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Pokémon Firered & Leafgreen Music Super Complete :: Review by Steve Mcblark

GBA Pokémon Firered & Leafgreen Music Super Complete Album Title: GBA Pokémon Firered & Leafgreen Music Super Complete
Record Label: Media Factory
Catalog No.: ZMCP-1778
Release Date: March 26, 2004
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Ever since I received my first Game Boy Pocket with Pokémon Red and Blue, I developed an addiction to the series. However, when the third generation of Pokémon games were released, which includes Firered, Leafgreen, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, I never actually got around to playing them. It wasn't until just recently that I got my hands on a copy of Pokémon Firered. When I finally did start playing it, the thing I paid most attention to was the music. I had played the Red and Blue versions for years, and now this new remake of it had left me quite interested. Most of the themes are arrangements from the original Red and Blue versions in 1996, but there are some new arrangements too. One of the nice things about this album is that, as a bonus, it gives many of the songs straight from the original versions released too. It was pretty cool of them to put them on so that one could listen to them for comparison, or just plain nostalgia. It would have been nice to have all of it on there, but beggars can't be choosers, I guess.


I have to say that the composers did a quite good job with the area theme arrangements. What makes them stand out in comparison was that many of the themes were changed in pitch so that a sense of beauty was given to them. This goes for just about all the city themes, particularly "Nibi City Theme" for Viridian and "Sekichiku City Theme" for Cerulean. Along with them lies the "Pokémon Center" theme, which has been changed from something negligible to something actually worth giving a good listen to. Another enhancement that I particularly enjoyed was for Vermillion's "Kuchiba City Theme" and the Cinnabar Island's "Gren Town Theme". These were made a lot more jumpy, making them more fun to listen to than before. Then there's a couple that were made both jumpier and prettier, like the "Sekichiku City Theme", the "Cycling" theme, and the "Casino" theme. Probably the greatest thing added to this game was the Seven Islands that you can access after beating the Elite Four.

There are also a couple of arrangements in the game that deserve classifications of their own. These are the ones that exist in the Lavender Town area. The "Shion Town Theme" was already spooky enough in the original, but now it has been evolved into a theme even creepier and more ghost-town like. "Pokémon Tower" is no different to this, either. It now sounds like some weird tribal ritual ceremony, making it even more ominous-sounding than before. "Team Rocket Hideout" and "Tokiwa Forest" for Viridian Forest were given nice makeovers, keeping the same pitch and tempo as before, but now sound even more menacing. But not everything was changed that much. Granted, everything was brought up to GBA instrumentals, but themes such as "Road to Tokiwa - From Masara", "Road to Hanada - From Mt. Otsukimi" and "Tamamushi City Theme" underwent very little change. This is just fine for the first two, but I would have liked to see something a little different out of the Celadon theme. The greatest thing about it is that the last four islands feature music from the Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions. These are given in the "Nanashima" tracks. Not too much was changed about the music, but I love having them there for nostalgic purposes.

The battle themes are a part of the album that I found most interesting. We start with "Battle (VS Trainer)". I like what they did here. The pitch was changed slightly, and it was also made a lot more jumpy and turned into a pretty catchy tune. Then "Battle (VS Gym Leader)" is exactly what a gym leader battle should sound like, fierce and blood-pumping. But every rose has its thorn. "Battle (VS Wild Pokémon)" just sounds kind of weird to me. It's not particularly bad, I guess and I'll still listen to it. I guess I just wasn't expecting what I heard. I can't really describe what I find weird about it. Then "Battle (VS Legendary Pokémon)" and "Battle (VS Mewtwo)" are just like the wild Pokémon battle theme, but with their own subtle twists. This is another thing I don't like. It would have been really nice if they could have given the three Legendary bird Pokémon their own theme, and it seemed almost necessary to give Mewtwo his own theme. Come on, he's supposed to be one of the strongest Pokémon, yet he doesn't get his own theme? But again, beggars can't be choosers.

"Last Battle (VS Rival)" is definitely my favorite out of all the battle themes. Since this was done on the GBA, of course it wasn't as good as it could have been, but considering what they had to work with, this theme shows the optimum greatness that the GBA can achieve as far as music. Rapid percussion, electric guitar, and a hint of operatic vocals, you could just tell that Go Ichinose put his all into this arrangement. If this were to be remade for DS, I'm sure it would be absolutely epic. It's thanks to this album that we're able to hear the next one, because many people will never hear this theme in-game. That's because it's Deoxys' theme, "Battle (VS Deokishisu)". This one is almost as epic as the Last Battle theme. It definitely does a fantastic job of giving the other-worldliness of the moment and showing just how powerful the Pokémon you're facing is.

With this album comes a few bonus tracks. This first one is just... strange. "Teach Me! Elder Brother" features the "Guidance" theme in the background while a group of kids yell things in Japanese now in then. For the most part, however, an older man (Hironobu Yoshida) talks and sings, probably to instruct the kids or something. It's in Japanese, so I can only understand a couple words here and there. It's kind of a humorous track, but not something I'd listen to often. Then "memory P" is a nice one. It features the town theme from the "Nanashima" islands with a song sung by Yumi Senka. It's a pretty nice rendition of the song, and Yumi Senka is a pretty decent singer. She doesn't seem to be the greatest, but she's not bad. Then we have "Team Rocket Hideout", which is a remix of the original. I thoroughly enjoy and it really deserves a listening to. I can see why some might not like it — I'm not even much of a remix person myself — but they did a really good job with this one. "Pokémon Tower 1997" is a bit strange, I have to say. The melody doesn't even really seem to kick in until about half way through, and everything before that is just random stuff that almost makes it sound like a factory theme. But then that one is saved by "Gym Leader's Power" which is a remix that even outshines its original two.


So overall I was pretty impressed with this album, especially considering that it's grounded on GBA sound quality. Some might be driven away by the fact that it's GBA quality, but that doesn't stop me from listening to it. Rest assured, it does have a couple of duds here and there, but many others were great enhancements of their predecessors, including some I didn't mention. So some might like it, others might not. If you're a Pokémon fan like I am, then this album is definitely one to pick up. If you haven't ever even played Pokémon, this album might not appeal to you as much. But for those who have, you'll love the nostalgia and probably really like the new arrangements.

Overall Score: 7/10