I can’t say I appreciate the power of the GBA to deliver a stunning aural presentation on par with that of full-blown consoles such as PS2 or GC, but that doesn’t stop me from getting the soundtracks. Take, for instance, Riviera ~The Promised Land~ Full Arrange Soundtrack. I picked up the album before I even played the game, and was not immediately impressed. I must say, I didn’t listen to it all that thoroughly the first time through, putting it on mainly as background music for other activities.
However, after playing the game and hearing the tracks in context, I have to admit that this soundtrack is more impressive than I first noticed, and the redone instrumentation is what truly brings out the power of the originals.
Composer Minako Adachi has done a superior job with orchestration and instrumentation in this soundtrack. The album reminds me a lot of the Lufia series of games in terms of instrumentation. “Heaven’s Gate: to the Promised Land” and “Battle Against Demons” really hark back to Lufia 2, the latter being a close kin to the battle music of the old 16-bit era.
Strangely, for some reason I can’t understand, I liked the upbeat, silly melody, “Picnic” in the soundtrack as much as the pulse-pounding battle themes and catchy level themes.
Fortunately, there are also real tear-jerkers, like “Elegant Melody,” the very solemn and beautiful theme of death, and Ursula’s theme, “Soft Prayer.” The extra instrumentation is very high quality and makes these tracks even more evocative than in the original.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this soundtrack to anyone who has played the game, as I feel they will get the most appreciation out of it. Still, while it’s an excellent soundtrack, if you’re not a fan of the 16-bit era of sound or have not played the game, steer clear, as you will probably not find much to enjoy.