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Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana OST
Musician: Yoko Shimomura
Publisher: Digicube
Release Date: 07.14.99
Price: 2854 yen

 
 

Review by Chris Cain    

     The Seiken Densetsu series has always had moving soundtracks to accompany its equally powerful games. Yoko Shimomura is the third composer of the series, and although her style is distinctly different from its two previous composers, she brings much of the same beauty to the series in her own way. With the expanded space on a cd, the musical synth is of a much higher quality than previous soundtracks, and is some of the best on the Playstation. Shimomura uses a wide range of instruments throughout the cd, though in the more poignant pieces, piano is prevalent, as it is in her other works. This 2-cd OST is one of the best on the Playstation, and while it does have its flaws in places, as a whole it is a remarkable piece of work, Shimomura's finest yet, and worthy of being a part of the Seiken Densetsu series.

     The dual introduction pieces, done with real instrumentation, are among the highlights of disc 1. "Track 1~Legend of mana~Title Theme", is a piece primarily done in piano that sets much of the tone for the game. It recurs throughout the soundtrack and is the primary theme of the game. The opening song, "Song of Mana" is a live recording full of upbeat instrumentation and swedish lyrics, a beautiful song reprised in the ending. Another notable song is the "World of Mana" which is the map theme you will hear throughout the game. It is a 5 minute ambient track, and whether it entrances you or puts you to sleep, it gives the distinct impression of a serene untouched world, which is exactly what it is supposed to do. Track 9, "Pain the Universe", is the first boss battle track, and those are where Shimomura excels. Contrasting with the rest of the soundtrack, the boss battles are chaotic fast paced rock themes, with such catchy tunes that will stick in your head for days after hearing them. They give a sense of urgency and fear, and are among the best Squaresoft has ever produced. If you have heard the amazing rock battle tunes from Falcom, that is what these are most easily compared to. The tracks between 9-23, which are primarily composed of upbeat, catchy tunes, suitable for adventuring through forests, caves or travelling through a busy city. Track 23 is a hard rock, long boss track, which provides an ominous conclusion to the disc. There aren't so many slow, emotionally powerful themes found on disc one, however this is more than made up for with the slower paced but equally splendid disc 2.

     The beginning of disc 2 is the weakest part of the soundtrack, and it unfortunately breaks the flow of the music from disc 1. Its not that the content of tracks 1-13 are bad, far from it. They are beautiful tracks that definately keep your interest. The flaw lies in that they are all less than 1 minute in length. Just as you gain interest in the track, it repeats itself and fades out. After 13 such tracks it is hard to get attached to a piece of music. Track 16 "Irwin on Reflection" is my favorite of the 5 boss battles. Containing less hard rock than the first two, but maintaining an upbeat rock theme, it grabs your attention. Once disc 2 has your attention, it keeps it, and for the next 16 pieces you are treated from one spectactular song to the next. Tracks 22-32 are the pieces leading up to the ending and they are all slow moving and beautiful. 28 and 29 are remixes of "Title Theme~Theme of Mana" and are buildup to the final resolution. Shimomura is the queen of final boss music, and she provides another brilliant piece in LoM, though drastically different from the previous boss themes. It is a borderline ambient piece, and it just exudes evil from every note. It is absolutely fitting for the final boss of LoM. The most beautfiul song on disc 2 follows the final boss, "Nostalgic Song", a short live string quartet piece that brings closure to the game. The final song is a melding of the two opening themes, bringing the world back to the peaceful upbeat place it was when you started listening to disc 1. When you reach the end of the cd, you feel as if you have completed a musical journey throughout the game, unlike other soundtracks, you really feel as if you've gone somewhere.

      It's not only that the composition of the tracks in the Legend of Mana are excellent, nor the superb sound quality, it's that just as the other soundtracks in the Mana series had such an atmosphere about them, this one enraptures you in a fantasy world that will stay with you well after you finish listening. It is an extremely well balanced soundtrack that can be listened to in almost any mood. Shimomura's first soundtrack since Parasite Eve has proven she can compose beautiful music across genres. I would highly recommend you purchase the Legend of Mana soundtrack -- You won't regret it.


Source (Tracklist/Media): [Chris Cain]

 

Tracklist:
Disc 1

  • Legend of Mana ~Title Theme~
  • Nostalgic Song
  • World of Mana
  • Song of Mana~Opening
  • Theme~
    Places of Soul
  • Hometown Domina
  • Daedal's Organ
  • Wanderer's Path
  • Pain the Universe
  • Cliff Town Gato
  • Earth Painting
  • Marginal Beast
  • Moonlit City Roa
  • Everyday Dream ~ Spirit's Song
  • To the Sea
  • Southern City Polpota
  • Everyday Dream
  • Calmly Travelling
  • Bedight Orbit
  • The Wind Sings of a Journey
  • Mystic City Geo
  • Memory of Running
  • The Darkness Nova

Disc 2

  • Pastoral
  • Ranch Night
  • Maker's Gallop
  • Dreamseed Fruit
  • A Good Thing
  • Play the Organ!
  • Play the Organ! Part 2
  • Nocturne
  • Digger's Song ~ Underground Path Song
  • Calm Song
  • Sorrowful Song
  • Joyful Song
  • Mysterious Song
  • Missing Truth
  • The Excitement of Both of Us
  • Irwin on Reflection
  • The Other Truth
  • Complicated Destiny
  • Bonded by the Soul
  • Aid
  • Leading into Prosperity
  • The One who Waits for the Breath of Destiny
  • Depression Blues
  • Gem Thief Sandra's Plight
  • City of Flickering Destruction
  • Foolish Decision
  • Those Who Are Shining
  • The Great Virtue of Gathering Mana's Spirit ~ Theme of Mana
  • Holy Power of Mana
  • Silence of Time
  • Nostalgic Song ~ Ending Theme of Mana's Story
  • Song of Mana ~ Ending Theme

 

 

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