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Fire Emblem The Best Vol. 2 :: Review by Charles

Fire Emblem The Best Vol. 2 Album Title: Fire Emblem The Best Vol. 2
Record Label: NTT Publishing
Catalog No.: PSCN-5060/1
Release Date: April 25, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The second "Best of Fire Emblem" album is an important one in that contains the first Fire Emblem tracks that were not 8-bit. Although these pieces all were heard on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the sound team definitely pushed the system like they did back on the Famicon (Nintendo Entertianment System). It's not just beeps and bloops anymore, because virtually any instrument can be heard. By moving away from the Famicon, we can start to see the true nature of what Fire Emblem music really is about and has been ever since (this applies twice as much to the second disk). The first disc contains tracks from Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, while the second disc contains tracks from Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War.


To put it bluntly, Geneology of the Holy War's soundtrack is much stronger. In general, the soundtrack as a whole has a grand symphonic style to it. Digging deeper, there are a variety of tunes that break from that style. Every chapter theme has its own unique theme to it. Pretty much all of them are catchy especially the first one, "Girl of the Spirit Forest". A very uplifting piece. The use of pianos and bongos in chapter seven's theme really shows off the variety on this album. It's a little bit repetitive, but still has an interesting premise. After a couple listens, I noticed that every chapter uses a different instrument as the start instrument while still keeping that grand fantasy theme. Chapter three uses a guitar, while chapter eight uses some sort of bells. It's fun to hear all of these themes work together with such different instruments and beats.

You don't get this kind of variety on the Mystery of the Emblem disc. Most of the music here isn't horrible, but it is a lot more primitive. In a way, having these two games in the same album shows Yuka Tsujiyoko's progression in her career. A great comparison would be comparing both of the "Main Themes". The main theme on the first disc is very standard. The theme on the second disc has undoubtedly a much stronger arrangement. It consists of cool harmonies, and instrumental variations that give the piece contrast. I like the idea of the decrescendo into the flute on the bridge and how it crescendos back into the main theme. I also enjoyed the hint of timpani in the background, which adds even more to the majesty of the piece. The theme on the first disc is not horrible of course, but it's definitely a much flatter overture as it's lacking the details the second main theme has.

This is not to say Mystery of the Emblem doesn't have its share of good arrangements. Even if there are some sound / detail quality issues, I found a few interesting tracks. I love hearing light themes like "Ricardo" and "Dancer" on a Fire Emblem soundtrack. For lack of a better term, they "wash down" the majestic tracks. It's like a good drink to go along with your meal. Not all of these tracks are perfect, but I stand by what I said either way. I also want to mention that most ending tracks on both discs are pretty good. Fire Emblem games always have had interesting ending and credits music; at times, they can even remind one of a Final Fantasy game.


While there are a lot of great things happening on this album, there's still nothing totally spectacular to be shown. It sets the realistic tone that a Fire Emblem album should have, but it has flaws. The second disc definitely strives to overcome the flaws of the first disc and I would rate it higher if it was on it's own. Some tunes sound good but their arrangements end up bland. Some tunes may raise the bar, but end up being too repetitive, and I believe Fire Emblem music is the last style of music that should be repetitive. Leave that to Mario or Kirby music.

Overall Score: 7/10