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Riviera ~The Promised Land~ Full Arrange Soundtrack

[back cover]
Catalog Number: BJCA-0018
Released On: April 8, 2005
Composed By: Minako Adachi, Shigeki Hayashi (37-39)
Arranged By: Minako Adachi, Toshiaki Sakoda
Published By: digi+momo
Recorded At: N/A
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Overture
02 - Destiny
03 - The Promised Land Riviera
04 - To a Distant Place
05 - Elendia, the Forest of Spirits
06 - Heaven's Gate
07 - Rakurima, the Black Devil Castle
08 - Ruins of the Great Tree Nelde
09 - Tetis, the Underwater City
10 - Mireno Underground Cemetery
11 - Yugdral Area
12 - Heaven's Gate to the Dark
13 - Labyrinth of Eternal Darkness
14 - Sortie
15 - Battling the Evil Tribe
16 - Encounter!
17 - Fierce Fight
18 - D.Sphere
19 - Infernos Battle
20 - Decisive Battle With Hector
21 - Setra Awakening
22 - The Last Battle
23 - Triumph
24 - GameOver
25 - Picnic
26 - Thorough Investigation
27 - In a Real Pinch
28 - Ursula
29 - Hector's Ambition
30 - The Angel Pronounced Her Death
31 - Finale
32 - And Time Passes...
33 - The End of the Story
34 - Turning Point
35 - Spinning Memories
36 - Hades, King of the Dead World
37 - All You Have To Do is Practice (ver. GBA)
38 - Decisive Battle With Hector (ver. GBA)
39 - The Last Battle (ver. GBA)
40 - The Promised Land (Unused Track)
Total Time:
65'53"

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.

Reviewed by: Damian Thomas

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.

Reviewed by: Mike Wilson



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