Ending B

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Final Fantasy Retrospective - Music

by Craig Olsen

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've had Final Fantasy on the brain for a while, and one thing that I absolutely love love about the series is the music. Up until the more recent titles (aka FF12), the music has been composed by Nobuo Uematsu, and, despite what I think about each game, I loved the soundtrack for each one.

Here are the rules that I set forth for not only this part of the retrospective, but as a whole as well.
1.) When talking about the best and worst aspects of the series, one part will be chosen per game to explore. So, for the music retrospective, one song will be selected from each game.
2.) Unless stated otherwise, only the games in the main series will be analyzed. AKA, Final Fantasy 1-10 & 12. The main reason Final Fantasy 11 is not a part these lists is because I strongly believe that MMORPGs cannot and should not be compared using the same criteria as console games. They are two almost completely different things.
3.) If a list we create states "Best or Worst of," then the order is that of preference (least liked to most liked). In others, such as this one, the order is simply chronological.

Sound fair? Okay!

Final Fantasy I: Corneria/Cornelia Castle

The theme to "Coneria Castle" in FF1 is a calm serene piece of music. True, it is the same motif in repetition, but you have to keep in mind this was originally written for the NES, so they didn't have the space to write something too complicated. This particular version is from the Playstation remake, and I think it has more of a Medieval feeling.

Final Fantasy II: Rebel Army

The "Rebel Army" theme has a regal feeling to it. It's a theme that also says, "I'm ready to go kill some goblins for the sake of the world!" What? You don't think the same thing?

Final Fantasy III: Dark Cloud

Not only a cool final boss theme, but (possibly) the first in the series. It's got a sense of urgency along with an awesome percussion line.

Final Fantasy IV: Main Theme

This one was a tough choice. It was between the "Main Theme", "Zeromus", and the "Boss Theme". The "Main Theme" ending up winning because... well, listen to it. It's beautiful. The theme is also used in a few different places, making it fairly versatile. It can sound bright, dark, otherworldly, and/or tragic.

Final Fantasy V: FINAL FANTASY

Yes, yes, I know. This theme is in almost every game in the series. But, you know, FF5 did it the best. The theme is played at the end, when a certain character reminisces about the game's tragic event (that's right, no spoilers here!). This melancholy, yet uplifting version, has the power to touch your soul. Oh, and speaking of which...

Final Fantasy VI: Celes's Theme

Again, this was another tough one. FF6 has a beautiful soundtrack, one of the best in the series. "Terra's Theme" is beautiful, and so is "Relm's Theme" and "Aria de Mezzo Carattere." "Locke's Theme" is cool as well, and "Dancing Mad" is a parade of awesome. So, why does "Celes's Theme," (not Aria de Mezzo Carattere), win? Because this song is only played once in the whole game (twice if you suck at feeding Cid fish). You can feel the hurt, betrayal, and sadness that consumes Celes during this song.

Final Fantasy VII: J-E-N-O-V-A

Okay, enough of the touching crap, let's get to some ass-kicking. FF7 is another game with a beautiful soundtrack with memorable tracks such as "Aeris's Theme" and "One-Winged Angel." "J-E-N-O-V-A" wins out, however, because of the unexpected way it's sprung on the player. When I first heard that theme and saw Jenova towering over Cloud, Aeris, and Tifa, I thought, "Well, I'm about to get a Game Over."

Final Fantasy VIII: Liberi Fatali

Though players had heard vocals before in FF7's "One Winged Angel," but this was the first time we heard them with an orchestra behind it. What resulted was an opening theme so kick ass that it tricked me into thinking that the game was good. Oops, did I actually write that? Uh... moving on... Though it's not my favorite game in the series, Final Fantasy 8 has, what I consider, the best soundtrack in the series. "Balamb Garden," "Fisherman's Horizon," and "Eyes on Me" are just some of the other high lights of this wonderful collection of music.

Final Fantasy IX: Melodies of Life

Much like the "Main Theme" from FF4, "Melodies of Life" is prevalent through the entire game. Explorative, tragic, and uplifting, it has the ability to alter itself to fit the mood of the story. The final version with vocals plays during the credits, and it's the perfect song to end the game.

Final Fantasy X: To Zanarkand

Probably the most understated score on the list, "To Zanarkand" is an ethereal piano solo that sets a foreboding feeling to FFX. It truly sounds like your watching a group of people walk into a hopeless situation, a prevalent story theme through the game.

Final Fantasy XII: The Boss Theme

Minus the theme song that was written by Uematsu an about 9 tracks written by other compossers, FF12's music was primarily written by Hitoshi Sakimoto. In all honesty, I didn't like the soundtrack of 12 (among other things) as much as the other games, but I did enjoy the "Boss Theme" because it reminded be of battle scenes from movies. Still, overall, I found the soundtrack to be very "meh."

That's all for this part of the Ending B Final Fantasy Retrospective. Stop by again for some more later!