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Sin 'Vin and Shin's Music Review

Welcome to the music review at RPG! Our goal is help people see the soundtracks they listen to in a better light as well as well as help the rpg music lovers out there know what to get and know what crap they should stay the hell away from before they're stuck listening to something so bad, they'll want to drive ice picks into their ears to relieve the pain. This week in the spolight is the beautiful Seiken Densetsu 3 OST! For samples once more I've turned to the SPC Collection, which you can download here .

To view our previous reviews, check out the archives

Zero Shinryuu
Seiken Densetsu 3, the final chapter of the trilogy, had memorable music like it's predecessor, and even the title theme starts us off with a soft piano, one could be fooled to think this is some sort of spin-off, yet the original Seiken Densetsu theme comes in nicely after the in-game introduction section with an added drum rhythm. One of the disappointing parts of this soundtrack was within the town themes, although well chosen for the locations it lacked the touch of the predecessor to make it an enjoyable tune and listen to it for a long time, albeit elf town is quieter, while military cities truly have a feeling of readiness, neither are truly grandiose. Another winter is the next generation of the Ice Country music, and fills the boots quite well with the same calm pace combined with a repetitive background noise. Damn Damn Drum deserves an award for the most deserved name as it can get on the nerves of anyone who level boosts in the only area where that music plays. Sadly, disk 1 of the OST contains mainly town music, making it a disappointment for fans of high paced tracks, Ancient Dolphin is a soothing tune, a very amusing choice considering the location at which it is used. The rest of disk 1 contains the story themes and 1 "overworld" theme, nothing very spectacular, moving on disk 2. Disk 2 starts with a dark, grim theme of the werewolf castle, strong and steady, same can be said of the music that defines it. The death theme for the NPCs is drab, monotone at best, and is better to skip the text than to listen for too long. Harvest November is another winter theme, not quite as good as Another Winter but still quite potent. Different Road is an excellent mountain theme, as you ascend upon the treacherous path it keeps an encouraging tempo. The point where this game's music shines brightest is the battle themes, many of them, and Nuclear Fusion is the most memorable with the high speed pace setting the atmosphere perfectly for some high powered clash between the player characters and the foes that oppose them. The next thing that comes with a heated battle is a victory theme, and more than once I found myself doing the victory boogie to that enticing song entitled "positive" which stands for when you free a captured elemental spirit, a worthy achievement. Obsession is also a great theme for combat, although notches lower than Nuclear Fusion, the same could be said of Strange Medicine, as both tracks are extremely repetitive and it gets annoying faster than Nuclear Fusion, which takes in average 20 mins before becoming a bother. The Turtle theme is funkah, the only word that could ever describe this Hawaiian styled tune, that's all of interest for Disk 2, onward to 3! Disk 3 starts off with the flight theme, similar to the one in Secret of Mana, nothing amazing about it, just makes flight more enjoyable than a silent ride. The first piece of resistance is Decision Bell, the theme of the Mana land, a calm song for a place more sacred than any other, thus explaining the presence of bells within the track, as they are usually reserved for temples and shrines. The oddly named track "Secret of Mana" is actually a battle theme, quite well fitting for a dance of blades in ancient Incan-styled ruins or similar locations, followed by the "Faith Total Machine", which is for ghastly encounters only as it could drive anyone on the edge of their seat, waiting to see where next the enemy will teleport to. Weird Counterpoint is my personal favorite dungeon theme, a good mix of drums and flute, and the dungeon itself happens to be quite…interesting. Rolling Cradle is a fast paced song compared to the last 2 battle themes, and is used only for hyper-fast paced battles against the top notch ninjas of the Navarre empire, not something to mess with unprepared, while "Black Soup" is just a normal boss encounter theme, no strong points about it but it does get dull after a few minutes, although a well trained party will not take that long to turn the enemy into mincemeat. High Tension Wire is for aerial battles, and goes well with the quick battle that ensues, the only disappointment lies in the fact this track is used to a maximum of 3 times during game play. "And Other" is the theme of a character joining, gets annoying fast so it is best to go to the next screen ASAP. Religion Thunder, although it contains an odd name, is actually what I would call a "confidence" theme, the objective is set and it's time to roll the dice and strike down the mastermind behind all the chaos. Angel Fear is the old theme of Mana, redone with slightly different instruments, that ever-soothing theme that became a requirement for Seiken Densetsu games nowadays with good reason. The following tracks are the sacrifice trio, the first one being the appearance of the final foe…big, bad, and planning to kick your ass into oblivion, Sacrifice Part I puts a feeling of fear to the unsuspecting player, a wise idea as he who dost naught walk with caution shall find himself falling down a pit, difficulty speaking. Sacrifice Part II is the actual battle theme, which can be resumed in 3 words: break hell loose. Upon hearing this track in play I and surely others found myself entering some form of trance: "the enemy is ahead, I have nothing to lose, let's mosey". Sacrifice part III kicks in during part II when the enemy HP is below 40%, some form of encouragement as supplies, magic and health are probably getting low, this is THE track of the game. High tempo, good rhythm and a combination of flute, synch and a bit of drum and bass guitar makes a feeling of, quoting shamelessly Megaman games: "Fight on, for everlasting peace!" The following tracks are part of the ending; they wrap the game nicely but aren't truly amazing on their own, although the Farewell Song sounds more like a lullaby than a farewell, and the same could be said about the track entitled "Breezin". Long Goodbye, the final track of the disk is the game over theme, similar to the predecessor, it's actually very pleasant to listen to once, twice, but after that it is in your best interest not to die ever again. And I told myself this would be a "short" review, seems I need to check in a dictionary what short stands for…sheesh. 2 years after the release of Seiken Densetsu 2 (AKA Secret of Mana), Square had begun to make a sequel once more, but hey had a choice to make : Which composer do we choose ? For the first Seiken Densetsu, Square was lucky to get the attention of the very talented Kenji Ito who managed to create some more-than-satisfying music with the GameBoy Sound Program, when Seiken Densetsu 2 was in the works, a man known as Hiroki Kikuta decided to take the task at hand. Result ? Seiken Densetsu 2 became an instant winner like it's prequel. Now since Kenji Ito was already working on the Romancing SaGa 3 music, it was obvious he wasn't available, so they gave the job of music composer to Kikuta. He would not dissapoint Square at all. However due to terrible marketing done by Nintendo, Seiken Densetsu 3 has not been released on american soil, but instead we got the awful Secret of Evermore and the slightly-above-average Super Mario RPG. Anywhoo, on with the review. Disc 1 starts off with the wonderful " Where Angels Fear to Thread ", it starts off with some quiet piano and flute instrument, then after a while the main theme from SD2 shows itself, the only diffrence is that a drum was added, I think it builds up nicely for the theme of the game : beautiful, yet mysterious. Let's move with a few character and town themes. " Whiz Kid " serves as Duran's Theme, it defenately has an heroic feel to it, like Duran's personality, as he takes his role of King's Knight seriously. " Walls and Steel " is the theme to the Castle City Jad, I can't quite put my finger on it, but I really love this town theme, the drums especially makes it sounds so lively. " Sweet Little Café " is the normal town theme, it easy to imagine the peace and quiet ruling those towns as you listen to it. Next is " Witchmakers ", which is Angela's theme and also is main theme of the Althena Kingdom, Angela's home. It has an asian sound to it and does fit the sorceress quite well. " Another Winter " is the theme to the huge Maze of Ice, it sounds pretty serene with the bells included in the track. " Raven " is the theme to Hawkeye, the former Navarre soldier, the theme presents his easy life as he steals from the worthless theives in order to help out his comrades, the flute and drums are used extensively in this track, and that's a good thing =). Now on to an area theme, " Damn Damn Drum " is, as Zero put it, very annoying, having myself being stuck for hours on the volcanic island didn't help me at all, and I'll admit it : I really can't stand this track at all, Kikuta really did overuse the drums here, hence the title. " Innocent Sea " is used for sad events or flashbacks, with it's guitar and flute, it shows off the sadness quite nicely. " Oh I'm a Flamelet " is Carlie(Charlotte)'s Theme, it has a mischievous/goofy feel to it, which reflects Carlie's " kiddy " personality ^_^. " Evening Star " is the theme of the Holy City Wendel, the music does sound somewhat sacred with the synthetised " Chorus " used at the start of the track. Anywhoo, that's about what Disc 1 has to offer, it's pretty bland compared to the two others. On to Disc 2 ! Disc 2 starts out with seemingly bland " Lefthanded Wolf ", which is Kevin's Theme, when the flute joins in, the track gets better, it sounds " untamed ", much like Kevin and the Beastmen in which it represents. " Harvest November " is used for the Desert region, this one I did like a lot as the desert posed no problem to me at all, and the track makes good use of the guitar strings being plucked at the end of the track. " Female Turbulence " is Lise(Riez)'s theme, and also is the theme to her Kingdom, Rolante. It sounds a bit militaristic, and conveys Lise's serious attitude about any situation at hand. " Different Road " is used in the Pathway to Heaven Mountain area, I can't describe this one at all, but I can say it was fitting for the area. " Nuclear Fusion " is the normal boss theme, and what a boss theme ! It's exciting, fast-paced and gives off a feel of danger as well as encouragement during those tough battles. " Meridian Child " must be one of the most emotional tracks in the game, used in the end of any characters intro, as they set off to right their wrongs. " Splash Hop " is the oh-so-funky theme while riding the turtle Booskaboo (?), sounds jamaican or something along those lines, nice work. Now the Minor Villain theme, " Three Of Darkness " is what plays in any scenes involving DeathJester, DarkShine Knight or Jagan, at first it starts weakly, but it soon folows in a very evil tone, much like the villains. " Last Audience " is the theme to the Black Market found in the city of Byzel, it defenately sounds arabic and is what you'd expect from Middle-East infuence, very fitting. Now for more boss themes, " Obsession " was used for Genova and several other bosses, the main instrument used in this piece is what many refer to as " Pseudo-Electric Guitar ", called PEG from here on. It is very annoying and gets old quick, and the battles involved with this theme were long and difficult, so that didn't help. " Strange Medicine " was used for the Moon God Beast, for those who played the game and fought that thing, you'll agree the theme was pretty annoying, not as bad as " Obsession ", but close enough. That's pretty much it for Disc 2, on to Disc 3. Disc 3 starts out with the enjoyable " Can you fly, Sister ? ", which is Flammie's theme, this one I do enjoy a lot, very bouncy and happy. " Decision Bell " is used for the Mana Holyland, like my partner, I'll agree that the bells are used appropriately in this theme, making it sound very sacred. Now for some more boss themes, " Secret Of Mana " is a very bad title for this song, due that it has nothing but the damn PEG going on. Most bosses with that theme were annoyingly difficult. " Faith Total Machine " , which is used for Gorva and the Light God Beast, starts out weakly, then BOOM !, PEG rears it's ugly head. Unlike other bosses, the ones fought during this theme were fairly easy, so I can forgive Kikuta for this one. " Weird Counterpoint " was used in Dragon's Hole, which was a gigantic dungeon, so I got to hear this song plenty, but it wasn't bad, the part where the drums are only heard is interesting, aside from that, there is nothing really special about it. " Rolling Cradle ", is one of the better boss themes, used for Bill & Ben, the Earth God Beast, it was fast paced and exciting, but people won't enjoy it too much if they aren't prepared, as all battles with this theme are difficult, but not too annoying. " Black Soup " is very good at first, but then PEG makes its appearance, but overall, it wasn't that bad. Now for my all time favorite boss theme of all, " High Tension Wire ", is anything but dull, a shame it was only used in 3 battles : Tzenker, Wind God Best and Koren. With its jazzy guitar and wind flute, it easily sets the mood to fight on. " Angel's Fear " is the original theme of Secret Of Mana, but it is nicely arranged, I just love how Kikuta plucks the strings from the guitar, it's really an excellent track. Now for the final boss themes. " Sacrifice Part 1 " starts out with an evil tone, quickly followed by breaking glass effects, which sets the mood for the ultimate battle will which follow. " Sacrifice Part 2 " is actually a remix from SD2's " The Oracle ", which was used in the Dark Lich Battle. The extensive use of drums in this track is appropriate, and clearly shows the struggle between the heroes and the villain. After certain amount of damage has been incurred, " Sacrifice Part 3 " kicks in, clearly telling us not to lose hope, as it will end soon. This Final Boss Theme alone rivals other SquareSoft winners like Final Fantasy 6's " Dancing Mad " and Romancing SaGa 3's " Last Battle ". It's an absolute masterpiece, clocking at almost 4 minutes a single loop ! It's defenately an exciting as very long Final Boss Theme, the only Final Boss Theme that I hear which was longer was SaGa Frontier 2's " Todesengel ", at 5 minutes a loop. Then we move to the ending theme, " Return to Forever ", another satisfying ending theme in the ranks of Final Fantasy 6's and Chrono Trigger's. Disc 3 end with the sad " Long Goodbye ", which is the game over theme, not much but fitting. In conclusion, Seiken Densetsu 3 was a landmark not only in it's beautiful graphics, but it's music is among the finest ever heard on the SNES. Unlike some of the soundtracks I previously reviewed, this one is not out of print, but it is rare. If you should stumble about it, be sure to get it as it's worth buying, especially if you've played the magnificient Seiken Densetsu 3.