Sunday, March 27, 2016

Top 5 Pokémon Battle Themes

Welcome to my list of the Top 5 Pokémon Battle Themes! Let's just state straight away that this list is wholly subjective, biased and completely unprofessional. It also focuses on the battle themes from the main series games, so no anime or spin-off games. Many tunes are simply remixes of older versions but are for this list treated as their own entry which means I've picked the one I prefer. I can say there isn't really any battle theme in the Pokémon series I don't like, so choosing only five for this was actually not an easy task. Overall I feel like the OST for the Poksémon game series is among the strongest game OSTs out there, mostly because they continously hold a high standard and there are just very few outright weak tunes (I can't actually think of one off the top of my head).
Hope you enjoy!

First pokémon many saw and owned -

5. Wild Battle from Red/Blue/Yellow
Not only is this the very first battle tune that was ever heard in any Pokémon game, it's also a damn good one. I love how it makes you feel like it's serious business whether you fight those damn Rattata or a much cooler Scyther. The background baseline implies that you need to give the situation some thought while the high-pitched tune urges you on. It definitely makes all those battles against Zubats a lot less horrible, and makes a good job at not outstaying its welcome. That is no easy feat for a tune heard so often and it requires quite a lot of skill to make it interesting enough to keep your adrenaline going for even the most mundane battles without grating on your patience.

4. Gym/Elite 4 Battle from Fire Red/Leaf Green
This tune starts out so brilliantly, immediately letting you know "ok brace yourself, you're in for a hell of a fight". Eventhough it gives you time to breath and feel like you've got time to think tactically, it keeps up its pace and sense of danger. Overall the pacing is great in this tune, going so smoothly from thrilling to slightly slower and more swaying bits like its nothing, you barely even notice it before you're back in the action again. It really says "ready or not, here I come", which suits this one-on-one tune perfectly.

Don't bring a camel to a shark battle -

3. Maxie & Archie Battle from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
It's something about those trumpets, or whatever instrument it's trying to immitate, that makes this tune manage to balance on the edge of bombastic without tipping over onto pathetic. I love how it's fairly simplistic and in a way generic but I can still listen to it over and over without getting bored. It has all the elements needed for a good boss tune - a cool, slick, crispness, like it doesn't need to do more to make you shit bricks in the presence of these leaders. It only adds to their personality and makes you feel all the more awesome when or if you beat them.

2. Trainer Battle from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
It was so close between this one and the trainer battle theme from Fire Red and Leaf Green. I love the arrangement of this tune, it feels like so much thought went into where each part goes and what it does to the feeling of the battle. Listening to it it's easy to imagine two Pokémon duking it out, first flailing wildly, backing off to take a breather, scrutinizing eachother and then at it again. It's a tune that tells a story and it's cleverly balanced so that it will enhance whatever happens in your battle. It takes real skill to be able to write a tune that sounds like it was made exactly to fit the specific battle you're in and still be generic enough to actually fit any.

Must need a lot of wax -

1. Lysandre Battle from X&Y
This is almost in a league of its own. If you have a playlist of Pokémon tunes and this comes on, not only do you get a bit of a shock at its absolute awesomeness, but my first thought was "wait a minute, is this from Pokémon?". It's such a short part of the entirety of the game that the tune doesn't get anywhere near the exposure it deserves and so it would be easily forgotten if it wasn't for the fact that it is the best of them all. What I really love about this tune is that it could fit pretty much any boss in any RPG and do it justice. Just as with Maxie and Archie's theme, it's fairly simple in its layout, especially compared to some other battle themes in the series. But it immediately grips you and just doesn't let go. And when you've heard it once you're not even sure what just happened and you want to hear it again. And again. It's simply a beautifully composed tune.


  1. Whaaaaaa? A top music list from Pokémon and Cynthia's battle theme is missing? Cynthia's intro theme (piano piece) was also fantastic, but her combat music was amazing juxtaposition to what is probably one of the most difficult trainers to beat in any Pokémon game.

    Seriously, the level of panic it induced when I ran into her vacationing in a later game and her theme cropped up as she challenged me to battle, chills. Not to mention it's a driving piece all around.

    Still pretty good choices I'll wager. If you like the gym battle theme from Red/Green/Blue you should check out the Pokéfloats remix from Smash Brothers. An amazing take on the theme IMHO.

    1. Ah yeah Cynthias theme is very popular, and rightfully so! It was definitely on my list of contenders, but was scratched mostly because I don't have a personal/nostalgic connection to it. Eventhough I played Pearl I don't remember much of it (same reason there aren't any tunes from Gold/Silver, I never played those when they were current).
      Thanks for the music tip, they're always welcome! I will check it out :)