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Poporogue Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Poporogue Original Soundtrack Album Title: Poporogue Original Soundtrack
Record Label: SPE Visual Works
Catalog No.: SVWC-7009
Release Date: December 2, 1998
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Poporogue is a little-known follow-up to Popolocrois Story with drastically changed gameplay. Nevertheless, its music largely built on the foundations of its predecessor to offer an enjoyable experience both in and out of context. Its presentation on the Poporogue Original Soundtrack nevertheless presents some problems.


The soundtrack starts in a promising manner with an instrumental arrangement of Popolocrois Story's vocal theme "Pietro's Departure". The instrumentals are styled in a similar way to the original game's setting themes, with acoustic guitar chords and other folksy instruments creating a lively yet serene sound. From this basis, a number of the compositions flesh out the series' sound with elaborate folksy stylings. For example, "Coromoc - Desert" is peppered with some beautifully synthesised orchestral forces and "Tonkuh" manages to fascinate with its tuned percussion cross-rhythms. Both are pretty frivolous and simple overall, but have a little more individuality than counterparts on the Popolocrois Story soundtrack.

Whereas the original Popolocrois Story focused more on scenic pieces, the music for Poporogue has a more personal emphasis. For instance, "The Friends" transitions into a light-hearted march featuring all sorts of lively interweaving orchestral forces, whereas "Gourmet Palace" will succeed in making listeners smile with its bouncy Iwadare-esque figures. There are also less comforting pieces, such as "Lonely" with its longing woodwind phrases, "Strange Happenings" with its creepy electronic infusions, and "Coromoc - Laziness" with its lethargic progressions, that facilitate empathy with the protagonist of the game. There are no orchestral masterpieces here to make gamers gush or cry in favour of understated but lovely compositions befitting the franchise.

The majority of the soundtrack is actually structured into medleys of original compositions grouped together into similar concepts. For example, "The Friends" features a range of compositions concerned with companionship, including the aforementioned march climax, whereas "The Four Dream Demons" comprise four contrasting pieces to represent the encounters with the formidable foes. "Dream Fields" goes even further with its nine minute medley of field music from the game, developing from its frivolous introduction into a rather spooky climax. This approach has its merits and the individual medleys are usually pleasing, particularly the longer ones. However, it makes the soundtrack difficult to navigate overall and reduces the diversity of the experience.

The soundtrack approaches its climax with a succession of darker tracks. The most notable of these is "The Devil King of Dreams - Id", which develops from its opening piano riff to incorporate a range of orchestral, jazz, rock, and electronic forces; this abstract and understated final battle theme represent different aspects of the antagonist and the heroes' mixed feelings against him. Following two upbeat instrumental ending themes, the soundtrack ends with a relaxing J-Pop number, "The Magic of the Moon, the Dream of the Stars". The vocalist Rie is as endearing as Popolocrois Story's with her mature yet youthful vocals, while the instrumentation blends a strong pop flavour with some world music elements.


The Poporogue soundtrack builds effectively on the stylistic foundations of the Popolocrois Story score to offer a somewhat more diverse and emotional experience overall. However, the soundtrack is somewhat compromised by its medley-based format and sometimes derivative stylings, so probably won't wow any listeners. Followers of the Popolocrois series will nevertheless find this spinoff soundtrack an endearing item to add to their collection.

Overall Score: 7/10