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Popolocrois Story II Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Popolocrois Story II Original Soundtrack Album Title: Popolocrois Story II Original Soundtrack
Record Label: SPE Visual Works
Catalog No.: SVWC-7056
Release Date: March 8, 2000
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Released four years after its predecessor, Popolocrois Story II was a true sequel that received much acclaim among Japanese gamers. One of the few weaker elements of the game was its soundtrack, created by a returning team led by Tetsuo Ishikawa. The music generally fitted the title, but was rarely unique or impressive in context. It is even more disappointing on its soundtrack release...


The soundtrack starts somewhat turbulently with the prologue, but eventually builds into an instrumental arrangement of series' favourite "Pietro's Departure". There isn't anything spectacular about this arrangement musically, but the featured samples are certainly an improvement on Poporogue's, demonstrating the technological freedom offered towards the end of the PlayStation era. There is also a nostalgic piano-based arrangement of the theme for the title screen that builds into a lively instrumental pop piece. Both tracks are a great way to show the series is back, but unfortunately relatively few of the subsequent original compositions are quite as nostalgic.

The new compositions on the soundtrack generally complement the experiences of Popolocrois Story II fittingly. "The Fairy Tribe", "Country of the Gods", "The Fun Circus", and "Boxy", for instance, all embellish the fairytale feel of the game with their abstract and colourful timbres. They're all treated quite differently, but come together convincingly to underscore the overall adventure. "Grasslands" meanwhile takes listeners excitingly into the overworld with its bold brass leads and ethereal synth backing, though lacks the individuality of Popolocrois Story's more acoustic entries. "Battle & Battle II" meanwhile retains the series' wacky flavour with its electrified phrases and melodramatic development.

Unfortunately, the three composers of Popolocrois Story II seem to take a somewhat less elaborate approach than previous soundtracks. This time, most tracks loop prematurely before the 40 second mark, giving short track times throughout. Furthermore, a lot of the tracks this time seem to have been composed in a formulaic rather than an experimental manner, whether "Romarna Castle" and "Sea-Front Street" with their dating styles, or the overly stereotyped world music references on "Kimen Doji" and "Monkey Salsa". Particularly uninspiring are tracks such as "Mansel Village", "Elena", "Kimen Doji's Past", and "Narcia's Feelings", which feature some of the most simplistic and bare piano work on an RPG.

The score closes with two of the most mysterious tracks on the soundtrack, "Balbaran" and "Maira". However, like so many other pieces on the album, the tracks are simply too short and derivative to make an impact like equivalents on Poporogue did. The soundtrack also features a vocal theme, "Little Flower". It contrasts considerably with Popolocrois Story's "Pietro's Departure" with its more introspective flavour, due to both the dreamy vocal line and synthpad-dominated accompaniment. It's a decent pop theme, thanks to the strength of its melody, but completely lacks in individuality. While the full version opens the soundtrack, an instrumental version set to drama finishes the soundtrack.


While the Popolocrois Story II soundtrack is a functional complement to the game, it lacks the elaboration and individuality to offer a fulfilling listen out of context. Perhaps due to time limitations, it appears that the returning three person team decided to compose a score of RPG clichés, rather than maintaining the quirky and worldly flavour of the earlier games. Most will be safe skipping this soundtrack in favour of other entries in the series and possibly enjoying the music through the game instead.

Overall Score: 6/10