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Falcom Special Box '97 :: Review by Charles

Falcom Special Box '97 Album Title: Falcom Special Box '97
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-9029/31
Release Date: December 21, 1996
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Falcom Special Box '97 is a bit deceiving by adding the words "special box" to the title, at least relative to earlier entries in the series. There is a small variety of content but the majority of the three disc album is just music from the fourth Brandish game, Brandish VT. Besides that, there is some Legend of Heroes drama and Ys vocal content that could please Falcom fans, but is the extra content really worth it for the people not looking for solely a Brandish album?


The first disk isn't really worth talking about, as there's no real music there. It's all The Legend of Heroes III and Brandish VT dialogue and dramatic performances. You'd have to know Japanese and pretty much be a hardcore Legend of Heroes fan to enjoy this in the least. And I really mean that you should be a hardcore fan because these tracks are very long. I guess I wouldn't call this the "special" part of the box, at least for Western consumers.

Disc two is where all of the Brandish VT soundtrack can be found. It all has a very similar feel to past Brandish albums, but due to the new chip tune instrumental technology, there are some elements heard here that were not heard before. Because it is a lot cleaner feeling, there seems to be a bit more variety because of the clarity. This is all relative of course, as this is still very much a Brandish album. If you liked past albums, there should be nothing stopping you from getting this one unless you just enjoyed that old school feel of past albums.

There were a couple tracks I found particularly interesting. "Mysterious" plays with this organic vs. machine theme using catchy machine sounding beats and a smooth acoustic guitar. There seemed to be a bit of this happening on earlier Brandish albums, but it just wasn't as clear. I think it's an extremely interesting piece and it's definitely one of my favorites. I also think it had an epic potential that wasn't tapped into. You'll hear more of this 'acoustic guitar' through out the album and I think things like that give this album a slightly different feel, though in the end you know it's a Brandish album. "Slumber" uses a lot of that guitar and I definitely didn't hear many tunes like this on previous albums.

As on most Brandish soundtracks, you'll find a good share of action music. Along with that you can hear even more instruments that weren't heard before. A lot of the action tunes have a pretty heavy bass that, again, gives the album a slightly different feel. "Black Field" or "Victim" are good examples of how the bass can be so heavy in the action tunes. Tracks like "Hostile" also exist as rocking throw backs to classic Brandish action music.

The third disc titled "Midori Kawana Sings Ys" does exactly what it's set out to do. If you like the idea of a disc full of female vocalized Ys music, then there will be no let downs here. The music comes from many different Ys games with classic themes such as "See You Again", "Moat of Burnedbless", and "The Romun Empire" being the biggest fan services. None of the tracks really stand out over others, but if I had to pick a highlight then it would be "Victory!!" It starts out with a blast of catchy rock and synthesizers and it's pretty fun to listen to the performance of the Ys credits theme. I'm not personally a big fan of Ys music, but there are no doubts that some fans will like this.


The Brandish VT music is not much more special than the rest of the Brandish soundtracks, though it never falters once in comparison. The drama content will be pretty worthless to most people and reflects an unfortunate trend of later special box albums being filled with drama tracks. Anyone who likes the idea of Ys music being vocalized will enjoy the last disc, though none of it pops out as extremely special. Although the singer is decent, nothing stands out very much. If you are going to buy this with expectations of a decent Brandish album and some nice Ys music than you will be pleased. Just don't expect a giant Brandish extravaganza, because I'd say it's still for a select fan taste.

Overall Score: 7/10