For those unfamiliar with the title, Gyakuten Saiban is the Japanese name for the US game Phoenix Wright. Many of the songs from the first CD of this collection should be familiar to anyone who’s ever played the US release of the game. The second CD in this album is comprised entirely of music from its sequel.
Music from the first game was composed primarily by Masakazu Sugimori. As stated in an earlier review of Phoenix Wright, the music on the soundtrack remains entirely 16-bit. However, the music really did set the mood for the game and created an unforgettable soundtrack. The sampling work by Sugimori is simply superb. While tracks like “Examination ~ Moderate 2001” and “Examination ~ Allegro 2001” seem to be remixes of each other, they are really quite different in their own way. Sometimes, when completely wrapped up in a game as intense as Phoenix Wright can be, it’s easy to not hear these differences but individually on a CD, the differences come out quite well. Also, the 7 additional tracks (tracks 28-34) the Gyakuten Saiban Yomigaeru Gyakuten OST reviewed earlier are missing from this CD.
Akemi Kimura is responsible for the soundtrack in Gyakuten Saiban II. Like Sugimori before him, Kimura is able to make full use of 16-bit sound to set both tone and mood. Both the “Prologue” and “Arrival Melody” makes great use of perhaps what is one of the most well known “sinister” classical pieces, J.S. Bach “Toccatta and Fugue in D”. While there are a few light hearted pieces in this CD, such as the slightly remixed track “Shinshuu Ryouri ~ Gyakuten Sisters’ Theme 2002”, the Prologue sets the mood for an overall darker soundtrack than the first one. For the second soundtrack, Kimura took a lot of the more popular tracks from the first game like “Examination ~ Moderate 2001” and “Search ~ Core 2001” and altered them by dropping down to a minor key and heavily modifying the melody to fit the darker, more intense feel the second soundtrack has over the first.
Both CDs are worth listening to, both together and apart. It’s always a welcome change to listen to great sampled 16-bit music when the trend in games these days seems to be geared towards sweeping orchestration and J-pop.
Note: This album was a special order from Capcom, but you can still get it from VGM World as a special order.