Riviera ~The Promised Land~ Full Arrange is probably the best soundtrack that you’re not listening to. It’s also the best Game Boy Advance game you’re not playing, too, but that’s beside the point. Minako Adachi and, on a lesser note, Shigeki Hayashi have done a great job in creating an old school soundtrack for a game that’s not old school at all. They’ve done an even better job transferring the original music into a higher quality while still keeping the “old school” feel in mind. Each song sounds like a big brother to their Game Boy Advance counterparts, and while they sound almost exactly the same, I’m not complaining. Normally, I’d be fussing and hollering because there’s no true level of “compositional arrangement” here, but I’m going to shut up, because this music is awesome regardless. The decision to make the songs better quality was a good one; now instead of Game Boy synths, we have rocking electric guitars, better brass instruments, grandiose choirs, and a defined percussion section. While they’re still not real, they might as well be.
Most of the disc’s forty songs were arranged by Minako Adachi, and the last four tracks were specifically written for the Game Boy Advance version of the game (Riviera originally debuted on the Wonder Swan Color). Three of these tracks were done by Shigeki Hayashi, and all of them are battle themes. The final track, “The Promised Land,” however, is an unused track that didn’t make it into the final version of either game.
Let’s talk about a few more tracks, although I’d like to talk about them all. The opening theme, “Overture,” is a fitting beginning because it sets up the mood with a solemn (but hopeful) overtone. For some reason, I can’t seem to get it out of my head. “Heaven’s Gate” is a SNES-styled rock tune that could have been right at home in a Castlevania game. My favorite track, “Ruins of the Great Tree Nelde,” is a progressive rock piece that features plenty of electric guitar. I really enjoyed it because it gives me flashbacks of my SNES days. Another song which really impressed me was “Battling the Evil Tribe,” which is one of the game’s many battle themes. It never gets old.
Some of the softer songs include “Thorough Investigation,” which is one of the game’s event themes, is a sad song which has a sense of loss. “And Time Passes…” is the game’s epilogue theme, and it feels like a lullaby, or a song that a mother would sing to her baby. It’s probably my second favorite track on the disc. “To a Distant Place” is the overworld theme that is reminiscent of “Creamy Dreamer” from La Pucelle: Tactics. It is very broad, and the song is accentuated by a lovely harp.
There are plenty of other tracks that I wanted to mention, and I hope you’ll listen to some of our samples to see how great this soundtrack really is. I recommend this soundtrack to anyone who enjoys VGM even remotely, and especially to fans of the “old days” when NES, SNES, and Sega Genesis ruled supreme. Riviera ~The Promised Land~ gets a 10/10.