GBA Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire Music Super Complete
Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire was the generation of Pokémon that I totally skipped. I had lost my interest in Pokémon at the time, and so I never played either game. But when I finally picked Pokémon Ruby up many years after its release, I was regretful that I hadn't played it before. One of the main reasons was that I could not believe how good the music was sounding. Now of course we have to remember that this was a game for the GBA, so they could only do so much at the time, but considering what they had, I was really starting to like it.
Let's start with the area themes from the games. "Mishiro Town". There's just something about the first area theme "Mishiro Town" that stuck in my head when I first heard it, and even now I still find myself whistling its tune every now and then. It's a very pretty, relaxing piece that really sets up a small hometown very well. It's probably the most memorable area theme on this album. "Shidake Town" may actually even beat "Mishiro Town" out as far as beauty goes. It's actually quite amazing how realistic this track sounds with the piano and wind instrument. "Kanazumi City" is a pretty nice one, too. It does a good job of portraying an area that is a city, but a small one. There's no real hustle and bustle to it. "Touka City" and "Kaina City" are different cases. While they still both seem to keep a pretty melody to them, they are both a bit more upbeat than those mentioned before.
"Muro Town" is a bit of a nice one. I wouldn't say it's the most memorable one in the world, but when I hear it in its island setting, it all seems to fit nicely enough. "Hajitsuge Town" isn't particularly the most memorable either, although I'm quite fond of the section with what sounds like a xylophone or something of the sort. The nicest part of "Kotoki Town" is its beat. I don't know exactly why, but, even though it's not a very upbeat song, it got my foot tapping. "Minamo City" is in a league of its own, really. I can't quite describe what kind of town would go along with it, but, being a big fan of waltzes, I really enjoy this one. Let's all go ballroom dancing in the streets, everyone! But then after that we have "Rune City" and "Saiyuu City" which I actually don't even remember at all. I can see why, though. I wouldn't call them boring at all, just not memorable.
Now here we are in "Route 101". This tune has a quite similar attitude to that of "Route 1" from Pokémon: Red & Blue. Without ever even playing the game, one can tell that the journey is just beginning at the point this song is played. "Route 104" is kind of weird. I can't say there's any field area themes like it that I've heard. It's mainly the beginning that's weird, but then it goes more upbeat and becomes kind of cool. Still not too fond of the melody, though. "Route 110" is the area theme where you can just tell that you'll be hearing this one quite often throughout the game. It shares a quality with "Route 120" and "Route 119" in that they both sound like very triumphant pieces. I'm more into the melody of 120, but they're all pretty cool pieces. The special thing about119 though that the other two don't have is that one section in there that starts sounding kind of pretty and peppy at times, which is pretty nice touch.
Here's the difference between "Route 113" and "Route 111": One sounds absolutely awesome while the other sounds kind of annoying. There's something about 113 that I just don't really like at all. It starts out okay, but then as its melody goes on it starts to become kind of degrading to the ears for some reason. "Route 111" is completely different. It's not hard to tell where this theme takes place — in a desert (although I was thinking "swamp" when I first heard it — I guess it could work in both places). It's just one of those pieces where you can imagine, if you don't watch your step, things will start crawling all over you. I get the same feeling from "Touka Forest" as well, though that one's a bit more on the eerie side.
Now we go to some of the more subtle area themes. "Pokémon Center" is the same classic tune, but with a different pitch and some nice arpeggios in the background. And I don't know about anyone else, but I'm glad they finally gave the Pokemarts their own theme in "Friendly Shop". In Red & Blue and FireRed & Leafgreen, the Pokemarts shared the theme with the Pokémon Center, and in Gold & Silver there wasn't any Pokemart theme at all. This theme is just perfect for it. It's fun and buoyant, almost making you want to dance. "Trainers School" is one that I'll definitely have to learn to play on the piano. I just love how sprightly and uplifting it sounds. And "Crossing the Sea" and "Cycling" are very cool ones too, being very upbeat and having a nice melody to it. "Surfing" is another track that has a similar feeling to a predecessor, this time they seem to have mixed the feelings from the surfing themes of both Red & Blue and Gold & Silver.
For some reason, Go Ichinose has always done a really swell job with the "Game Corner" themes, even though I almost never visit them in-game. If you are ever in the mood for a really fun track, just go to the game corner themes, and this one is no exception either. What I like about "Chimney Mountain" is that it's starting to branch off to a part of the soundtrack where things are starting to get a bit more serious, but even still the buoyancy is still in there. But then I find myself laughing at "Safari Zone" which sounds like the main character is being chased by cannibalistic savages. "Okuribi Mountain" is definitely a memorable one. It sounds like a temple with its very sacred yet ominous tone. You can imagine throughout the mountain, a voice yells at you "I am the Guardian of (insert sacred object here)! Leave now or you shall face serious consequences!" But then the moment's ruined with "Okuribi Mountain Outer Wall" which still sounds sacred somewhat, but it's very upbeat and almost sounds fun in some parts.
Alright, there are still many very good area themes in this soundtrack, but what I'm much more excited to share is the battle themes. Basically, if I were to compare this soundtrack to any of the other Pokémon soundtracks, I'd say that this one has the best battle themes by a mile. I mean, even "Battle! Wild Pokémon" — the theme that would be heard most often — sounds very triumphant and decisive, as if it could be a boss theme. "Battle! Trainer" sounds so good that it could deserve to be the battle theme for any one important person. "Battle! Aqua Magma Team" is a special one too mainly because it strays away from the triumph of it all and just serves to pump things up. Then "Battle! Aqua Magma Team Leader" just has the coolest melody for a battle theme and shows just how tough and annoying the battle might be.
"Battle! Gym Leader" is also one that I enjoy a lot. It has that essence of beauty, but it's combined with the triumphant horns and everything, then towards the middle it starts to sound more menacing and powerful. "Battle! Ancient Pokémon" also shows this menace and power to it, and the special thing about it is that instead of the usual trumpets in that are in all the others, this one's dominant instrument is the drums. I don't think it's as upbeat as it should be for a legendary Pokémon battle theme, but it's cool enough. "Battle! Regirock - Regice - Registeel" is very interesting in the sense that it almost sounds space-themed, almost like "Deoxys' Theme" in FireRed & LeafGreen.
Now we reach the biggest beef I have with the game. We come to our final two battle themes: "Battle! Big Four" and "Decisive Battle! Daigo". What doesn't make sense to me is that "Battle! Big Four" is probably my favorite Pokémon battle theme of all time — it's absolutely epic, almost a cataclysmic feel. "Decisive Battle! Daigo" is also really cool, but it's nowhere near as decisive as "Big Four". So basically I just think they should be played at different times in the game. "Big Four" just makes more sense as the final battle. Speak of the devil, there are a few arrange tracks on this album too. "Steven Stone" is a remix of "Decisive Battle! Daigo", and it pretty much sucks. It's like they made the quality sound terrible on purpose. Definitely not one that I'd listen to again. The rendition of "Slateport City" is very nice, though, even though I don't think the singer is great. "Trick Master" is just weird. I wouldn't listen to it for musical purposes, but maybe if I needed a good laugh.
So whether it's for the beautiful area themes or the epic battle themes, this album is worth listening to. For all the die-hard Pokémon fans out there, this album is a must. For those who just happen to play Pokémon for the fun value, then you might want to give this one a listen to. Rest assured, every ruby and sapphire has its flaws, but even if I had never played the game before, I think I would have really enjoyed this album.
Disc 1 - 1, 5, 7, 8, 16, 22, 24, 26~30, 32, 35, 36, 41~43, 45~48
Disc 2 - 1, 4~7, 10, 14, 16~19, 21, 24~27, 31, 33~37, 39, 42~44, 46, 49, 51~54
Disc 1 - 2, 3, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17~19, 21, 25, 33, 44, 49~53
Disc 2 - 11~13, 15, 20, 22, 29, 38, 45, 47, 50, 55
Disc 1 - 4, 6, 11, 12, 15, 20, 23, 31, 34, 37~40, 54
Disc 2 - 2, 3, 8, 9, 23, 28, 30, 32, 40, 41, 48
Disc 1 - 1~3, 5, 7, 8, 13, 16, 18, 21, 22, 24, 26~30, 32, 35, 36, 41~48
Disc 2 - 1, 4~7, 10, 14~19, 21, 24~27, 31, 33~37, 39, 42~44, 46, 49~54
Disc 1 - 9, 17, 25, 50
Disc 2 - 11, 22, 29, 38, 45, 47, 55
Disc 1 - 4, 6, 10~12, 14, 15, 19, 20, 23, 31, 33, 34, 37~40, 49, 51~54
Disc 2 - 2, 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 20, 23, 28, 30, 32, 40, 41, 48
Composition/Arrangement: Go Ichinose
Vocals: Karakuri Daioh (カラクリ大王) [real name: Kenji Tominaga/冨永兼司], Karakuri Chorus (カラクリ合唱隊)
Lyrics: Hitomi Sato
Composition/Arrangement: Go Ichinose
Lyrics: Kenji Matsushima
Title Demo ~Departure From Hoenn District~Go Ichinose
Title Demo 2 ~Double Battle~Junichi Masuda
Title ~Main Theme~Junichi Masuda
Opening SelectMorikazu Aoki
Mishiro TownGo Ichinose
Odamaki LaboratoryMorikazu Aoki
Battle! Wild PokémonJunichi Masuda
Victory Against Wild Pokémon!Junichi Masuda
Route 101Morikazu Aoki
Kotoki TownMorikazu Aoki
Pokémon CenterJunichi Masuda
Sightline! Shorts BoyMorikazu Aoki
Sightline! MiniskirtGo Ichinose
Battle! TrainerJunichi Masuda
Victory Against Trainer!Junichi Masuda
Level UpJunichi Masuda
Touka CityMorikazu Aoki
Come AlongJunichi Masuda
Route 104Go Ichinose
Touka ForestMorikazu Aoki
Magma Gang Enters!Go Ichinose
Battle! Aqua / Magma GangJunichi Masuda
Victory Against Aqua / Magma Gang!Go Ichinose
Kanazumi CityGo Ichinose
Trainer's SchoolGo Ichinose
Crossing the SeaGo Ichinose
Muro TownGo Ichinose
Sightline! Floater GirlMorikazu Aoki
Kaina CityGo Ichinose
Marine Science MuseumJunichi Masuda
Route 110Morikazu Aoki
Game CornerGo Ichinose
BD TimeMorikazu Aoki
Great Success!Morikazu Aoki
Shidake TownGo Ichinose
Route 113Go Ichinose
Little TwinsGo Ichinose
Hajitsuge TownJunichi Masuda
Rope WayGo Ichinose
Chimney MountainGo Ichinose
Sightline! Mountain ManGo Ichinose
Route 111Go Ichinose
Battle! Gym LeaderJunichi Masuda
Victory Against Gym Leader!Junichi Masuda
Badge GetJunichi Masuda
Technique Machine GetJunichi Masuda
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