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Rhapsodia Original Soundtrack :: Review by Mac_Tear

Rhapsodia Original Soundtrack Album Title: Rhapsodia Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Konami Digital Entertainment
Catalog No.: GFCA-27/8
Release Date: September 28, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


About a year after the rather disappointing Suikoden IV, Konami published Rhapsodia (aka Suikoden Tactics in the US), the first spin-off of the series. While the game itself is an mix of tactical RPG and classic Suikoden elements, the sound director and composer of the instalment was Norikazu Miura, who contributed part of Suikoden IV's soundtrack and the subsequent Suikoden V. The sound quality is superb once again and the compositions are very enjoyable with mostly orchestral arrangements and lots of fresh arrangements from previous games such as Suikoden IV. You can read whether it is a worthy addition to the legendary series with my subsequent track-by-track analysis of this score.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Another World

The soundtrack opens with a lush vocal arrangement of the game's main theme "Another World". Yoshiko's spirited and beautiful voice fits extremely well to the overall airy instrumentation with harp, woodwinds, and percussive effects. Even if the track is rather short, it works well within the game and provides a nice opener. However, it shouldn't be compared to other opening themes from the series. (8/10)

2) A Life Not of This World

The prologue theme is a simple but emotional one with harp and woodwinds. Later on, a lush choir performs a small portion of the main theme from 0:51. (7/10)

3) Clause of Truth

A small jingle with brass and harp that plays when a new chapter is starting. Too short. (5/10)

4) Studying the Battle

We're introduced into the battle sound of Rhapsodia with this exciting theme. Norikazu Miura uses his typical instrumentation like gorgeous brass passages together with dramatic strings, soft woodwinds, and pumping percussion effects. I like the interlude towards the end where the woodwinds set in. Good, but we're just warming up with this one... (8/10)

5) Evil Power 1

"Evil Power 1" is a creepy but sadly rather short piece with sweeping strings and dissonant sound effects. It's actually a passage straight from "Decisive Battle Against a Corrupted Soul" from Suikoden IV. Again, too short... (5/10)

6) The Beginning of Battle

The track begins with an brass segment of "Another World", then it developes into an military march with use of brass and strings. Not one of the strongest and best developed tracks, but it works fine within the context of the game. (7/10)

7) Once Upon a Time, In the Town of Razril

The first story battle theme is a fantastic arrangement of both Suikoden IV's battle theme (the strings at 0:40 and the part from 1:09 - 1:32) and newly composed sections between. The orchestration is again excellent here with the use of brass, strings, and percussion. It is all really fun to listen to unlike many of the overly dramatic and militaristic tactical RPG themes. (9/10)

8) Victory!

A typical victory theme with standard instrumentation and the main theme at the beginning. Quite energetic, but nothing spectacular. (6/10)

9) When Strength Runs Out

The game over theme is a melancholy and bittersweet theme with woodwinds, lush choir, and pizzicato strings. Again very short, but definitely a nice track. (7/10)

10) A Place to Rest on the Journey

The caravan or menu theme is a pleasant track with incorporation of the "Another World" melody. After the brass introduction, the melody is performed by woodwinds and strings with harp in the background. Later a harpsichord makes a short but sweet appearance. (7/10)

11) Encounter on the Ocean

"Encounter on the Ocean" is actually a slight remixed version of Suikoden IV's warfare theme "Battle on the Sea 2" with arranged percussion and some newly added sections before the one minute mark. It's an interesting remix, but I prefer the original version, because it had more impact and drama. (8/10)

12) King of the Ocean

After the grand introduction, the brass, strings, and frenzied percussion perform a nice section that leads into an heroic arrangement of "Ajito's Theme" from Suikoden IV around 0:35. It fits the appearance of Edgar very well and adds a nice atmosphere to the scenery. (8/10)

13) Decisive Battle with Steele

"Fated Confrontation", Suikoden IV's duel theme, makes a gorgeous appearance with this track. After orchestral strings perform the dramatic introduction, which I absolutely adore, some tremolo strings take over and the brass performs the main melody together with electronic percussion. The atmosphere is still very heroic, pulsing, and emotional. Like in the original version, the "Rune of Punishment" motif makes its appearance around 1:40, after which the overall piece repeats and then fades out (sadly, not all tracks here loop twice). This is definitely a theme which must be heard — either in this version of the original — because it's the best duel theme in the series so far in my opinion. (9/10)

14) Things Lost

A string ensemble version of "When Strength Runs Out". I always must think of "Reminiscence ~ Ensemble Version" from Suikoden II when the track starts, because it's very similar. As this piece plays during a very emotional event, you can imagine what the atmosphere is here; sad, depressing, and lonely. I find this one a bit more emotional than the original. (8/10)

15) Rune of Punishment ~Meeting the Cursed Rune~

What we have here is what was actually missed in the Suikoden IV soundtrack: the full and extended version of "Rune of Punishment". It's one of the most emotional themes from that score and portraits the Rune, which consumes its masters life when being used, extremely well. The piano is fantastic and the deep, mournful violin adds lots of emotion into the piece while performing some parts from Suikoden II's "Reminiscence". A wonderful theme finally given its deserved arrangement. (10/10)

16) An Offering to the Great Blue Ocean

An event theme played by an beautiful piano and strings. It serves its purpose well, but is actually too short to describe in more detail sadly. (7/10)

17) A Certain Port Town

Suikoden IV's catchy Razril theme is back at last here. While this arrangement isn't that much different from the original — with slight different percussion and more mature instrumentation — it has the same atmosphere as the original. A good track. (8/10)

18) Oh, Sparkling Sea! Oh, Sky!

The world map theme from Suikoden IV returns here in a more luscious and slow variation. It's quite similar to the arrangement from Suikoden V. It's very peaceful sounding, unlike the adventurous and heroic original version, and boasts a beautiful melody. However, I find it a bit limited and boring compared to the other arrangements. (7/10)

19) Steadfast Determination

A fast-paced but sadly rather repetitive battle theme with use of strings, brass, and percussion. Its best part is probably around 1:16 where the melody is a bit more developed. One of the less interesting tracks. (7/10)

20) Quest Guild

Here we have Lalacle's Theme, a catchy, funny, and slightly jazzy theme for that little missus. While the strings perform their parts deliciously, some woodwinds and brass are also added to give the track more variation and atmosphere. Yoshiko from "Another World" also performs a beautiful jazz version of the theme on the Genso Suikoden IV Music Collection ~Another World~. (8/10)

21) Are You Ready?

The second-hand shop theme is a sumptuous and catchy theme full of joyful and memorable moments. One of the spectacular moments is the integration of the "Into a World of Illusions" theme from 0:41 on. The brass and percussion are superb here. (8/10)

22) Training the Other Self

In a style very similar to the previous track, this theme exhibits a more restrained atmosphere, but is also much shorter and less effective overall. It also features also the Suikoden main theme around 0:22. (7/10)

23) Rune Master of the Town

Oh no... this theme brings back some bad memories from Suikoden IV. But luckily the track is a little better developed that "Play the Rune Cards" with more ethnic sounds and the addition of new parts such as the string section shortly after the one minute mark. Still annoying, but this time definitely more enjoyable. (6/10)

24) At the Inn

Hmm... this theme starts interestingly enough with a slight tango rhythm and the use of accordion and fast-paced percussion, but wait... what's that? This melody... this can't...! Ah, wow, it's the "Beautiful Morning" theme from Suikoden II! My ears made a dance of joy. This version is more lively and peppy than the original and is a more than welcome addition. The second part is especially beautifully arranged. Fantastic job! (9/10)

25) Narcy's Theme

This classic theme is present in every Suikoden soundtrack. This time it uses a string ensemble and waltz tact like the "Gorgeous Scarleticia" theme from the very first Suikoden. Even if it doesn't quite stand up with that fantastic theme, this one is also quite nicely done and reflects the atmosphere of clumsiness and arrogance very well. (8/10)

26) At the Haruna Bar

A slightly more peppy arrangement of Suikoden IV's "The Travelling Dice-Thrower". While it keeps the tango melodies and rhythms like the original, the theme also has a few additions like, for example, the sound effects of a lively bar. Fairly nice. (6/10)

27) A Match with Rita

Rita... how I hate this little brat and her annoying music. In Rhapsodia we're not spared from it, sadly, but Miura wouldn't be Miura if he does not try to do something with this awful theme. The result is still annoying, but not as terrible as the original. The percussion is much better and the melodies synchronise more effectively with each other. It almost sounds lively and innocent, but stop! Rita, I will hate you forever. Be thankful to Mr. Miura that he worked out one point more for you this time! (5/10)

28) Sitting Around the Swaying Fire

After that track, my nerves want to chill a little bit and this theme is simply ideal to calm down. While the piano plays some notes from "Another World", soft strings, woodwinds, and percussion provide a pleasant accompaniment. Short, but sweet to relax. (7/10)

29) Searching for a Clue

The battle music makes its return with "Searching for a Clue". This time we got an remix of Suikoden IV's underground theme "Hidden Offense and Defense". While the structure is nearly identical, some interesting additions were made, such as the synth bass line, the rhythmic percussion, and the gloomy introduction. Interesting, but not one of the strongest tracks. (7/10)

30) Just a Young Man

Definitely not only "just" a theme, "Just a Young Man" is a lovely rendition of Suikoden IV's "Base" motif. After the excellent eerie harp introduction the harmonious melody is introduced in the form of gentle strings. It later gains more power with the addition of bass rhythms, an oboe, and various bell effects. I was a fan of the original theme itself, but this version is much better. One of a few gems from this score. (9/10)

31) Evil Power 2

Like the first one, this is also a short musical theme with dissonant use of brass and string samples, sound effects, and energetic percussion. It is based on a passage from Suikoden IV's final battle theme "Decisive Battle Against a Corrupted Soul". (5/10)

32) A Closed Heart

A pan flute and pizzicato version of "Things Lost" from the beginning. While not as dramatic and emotional as the original, this theme manages to keep the mournful and sad atmosphere alive with tender instrumentation and slow developement. (7/10)

33) War of the Rune Cannons

The following few themes are all remixes and arrangements from Suikoden IV. One of the less memorable tunes, namely "Rollback", is here, transformed into a catchy and upbeat battle theme which is maybe not one of my favorites, but at least it's fun to listen. After the nice string introduction some harp arpgeggios, percussion and brass introducing us in to the theme. While some more powerful brass is added later the music balanced well between dramatic and jolly. One of the more interesting remixes and well done. (7/10)

34) Theme of the Hideout

The tango-inspired theme for the Pirate Hideout is also back in a more rhythmic and calypso-oriented version. All in all, it's nearly identical to the original except with some instrument changes, such as harp instead of bells and brass instead of an oboe. This fits better in my opinion. (8/10)

35) A Certain Meeting

This area theme takes a nice atmospheric approach with its use of sound effects, such as the sound of a forest and it's cracking wood. The music itself is original, based around a simple trance-like melody and later some piano passages. I really enjoy this theme, but it's too short. (8/10)

36) The Meaning of Inheritage

The Obel Palace theme is also identical as the original only with added percussion and the use of bagpipes in the second half instead of violin. It's surprisingly more cheesy and comical than the original, which is not really fitting for a royal theme. A matter of taste. (7/10)

37) Training at the Ancient Ruins

The arrangement of Suikoden IV's second dungeon theme is another eerie and synth based rendition with heavy use of synth bass and effects. It's better than the original, because the experimental style fits very well here. Not strong melody, but a pleasant arrangement. (7/10)

38) A Mystery Hidden in the Ruins

"A Mystery Hidden in the Ruins" is a nice tribute to Suikoden II's dungeon theme "Labyrinth ~ Penpe 2". While it features the same ominous string introduction and the calypso percussion effects, the Rhapsodia style is also integrated with the use of dissonant sound effect samples. Sadly not as pulsing as the original, because it doesn't feature all the sections, just the more monotonous ones. It's still a warm tribute. (6/10)

39) After This Island (On A Peaceful Island)

One of the first area themes from Suikoden IV returns here in a slight remixed version with the addition of percussion samples, strings, and bass. Nothing more to say. It's not a special track, but it fits to the scenery of an deserted island. (7/10)

40) Another Grand Opening! Chiepoo Company

Disc One closes with the rendition of "The Conversation Continues". The original was a silly theme and even this arrangement isn't much better. I don't know what was the idea of composing this theme. Chiepoo, the cat guy, is already annoying and, as he finally gets his own store as a merchant, this theme accompanies his efforts quite fittingly. It even rivals Rita's! (5/10)

Disc Two

1) Where A Full-Scale Battle Transpired

The second disc opens with a gorgeous piece. After the male chant introduction, percussion and strings settle in to prepare the listener for the upcoming atmosphere. Then a ethnic flute joins and the strings get more dramatic in conjunction with the male chanting in the middle of the track. Even if the piece is rather unmelodic, the atmosphere is simply overwhelmingly emotional. A fantastic way to open the second half of the score. (9/10)

2) Into the Quiet Fortress Once Again

Norikazu Miura takes Suikoden IV's simple but atmospheric "Palisade Melody" and transforms it into a pulsive battle theme here. The scary and solemn atmosphere is still there with the use of an ominous choir in the background and unusual piano chords. However, he adds some interesting elements to make this theme more attractive as well, such as the frenzied percussion and a haunting introduction with male chorus. Still a bit monotonous, but more enjoyable than the original. (7/10)

3) Clash With the Cavalry

After the familiar roaring brass introduction, the piece transforms into a typical battle theme in Miura style with pumping percussion, brass chords, and later a bittersweet fragment of the "Things Lost" motif. Another nice battle theme. (8/10)

4) A Continental Breeze

The second world map theme is another charming and beautifully constructed piece with a brass melody, strings, and bells in the background together with soft jazzy percussion. It's nice to listen to, but not one of the most memorable tracks. (7/10)

5) Town Upon a Canal

Norikazu Miura proved he could create fantastic town themes one year later with Suikoden V. The ones featured in Rhapsody are not any less attractive, however. The Mercet theme "Town Upon a Canal" introduces us with a fitting water noise after which the playful instrumentation sets in such as harp, sitar, woodwinds, and strings later underlaid with pizzicato strings and light percussion. The atmosphere is very serene and pleasant; after the somewhat lacklustre efforts of Suikoden III and Suikoden IV, Miura creates a wonderful suite of new town themes including this lovely one. (8/10)

6) Town of the Research Institution

A far more serious and climactic atmosphere has this theme for Karelron with its eastern instrumentation. Sadly, the melody is a little too much repeated in the first half and doesn't really develop in the second half so it's one of the weaker themes, but enjoyable all in all. (7/10)

7) Offense and Defense of the Great Plains

This track is a triumphant return of the battle music from Rhapsodia. After the opening with a few notes from the main theme, the brass roars around in a very heroic and pulsing way together with the climactic strings in the background. Towards the middle of the track, the percussion gets more emphatic and the strings take a lead role for a few seconds. It closes again with some notes from "Another World". A fantastic arrangement and a adrenaline pumping theme for a battle scene. (8/10)

8) Frontier Town

"Frontier Town" is strangely one of my personal favorites of the whole town theme set. It begins with some windy sound effects and afterwards a little jazzy melody appears which has an quite ironic aura. In the second half things change with the use of an male tenor vocalist with a little distorted voice as if he were drunk. It makes the track feel a bit weird, but I like it; it makes the track fun to listen to and is an interesting idea and change of the typical illustration! (8/10)

9) The Great Sorceror

There is not much to say about this track. It's a repeating harp arpeggio motif together with some low strings and effects in the background. The atmosphere is mysterious and climactic, but it doesn't sustain interest even during the first half. You can skip it easily. (4/10)

10) Small Village on the State Border

Another interesting town theme. This time it exhibits a much more jolly and adventurous style with heavy use of bagpipes and accordion to give a somewhat Scottish feel. After the introduction, the theme transforms into an little gigue which reminds me a bit of Mickey Mouse strangely... I like the instrumentation and the marvelous feeling of this one, but the overall atmosphere is a bit too bright and jolly for my personal tastes. (7/10)

11) What Strife Brings (Echo of the Sea's Roar)

An remix of Suikoden IV's first dungeon theme. Even though the simple and repetitive melody stays the same, the arrangement of the track is excellently done. The use of eerie strings, synth effects, and background percussion is perfect and gives the theme the atmosphere it needs. (7/10)

12) Former Comrades

Suikoden IV's "Base" motif in an heroic orchestral version. The melody shines here again and the arrangement fits very well. It's a bit short, though. (7/10)

13) True Feelings

Yohn's mind reading is underlaid with this atmospheric theme. A choir is used as basis while a lovely oboe and bell motif plays the melody. As it has clear hints of love within, the instrumentation is pretty well done; simultaneously mysterious and pleasant, but a little too thinly structured. (7/10)

14) Upon the Throne of the Emperor

The music for the Imperial Capital of Gruska. As the game is moving into the final chapter, the themes become more dark and dramatic from here onwards. After the climatic introduction by strings, sitar, and percussion, the atmosphere gets a little more brighter with the main melody. The addition of lamenting female vocals sounds great and restores the ethnicity to huge effect. (8/10)

15) Pride of the Blood Brothers

"Pride of the Blood Brothers" is a bombastic battle theme that returns the soundtrack to an epic orchestral style. After the foreboding introduction, Miura makes huge use timpani, bongos, and soaring strings to present a dramatic and adrenaline pumping atmosphere. Thereafter the piece gets a little more bright with the use of oboe and pizzicato strings. The melody and structure lacks a bit, but overall it's a satisfying theme. (7/10)

16) The One With Different Blood

This theme seems to be the answer to the previous track and starts in a similar way. While melodically a bit better structured and developed, it harmonises very well with the orchestration. I like the addition of choir here as it helps to make the theme more epic. (7/10)

17) Quake in the Imperial Capital

One of the longest themes from this score is also one of the more boring pieces surprisingly enough. The tension-filled track develops slowly and builds up with more use of percussion and crisis motif. However, the melody never really develops or becomes more memorable. The Eastern atmosphere of the Gruska theme is integrated, but it doesn't help much. It may be work in the game well, but it's not that interesting on the CD. (7/10)

18) The Elite Archipelago

When Lino en Kuldes, famed king from Suikoden IV, appears, this theme is played. It's actually a heroic march rendition of "Departure" from the same game. The brass and strings work excellently with the melody and military percussion. Another fine arrangement. (8/10)

19) Secret Facility of the Empire

"Secret Facility of the Empire" is the strangest and most experimental theme from this score until now. The mix of Gregorian chants, techno synth, and tribal percussion sounds very confusing, but contributes to an interesting and unique theme nevertheless. Sadly, the melody goes nowhere and the synth and chorals work more against than with each other. (6/10)

20) Born of the Beholder

Another battle theme with excellent use of orchestration. The first thirteen seconds are pure orchestral bliss with dramatic use of strings and brass like from an movie score. Thereafter some frightening pizzicato strings take over which remind me a bit of the horror score from The Exorcist. The creepy sound effects from this score also make also a return and add more atmosphere. After this great opening, the piece sadly gets a little lost. A synth choir takes over and electronic percussion drives along, sometimes accompanied by the pizzicato strings. It's another weird mix of styles like in the previous track only a bit more developed. Very creepy and atmospheric, but the introduction is the best part of the overall theme. (7/10)

21) Different World

The final battle begins with further use of weird synth effects together with orchestration. Around the 0:30 mark, a few chords from "Decisive Battle Against a Corrupted Soul" make a short appearance before the track loops. There is hardly nothing more to say here. It's a bit too monotonous and ambient for an battle theme, but describes the decisive situation in a different world well enough. (6/10)

22) Until This Time Comes

A lovely orchestral arrangement of Yohn's theme heard in "True Feelings" previously. The gentle and soft instrumentation with strings and oboe is well suited while the B section with harp sounds bittersweet and beautiful. A nice and emotional theme. (8/10)

23) Everyone Upon Their Own Path

Another emotional theme accompanies the epilogue scene. The lyrical harp argpeggios, which are actually taken from the prologue theme "A Life Not of This World", introduce the track softly with strings. A violin and woodwinds join a little later. Around the two minute mark the "Things Lost" theme makes a short but solemn appearance and the track fades out with the main theme on a soft and beautiful note. A pleasant and very well developed piece — a wonderful addition to the score. (9/10)

24) Annihilated Malice

A climactic accompaniment to an important eventWhile accompaning another important event. After opening mysteriously with deep strings and harp arpeggios, the strings become brighter and symbolize something wondrous is going to happen. Nothing too special overall. (6/10)

25) Another World (Short Version)

A short a capella version of the main theme song from the introduction, though yoshiko's voice is accompanied by some harp notes. I don't know why they packed this 30 seconds piece into the soundtrack as we heard the full version before. (5/10)

26) A Letter from a Young Lady

While the first section borrows the prologue motif "A Life Not from This World" in a soft mood, the second contains the "Things Lost" theme in the same light and pleasant way. I like the arrangement, but it's not one of the strongest here. (7/10)

27) Another Finale

"Another Finale" is the staff credits theme and is based on the main theme as you may have guessed. After opening in an airy and mystical way, the brass sets in together with some beats and the melody is played in its most beautiful instrumental version thus far. Michiru Yamane also receives a little tribute with the use of her traditional wind blow effects. The second section is more heroic with military instrumentation. After a little harp interlude the first section is repeated to finish in a glorious and fantastic way. All in all, a superb and traditional excellent ending theme for the series. Norikazu Miura has done nearly everything right here. (9/10)

28) The Power of the Rune Upon This Body

The last area theme has a very climatic and powerful aura. The use of choir, brass and percussion is excellent here while the developement does its part to create the right mood. Not strong melodically, but effective on its own. (7/10)

29) Victory Before Your Eyes

A lot more heroic and upbeat than the previous track, this battle theme captures the listener right from the beginning with its bouncy nature. The brass, strings, and percussion are used splendidly here. The middle section is especially great with the brass and solo percussion from 0:40 to 0:55. The last thrilling theme close to the end of the score. (9/10)

30) A Hero From Long Ago

Ah... the classic "Victory Theme" from the Suikoden series makes a winning return here. While the introduction plays some notes from Suikoden IV's "Departure", the section thereafter features the catchy theme presented on pizzicato strings, choir, and percussion. I have never heard this tiny theme in such a beautiful and epic rendition until now. It's short, but awesomely arranged. (8/10)

31) Victory

What would Suikoden be without its main theme? This time Miura uses the catchy and heroic motif together with his usual electronic percussion to make it sound more modern and frenzied. A nice conclusion of the score overall. (8/10)


The soundtrack for Rhapsodia or Suikoden Tactics is an excellent two disc set and features some of the most bombastic and epic themes from the series. As the game is tactical based, there are a lot of battle and action themes within, all with superior quality and memorability to most tactical RPGs. As it takes a few years after the story of Suikoden IV there are numerous arrangements and remixes from that score and even some surprising ones from earlier scores. The arrangements of its predecessor are done excellently and are now often more enjoyable than the original versions and not just because of the excellent sound quality of the music samples. Norikazu Miura shows his talent in his first solo project after contributing some tracks in Suikoden IV. Only one year later the fantastic score for the fifth part of the series appeared, also from Miura. I really hope to see more from this fantastic new composer in the future with Suikoden Tierkreis! Until then, listen to this score and let it reach your mind and heart.

Overall Score: 8/10