Secret of Mana +
- "Fantasy meets Floyd."
- "Different feel than the OST, but with so much appeal."
- Release date: 1995-08-25
- Catalog number: PSCN-5031
- Retail price: 2500 yen
- Publisher: NTT
- Hiroki Kikuta (composition, arrangement, performance)
One disc (49 minutes)
- Secret of Mana MP3 sample
Fantasy meets Floyd.
Reader review by Kevin Callis (1999-09-18)
I have owned this CD for over a year, and I love it! Many will find difficulty in interpreting this CD, but I hope to clear some of that confusion here. I waited until I finished playing through Seiken Densetsu 3 before writing this review, because I wanted to get a grasp of all the series' music.
I'm going to sound crazy saying this at first, but I firmly believe that Hiroki Kikuta was strongly influenced by Pink Floyd when creating this CD. The most noticeable thing about the disc (and the biggest complaint, even from me) is the fact that it is one long continuous track, broken into several "passages" with smooth transitions from one to the next. The seamless transitions are a trademark of Pink Floyd, except that their CDs are broken into individual tracks. The use of anything and everything as a musical instrument (birds, waterfalls, telephones, typewriters) is also reminiscent of Pink Floyd's style. I'll come back to this point later.
When listening to this CD, one must remember that this is an image album, not a soundtrack, not an orchestral performance. Always expect the unexpected when buying an image album. And as the moniker implies, each passage presents a certain image that should easily associate with the games. The first six minutes of the CD are a no-brainer, so I'll skip that. The next passage, lasting seven minutes, is a rapid-paced, techno hybrid of "Into The Thick Of It" and "Steel And Snare" from Secret of Mana, and "Strange Medicine" from Seiken 3.
The next five minutes, with the heavy bass and thrashing guitars, are definitely imagery. A picture of all the sinister leaders (mainly Thanatos) that helped create the plot and mood of the games goes through my mind. The next passage, lasting six minutes, begins with a beautiful outtake of Seiken 3's "Ancient Dolphin" and transcends into a faster paced expression of panic. With the imagery of birds and cascading wateralls, I imagine the three heroes in the Pure Land, placidly resting by a riverside, then suddenly being attacked. Following that, for 7 minutes, is battle music, as best I can tell.
The greatest injustice to the CD comes next. This next passage is by far the best, but is not even two minutes long! It is a powerful and moving passage, rife with the trauma of lost love. I can't belive less than two minutes were devoted to this masterpiece. What follows that is *definitely* Pink Floyd. The radio static, with vague voices, giving way to a slowly ascending, stunning rendition of "The Wind Never Ceases", is right on par with Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". This hypnotic, undulating melody lasts for seven minutes, then gives way to three more minutes of battle music, then a climactic Grand Finale, after which the CD fades into more placid "by the water" sounds.
Only by understanding this CD can one truly appreciate what Kikuta accomplished by creating this. I admittedly don't like the fact that I can't access my favorite tracks at will, but to listen to the composition as a whole is definitely time well spent.
Different feel than the OST, but with so much appeal.
Reader review by Josh DeClerck (1999-07-18)
I was never a huge fan of the game Seiken Densetsu 2, though I knew how much many people liked it. However, the music of the game is excellent. I saw Secret of Mana Plus and read some bad reviews as well as the information that it's just one huge track. So I bought it.
I'm liking the CD more and more each time each time I listen. The first time I played it, I was very lost. I didn't know quite what was going on, and only a few tunes were familiar enough to recognize. However, after that first time, once I knew what to expect, it got a whole lot better a whole lot faster.
One thing to note is the nature sounds that are blended in with the extreme techno. While the bass and percussion will constantly keep you intrigued, the rushing water and forest life add that full Seiken Densetsu feel.
Back in the days when Seiken Densetsu 2 was programmed, the whole image Square put out for their worlds (from FF to SD) was something like a giant Amano sketch. There'd be a type of dark lifestyle along very natural surroundings. For a more up-to-date idea, you might want to check out some of Amano's sketchings from Final Fantasy VII. That image of total immersion with nature and life was the general image planted into all of Square's games in the mid-90s and prior. If you've ever seen the artwork done for SD2, you'll know what I mean. The whole mood is focused on life.
That particular mood setting was integrated into the music of SoM+ perfectly. Listening to it, you actually feel like you are in a world created by Square. You get a sense of what it would be like to live next door to the local item shop, and take daily walks along the forest walls. No single soundtrack has ever given me that total sense of "I'm there" like this one did.
Buy this album. It's not quite what you'd expect from a video game OST, but it's more than worth the experience. If you don't like the idea of one huge 45-50 minute track, then don't listen to it when you only have 10 minutes free. Find some time to sit down and play through it. Going on a trip soon? Play it on the way. Doing homework? Even better a time. Trying to get to sleep? Just messing around a bit in IRC? You can always find a spare hour somewhere.
Nothing like the original version, but an interesting musical experience.
Reader review by Peter Weinstock
I feel I must preface this review by noting that, except for a brief interlude early on, the music on this CD bears little resemblance to the songs from the SNES game "Secret of Mana". The entire CD consists of a single (!) fifty minute track, which, in itself, is a major annoyance. It would be nice if the producers had partitioned the CD into several "tracks" of, say, five minutes each. It wouldn't even disrupt the flow, but it would be a lot easier to access different parts of the song.
The music itself is quite difficult to categorize. If pinned down I would probably describe it best as a weird combination of new age, jazz, and pop. Sounds of nature (flowing water, chirping birds) collide with an unusual assortment of modern-day noises (keyboards/typewriters, oven timers, alarm clocks, dial tones, etc.), while flute, piano, guitars, and God-knows what else plays along with steady, deep bass lines. At one point a ghostly woman's voice whispers, "sorrow never ends..." and then is drowned out by the continuing cacophony of sound.
This is really a strange trip, especially for anyone used to the ordinarily logical and linear world of video game music. The ordinary rules of game music don't apply here; this must be Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta expressing himself in a form that's impossible to do within the constraints of a 16 megabit game-pak. Whatever it is, it's different, it's beautiful, and it's highly recommended.
Terrible music, terrible excution. Just terrible.
Reader review by Aaron Lau
What the heck happened here? When I bought Secret of Mana +, I had high expectations. I loved Seiken 2's music. But when I heard it, I was totally disappointed. I really hate it when they put the songs together, and this is no exception. There's only one track on the entire CD! What if you want to hear a certain part? You have to foward the darn thing up to say, 34:34 minutes into the soundtrack to listen to it. This is basically new age with a lot of different SFX synthesizers. It's really horrible; the SFX can really be ear-grating at times. There are some parts which are good with the solid bass lines, but that's about it. I have the highest regards for Hiroki Kikuta's music, but this was a major let down, both in composition and performance.
- Contains one fifty-minute arranged track incorporating themes from Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana), as well as some from Seiken Densetsu 3.