Friday, 25 January 2013

Lost in the Music: Pokemon Retrospective Part 3

I remember back in 1998 when this strange new craze began sweeping the world. This new game breathed new life into Nintendo's hand-held system, allowing it to dominate the portable gaming market for years to come. It also started the trend of raising and sharing creatures. This game was an important brick in my childhood gaming. I am of course talking about the Pokemon series. I will be talking about the core series this week, not the Pokemon Ranger series or the remakes.


Gen III of the Pokemon Series is somewhat considered the black sheep of the main series. For many of people, they considered dropping the series all together, or at least until Gen IV came along. I myself skipped this generation entirely due to issues at the time. It wouldn't be until later that I would get a chance to play the series. I am glad I got a chance to play the generation because they made several improvements to the game engine and made several editions to add to the experience.

But what about the music. Before I played Gen III, I never had a chance to hear any of the soundtrack so I went into the series not expecting anything. The Gen II music had faded from memory so I couldn't recall if I had enjoyed the music or not. Starting up the screen I was treated to something different then the usual Pokemon title track. Like Gen II, the song was a variation on the original, but this one went for more in depth. They had made a new song, and in the middle they integrated the original soundtrack, brought to (then) modern standards. Listening to it now, it has aged fairly decently in comparison to the first two games. The downside is that sadly there isn't the same nostalgia factor to this when compared to the previous games. I don't have many fond memories of the game like I did with Gen I.

Going through the soundtrack, I can tell that Game Freak were utilizing the Gameboy Advance sound card to its fullest extent. The music has far more depth to it, thanks to the advanced (no pun intended) sound system. The fighting music in general feels far more energetic then it's previous game. I am aware of the limitations of the original system so I am taking system limitation into account.

While listening to the tracks, it seems to me that the music seems to be reusing tracks from the older games. I know with the title, they built a whole new song around the original track, but for some of the battle music, they seem to borrow some elements from Gen I and II. It could just be me, but I do hear some examples to the older music, which is fine. I have no issue with any company borrowing soundtracks from their older games to implement into the new games. It's a great way to tie the old games with the new ones, even if it is superficial.

Continuing on in the Gen III line was the remake of the Gen I Pokemon games. Seeing as it was built on the same engine as Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, the game was given more then a visual improvement. Everything from gameplay to the music was redone and hearing the Gen I music using the Gen III engine is a little jarring to say the least. It isn't bad per se, but if you had grown up with the originals, you might think it is out of place. However, if you were too young for the originals, then you may find it superior. I personally prefer the originals, as the remakes sound a bit too busy for my liking. Again, it's about preference and if you like the new ones, by all means enjoy it.

The Gen III games rekindled my love for the music from the franchise. When the team were working on this series, they obviously didn't want to make the same mistakes as before so they crafted all new music. The rival is once again a silly tune designed for friends instead of a boring and somewhat annoying tune intended for a jerk. The fighting music is energetic and fun to listen to. Like Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal, they scaled back on the music presented, but still added new music to accompany the new activities.

This is DaimoMac and I am lost in the music.

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