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Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack :: Forum Review

Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-7696/7
Release Date: April 5, 1996
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online

Overview

Written by Chris

The score to Konami's flagship PlayStation RPG Suikoden was an exceptional achievement musically and technologically when published in 1996. It is marvellous soundtrack — creative, lush, well-developed, diverse, individual, and fitting — with a hybrid of cultural influences allowing it to create a distinct sound for the game's environment. Crafted by Konami's venerable sound team, Miki Higashino and Tappi Iwase are the major composers, but Hiroshi Tamawari, Setsu Taniguchi, and Mayuko Kagesita also make a few contributions each. Let's take a closer look...

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) A World of Illusions (Written by Chris)

"A World of Illusions" is a special theme for the Suikoden series and the development of game music in general. First heard when Suikoden was released for the PlayStation in 1995, it was the earliest instance of a fully orchestral cinematic theme in its genre and still one of the greatest. As expectations rise when the game's 'Konami Presents' text is presented, the theme is similarly full of tension. It's mostly suspended strings, a few melodic fragments and fluorishes, and some ominous sound effects.

Soon, however, the theme's delightful harmonic line is introduced and it attains buoyancy that is maintained throughout as a selection of scenes from the game begin to be shown. The main melody, introduced on strings after considerable fanfare, is striking and gorgeously shaped; elegant yet edgy, restrained yet adventurous, conventional yet original. This melody, which perfectly captures the ethos of the Suikoden series, is the game's main theme.

Miki Higashino's orchestration is competently executed — it's direct and melodic but skilfully decorated with exotic percussion, trumpet fanfares, harp arpeggios, all sorts of flourishes, and the all important bassline. I find the buildup and development here so fluid and dynamic -- there's just no filler and all phrases are crisp and wonderfully thought-out. The ending is dissatisfying abrupt on the soundtrack, but leaves room for further interpretations of the theme and a lot of anticipation for the rest of the soundtrack. This theme is excellent for its melody, emotions, pace, and orchestration and will remain forever a classic. (10/10)

2) Beginning Theme (Written by Muzza)

This track, which plays in most Suikoden games at the name entry screen, offers the listener a very pleasing experience. Even though it won't blow you away with a spectacular melody, "Beginning Theme" is an extremely light and rich track. With orchestral influences surrounding a repetitious yet strangely memorable rhythm, it definitely isn't a track worth skipping, despite its brevity. Additionally, of that brevity, there isn't a dull moment. Who would have thought that naming a character could be such an pleasant experience? (8/10)

3) Royal Palace Consultation (Written by Muzza)

The theme for Gregminster Palace is definitely one of the highlights of the soundtrack. It holds a chamber-like melody with orchestral instruments being used to accompany the violin, which brings out the invigoration and cheerfulness encapsulated in the track. A somewhat bombastic ending captures all that is great about the track, and adds even more splendor to the piece. "Royal Palace Consultation" is an absolute winner when it comes to a strong, memorable, and fitting melody. (9/10)

4) Eternal Empire (Written by Don)

"Eternal Empire" is quite an interesting track. It starts out with some strong brass and percussion, similar to the arrival of a royal family. As such, the entire tone of this piece is a tone of regality. The softer sections, comprised mainly of strings and woodwinds, help to tie the bombastic sections together quite nicely. Overall, this track is quite a fitting piece and definitely worth more than one listen. (9/10)

5) Beautiful Golden City (Written by Kyon)

Aha! My No.1 favorite town theme of the soundtrack. It paints the perfect picture of Gregminister, an upbeat, prosperous, and lively town with its lively Germanic instrumentation. The melody and the percussion accompaniment is the testament of this picture. An absolutely unforgettable piece. Highly recommended.(10/10)

6) Main Theme Arrange ~ Guitar Version (Written by Muzza )

A faithful and beautiful toned-down version of "Into a World of Illusions". Simply put, this track has traces of the aforementioned piece throughout its duration, with a mellow feel, portrayed perfectly by the acoustic guitar. With a great melody and brilliant instrumentation, this track definitely does stay true to the original. (10/10)

7) Fly, Black! (Written by Don)

This is quite a bouncy tune ideal to represent flying. While it is extremely short, it seems very well developed. The brass use is strong and the stringed instruments add some contrast to the piece. (8/10)

8) Black Forest (Written by Don)

"Black Forest" is one of my favorite tracks on the first album. The melody is fantastic and has an Arabian flair. Similarly, the instrumentation used is superb. The brass sections are strong, the strings absolutely stunning. I like how the track also includes some tension building in the middle, in a medieval style no less. Definitely worth multiple listens! (10/10)

9) Emotional Theme (Written by Chris)

The track title tries to dictate to the listener what to think, but will you find it emotional? For me, at least, I was touched. Miki Higashino is unconventional here; while there is a clear melodic line that is passionately shaped, it's the deep descending harmonic progressions and fluidly layered secondary melodies that create the intensity and agony here. At 0:45, the theme quietens calms before it suddenly blooms into its dramatic climax at 1:08. The conclusion is calm and impressionistic, leaving the programmatic piece suspended but content. Beautifully composed event theme. (10/10)

10) Tiny Characters in a Huge World (Written by Chris)

A charming rendition of "Into the World of Illusions" accompanies the world map screen. What I especially enjoy here is how Higashino holds back from making it another full-blown development of the melody, but rather integrates hints of the theme throughout the piece. Instead, she focuses on offering something adventurous while exposing entirely new melodies that are just as charming as "Into a World...". Take a programmatic emotional full-blown theme, make it strophic, adventuous, but subtle. A wonderful world map theme with a timeless quality. (10/10)

11) Distant Mountain (Written by Muzza)

A very unique piece, "Distant Mountain" is a track which paints imagery of a mountainous landscape as soon as you hear it. The opening, a powerful flute solo, immediately does this, followed by some lighter flutes which prolong the adventurous and slightly mysterious feeling which consists during the track. Percussion stays in the background, beautifully complimenting the woodwind instrument which drives the melody perfectly until the climactic ending. The only factor which damages this track is the sometimes cacophonous drum samples, however that doesn't keep it back from receiving a high score. (9/10)

12) Penpe (Written by Muzza)

Instantaneously, you are presented with spooky, ominous noises which are paired with an abstract melody. One would not be mistaken in thinking that this track belongs in a dungeon. More eerie noises are present during the remainder of the track, while the melody fluctuates in both pitch and dynamics. While dungeon themes have a tendency to be monotonous, "Penpe" definitely contradicts this perception, as it lives up to the soundtrack's great consistency. (9/10)

13) Confrontation with Monsters (Written by Don)

This track starts off quite bombastica;ly with strong percussion and a brass section playing short melodic fragments. After the strong opening, a short and lighthearted section starts to play, reminiscent of something Sakimoto might have done. This short section, despite it probably being used to break the tension is the only part of the piece I didn't enjoy. The piece begins to quicken and become more menacing with the return of strong percussion, some xylophone use, and some brass again before looping. Definitely a solid effort. (9/10)

14) Victory Theme (Written by Don)

A short lighthearted fanfare. It's neither spectacular or bad, but it seems to get the job done. The instrumentation used is nice however. (7/10)

15) Rock Rockland (Written by Toma)

This track just makes me smile. It has an ethnic groove going on throughout, with plenty of hand percussion and a sitar-like string instrument providing backup for the melody. The melody itself is simple and a bit repetitive, but it works perfectly to give the feeling of a mountain village. Plus it has some funky bass that I can't help but love. (8/10)

16) Theme of Tension ~ Ensemble Version (Written by Don)

This is probably the worst track I've heard so far. Standard crisis music with little development. The track just repeats on and on. The instrumentation is nice, but it's nowhere near spectacular. (2/10)

17) Theme of Sadness ~ Ensemble Version (Written by Don)

I was first introduced to this theme during the vocal competition we held earlier this year. Obviously an arrangement, but nonetheless, it was a very good track. This track, the origins of the arrangement, keeps the melody and poignancy I encountered before. The melody is captivatingly beautiful and the different instrumentation used to portray this melody is a very nice developmental tune. One of my favorites! (9/10)

18) Eternal Flow (Written by Muzza)

Ethnic sounding through and through, this town theme definitely meets the high expectations set by several other town themes. The instrumentation is some of the best on the soundtrack, with a variety of instruments playing concurrently to really give off a peaceful, ethnic vibe. Another solid effort. (8/10)

19) Joy Joy Time (Written by Muzza)

As the title suggests, you are most certainly in for an enjoyable time when listening to this track! I consider this mini-game theme to be one of, if not the best mini-game theme out there. With a rapid banjo being played alongside some sounds which can only be described as kooky, this track has some debatable instrumentation, but a melody which will stay stuck in your head for years to come. Well, at least for a while. (9/10)

20) Intrusion (Written by Muzza)

The first of three Setsu Taniguchi-composed pieces on the soundtrack is one of my favourite "sneaky" themes of all time! "Intrusion" delivers a constant sneaky, suspicious atmosphere, which doesn't change even when the dynamics grow and when new instruments are brought into the mix. While the piece suggests intensity to a certain extent, that same sneaky theme thankfully consists. An ominous and haunting ending is just the cream on top of an already delicious cake. Highly recommended, especially if you're planning on doing some sleuthing. (10/10)

21) Mysterious Forest (Written by Chris)

"Mysterious Forest" is inspired by French Impressionism. It opens with a lulling repeated harmony line that invokes this theme's sense of mystery and soon introduces an oboe line that radiates with beauty but is restricted in its melodic scope by its adherence to repetition. With mystery, calmness, and beauty all offered from a mere two forces, the theme change direction at the 0:24 after a fermata. Here, the theme becomes passionate and dramatic, as the oboe plays a richer melody and more exuberant harmonisation is introduced. Around the 1:00 mark, the theme gorgeously slows before it repeats in a natural but somewhat frustrating way. While a tiny bit of development would have been nice before the loop, this theme fits the forest excellently and is enjoyable on a melodic level. (9/10)

22) People of Great Pride (Written by Don)

This track has a nice rhythmic bass line with some woodwind playing the melody. I like how the drums and the woodwinds overlap in terms of melody at times. However, my favorite part of this entire piece is the melodic change between brass, woodwind, and strings. It really makes the track stand out. Another thing I like is the addition of the melody. It helps tie together the catchiness of the entire piece. (8/10)

23) Theme of Despair (Written by Don)

What I can only assume is a game over theme, the instrumentation is very nice and fitting, but the overall length is too short to warrant a review. I would like to mention that it uses the same figure as the harmony line in "Mysterious Forest." (5/10)

24) Peaceful People (Written by Muzza)

Being the longest piece on the soundtrack, you would hope "Peaceful People" would offer the listener a completely enrapturing experience. Whenever I think of impressive synth and sample usage on the PSX, I always think back to this track. The female vocals are so spectacular and they perfectly paint the imagery as suggested by the title of the track. The vocals are there throughout most of the track, and this is good as they definitely work in the track's favour. As for the instruments used here, you will immediately notice the awesome, high quality synth that persists in the undertones of the track; this synthesizer really helps in creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Several other instruments are utilized, such as an intriguing flute (at the 0:59-1:14 mark).

As I've insinuated, all of the aforementioned criteria aid the melody in becoming truly magical. The soundtrack to Genso Suikoden has a tendency to create melodies which correspond so well to their titles so well it really makes the listener notice, such as here. I could never have fathomed a better 5 minute track; this piece is one that flows amazingly well. (10/10)

25) Rising Tide (Written by Toma)

Very similar to the last piece. In fact, it's pretty much the first half of the loop slowed down and with sound effects in the background. However, the extra ambience gives the track much more personality, I think. Also, the removed instruments let the most important parts of the piece come out, and I think "Rising Tide" is all the better for it. (9/10)

26) Theme of Perversion (Written by Don)

This track has an Arabian flavor to it. The rhythm of the percussion is very nice and the choice of instrumentation is effective in giving off the Arabian atmosphere, but the melody is what suffers here. It's not that captivating and the instrument used to play the melody is pretty hard to listen to for more than a few seconds. (5/10)

27) This Sweetie is the Town Treasure (Written by Dave)

This little jig is quite a cute one, despite being pretty annoying. The instrumentation is what gives this theme its character; an accordion and an ukulele play together to create a cute melody, which despite being drowned out by some annoying hick shouting, is fairly effective. Still, the cheering really makes this track annoying, so I'm glad it's short. (5/10)

28) Narcy's Theme (Written by Muzza)

Setsu Taniguchi's second and penultimate contribution to the soundtrack is definitely a memorable one. Known to all as the theme of the narcissists, this track in its original form is extremely effective. While maintaining a feeling of romanticism and arrogance, the track does have a sweet sense about it. "Narcy's Theme" occurs in every installment of the Suikoden series, although this original version is one of the best, only second to Suikoden II's take on it. A recommended listen, especially if your planning on increasing your ego. (9/10)

29) Gorgeous Scarleticia (Written by Muzza)

This track is absolutely saturated in pretentiousness. It is very similar to the previous track, naturally, as they cover similar characters and areas in-game. While the bombastic nature of this track may get on some people's nerves, it is done well, and really portrays Milich Oppenheimer's rose-entwined castle perfectly. (9/10)

30) Dancing Girl (Written by Muzza)

To end the first disc of the soundtrack, we are treated like kings with "Dancing Girl". The town of Kirov, only visited once or twice in-game, has one of my favourite town themes in the entire score. An upbeat nature supplied by the rhythmic ukulele and an old, folk dance like melody makes this track virtually flawless. (10/10)

Disc Two

1) Collision! (Written by Don)

This track is very interesting. It starts off quite strong with the use of some very militaristic brass and percussion. It also uses strings to emphasize a crisis, in this case, an ongoing war between the hero's army and the enemy. The instrumentation is extremely effective in creating this war like atmosphere and I also like how the "Into A World of Illusions" motif is introduced. (8/10)

2) Victory March (Written by Don)

"Victory March" is a track that displays the emotions after winning the war. It, too, incorporates the "Into A World of Illusions" motif as well, but I feel that is just touching the surface. The percussions still adopt a very militaristic feel to them and the brass is strong as ever, but it's the melody that deserves attention in this track. By incorporating the motif mentioned, it is able to really tie the idea of unity together, since this entire game is about united with members around the world in order to take down an empire. It truly makes for a wonderful experience. (9/10)

3) Tense Crisis (Written by Don)

"Tense Crisis" is another battle theme featured in this game. The track itself starts off with what sounds to be wind blowing, but soon becomes extremely menacing by introducing some ominous string melodies and some sporadic brass. The percussion used is also effective, and the addition of an organ helps to add to the tense atmosphere this track creates. I feel, however, that "Confrontation with Monsters" does a better job at creating a motivating battle theme. (8/10)

4) Theme of Sadness (Written by Don)

This track is an arrangement of the first "Theme of Sadness" earlier in the soundtrack. It's much more poignant. By utilizing an acoustic guitar to play the melody, it already becomes a tear jerker. To make things more interesting, the use of some hummed chorals, or something similar, makes this track really bring on the tears. It's such a beautiful melody and probably my favorite one on the soundtrack. (10/10)

5) Inside the Silence (Written by Chris)

This minimalistic track features an ethnic flute playing against the occasional percussion instrument and the sound of running water. It's very effective in context. On a stand-alone basis, some will perceive it as simply boring, others a curious oriental experience. Personally, I'm in the former category and skip this track every time. Then again, when it comes to world music, I'm not often much of a culture vulture. (6/10)

6) Gathering of Warriors (Written by Muzza)

Honestly, when I think of this soundtrack, I think immediately of this track. Now I'm not saying its my favourite, but I just feel it epitomizes the entire score exceptionally well. The ethnic and upbeat vibe which covers the track (and arguably the whole soundtrack) really immerses the listener. The soundspace created paints a landscape which definitely does represent one where warriors hang out in a traditional village, due to the courageous and lackadaisical nature of the piece. Another thing which works in this track's favour is the duration of it; a large amount of music is covered well in the 1 minute & 45 minutes that it takes to complete one loop. With good instrumentation and a strong melody, "Gathering of Warriors" does not disappoint. (9/10)

7) Theme of Tension ~ Impact Version (Written by Muzza)

The title of the track says it all. "Theme of Tension ~ Impact Version" is full of both tension and impact, the latter being executed at the very start of the track, giving off a very foreboding feeling. While the rest of the melody is fairly repetitive, the remaining "tension" part of the piece is also executed well, with subtle marching drums enhancing the melody. The contrast of "tension" and "impact" used is really effective, and successfully gives the feeling that some bad guy is up to no good, or that some unfortunate event has just occurred. (8/10)

8) This is Just a Rumor (Written by Muzza)

I've always been quite fond of this theme when I think of it in the context of the game, but as a standalone piece, it's far from impressive. I'm judging it from both perspectives; an ominous and mysterious atmosphere really creates fright and tension. That's really the main reason why I like this piece in the first place. However, I do realize it has a repetitive melody with hardly any alteration throughout. The negative feelings I have about this track outweigh my scant positive feelings, so it will receive a fairly mediocre score. (5/10)

9) Forgotten Days (Written by Muzza)

In regards to the score to Genso Suikoden, I've always had three favourite tracks, tracks which I absolutely never get tired of. Even though I have awarded a few tens throughout this review, none of those tracks match these "big three". "Forgotten Days" is the first of these elusive three.

It's a shame that this track is only used in one locale in the game. However, when I think of the track being overused in game, I feel it may have lost its meaning as a musical piece. The track is pure ethnicity, with several traditional Asian instruments being used. Having said that, the instrumentation in its entirety is flawless. Thankfully, the melody also lives up to the high expectations set by the stellar instrumentation.

There are two distinct sections in "Forgotten Days" in my opinion, the second one starting at about 0:52. One might think that a track with distinct sections may have the first section bear the single purpose of leading up to the second section. This isn't the case at all here, as both sections are spectacular. Talking about the melody as a whole, like I do with all tracks, I try to see how well it corresponds with its title. In this case, it does so perfectly. Not only is this factor spot on, but also is the imagination-invoking aspect of the track. Close your eyes when you listen to this track and most will see a village with gentle, flowing streams, abundant wildlife and relaxed people. This is so because of the ethnic and mysterious factors provided by the excellent melody. Oh yeah: the whistling and bird sounds at the end of each loop? Genius!

Ultimately, "Forgotten Days" offers the listener a mesmerizing experience, with traditional Asian instruments, predominantly flutes, painting such vivid and somewhat verdurous scenery. Both the melody and instrumentation get big ticks in my books, so its no wonder why I adore this track so much. (10/10)

10) Passacaria (Written by Muzza)

Firstly, I just have to get this out of the way: Surely the inspiration for this piece came from one of Bach's fugues? If not, then I'm incredibly surprised.

I can't think of how better this track could have possibly been, considering it is used in Neclord's (a vampire's) castle in the game. Also considering that Miki Higashino has undoubtedly had a past of working with music from the Castlevania series via the Konami Kukeiha Club, it actually comes as no surprise to me as to how well this specific track was executed. As you may have guessed due to my babbling, this track is the second of my "big three" favourite tracks on the soundtrack.

This is honestly the best use of organs I've ever heard in a track, specifically from a game on the PSX. At some key points in "Passacaria", there are layers of organs, being played on top of one another. This effect both enhances the melody as a whole and adds a sense of intricacy to an otherwise fairly simplistic melody. Overall, the instruments don't disappoint in this track, as they are used so well, and in such a great way.

The melody, going for approximately 4 minutes on one loop, is also amazing. 4 minutes for one loop, to many, sounds extremely superfluous. Although when given a melody such as this, you would appreciate if one single loop went onwards of 7 minutes. OK, an exaggeration, but you get the gist of what I'm saying: I really like the melodic aspect of this track. Through and through, when combined with the instrumentation, the melody is shown in different, innovative ways in order to not bore listeners. Like I said before, this track is very reminiscent of something one may here in the Castlevania series, because it naturally gives off the whole "vampire castle" vibe so well.

Simply put, traversing a castle ridden with zombies and manifestations of death has never sounded so good. (10/10)

11) Main Theme Arranged #2 (Written by Don)

I really like this arrangement of the main theme. The use of the acoustic guitar creates a gentle harmony with the underlying string accompaniment as well as bring a bit of emotion to the entire track. While not the longest track on the album, it definitely is an extremely touching one. (9/10)

12) Island Fortress (Written by Muzza)

This is about as light-hearted as it gets on this soundtrack, and that speaks volumes given the soundtrack's overall light-hearted feeling. The flute used here is so cheerful and invigorating; I think this was a superior choice of instrumentation, seeing as I would not rather any other instrument to play while I roam around my headquarters upwards of two hours. The innocuousness and harmony of the HQ is encapsulated so well in this track; while some may be turned off due to its saccharine vibe, many will be drawn back for more of that effervescent flute, time and time again. (9/10)

13) Glorious Island Fortress (Written by Muzza)

I find this track to be just as good as the previous one, mainly because they carry the same melodies and both execute that melody so well in two quite different ways. The light-hearted vibe is still evident here, however there is a mature and adventurous undertone that is noticeable thanks to the unique percussion and the captivating flute (1:23-1:49; the highlight of the track). There is more to this track than to the other one, seeing as this track is not looped and still goes for a good two-and-a-half-minutes, longer than a looped version of the previous track (two minutes). Ultimately this track does add some glory to the original version, and does it very well. (9/10)

14) Blue Oceans, Blue Skies (Written by Don)

This track is a nice arrangement of the overworld theme "Tiny Characters in a Huge World." I really like the instrumentation here. It gives the whole melody an almost sea-faring like quality to it, which would make sense for the title. The inclusion of the "The World of Illusions" motif is also a welcome development and is mainly played by the flute. Overall, I think this track comes together quite well, and after the duds that were the previous tracks, a welcome listen. (9/10)

15) An Old Irish Song (Written by Muzza)

"An Old Irish Song" is the last of my three favourite three tracks from the soundtrack. It's similar to the other two in the sense that they are virtually flawless in terms of both instrumentation and melody.

First, the instrumentation. One may be tricked by the quality of the samples used, as they sound good enough to belong on the PS2, let alone the PSX. This naturally enhances the whole track, especially in the terms off instrumentation. The opening of the track, which has the purpose of building up to the main section, is extremely effective, as it uses an instrument of such high quality; this instrument sounds traditionally Irish no matter how you try to perceive it, meaning the track already corresponds with the melody spectacularly. For the remainder of the track, a flute is played in the most soothing tone imaginable. The synthesizers used in the background also add to this relaxing aspect of the track.

Together with the calming, mellow instrumentation, the melody shines in the exact same way. Despite it being so slow, the overall cheerful nature of the track really forces it to stick into your mind. I know the first time I heard this track in-game, I couldn't get it out of my head for days. I've always wanted to show my appreciation for this track, and I think this review is the perfect way to do so.

"An Old Irish Song" matches "Passacaria" and "Forgotten Days" in terms of having a great melody and superior instrumentation. While all three paint such vivid and accurate imagery, I feel this track does it the best. The relaxed tone of the melody and the laid-back usage of the instruments really makes you imagine what living in such a serene place would be like. (10/10)

16) Gate (Written by Muzza)

A foreboding and evil theme through and through, "Gate" is used in-game just like the title suggests — at gates or borders, generally ones occupied by the enemy. There isn't much to say about this track due to the lack of variety in instrumentation and melody. The militaristic feeling shown by the instrumentation really aids the melody in creating a track that perfectly fits in the context of where it is used. As a standalone piece, it's decent, but definitely below average when compared to the rest of the soundtrack. (7/10)

17) Theme of a Moonlit Night (Written by Muzza)

Surely one of the most memorable themes in existence. "Theme of a Moonlit Night" is captivating in all possible ways. A trademark Genso Suikoden theme, the series should be honoured to have such a great track feature in most of its games. Never before have I heard such a wistful and hopeful melody, which at the same time reminds me of a moonlit night, with stars scattered on the horizon.

Immediately, one may think that the harmonica is an unusual choice of instrumentation to represent a moonlit night, but it does it so well. While I would have preferred a more melancholic instrument, such as soft bells, to be used, the harmonica, and eventually whistling, really get the job done well. Surprisingly, they don't even give off a Western vibe, like that of the Wild Arms series; they just blend in that well.

Concerning the melody, like I mentioned before, it matches perfectly for where it is used. Whenever I hear this melody, I'll think back to when I was wandering around my castle, talking to characters gazing longingly at the stars...but enough nostalgia, and back to the melody. The track slowly develops, such as by adding a violin to a section, and then the climactic whistling, which really is the cream on top of the cake. The melody then recedes to its former pensive self, and it then regains its hopeful aspect when the whistles make a return.

There's not much I can say aside from "I recommend this track to you". "Theme of a Moonlit Night" is the epitome of a memorable tune; hear it once and you'll never forget it. (10/10)

18) Theme of the Advancing Army (Written by Don)

This track is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. The instrumentation is mainly to thank for this. The heavy militaristic percussion, the string countermelody, the brass melody, and the xylophone additions all make this track quite memorable. Another thing in which I find strength in this track is the shift in tone from very militaristic to a heroic atmosphere. The brass really shines in this track. The melody is strong, very motivating, and although a bit, but not by much, trite, it still encapsulates what I think of when I think "Suikoden." The ideas of massive armies battling one another, the gathering of friends, the rebellion against an evil empire, and the eventual success are all summed up in this track. (10/10)

19) Echoes of the Changed Past (Written by Don)

This is probably one of my least favorite tracks. There is definitely a very faint flute melody playing in the background, that plays the "Beautiful Golden City" motif, but the wind sounds are too prominent and drown out any potential this track may have had. (2/10)

20) Ultimate Enemy (Written by Don)

This track is used as the boss/final boss theme. As such, I figured it would be impressive. However, I do not think highly of it. I like the opening with the prominent brass and percussion, and the actual melodic portions seen later on in the track, but the middle ground is what I find lacking. It's extremely ambient and doesn't motivate me to continue battle. Granted, some say it could be used as a tension builder, but I don't find it impressive in that regard either. The instrumentation, and the brief melodic portions are the only strengths this track has to offer. (7/10)

21) Theme of Tension ~ Tama-dator (Written by Don)

This track definitely employs an interesting use of percussion. The xylophone used is constantly creating a nice rhythm while the harmonic instruments really help to create the tension. The strings, brass, and woodwind shine here. Unfortunately, the track itself is quite repetitive and doesn't really go anywhere. Other than this unfortunate mishap, the track is quite enjoyable. (7/10)

22) Requiem (Written by Don)

This is a very chilling and somber arrangement of "Theme of Sadness." The entire track is played on the organ and while I can't say that this arrangement is my favorite, it definitely conveys a requiem-like atmosphere. In context, it definitely works. Out of context, I prefer the other arrangements. (7/10)

23) Avertuneiro Antes Lance Mao ~After the Battle~ (Written by Muzza)

To me, this track (along with "Theme of a Moonlit Night") is the most effective and epic track on the soundtrack. This may be because it has vocals, however whenever I listen to this track I don't notice the vocals, as they blend so well with the melody and instrumentation. A rich orchestral melody is shown at the start and grows into an amazingly hopeful sounding tune; things then quiet down again as the track introduces some subtle yet beautiful background vocals, which as I mentioned before, fit perfectly in the track.

Then come some more prominent, conspicuous vocals, chanted in a courageous fashion by a group of men and women. The melody once again builds up to that awesome hopeful atmosphere presented earlier, and with the help of some church bells, this piece finishes brilliantly; "Avertuneiro Antes Lance Mao ~After the Battle~" is truly one of Suikoden's best tracks. (10/10)

24) Tropical Bath FURO-mix (Written by Muzza)

This piece has always piqued my interest. It's played in the bath at your headquarters in the game, so it's only natural that it uses the same melody as shown in the headquarter themes. (tracks 12 and 13 on this disc) As far as I'm aware, this is the only piece on the soundtrack which utilizes sound effects; this is a clever idea, as the various bird cheeps and sounds of rushing water help immerse the listener in an atmosphere, in this case a locale containing an outdoor bath, in harmony with nature (as suggested by the track's title). Seeing as I'm a fan of the HQ theme, I have not qualms with the melody shown in this track. However there is one thing that irks me, and that is the placement of the tune on the soundtrack; instead of placing it after the poignant ending theme, why isn't it located, say, after the HQ themes? With that annoyance out of the way, this is a solid track that uses a variety of sound effects and instruments to achieve its full purpose, meaning it ultimately makes for an immersive listen. (8/10)

25) Cursed Bath ~ Long Steam Baths are Taboo(Written by Muzza)

Now here's an interesting little piece. One may come across this track and read it's title and immediately think "Now that's a quirky name for a track. This should be an interesting piece!". Well, it certainly is interesting, but not in a good way. I don't remember this track being used again, but I'm assuming it was used in a bath scene or something pertaining to a bath. There is not alteration in the melody here, apart from the opening, say, 2 seconds. A 30 second long ominous and foreboding feeling consists, however it definitely is a track to skip. (3/10)

26) Theme of Thoughtlessness (Written by Muzza)

When I think of thoughtlessness, I think of someone carrying a cake and falling over, ending up with their face covered in the cake on the ground. Given my bizarre perception, I primarily thought this track would have a goofy vibe; boy, was I wrong. There is a very sorrowful and mournful melody that plays, however it's hardly worth a review seeing as it goes for a mere 15-odd seconds.

Hmm...I should probably stop thinking of humorous situations when I look at track titles; I always end up being disappointed. (5/10)

27) Gakkuri (Written by Muzza)

I won't be granting this track a score, seeing as it's a 5 second fanfare of sorts. In this case, however, it's a wacky "You lose!" tune. It serves its purpose well in-game, but as a standalone "track" on this magnificent soundtrack? Not a wise move, especially considering its location on the soundtrack. (N/A)

28) Fanfare (Written by Muzza)

Your typical fanfare for mini games? Check. I can't elaborate; that sums this track very well. Extremely clich´┐Ż, but well executed nonetheless.

Now I've got a bone to pick; I've mentioned it earlier in my reviews however I can finally mention it here and put most of the blame on this very track. (Poor "Fanfare"...) All of these bouncy, frivolous and annoying half-a-minute-or-less tunes are so annoying when considering their placement on the soundtrack. After track 23, I would have preferred nothing. That's right; if I were in charge of the production of this soundtrack I would have either not included these 5 highly inappropriate tracks or placed them elsewhere on the score. After such a wonderful experience listening to the Genso Suikoden Original Soundtrack, with a picture perfect ending, it is highly disappointing to see these cacophonous (save one) tracks pop up. If there is one major disappointment in the soundtrack, this criteria I have just mentioned would be it. (N/A)

Summary

Written by Chris

Miki Higashino and Tappi Iwase's soundtrack to Suikoden is faultless. It is a culturally inspired acoustic score bonded by several recurring themes, most notably "Into the World of Illusions". It manages to be exceptionally diverse without being tangential and is thoroughly well-developed throughout. The soundtrack's presentation is all-round excellent and I unequivocally recommend this work. (10/10)

Written by Don

Genso Suikoden is a very diverse soundtrack in terms of style. Ranging from militaristic pieces, to quaint Asian influenced pieces, the Konami Kukehia club is able to create a very fitting soundtrack for a game with an abundance of characters and a very interesting storyline. As for some stellar tracks, the "Theme of Sadness" motif is quite good as is the "Main Theme" motif. I recommend this soundtrack for any who may be interested. (8/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 9/10