Pokémon Game Boy Sounds -Will All Come In and Play-
Pokémon Game Boy Sounds -Will All Come In and Play-
November 1, 1997
Buy Used Copy
What a blast of nostalgia one can get from listening to an album like this! That may just be enough for some to run straight out there and obtain the soundtrack named Game Boy Sound of Pokémon: Will All Come In and Play. This is the complete soundtrack to the original Game Boy Pokémon games, Red, Blue, and Yellow with some additional bonus material. Other 8-bit fans that are less familiar with Pokémon may also be interested in this album. Let’s find out if composer Junichi Masuda’s first shot at Pokémon on the original Game Boy is worth listening to after all these years.
The tracks range from being classics to being simply annoying. The soundtrack contains an appropriate mix of marches, eerie music, and simplistic children tunes. Sometimes tracks like the overworld tracks can get a little too light and simplistic and it ends up hurting the album. The melodies from “Cycling” and “The Road to Viridian City” are so familiar, and I feel like I hear melodies like these in many children’s preschool songs. Yes, this game may be meant for children, but I’d rather just buy real children’s music if I wanted to listen to it. Most town tracks have these same simplistic melodies. I think they are fitting but not many will really amaze you even if you get a tune stuck in your head now and again. I wouldn’t call a track like “Casino” a great track, but it certainly has an easy to remember melody.
As mentioned above, there are also a couple surprisingly atmospheric tracks on this album for a Game Boy game, let along a Pokémon game. “Lavender Town’s Theme” is, hands down, the most eerie 8-bit game composition that I’ve ever heard, complemented by “Pokémon Tower”. I couldn’t imagine wanting to listen to either of these on an MP3 player. Maybe you’d want to take a nice walk through the forest at night and scare yourself? “Viridian Forest” also brings on this extremely eerie atmosphere. It’s a bit repetitive, but I think the repetitiveness just adds to the haunting feeling. If an 8-bit track can make you feel something then that’s saying something, and it’s especially funny that “eerie” could be such a strong point in this album.
The battle themes are obviously extremely important, and Junichi Masuda obviously knew that while composing. The battle tunes get increasingly intense as the album goes on. It’s very surprising that there isn’t much percussion to be heard in any of the battle tunes while it can be heard in many other parts of the album. The “VS Wild Pokémon” tune would be a classic no matter how badly it was composed, but I find the gym leader and rival tracks to be a lot more intense. Some random Pokeéon cries and attack sounds are thrown into the ends of each battle track, which tend to be annoying. Speaking of Pokémon cries, the whole second disc is full of them. The second disc very much screams “hardcore fans only” aside the bonus, if still dubious, arrangement.
There are some march-like pieces on this album and it’s another place where I find Pokémon to be strong. One example is the track “Opening”, which has been used as the main theme for Pokémon ever since the beginning. “Final Road” is another great march and both tracks really emulate a nice snare drum sound. “Final Road” really gives off a great “we’re nearing the end, we can do this!” kind of feel and I like that the final battle track takes after the same melodies in a more intense way.
One of the most memorable themes on this album would have to be “Pokémon Gym”. I think this piece really needed some kind of percussion like the snare used in the Pokémon Gold and Silver version of the tune, but the melody is still great either way. If I had to pick one track off this album it would be “Pokémon Gym”, though after hearing other versions from other games, it’s hard to listen to this original and not get a bit bored. I suppose just be being the original version that it earns some sort of merit. There are a couple other memorable tracks on this album, but probably only to those that spent a lot of time playing the game. “Evolution” is unforgettable as it happens when your Pokémon evolve. This is always a memorable moment for anyone playing Pokémon and, although the track is short and repetitive, it really will stick with those memories.
Then, of course, there’s the track called “Pokémon Center”. I’ve heard this tune so many times in my life that I barely know what to say about it. The melody sticks with that simplistic theme, and I think it’s more of a hit than a miss, as it’ll get stuck in your head easily. Other than that it’s a pretty lackluster composition, but it’s such a staple that I can’t help but love it just for that. Other staples like “Jigglypuff’s Song” originated here, but none of them are real compositions worth listening to.
Game Boy Sound of Pokémon: Will All Come In and Play goes to show how simplicity can be both a good and bad thing. Nothing will really amaze anyone, but keeping in mind the standards for the Game Boy at the time, it’s honestly not half bad. There are some famous classic 8-bit tunes on this album and, if you are curious, where many of them originated that maybe this is worth taking a listen to. Alternatively, many of these tunes are not as fully evolved as they are in today’s games (no pun intended!), so some may get bored easily. Even with the superfluous second disc, this will still be a great purchase for fans looking to reminisce about the classic games.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Charles Szczygiel. Last modified on August 1, 2012.