slight rock influences. The tonality and instrumentation of "Ninja Mansion" also gives a taste of the Sengoku period, yet this piece is much closer to the roaring rock sound most have come to love from Falcom. The final selection "The Raid of Edo" is another remarkable fusion of Asian and rock influences. The intricate and expansive development takes listeners on a scenic and spirital journey. Again it's a wonderful work and it's just a pity that Namba didn't offer more arrangements.

The original music for Sengoku Sorcerian is also enjoyable. It's amazing how Mieko Ishikawa managed to recreate the timbres of Asian wind and string instrumentations throughout despite the humble sound chips to him. Much like the arranged section, there is approximately an even distribution of scenic and action themes. Pieces such as "Pagan Land", "Snow on the Great Bridge", and "Tower of Tears" are so expressive with their passionate melodies and beautiful timbres. Others such as "Ashura", "Ninja Mansion", and "God of Thunder, God of Thunder" are among the most impacting rock-influenced pieces Falcom had composed at that time. They certainly put the equivalents from he original Sorcerian to shame. "The Return" is a very pleasant way to round off the scenario collection and is written in the tradition of Falcom's more mellow ending themes.

The three Pyramid Sorcerian arrangements were arranged by Toru Okada rather than Hiroyuki Namba. These arrangements unsurprisingly blend the Sorcerian sound with an individual Egyptian influence. This is first exemplified by "Forest of Lafaune", which combines Tomofumi Suzuki's Arabian-styled guitar work with Toru Okada's high quality synth samples. Although not quite as breathtaking as Namba's arrangements, it's still impressive throughout. The rock-influenced "Gash" isn't as novel in terms of instrumentation, but features tonalities and distortions that are likely to be alien to most Westeners. It's a great way to keep the series' music fresh. However, perhaps the most notable of the arrangements is "Greviously Shrine", which goes all out with the oud and nai solos, while maintaining a very atmospheric synth backing.

Despite the Egyptian influence of the Pyramid Sorcerian arrangements, the majority of the original tracks are actually quite conventional. Only "Grieviously Shrine" and "Tutankhamen" offer obviously Arabian-influenced tonalities, though subtle hints are offered in a range of other tracks. Pieces such as "Juggler" and "Tutankhamen" attempt to emulate Arabian instruments too, but simply sound muddy with thir synth. Nevertheless, Ishikawa still maintains his melodic flair on tracks such as the gliding "Sanders Island", surreal "Forest of Lafune", and the relieving "Good Luck! Goodbye!". There are also some gritty action tracks such as "Bloody Diamond", "Gash", and "Labyrinth of Gilbares", though only the latter lives up to the series' impeccable standards. Overall, an above-average additional soundtrack for the scenarios that is still remarkable for its time.


Overall, Sorcerian Super Arrange Version III Sengoku Sorcerian VS Pyramid Sorcerian is a very interesting album. It's fascinating how Mieko Ishikawa still manages to convey a sense of imperial Japan and ancient Egypt with his originals, despite being faced with grave technological limitations and still keeping the trademark Sorcerian sound. It's also wonderful how the two arrangers elaborate on these influences with the highly accomplished set of arrangements at the start of the album. This release is a unique addition to Falcom's collection and is highly recommended for those looking for something a little different.

Overall Score: 8/10