Dragon Quest III Symphonic Suite

"A bit slow in places, but the highlights are essential orchestral adventure music." Recommended

Artist Credits

Tracks

52 minutes total
  1. Roto
  2. Prologue
  3. Rondo
  4. Around the World
  5. Adventure
  6. Dungeon ~ Tower ~ The Phantom Ship
  7. Distant Memories
  8. Requiem ~ Small Shrine
  9. Sailing
  10. Heavenly Flight
  11. Gruelling Fight
  12. Zoma's Castle
  13. Fighting Spirits
  14. Into the Legend
  • Released Dec 12, 1996 by Sony (catalog no. SRCL-3563, retail 2800 yen).
  • Reprinted on Aug. 23, 2000 (catalog no. SVWC-7063).

Reviews

A bit slow in places, but the highlights are essential orchestral adventure music.

Recommended

Editor's review by Adam Corn (2017-02-16)

Dragon Quest III Symphonic Suite contains the best battle theme and the best ending theme in a series full of great examples of both. Almost all of Dragon Quest's battle themes excel at conveying the menace of some malevolent beast, but the frantic strings and incredibly powerful brass in Dragon Quest III's "Fighting Spirit" add an energy and urgency unmatched in its counterparts. As for the ending theme "Into the Legend", well, there's a reason it serves as the grand finale not only to the soundtrack itself but also to several of the series' best collections. Every second from the unforgettable opening fanfare onward encapsulates the grandeur of an epic fantasy adventure as well as any orchestral ending theme in existence.

Supplementing these two all-time classics are several other standouts. "Prologue" was a new addition to the Super Famicom remake of the game and this London Philharmonic symphonic suite recording, but it's hard to imagine a Dragon Quest III album without the theme's tender woodwinds and oh-so-elegant strings. (The same instrumental combination also works its magic in the subdued yet beautiful "Distant Memories" and "Heavenly Flight".) "Gruelling Fight" is a second new addition to the London Philharmonic symphonic suite, and while it doesn't possess the frantic fury of "Fighting Spirit", a similar sense of urgency is in its simple but powerful call to arms.

Not every series staple in Dragon Quest III manages to stand out. "Around the World" falls short of similar overworld medleys in Dragon Quest IV and V, "Dungeon ~ Tower ~ The Phantom Ship" is functional but forgettable, and while the waltz "Sailing" is pleasant enough, it's hard not to compare it to Dragon Quest V's livelier, more endearing "Bridal Waltz". As these and some of the album's more subtle selections are gathered around the middle of the score, that part of the album might feel a bit slow to listeners unaccustomed to the series' Classical influences, though the highlights from the album more than make up for it.

Note that there are three different orchestral recordings for Dragon Quest III Symphonic Suite - the initial NHK Symphonic Orchestra recording, this London Philharmonic Orchestra one, and later a recording by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The London Philharmonic edition is the best by far, with a virtually flawless performance and a clearer, closer-sounding recording all around.

Dragon Quest regulars and listeners with an appreciation for the score's occasional Classical stylings will be most likely to enjoy Dragon Quest III Symphonic Suite in its entirety. As for series newcomers looking to try out a complete Dragon Quest score, I'd suggest starting with the slightly more consistent Dragon Quest IV first, and from there either continuing on to Dragon Quest III or acquiring its most essential themes via one of the many series best collections available. In one way or another, anyone with a taste for orchestral adventure absolutely must experience some of Dragon Quest III Symphonic Suite.

Another spectacular arrangement from Sugiyama.

Reader review by Chris Perry

After waiting almost a year to find this CD, I finally got my hands on it. I was not a bit disappointed. Dragon Quest III - Symphonic Suite is one of the most beautiful CDs I have ever listened to. The quality of the recording is excellent and the orchestra couldn't have performed better.

The theme of the CD is orchestral, featuring the London Philharmonic. About half the songs stay true to the originals, with minimum change, while the other half are medleys of two or three songs. Sugiyama's work - as with his other Dragon Quest CDs (except the first) - is exquisite.

The CD's tracks are mostly from the NES game, but a few, like the second one, are from the remade version for Super NES, which was unfortunately never released in the states. Although the SNES tracks are unfamiliar, they are still very good. As for the NES tracks, my favorite has to be "Rondo" (track 3). It is a wonderful arrangement of the castle theme, done in Baroque style. The weakest track is probably the fifth, "Dungeon - Tower - The Phantom Ship". It's not a bad arrangement (none of the songs are), in fact it's done very well. The problem is, it combines three monotonic melancholie songs - all similar to each other - into one 5 1/2 minute track. It does get obnoxious, but fortunately it is the only track that does.

Overall, Dragon Quest III - Symphonic Suite is a wonderful arrangement of the game. People who have never heard it before will thoroughly enjoy it, while fans of the game will fall in love.

The London Philharmonic is better than ever.

Reader review by Dennis McNulty

This has got to be the best arranged collection of songs for a game that I've heard so far! This CD is much better that the preceding arrangements for this game. Although, like the other Dragon Quest CDs, this doesn't contain original music for the 8-bit game, it is far better. The entire CD is orchestrally done and there is nothing synthetic or missing from the CD. It does contain arrangements from the 16-bit version of the game that was only released in Japan, so there are a couple of pieces that might seem unfamiliar to most, like "Prologue" or "Distant Memories", but they are still very good. I would recommend that anyone who has played Dragon Quest III get this CD; it is worth every penny!

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