Shiren the Wanderer 3 Soundtrack (Wii), Hayato Matsuo, 2008
The Shiren the Wanderer franchise is one of those video game series that generated a surprising number of titles, despite never generating outstanding sales numbers. Upon its release in Japan in 2008, Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren 3: Karakuri Yashiki no Nemuri Hime was the seventh game in the long-running franchise of roguelikes. Making matters rather confusing, in 2010 Atlus USA released the game in the USA as Shiren the Wanderer (not to be confused with the 1995 SNES original). For the purpose of this review, we’ll stick with Shiren the Wanderer 3. Like more or less all other Shiren the Wanderer titles, the game generated respectable reviews and decent sales, without leaving a particularly strong impression either way. What a number of reviewers did remark upon was that the game’s difficulty had been toned down somewhat from its predecessors, making this a more accessible entry in the franchise.
While the first Shiren the Wanderer game had been blessed by what is Koichi Sugiyama’s best work outside of the Dragon Quest series, Hayato Matsuo had taken over franchise scoring duties since 2001’s Shiren the Wanderer GB2. For that score as well as on 2002’s Fushigi no Dungeon: Fuurai no Shiren Gaiden: Onna Kenshi Asuka Kenzan, Matsuo had relied extensively on material previously written by Sugiyama. Matsuo took a more individualistic approach on the Shiren the Wanderer 3 soundtrack, which features only a few reprises of Sugiyama’s melodies. The score came at a fortuitous time for Matsuo, hot on the heels of his magnum opus Hellsing Ultimate. Unfortunately, no soundtrack release has been forthcoming for Shiren the Wanderer 3 – maybe developer Chunsoft was wary of releasing a four disc-album for a Wii title that hadn’t been a commercial smash hit.