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Game Sound Legend Consumer Series Estpolis Biography Sound Track

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SCDC-00486~9
Released On: January 18, 2006
Composed By: Yasunori Shiono
Arranged By: Yasunori Shiono, Shinji Hosoe, Shoichiro Sakamoto
Published By: Scitron Discs
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 4 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
Estpolis Biography (SFC)
01 - Departure
02 - War of the Island of the Void
03 - The Last Duel
04 - Compensation for the Battle
05 - 99 Years Later
06 - Town
07 - Shopping
08 - Good Night
09 - Purifia Flowers
10 - Castle
11 - The Earth
12 - Battle #1
13 - Victory
14 - Village
15 - Cave
16 - The Scars of Fear
17 - Evil Surge
18 - Battle #2
19 - Port City
20 - Parting
21 - To New Lands
22 - Tower
23 - Door to the Journey
24 - Llyle Shaia Laboratory
25 - In the Sea
26 - The Silent Temple
27 - The Underground Shop
28 - Spirits of the Netherworld
29 - To the Skies
30 - The Island of the Void
31 - Four Gods
32 - Battle #3
33 - Field Motif
34 - Reunion. And Then...
35 - End of the Journey
Estpolis Biography II (SFC)
36 - The Time of Judgment
37 - Rumbling
38 - Setting Off
39 - Town
40 - Doze Off
41 - The Earth
42 - Cave
43 - Battle #1
44 - Victory
45 - Scenario Item
46 - Comrade
47 - Skill Item
48 - Item
49 - Tranquility
50 - Village
Total Time:
59'18"

Disc Two
Estpolis Biography II (SFC)
01 - Battle #2
02 - Prophet
03 - Castle
04 - The Greatest Thieves in the World
05 - Labyrinth
06 - Capsule Monster
07 - Growth!
08 - Tower
09 - Door to the Journey
10 - Temple
11 - Despair
12 - Trembling
13 - The Strongest Man
14 - Parting
15 - Wedding Bell
16 - After the Ceremony
17 - Spring
18 - Summer
19 - Autumn
20 - Winter
21 - Port City
22 - Towering Mountains
23 - Blue Waters
24 - The Dreamer's Flute
25 - Lexus Shaia Laboratory
26 - Great Match!
27 - Slot
28 - Win
29 - Lose
30 - Big Game
31 - Hit!
32 - The Furthest Depths of the Sea
33 - The Silent World
34 - Beyond the Azure Skies
35 - A Distant, Enchanted World
36 - Watchtowers of the Seal
37 - The Island of the Void
38 - The Final Decisive Battle
39 - Four Gods
40 - Battle #3
41 - Final Battle
42 - Grief
43 - The One Who Will Save the Earth
44 - To the Future
45 - Purifia Flowers
Total Time:
54'57"

Disc Three
Estpolis Biography The Legend Returns (GBC)
01 - Prologue ~The Final Decisive Battle~
02 - The Legend Returns
03 - Epsis Continent
04 - Patos Village
05 - Tutorial
06 - Tower of Death
07 - Town of Albano
08 - Cave #1
09 - Battle #1
10 - Victory
11 - Majari Village
12 - Port City #1
13 - Leong Temple
14 - Infiltration
15 - Lost Harmony
16 - Sorrow and Parting
17 - Cave #2
18 - Lidal Continent
19 - Tower of Ruins
20 - Enhancement
21 - Battle #2
22 - Labyrinth in the Woods
23 - Port City #2
24 - Quiet Sleep
25 - Pirate Ship
26 - Nightmare
27 - Chivalrous Thief Deckard
28 - Rescue
29 - Tower of Fascination
30 - Alstadt Castle
31 - Cobe Village
32 - Labyrinth of Capturing
33 - To the Ocean
34 - Fante Continent
Total Time:
38'41"

Disc Four
Estpolis Biography The Legend Returns (GBC)
01 - Town of Redwood
02 - Tanba Village
03 - Tower of Sorrow
04 - Wedding Bell
05 - Beloved Person
06 - Cave #3
07 - Dr. Isaac
08 - Temple
09 - Four Gods Gades & Daos
10 - Four Gods Amon & Erim
11 - Battle #3
12 - The Wounded Fighter
13 - Decision
14 - The New World
15 - Rosplett Continent
16 - Midy Village
17 - Gulduck Village
18 - The Bottom of the Ocean
19 - Tower of Twilight
20 - Kaikami Guard Daos
21 - Confession
22 - Battle #4
23 - To the Island of the Void!!
24 - God of Eternal Flame Zalbac
25 - Reunion, And Then...
26 - Ending
27 - The Journey Continues!
28 - Diary of Memories
29 - Unused Music 1
30 - Unused Music 2
31 - Unused Music 3
32 - Unused Music 4
33 - Unused Music 5
34 - Unused Music 6
Bonus Track (Arrange Version)
35 - Start of Journey
36 - Battle #3
Total Time:
53'24"

This is both a very difficult and very easy soundtrack to review. Very easy, because the music itself is so simple; very difficult, because I have mixed feelings about the album itself. Taito's (later Natsume's) Estpolis (Lufia in US) series has gained a massive following in the past decade, and while the music was probably not a huge factor in its popularity, it became well-respected nonetheless. The Pony Canyon print of the Estpolis I and II soundtracks, however, is exceedingly rare, and expensive if you can find it. The only time I ever saw it was on eBay, for over $300. Scitron was kind enough to fans of game music to release the sought-after soundtracks to these classics, as well as the soundtrack to the not as well known Game Boy Color sequel.

The music in the first game is the epitome of simplicity; there is nothing complex about the instrumentation, no unique melodic progression, and the synth is passable. However, like many things from the era, it contains a certain charm to it that many soundtracks of the more modern era seem to have lost. The melodies revel in their own simplicity, and listening, we cannot help but smile. A few standout tracks are "Purifia Flowers," Lufia's beautifully calming theme, "Battle #2," "The Earth," and yes, the insanely cheesy but very enjoyable "End of the Journey."

The sequel's music isn't much more complex, but the synth is better, and I think the music benefits from the composer's gained experience. There are a some really nice calming themes in Estpolis II, some great battle tracks (complete with psuedo electric guitar effects,) and even well-done area themes. Use of percussion is much more varied, and there is more variety in instrumentation. The opening and ending themes use the same style, in a way. They both loop one theme (different in each track) many, many times, each time with different instuments. It made much more sense in the game than here, but while the opening theme comes off as repetitive, the ending is fine.

I will admit here that while I have played all three of these games, the only one I ever actually owned or finished was the much more obscure Game Boy Color one. For that reason, that section of the album has a certain nostalgia for me. However, the composer for this game is not listed in the booklet; apparently Shiono didn't do the music. As for the music itself, despite being different from the other two stylistically it is still very enjoyable. In fact, with the exception of the very mediocre track here and there, I liked this section of the album the best. That may just be my personal bias coming through. It's not as well composed as the SaGa games, or Seiken Densetsu, but it's certainly better than the majority of Game Boy music I've heard. Some of the better tracks are "Epsis Continent," "Cave #2," "Wedding Bell," and "Tower."

One of the selling points on this album was the addition of arranged tracks. Incidentally, these were arranged by members of Super Sweep. These were a bitter disappointment. There are two of them: "Start of Journey," co-arranged by Shiono, is an arrangement of the first game's opening theme, using an okay sounding synth orchestra. The main problem is that it just isn't that inspired. It doesn't even really stand out that well from the original track. The second, "Battle #3," is marginally better as a Sakuraba style arrangement, but the keyboard synth used for the main melody had an odd reverberation that didn't seem to fit; I actually longed for the sound of Sakuraba's hammond organ here... In the end, it's not a bad arrangement, but it's not really better than the original track, and it could easily be mistaken for something done by a fan who had a decent synth set.

Unfortunately, while the Pony Canyon release looped the tracks from Estpolis II, not a single one of the tracks from any of the games is looped here. One of the discs is under 40 minutes long, and none of them are an hour long! There is NO reason why they shouldn't loop even some of the tracks here: I would have the company just make arbitrary selections, if nothing else. It's infuriating to see a one disc release of a soundtrack that really needed two, but when the space is already provided, and just left unused, this goes into the realm of sloppiness. However, the recording quality is good, the price isn't too high, and the music is enjoyable. If you have found yourself wishing that the Pony Canyon release were more readily available, or you long for the days of simpler game music, this soundtrack would be a good choice.

Reviewed by: Ben Schweitzer



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