01 - Reality Theme (Black Book)
02 - Reality Theme (Red Book)
03 - Demon World Town 3
04 - Battle Theme 1 (Black Book)
05 - Angel's Theme
06 - Devil's Theme
07 - Ending
08 - Battle Theme 4 - Event (Red Book)
09 - Victory
10 - Demon Combination Theme
11 - Final Boss Theme
12 - Title
So I pop this album into the CD tray on my computer, with no prior knowledge of the music. All I knew of ahead of time were those old SMT GBA titles (released as "DemiKids" in the US), and that the CD is long out of print (First Smile is dead). I later learned that this soundtrack was for two previous games, Devil Children "Red and Black" for Game Boy Color, which never came to America.
One minute into my first listen of this soundtrack, I ask myself: "hey, is this Motoi Sakuraba?" It sounded very much like his work.
The man leaves tell-tale signs on all his work, I guess.
Sure enough, this album was co-arranged by Motoi Sakuraba and Tomoyuki Hamada (a member of T's Music). Some tracks are Sakuraba, and those that don't sound like a Sakuraba track (no drum/bass emphasis, no organ solo) belong to Hamada.
Now, the game was actually two games: Red and Black. Split like a Pokémon title. But it seems there were some pieces of music that were exclusive to each game, as the tracklist makes clear. Some songs are Red-only, some Black-only, and plenty of crossover tunes. Sakuraba and Hamada picked some of the most melodic pieces from the OST for this arranged album.
The only problem I think most people will have with this arrange album is one you might not suspect. It's not the sound quality or the style of arrangement (real "band" instruments mixed with high-quality synths). No, it's track time. Some of the arrangements are short: like, under 2 minutes. The full disc time isn't awful for an arranged album, but there could have been more expansive arrangements written for some of these pieces. And, considering Sakuraba's involvement, I'm surprised we don't see a bunch of six minute prog rock odysseys on here.
To SMT fans who would want this album, my message to you is short and simple: good luck. It's old, it's out of print, and it's certainly a collector's item. It's also an oddity, having Sakuraba involved in an entry of a series that generally belongs to Masuko and Meguro. I enjoyed this album a fair bit, and wouldn't be opposed to keeping it in my collection for years to come.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann