Pokémon 3DS -Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire- Super Music Collection
Pokémon 3DS -Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire- Super Music Collection
The Pokémon Company
December 16, 2014
Download on iTunes
Game Freak has created yet another re-make to help connect the Pokémon universe. Many of my friends continued to play Pokémon installments released after versions Red and Blue. Personally, I stopped playing for a while after I played Gold and Silver, missing out on the wonders of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The remakes are a great opportunity for fans to experience a reimagined version of the games they might have missed out on. Composer Junichi Masuda takes a hands-off approach to the re-made music, serving only as the producer. Masuda is quoted in the December 2014 issue of GameInformer magazine saying ‘’I don’t like revisiting old songs and re-arranging them”. This may fall hard on lifelong fan’s ears, but seems to be an honest statement. The arrangement and magic behind the wonderfully re-imagined soundtrack is the work of the Game Freak sound team, led by Shota Kageyama.
The bombastic music will fill listener’s hearts with a new and unique sense of wonder. From the calm sounds of “Littleroot Town” to the familiar ‘Battle’ music, the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Super Music Collection is 160 songs of pure Pokémon bliss. The stand alone quality of Pokémon music is incredible, but can also guide any open-minded listener through many scenes of the re-imagined Hoenn region.
The battles are only part of what keeps fans like me coming back. Some players who started with the original versions of the game may have become fatigued from the same battle music returning in each installment. Tracks such as “Battle! (Wild Pokémon)” and “Battle! (Trainer Battle)” on this Super Music Collection offer different mixes and variations on grooves that were used in the original Ruby and Sapphire version. I enjoy the Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire “Wild Pokémon Battle” music as it has a strong foundation of orchestral music with a few synthetic timbres added to the mix. The timpani add punch to the music that accents the brass but does not drown out the upper woodwind melody. The driving drum set beat adds that familiar modern twist to the music that will have you sitting on the edge of your chair. When you’ve trained up your Pokémon enough to save the world, you can be sure it is time to meet the evil gang with a confused outlook on the future. Team Aqua plays as the adversary while playing the Alpha Sapphire version and the player will battle against Team Magma while playing the Omega Ruby version. Each team has a distinct sound while still maintaining the traditional over the top introduction the Pokémon thieving gangs usually have.
“Team Magma Appears” is layered with percussion and edgy horn and synth sounds. The melody is fierce and dramatic. “Team Aqua Appears” on the other hand has a more rounded edge. The synth melody sounds wet and layered in effects. The electric bass adds depth to the music and follows the kick drum to add syncopation to the bottom end. “Battle! (Team Aqua/Team Magma)” is more explosive than the original version by far. The brass and synth sounds are mixed with attention to detail and the string melody is floated on top. “Leader’s Theme (Team Aqua/Team Magma)” is powerful and cinematic sounding. The brass melody loops well and the timpani, percussion and strings offer a march-like ostinato pattern. “Battle! (Team Aqua/Team Magma Leaders)” is of course the loudest and most intense ‘Team’ music on the Super Music Collection. The distorted guitar adds an edge that counters the horns and synth sounds well. The beat pulses and will engage the listener till the very end. After listening to these remade versions, it is honestly hard to go back to the original.
When you aren’t battling wild Pokémon that jump out at you in the SUPER tall grass or fighting a trainer waiting to ambush you from the side of the road, the “Route” music will carry you through the night to the next town. “Route 110” and “Route 104” have a triumphant feeling to them with a brisk tempo. “Route 104” truly reminds me of the many Pokémon journeys I have embarked on in the past. The march like percussion rhythms, bright brass and expert mix aid in the treacherous yet exciting adventure Pokémon forces you into. The timpani, electric bass and bass drum add punch while the low brass adds warmth and depth to the sound. “Route 110” holds a similar energetic mood that will keep you moving between battles and hordes of wild Pokémon. “Route 119” might be my favorite ‘route’ music because of the syncopation between the melody and percussion. It is nearly out of time but certainly makes sense with a few listens. While in game, a close listener will hear cries of special random Pokémon over the glorious sounds of the ‘route’ themes. I feel like I am moving forward on my journey while listening to the “Route” tracks as a stand-alone experience, and in game. I believe that the “Route” tracks could be made into a short playlist that could be enjoyed over and over. But at some point, you will need to stock up on supplies and rest at the nearest town.
“Rustboro City” certainly has a busy but pleasant atmosphere. The eighth notes swing just enough to give the music a groove that can be enjoyed by any music fan. The flute melody truly brings a world type vibe to this jazzy track. The drums have a bossa-nova type of beat that puts a pop in this track making it fun to listen each and every time you visit the bustling city. Most of the town music is warm and inviting, but some stuck in my head more than others. I found myself singing “Littleroot Town” throughout the day as it puts me in a good humor. I even enjoy the sophisticated sound of “Birch Pokémon Lab” as it is a refreshing sound for the long journey. Pokémon Centers have been a safe place that trainers all over the world can go to and know that their Pokémon are in good hands. The Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire “Pokémon Center” adds layers of acoustic instruments such as flute, guitar and upright bass to give the music a live sound. Fans can enjoy the bonus version of the Pokémon Center theme with “Happy Birthday from the Pokémon Center!” This is a music box arrangement that is calm and charming all at the same time. This version is closer to the original Ruby and Sapphire versions but is mastered in a way that will please modern ears.
There are many nooks and crannies in the Hoenn region for players to explore. Each little corner of this region is filled with Pokémon and engaging music to keep the player company. Whether you decide to explore the sealed chamber, or challenge the Trick House, there is good music to be experienced. I spent some time in the Oceanic Museum, partly to find Captain Stern and partly to enjoy the exhibits. Upon listening to “Oceanic Museum” out of context of the game, I was struck with nostalgia. The music is incredibly reminiscent of music heard in Pokémon Red and Blue versions while exploring the S.S. Anne. The music is truly relaxing but personifies the movement of a ship on the sea.
There are some areas that can only be reached after obtaining the Eon Flute and either Latios or Latias, depending on which version you play first. “Soaring Dreams” is a new piece of music written when your Pokémon takes to the skies. The music is uplifting with a driving melody and pulsing rhythm. This track is a blast to listen to as a standalone track but does not distract the player from having fun making trails in the sky. Once you have enjoyed “Soaring Dreams”, “Soaring Illusions” is there to give the melody a smoother, ballad like mood. The acoustic guitar gives the ‘Illusions’ a warm tone but with precise attack. Even though it is a ballad, it is not weak sounding by any means. When you have had your fill of soaring on your Latios’ or Latias’ back, search for a hidden area called a Sealed Chamber to discover more music and new corners of the Hoenn region.
‘’Sealed Chamber’’ sounds like a dream, personified by the harp and horn melodies. The flute features are bright and full sounding. The strings are balanced well and never overpower the soloing sections of the ensemble. The music drifts away softly into silence to make way for “Battle! (Regirock/Regice/Registeel)”. This energetic and very electronic sounding battle track certainly personifies the massive challenge the Regi trio pose. The rock and roll inspired drumbeat and triumphant sounding horns will remind players of the original Ruby and Sapphire battles. I also appreciate the “Battle! Super Ancient Pokémon” as it carries a similar ‘heavy’ sound. But the Super Ancient Pokémon battle sounds more like a Roman empire marching to war. The Mahler sounding tubas and rhythmic percussion makes the music sound cinematic and at all times intense.
Listeners who have sifted through the tracks may have noticed a duplicate track here and there on the soundtrack. I noticed track 48, “Fallarbor Town” is duplicated on track 49 entitled “Cable Car”. Another duplicate track originally reported by Bulbapedia, track 152, “Obtained Bp!” is a duplicate of track 151, “Battle Maison”. This mistake was reportedly only on the international release. Mistakes like this happen of course, but I am curious to hear what “Obtained Bp!” sounds like outside of the game.
There are many wonders and sounds to explore on the Super Music Collection. Aside from a few duplicate tracks, this is an excellent remake that stayed true to the original while seamlessly adding a new theme “Soaring Dreams”. The music kept me entertained through the entire soundtrack, and I often had to take a brake, and a deep breath. I have been a lifelong fan of the Pokémon series and have been influenced to play music because of these games. The battle melodies and rhythms are at a quick tempo and are incredibly easy to come back to day after day. Fans will appreciate the collection of Legendary Pokémon Battle music as well as the collection town, route and even stingers. Music fans will enjoy the diverse genres touched on throughout the soundtrack. While The Super Music Collection is not without its flaws, it is still a great addition to any digital library.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on April 18, 2015 by Marc Chait. Last modified on January 19, 2016.