Bard Banter – Favorites From Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum
Bard Banter is a series which highlights great music found within the best genre of all – the RPG.
My love for the Pokemon series may or may not be known by now (and if it’s not, then I really love Pokemon). Specifically, Hoenn and Sinnoh are my favorite regions when it comes to the games in general. With Pokemon Day fast approaching this week and expectations for a Sinnoh remake to be announced, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the soundtrack.
If there was a sound that I would attribute best to the Sinnoh games, it would be the synthesizer (and the piano — can’t forget the piano!). Of course, I’m sure all of the games use a synthesizer to create most of the tracks, but the distinct sound from Sinnoh can’t be mistaken for any other Pokemon game (just like the horns from Hoenn games). It brings a lot of character to the games and blends in well with the atmosphere of the region, both the old surrounding the lore of the region, as well as the new with the futuristic Team Galactic.
The work of Juichi Matsuda, Hitomi Sato, Satoshi Nohara, and Go Ichinose can’t be understated. They captured the feeling of Sinnoh with this OST and created many memorable tracks, some of which I will go into a bit more detail about. Please keep in mind that I am not a musically-inclined person, so any technical terms are going to be lacking/missing. With that, I do hope that I can convey my feelings for this generation and how much excitement this OST instills in me.
This song brings about a feeling of nostalgia for me personally. Given that this theme first appears in the beginning of the Sinnoh games, it makes sense why it would leave such an impact on me after multiple replays. The beautiful piano leaves a feeling of wonder, yet mystery as you wander into your first encounter with one of the legendaries of this region.
Being the last region with a Game Corner, looking back at this time brings back a sad feeling. The funky vibe of the synth, when you truly think about it, almost seems out of place with the rest of the OST from the Sinnoh games when you first hear it. It’s the type of song that you’d expect from a futuristic game during a driving sequence, but is nonetheless effective here.
As a big fan of detective stories, Looker was, in my opinion, one of the best characters to have been added to the Pokemon series. This track is best described as a stereotypical detective theme that you would have heard back in the days. It has almost an 70s/80s feel (I suppose perhaps jazz noir, but much more upbeat?), and for how outrageous of a character Looker is in the game, this theme is perfect for him.
Team Galactic Commander Battle
In my personal opinion, Team Galactic has the best music of all of the team themes (although Team Plasma was close). Of course, the team battles all tend to follow the same general song beats (it’s more noticeable when listening back to back). However, that Sinnoh touch took a familiar theme and twisted it into something truly unique.
Opinions on these legendaries aside, the theme song for these three is one of the best legendary themes in the game. The strange drums, the synth, and what feels like 20 other different sounds all tie together into a strange, yet exciting mess. As you continue to listen to the theme, something new keeps coming out every few seconds, and when you think it can’t possibly add anything more, something else appears. Perhaps for some people, it would seem like too much, but for me, it’s fun and exciting.
Truly a theme worthy of the climax of the game. Loud, booming drums, the sound of wind as the song continues on, along with the haunting synth sound chosen for this track lets the player know that this is a site of importance. It doesn’t increase in intensity compared to other tracks, yet the impact left behind is so much more. Less is truly more in some cases, and this is one such instance.
Champion Cynthia’s Theme
Quite the sudden left turn compared to the rest of the themes on this list. Purely a piano sounding theme, it is very fitting for the champion Cynthia. Elegant and intense, this song prepares you for the upcoming challenge. It is a battle to be taken seriously, yet is not meant to scare you away.
Champion Cynthia’s Battle
And of course, the synth, piano, and drums are at full force with this song. It’s a nice mixture of the major hard-hitting sounds of the Sinnoh OST and what one should expect in general. While not sounding too different from the other major battle themes, Cynthia’s Battle theme is quite impactful.
The Giratina theme from the Platinum games is another great legendary theme because they encompass the strangeness of the Pokemon the best. There are a lot of strange sounds happening with this theme: intense guitar riffs, our favorite weird synth noises, fast-paced drums, loud booming drums, and so much more. It is a theme fitting of the flagship Pokemon of Platinum.
When going through all of the songs, there were so many more that I wanted to talk about because truly, this generation has a lot of great songs. But which Pokemon theme from the Sinnoh games was your favorite? Was there a track that I didn’t mention that is just as great? Let me know!