It’s a shame that American gamers never got to experience the PoPoLoCRoIS series (variant capitalization rules: one can also find PopoloCrois or simply Popolocrois). This cute, fairy-tale game for the PlayStation presented a fun, light-hearted yet adventurous story to gamers. I myself never got to play it, only hearing about the title’s merits second-hand from another gamer. Fortunately, I managed to nab the games’ soundtracks and quickly fell in love. In particular, PoPoLoCRoIS Story II was exceptional. The album, composed by Tetsuo Ishikawa, Yoshiyuki Sahashi, and Yoshifumi Ito, contains tracks that are both versatile and emotionally evocative throughout.
It is rare that I get hooked on a song, but this album did it with the title track, Chiisana Hana (Little Flower). The vocal song, reprised in a world music/celtic fashion by Ronan Brown on his Melodies of Love CD, is infinitely more beautiful in its original form. The song is so darn sweet! Of course, that isn’t the album’s only merit; Sea Front Street, with its harmonica and 80s-style synth is lots of fun and evokes images of lazy days.
The Battle & Battle II medley seems to run the gamut of 80s/90s battle theme variations, which I appreciate very much, being a fan of nostalgia. Kimen Doji’s theme and Kimen Doji’s Past provide the requisite traditional Japanese atmosphere, complete with koto/shamisen.
Most of the other tracks on this album are short – many under a minute – but are just plain fun! PoPoLoCRoIS was meant to be a light hearted game, and the soundtrack adequately reflects that. Although the album does have its share of mediocre tracks (such as Country of Dragons), overall this is an album that just makes you feel happy while listening to it.
If you can find it, PoPoLoCRoIS Story II makes an excellent addition to any game soundtrack library. Even thought the game is dated, the soundtrack is fun and contains its share of really beautiful tunes. Definitely a good choice for anyone who wants to smile.