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Genso Suikoden IV Original Soundtrack :: Review by Mac_Tear

Genso Suikoden IV Original Soundtrack Album Title: Genso Suikoden IV Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Konami Media Entertainment
Catalog No.: KOLA-102/3
Release Date: June 1, 2005
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


After the success of the third installation of the Suikoden series, the fourth part reached the hands of the gamers. But unlike its predecessors, it was harshly criticised, especially for its pale scenario design, short total gameplay, and unemotional character designs. The music also was met with mixed feelings. It features some excellent tracks with catchy melodies, but many of them are simply underdeveloped and boring despite still fitting the scenery.

Masahiko Kimura shows again his ability to create ambient atmospheres, but also has a few earwigs on hand, like "Departure", "Landing", the Base, and the second Overworld theme for example. Norikazu Miura is a great new talent who contributed some highly acclaimed pieces here (there is no official composer detail, so we can only guess); he later took the leading role in Rhapsodia and Suikoden V. Michiru Yamane finally finishes the whole soundtrack with a bombastic ending suite — this woman won't let you down easily.

Is it really a "disgrace to the series" as I've heard many times? Let's have a closer look at each track in my review here.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) La Mer

The soundtrack starts on a strong and very effective note. The opening theme "La Mer", which means "The Sea" as you may guess, is composed and performed by Coba, alias Yasuhiro Kobayashi, who plays the grand accordion as well. The rest of the instrumentation features a nice acoustic and bass guitar and some rhythmic percussion like flamenco claps. This gives the piece an interesting Spanish and French flair. The melody is quite catchy and gets into one's head right when it starts. It never gets dull. The overall piece fits in the game's scenery perfectly and introduces the style within the rest of the score. It may be not as emotional as its predecessors — the orchestral masterpiece from Suikoden II or the emotional song "Transcending Love" from Suikoden III — but it fits the context very well and shines as another grand opening theme. A beautiful beginning of the soundtrack and one of the best tracks from this score for sure. (10/10)

2) A New Journey ~Opening Theme~

After the absence in Suikoden III, the classic Name Entry theme makes a glorious return here. The catchy bell motif accompanied by the strings is identical with the original; however, there is also a little new part which begins at 0:42, where some horns take the lead together with the strings. The percussion is very energetic and militaristic as usual and gives the track a nice refreshed feeling. Overall I'm pretty pleased with this arrangement; not as good as Suikoden II's but nice on its own. (8/10)

3) Departure

"Departure" is used during the Opening Staff Roll scene and features a quiet interesting melody. The piece starts with some timpani rolls, after which some catchy synth appregios setting in. The main passage is played with some great use of strings, horns, percussion, and eventually the synth appregios from the beginning. My only complaint is that the piece is rather underdeveloped like many pieces from this score sadly. However, it does a wonderful job of being accompaniment for a scene. (8/10)

4) Arrival

In this track, the style of the opening track "La Mer" shines as bright as the sun. It features nearly the same instrumentation as it, but uses a more harmonic way of developement. The melody is very catchy, especially the use of accordion, guitar and dulcimer (?). The flute near the end of the track adds a little variety into the song, which fits and is a nice idea. Besides, the track is highly reminiscent of "Stupid Ducks" from Suikoden III which features almost identical percussion and instrumentation. One of the better town themes. (8/10)

5) Battle Entry 1

Actually no real music here. It is just a 7 second synth jingle, which is used when a random battle is starting. It introduces us to the next one... (5/10)

6) Battle

The first two Suikoden games featured a nice palette of great battle themes, though the third was a weakling against them, in my opinion. And this one? Well, actually I must say that this is a pretty straightforward battle theme which is reminiscent in style from Suikoden II's, but sadly doesn't feature any strong melodies. It starts off with some repetitive string motif accompanied by some percussion including some rolling timpani, a soft snare, and cymbals. At 0:22, the strings build up a little climax and we're introduced in a little brass line; this finally adds some power to this dull piece, but sadly not for very long time. After that a nice melodic interlude of strings and timpani is played, which adds a little more variety to the piece, but sounds a bit ouf of place in my opinion. Truly, this battle theme leaves a lot to be desired. This may work in the context of the game, but compared to other battle themes in the series, this is a weakling. (7/10)

7) Victory Theme

The classic "Victory Theme", originally featured in the very first Suikoden, is also rearranged in here. A catchy flute melody, some light strings, percussion, and some tubular bells are the features here. Well, I can't say anything more about this — it's a true classic and I'm glad that it's featured in this game. (7/10)

8) Life of a Knight

With this piece, the direction creates a heroic and military atmosphere. The brass, harpsichord, and rolling snare percussion are all effective and work very well with each other. Maybe only the woodwind melody in the second part sounds a bit out of place, so a different instrument would have been a better choice. Also the development lacks. The instrument lines are too repetive and blank to receive much attention. (7/10)

9) Festive Night

The accordion is used again for this little piece, together with acoustic guitar, pizzicato strings, and a waltz-like rhythm. The melody is pretty repetitive and doesn't inspire much attention at all. It's one of the tracks that may work in game well, but is skippable on a stand-alone basis. (6/10)

10) Gloomy Sailing

Sadly, the repetitive tracks keep on coming. The track starts off with some synth pads and percussion. Soon the bass sets in and leads into the main part, where the rather desolate and empty sounding melody is played by some woodwinds and strings, sometimes accompanied by an harp. At 1:20 the woodwinds become more emotional and lead into a soft ending. Overall, a little underdeveloped and repetitive as well. (7/10)

11) Rollback

A tension theme, dominated mostly by steady percussion, harp appregios, and again some repetitive string lines. The piece can get a bit annoying after a while sadly. Before the one minute mark, some horns are included that perform a little melodic passage. A slightly more interesting version of this piece can be found on the Rhapsodia soundtrack named "War of the Rune Cannons". (6/10)

12) Naval Warfare 1

Finally, there is a bit more movement in here. The strings whirr, the brass is shrouding, and the percussion is bumping. We're introduced to the first of two warfare themes, which is also a trademark in the Suikoden series. The first minute is pretty much based on builing up tension in a dramatic way. After that, a nice melodic phrase sets in which reminds me a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean. This one is a bit more experimental than the others which work quite well. Good, but the second is better... (8/10)

13) On a Quiet Island

Back to the roots, this is another stylish track with a nice steel drum melody, some light percussion, and a woodwind part. The development is right on and very fitting for the scenery of a deserted island. The steel drum can be a bit repetitive after a while, but it's an likeable piece and one of the better additions. (7/10)

14) The Conversation Continues

This is quite a silly piece of music — the type of track which easily could straight come from Kingdom Hearts. It features the strange instrumentation of xylophones, pizzicato strings, and tenor saxophone. Sadly it's one of the tracks which doesn't work well in game and outside too. Conversation ended. (5/10)

15) Night on the Deserted Island

A lovely piece. A light harmonica plays the melody in the first part, accompanied by some guitar and a piano that takes on the main melody in the second part. The rendition is quiet beautiful, but too short sadly. Here Kimura shows his strength: piano melodies, which are sadly otherwise lacking in this score. Overall, this is a nice track with a touch of emotion. (7/10)

16) Echoes of the Sea's Roar

This is actually used as a dungeon theme. It features some eerie synth effects at the beginning, and later some deep strings and snare drums. It can't find anything interesting about this piece really. The melody is horribly lame and the development lacks. Again, a slightly improved version can be found on Rhapsodia's "What Strifes Brings (Echoes of the Sea's Roar)". (5/10)

17) Battle Entry 2

Again, just a little jingle, this time with some brass and timpani, to lead into a boss battle. (5/10)

18) A Formidable Enemy Arrives

The boss battle theme from Suikoden IV. This is the type of piece we're missing until now: full of drama, tension, and movement. Obviously contributed by Miura, this theme is packed with power. I like the beginning of the track where the strings and percussion lead into a part where the excellent string and brass sections and pumping percussion gets under the skin. This is a total improvement to the normal battle theme and really shines as one of the better tracks here. (8/10)

19) Crossing the Waves

Unlike other games in the series, Suikoden IV did not have a "real" overworld you could explore. Instead you're on with your ship and drive through the vast (and sadly rather empty) ocean. This piece accompanies you on your journey in the first half of the story. The overall piece is surprisingly simple from the steady snare drums and bass line to the somewhat catchy melody performed by sitar and strings. The piece itself is quite nice and uplifting, fitting the sea scenery well. However, it is missing the typical impact other world map themes have — sadly underdeveloped and a little bland. We've got a second one later, which is better... (7/10)

20) Agitpunkt Theme

The theme for the Pirate Hideout features an interesting mix of harmonica, guitar, and brass in the first section, combined with a tango rhythm which reflects the scoundrels quiet well. The second part is more melancholic with the use of an woodwind and strings. In my opinion, this is one of the more interesting themes from the soundtrack. Maybe not a highlight, but one of the better additions. (8/10)

21) A Certain Meeting

The first section of this track is mainly dominated by a strong bass line, some percussion, and a harmonious flute melody. The first part is more melancholy with the use of an woodwind and piano. It's nice background music for a forest area and fits quite well, even if it's a little dull and unspectacular. (7/10)

22) Southern Wind

The Kingdom of Obel's music is nice and refreshing. It captures a more Eastern atmosphere with the use of flute, sitar, and bagpipes. The light bell motif and percussion are also well done. Definitely one of the better town themes of the soundtrack. (8/10)

23) The Significance of Heritage

This palace theme is quite similar to the earlier "Life of a Knight". It features some typical pizzicato arpeggios, harpsichord, woodwind, percussion, and strings in the first section which gives a noble feeling. The second section is dominated by a violin melody that sounds nearly identical to the second part in "Life of a Knight" for the first seconds. Again, the part seems a bit out of place within the rest, but it doesn't matter that much in game and soundtrack as well. (7/10)

24) Time Stands Still

This is the second dungeon theme for the game and actually a little improvement on the first one. The instrumentation is pretty smooth with soft woodwind melodies and the use of sitar, harp and somewhat interesting percussion. The second part is the best part of the track and everything is rather atmospheric if quite monotonous. (7/10)

25) Stronghold 1

The headquarter theme for this game. I like the melody — it's very catchy and a bit heart warming. From the eerie introduction to the woodwind in the first section to the neat piano in the second section, it's nice to listen to. I was a bit surprised when I heart the piano, but it's a very nice addition to the piece and the soundtrack overall. Sadly, there are not many tracks with this instrument here. (8/10)

26) Orange-colored Scenery

The Middleport theme is featuring a nice instrumentation with instruments like mandoline, accordion and woodwinds. The spanish-like guitar opening is very nice. The melody is uplifting and serene. Definitely one of the better town themes in here. (8/10)

27) Reinbach Theme

Ah... the famous "Narcy's Theme" is also back again! From the very first Suikoden until now every game has included an arrangement of this. I truly must say that I really like this one. The accordion is replaced by a violin this time, which gives it a fresh effect. The developement in the second part is genius and the soft percussion, similar as the one in Suikoden III, fits the theme very well. Even if the theme might have lost a bit of the enthusiasm and originality in the first themes, it's a clever choice of instrumentation and fits the noble appearance of Reinbach quiet well. (8/10)

28) A Dear Person

This one is a very minimalistic theme performed by a pizzicato strings duet. It's rather reminiscent to some of the ambient pieces featured in Castlevania 64 or Suikoden III. It might capture a slightly humorous atmosphere, but it's so short and lame that you can skip it right now. It absolutely does not work on soundtrack and in game as well. One of the worst tracks in here. (4/10)

29) Concealed Offense and Defense

The third dungeon theme is a lot better than the other two. I personally don't think that it was composed by Masahiko Kimura but rather by Michiru Yamane because of the style and development. The use of instruments here is excellent. The percussion and bass are fitting, while the melodies of sitar and woodwind are beautifully textured and well developed. The use of bells and harp also add a nice effect to the overall piece. One of the better additions for sure. (8/10)

30) Monochrome Episode

Illuya Island has some tragic history in the game. The overall scenery is very foggy, rainy, and lonely. The music fits in this part quite well. The bass line is very reminiscent to the "Outer Wall" bass line in Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness; if you compare them, you'll notice the similarities. The rest is pretty unspectacular. It's missing the depth and atmosphere past Suikoden tracks featured. The next version is a little better. (6/10)

31) Monochrome Episode ~From Amid the Rubble~

Monotone Episode would be a more fiting name for this one. It's almost identical to the previous track only without the steady percussion. This make it sound more lonely, depressed, and gloomy. Here the flute really comes alive compared to the first version. This is truly the only thing I like about this piece. It's a nice idea to portray a destroyed town, but still it's very monononous, ambient, and doesn't even has a loop. It might work in the context of the game, but on a stand-alone basis it's a clear weakling. (7/10)

32) Start Up

OK, are you ready? This track starts up a bunch of mini-game themes. It plays during the explanation of the mini-games and gives you a first taste of what is coming in the next tracks. With a happy-go-lucky melody and a few hand claps, it's fine for warming up, but nothing more. (4/10)

33) Depth in Simplicity

This is the theme for the coin game and features some weird synth and voice effects with a distant Asian feeling. Sadly, this one is nothing against the great "Theme of Temptation / Perversion" from the first two games used in the same sort of context. Don't listen too long to this or you'll go crazy. (5/10)

34) Keep Going! Finish Them Off!

This one is a little better. It features a nice uptempo beat, a bass line, and some catchy synth melodies. The funny vocal snippets are a nice addition. (6/10)

35) Leet Cat Skillz!

Again, a very funny piece in similar style to the previous one. The yodeling and the effects are quiet amusing, but the track is too short to impress more. (5/10)

36) Fanfare

Just a little brass fanfare played when you win a mini-game. (5/10)

37) Gakkuri

This is an arrangement of the "Gakkuri" jingle from the first Suikoden. They just added a few funny sound effects like for birds tweeting. (5/10)

Disc Two

1) Stronghold 2

The second arrangement of the headquarter theme. It's more fast and emphatic than the first version with the use of xylophones, percussion, and harpsichord. I must say this version doesn't attract me like the first one because the other had a bit more melancholy and emotion. Also it's very short and doesn't develop to it's full strength. The melody is still very nice, though I prefer "Stronghold 1". (8/10)

2) Ah, the Sparkling Sea! Ah, the Sky!

This is the overworld theme in the second half of the story and an immense improvement compared to the first one. It shines from the catchy beginning, adventurous melody, strong percussion, and solid use of harp, woodwinds, and strings. Close to the one minute mark, when the percussion fades out, a small part from "Crossing the Waves" is performed. This track features the same atmosphere previous Suikoden themes had and is a worthy contribution to the series. (9/10)

3) Naval Warfare 2

The game's main warfare music. The track is quite similar to the first version, but it captures more impact, heroism, and excitement. The use of brass is again excellent here and the strings, woodwinds, and gradually more intense military percussion play their part. I like the developement of the piece, with the sense of danger building up to the adrenaline-pumping climax near the end. Maybe a little short, but definitely one of the best warfare themes in the series. (8/10)

4) Creeping Shadows

Unlike the first tension theme "Rollback", this one focuses more on a dramatic crisis motif. There are harsh piano chords, strong snare drums, timpani rolls, and a monotonous string line. Kimura composed a near-identical theme in Castlevania 64, namely "Shudder", and a similar piece also exists in Suikoden. It works decent in the context of the game, but doesn't attract much on a stand-alone basis. (5/10)

5) Climb the Hill

The first section opens mysteriously with the use of xylophone and later a piano joins. The second part is again more melancholy with woodwinds and piano. The melody itself isn't very bad, but the arrangement lacks a bit on variation in my opinion. All in all, a solid track. (8/10)

6) Nay-Kobold Village

Some strong but a bit repetitive steel guitar chords open the track, then a very cheerful flute melody together with some percussion shows up. It gives the track a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. After that the music gets calmer with slow flute and acoustic guitar chords, but soon the faster part is revived again for some seconds. When it's finished, the slow part plays again with some distant feeling of peace and harmony until the track starts from the beginning. Even if it might sound a bit chaotic and annoying, the overall theme is fine. I like the variety of the development and the atmosphere created is very fitting for a special race like the Kobolds. (8/10)

7) Fated Confrontation

Here's a wonderful track created obviously by Norikazu Miura. It's the duel music for this game and one of the best, if not the best, in the series. The track begins with some shrouding brass chords and whirling tremolo strings. When the percussion sets in, the main melody starts to develop with some excellent use of brass and strings. The melody itself is very heroic and encouraging. In the middle of the piece, the brass is roaring up leading into a dramatic rendition of the leitmotif "Rune of Punishment", the very last track on the soundtrack. I'm very pleased with this composition; it's a great addition to the soundtrack and the duel music library of the series as well. Hats off! (9/10)

8) Celadon Sea

After a traditional pizzicato introduction, some harpsichord and woodwind (what a surprise, huh?) melodies focus on the background atmosphere. Later an accordion also makes an appearance. I don't know what the composer was thinking when composing this, because it absolutely does not fit into the scenery of an beautiful island like Na-Nal. It capures a bit of humour and goofiness, but that's all. Underwhelming. (6/10)

9) Magnificent Handling of a Broadsword

Wow, the duel music returns with this short bombastic arrangement. The tempo is increased and there is more emphatic use percussion, strings, and woodwinds. Tubular bells and glockenspiel are also a very nice addition to the overall piece. The atmosphere is simply overwhelming. The track title is also very fitting, because it sadly plays only one time during the duel with Mitsuba. Magnificent handling of a piece! (9/10)

10) Enchanting Runemistress

This track is dedicated to Jeane, the beautiful lady of the rune store. She has appeared in every Suikoden episode, but this time she finally gets her own theme, which reflects her mystic and magical aura fantastically. The piece opens with some string notes together with harp appregios and a crash. The main melody which follows is simple, but amazing on its own, created by harp appregios, strings, and woodwinds. A more extended arrangement can be found on the Suikoden V soundtrack where this theme shows up again. The only complaint goes to its use in game, where it shows up one time for just 15 seconds. That's a shame, but luckily here we can enjoy the full version. (8/10)

11) Seaside Spring

This is one of my favorite area themes. The flute melody is simply beautiful — so happy and peaceful. But also the bouncy percussion, acoustic guitar, and music box are smooth to listen to. It really gives a picture of a little paradise with white sands, burning sun, and the endless blue ocean in front of you. And when this place also features a hot spring, what do you want more? (8/10)

12) Recitation of Repentance

The second round of the mini-game themes starts on quite a positive note. The actual piece is very sombre and oppressive, dominated by some high and low piano chords together with harp and vox in the background. It's a strong aspect, because you must choose during the game if you'll punish the character for their confession or to forgive them. The created atmosphere is absolutely fiting. (8/10)

13) Thank the Gods

A little harp / string jingle that plays when you forgive at the end of the confession. (5/10)

14) Let's Go and Try!

The lottery theme is definitely the most enjoyable of the whole bunch of mini-game themes next to "Recitation of Repentance". It features some delightful piano chords which could come straight from an old black and white movie from the 20s. The added percussion with snare and jingles is also very pleasant and fitting. Short but decent. (7/10)

15) Play the Rune Cards

Back to the Eastern stuff, this one is similar to "Depth In Simplicity", except less memorable and creative. The overall piece is pretty boring and diffuse. Not my kind really. (5/10)

16) Ritapon

How I hated this game, really.. I took me hours to beat Rita in this awful mini-game and this even more awful theme played over and over again. The atmosphere is silly and annoying like in almost every one before. Memorable melody? No. Fun to listen to? No. Skippable? Definitely yes. (4/10)

17) The Journey's Dice-thrower

This one is a bit more interesting. The style is tango-like with the use of accordion and snare drums. The melody itself is quite enjoyable, even if it lacks on development and memorability. But this is a new direction in style that's quite nice and refreshing. (7/10)

18) Treasure Hunt

The last mini-game theme is actually again kind of annoying and unmemorable. It features some acoustic percussion, bass, and cheesy melodies. It's unpleasant to search for treasures with this music. (6/10)

19) Scenery of an Unknown Island

The style is kind of minimal here with the use of harp, woodwinds, steel drums, and percussion. It reflects the feeling of an empty and lonely island well, but that's pretty much it. Really bland. (6/10)

20) Imminent Threat

The last tension theme is very simply textured with some foreboding string notes, brass passages, and synth harmony lines. It starts rather bland, but when the brass sets in the feeling gets a bit more intense. Towards the end of the track it strangely gain a more positive atmosphere. Essentially it's an ambient track which doesn't work well in the game and on the soundtrack as well. (5/10)

21) Strategy Conference

This piece features a very repetive percussion line and a few brass snippets from the "Departure" theme. That's all. Definitely one of the most unmemorable, uninspired, and poor tracks from the whole game. (4/10)

22) Palisade Melody

"Palisade Melody" is the game's final dungeon theme, but also appears in a few cutscenes all placed in the Fortress El-Eal. The track is very ambient and doesn't feature a real melody. However, sometimes a few piano chords show up and the background features some creepy and dissonant choir chords. The music is good to build up an atmosphere of anxiety and tension, serving to fit the Fort's emptiness quite well. On the soundtrack it is kind of bland and boring. Interesting, but not one of the best tracks. It gets a bonus point for its mood creation. (6/10)

23) Orgel

A music box melody which reflects a feeling of creepiness. Too short and uninspired. (4/10)

24) Decisive Battle Against a Corrupted Soul

Now here we go. Finally, we made it to the final battle of this game and this one is easily the best battle theme from the whole game. Obviously composed by Norikazu Miura, he created a very exciting piece here. The track starts great with rolling timpani and deep strings. After that the brass sets in to build up the mood and illustrate the power of the enemy. At 0:26 the strings perform a wicked passage full of fear and tension and some dissonant sound effects accompany them (they later show up in Rhapsodia again).

At 0:52 there is a small pause until the percussion awakens and the brass and strings perform a great climax up to 1:15 where the mood is simply adrenaline pumping and breathtaking. Eventually the "Rune of Punishment" motif makes an appearance in form of depressed woodwinds. At 1:42 the track reaches it most melodic part with a bittersweet rendition of the "Rune of Punishment" motif. This really gives you a feeling of grandeur and hope until the dramatic performance ends and the piece starts from the beginning and ends without a complete loop.

I'm very pleased with this piece. It features almost everything a perfect final battle theme needs. The melody could have been emphasised a bit more, but all in all the arrangement and development is great. (10/10)

25) Epilogue ~For the 108 Stars~

The next two tracks are contributed by Michiru Yamane who had a leading role in the third Suikoden part and also is well-known as the Castlevania main composer. The track opens up with some eerie bell motif accompanied by some sound effects and piano chords. After that introduction the strings and piano perform a heavenly passage full of dramatic and glory. At the three minute mark, the "Rune of Punishment" motif shows up in its most emotional version with woodwinds, harp, and strings. The second part of that theme is performed by a synthesized violin together with a string ensemble. When it's over the string / piano melody from the beginning is performed again until it dramatically fades out with pure beauty. Definitely a worthy ending theme and one of the best in the series for sure. (10/10)

26) Finale: Remembering the Deep Blue

A melancholy woodwind opens the track, accompanied by lush strings, harp, and later a Japanese-styled percussion. At 2:32 a piano line begins to play and a soft rendition of Suikoden's "Theme of Sadness" is performed by woodwinds and harp. In the second part the reprise gets more emphatic with the use of sweeping strings. After a sweet woodwind variation, the track reaches a nice climax ay 6:43 with some tubular bells, brass, and strings. When it's over, a piano solo version of the melody from the beginning is performed, after which the first part is repeated and the whole thing finishes up with a little bang. I'm positively surprised with this piece; the atmosphere is very touching, nice to listen to, and fits excellently in the context of the game. Wonderful job! (10/10)

27) Into a World of Illusions

Coba is once again here to perform a very nice rendition of Suikoden's main theme. The track starts off dramatically with the use of accordion and harp, but soon the harp takes a softer tones and serves as the main instrument while accordion and violin perform snippets of the main melody. I like the part where all three instruments together perform the melody to the end of the track. It's very nice to hear such an old theme revived again with so many emotions. But unlike "La Mer", this theme sadly features the impact and memorability the first contribution had. All in all, it's an effective and pleasant arrangement. (9/10)

28) Clash! Again

Ah, what a surprise! The next two themes are arrangements of the two war themes from the first Suikoden. The mini-game itself is also a cameo appearance of the war system from the same game. The arrangement itself is identical to the original version, from the military percussion and brass to the involvement of the main theme. I like the use of deep brass in the middle of the track which sounds a little jolly instead of dramatic. Well done. (9/10)

29) Presentiment of Victory

The same as the previous track. The brass is much stronger now and brings the main theme to life again. Only the timpani sounds a little weak against its original predecessor in my opinion. The rest is pretty fine. A worthy piece and a nice flashback to ancient times. (9/10)

30) Rune of Punishment

This is the main theme for Suikoden IV performed delightful by a live piano and violin. The same was also done before in the Castlevania 64 soundtrack with the bonus track "A Night of Peace and Quiet". The melody itself isn't that new. It's a little altered version of the famous "Reminiscence" theme from Suikoden II. The track captures all the emotions the original version had and, beyond that, it represents the "Rune of Punishment" in a very effective way. I absolutely adore the use of piano and the violin also leaves a very positive effect. However, it's just an outtake of the full theme. The extended version of this luckily (or should I say strangely?) can be found on the Rhapsodia soundtrack. As it is never actually used in the context of the game — only snippets of it — it serves very well as an bonus track and gives the listener a feeling of overcoming and satisfaction. (9/10)


The Suikoden IV soundtrack leaves a lot to be desired compared to previous instalments or the later fifth part, that's for sure. But that doesn't mean it features bad music. As in every game, the opening and ending themes, for example, are great and very fitting for the game's scenery, which is of course dominated by the sea and the islands. The same goes for some of the area themes, such as town or the base theme. The Razril port music "Arrival" is, for example, very catchy and memorable, while "Southern Wind", "Orange-colored Scenery", and "Seaside Spring" are harmonious arrangements with a nice use of instruments.

Moving on to negative aspects, the music for different scenes like tension or conversation are mostly blank and boring. There are a few exceptions like "Night on the Deserted Island" or "Enchanting Runemistress". The mini-game themes are also more annoying than fun to listen to; this is a feature almost every Suikoden episode features with maybe a few exceptions. It's commendable that the composer chosed to give each of these games a own track, but sadly most of them are uninspired and annoying.

But now let's talk about the most positive side of the soundtrack — the battle themes. The normal battle theme might be the stinker of them all with kind of repetitious and dull, but it fits well in the context of the game. The boss, duel, and final battle music are excellently done with a brilliant use of brass, string, and percussive elements. They really give you the feeling of struggling against a mighty enemy. The two war themes work also excellent in game and are featuring some nice memorable elements such as again the brass.

And finally there are also a few arrangements of old Suikoden soundtracks like the traditional name entry and victory theme. As well, there is the "Reinbach Theme", the two war themes from Suikoden, and a version of "Reminiscence" from Suikoden II, used here as the game's main theme. It's sad that there only exists two CDs, which actually means each piece is played only once instead of twice. Beyond that, it's a nice selection of tracks which definitely work in game. Maybe the least effective score in the series until now, but all in all not bad.

Overall Score: 7/10