Shining Force II is one of the few games for the Sega Genesis that I actually liked. The soundtrack was what really caught my attention, though, and I instantly fell in love with the overworld and battle themes. So, as soon as I saw this CD at The Place (they no longer sell it anymore, I'm afraid), I immediately grabbed it up! And, for anyone out there who may be fortuanate enough to find a copy like me, it is well worth the $30+ you will spend on it!
The CD opens with a grand arrangement of the Shining Force II theme, which is also the overworld theme. For as small an orchestra as was used for these arrangements, it sure sounds big! Sweeping strings and horns carry it to a gorgeous finale and leaving you with the feeling that says, "Yeah, this CD is going to be good!" The arrangement of the town theme is no less impressive. A saxaphone plays the main melody of the song most of the time and the musician does a great job of improvisation towards the end of the song. "The Warrior's Awakening" starts out with the majesty of the castle theme and works its way into the hero battle theme very nicely. This is an A+ arrangement of two great songs!
"Wings" and "Finale" (the two ending songs) are wonderful. Takenouchi is a true genious at ending themes as he tosses you through a wave of gorgeous strings and almost heavenly-sounding piano! "People of the Demon World" is the arrangement of the dungeon theme and the enemy battle theme. This is a good arrangement, and it carries the ferocity that it needs to get stay true to its title. The song "Caravan" is also very well done! I'm not sure what it goes to in the game, but it provides a grandiose feel like the castle and battle themes. "The Devil's Advent" is an excellent final boss theme, with a driving, catchy melody, but it tends to get a little too frantic and garbled at times.
All in all, this CD is well worth the money, if you can find it, that is. This soundtrack is out-of-print and growing increasingly harder to find. Motoaki Takenouchi may not have done much as a VGM composer, but his music for Shining Force II will long be remembered in my memories for its beauty and majesty!