It's only 64 pages long, but I am still looking at the Hero's Handbook from the Pathfinder Basic Box. All the rules you need for the four basic classes (Fighter, Cleric, Rogue and Wizard) covering the first 5 levels of advancement.
As far as races, I don't mind the Gnome omission at all, but halflings are a fantasy staple, and I would have appreciated their presence. We do get Dwarves, Elves and Humans (no half races either). I'll just need to remind myself it is a Basic Box, and if you put the kitchen sink in the box, you lose the focus.
For no particular reason, I'm going to hit on spells next. Perfectly done. Really. Spell icon tells you the school of the spell, range, duration and short paragraph detailing the effects. 10 spells per level, and all spells for a spell level fit on one side of one page. Concise yet extremely complete and useful. It could (should) be a model for other RPGs down the line.
Jumping back to character generation, I'm going to remark upon the need for the character to have at least a cumulative bonus of +3, or you don't have a stat above 13, you can reroll your character. Using 4d6, I expect there will be a lot of rerolls. I do understand the power level in Pathfinder is on the Spinal Tap Scale ("But this one goes to eleven!"), but coming from the OSR side of the hobby I needed to adjust my focus.
Did I mention the pages are full color? Same quality paper as the Pathfinder Monthies? That weapons and armor are accompanied by artwork depicting the item in question? Heck, they might as well have put the armor and weapons on slightly elongated business cards. I'm tempted to print those pages out from the PDF (I love Paizo and their PDFs) and cut out the items in question so I can hand them out to my players. Of course, I game online, so that might be an issue. Still, the idea is valid.
The Minotaur for Old-School Essentials
*Requirements:* Minimum STR 9, Minimum CON 9
*Prime Requisite:* STR and CON
*Hit Dice:* 1d10
*Maximum Level:* 8
*Armor:* Leather, including shield...