Riviera ~The Promised Land~ Perfect Audio Collection Plus
Let me start off by if you were ever a big fan of the music in the Dept. Heaven series, then do yourself a favor and go get Riviera ~The Promised Land~ Perfect Audio Collection Plus right now. This compilation consists of three disks each with the same soundtrack, but from different versions of the game. It includes the Game Boy Advance, Wonder Swan, and PSP versions all composed by Minako Adachi and Shigeki Hayashi. It's a very historical soundtrack in a sense. Despite this being the definitive version of this soundtrack, we'll look at if it's worth the listen just for that. Body
For all the systems that this game encompasses, the Game Boy Advance version stands out the most for its system capabilities. It's surprisingly lush for GBA music, but I wouldn't go so far to say it is top of the line when it comes to lushness. Many people, including myself, don't settle for 16-bit music though, which is a bit of a shame as the music team seemed to put the most effort into the GBA music. I'm sure some will love it though, and it's nice there are still other quality options for those who don't.
Unless you are a fan of chip-tune sounding music in the long run, you will probably be listening to the PSP version for the most part. The WonderSwan Color version would be greatly satisfying for those who are fans of 8-bit music. It's also great to hear how this music started off. Though this was the first game in the series and it started on the WonderSwan Color, it's amazing how the core compositions of Riviera surpass in the sequel soundtracks so easily. A lot of the WonderSwan color compositions are underdeveloped compared to the PSP version, but what would you expect? I have no objections of this disc being here. If you don't like 8-bit music, then it will still be a fun little bonus CD to listen to once.
Obviously the tracks themselves are extremely important. A lot of the music is in that RPG dungeon genre but I'm sure anyone considering picking this up would know that though. It's easy to tell which tracks are great in that the core essence of those tracks works with each disc. "Elendia, The Forest Spirits" is very magical no matter what version you are listening too. I end up settling for the more orchestral PSP version in the long run, but that's just my personal preference. It gives off a feeling of swiftly floating through a forest full of glowing fantastical flowers and what have you. Once I started listening more to the PSP version, it all kind of reminded me of a mix between Castlevania and Phantasy Star music. This was especially true for tracks like "Yggdrasil" or "Tetyth, the Underwater City".
It's interesting to hear that there was electric guitar brought to the PSP version in tracks that nice had a hint of electric guitar. It's only in a few tracks like "Battle With the Evil Family" or "The Last Battle", but I don't think the guitar does too much. It brings a bit of extra energy, but also takes away some magic. There is actually an exclusive track on the PSP disc called "Four Seasons Wandering in the Lost Forest". It's lacking energy, but it's still a pretty and haunting track.
This soundtrack is a great showcase of these three great musical feats recreated through out the years. The PSP version seems a little less impressive according to the times, but the arrangements are still great. It's fun to hear the evolution of the tracks, or just listen to them on their own. There's nowhere else you can get the GBA and WSC soundtracks, so it isn't like this is a rehash album either. If you a fan, you will love it. If you aren't a fan, this is the best and most historical intro to Minako Adachi and Shigeki Hayashi music that could possibly be offered.
Minako Adachi (Pure Sound) - (CD1: 1-19, 21, 23-26, CD2: 1-19, 21, 23-26, CD3: 1-36)
Shigeki Hayashi (STING) - (CD1: 20, 37, 38, CD2: 20, 22, 37)
Minako Adachi (Pure Sound) - (CD1: 20, 22, 37)