Whilst reviewing and playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (which hits Nintendo 3DS today), I found myself enjoying the music of Final Fantasy more than I had done in a long time. I adore the music from the likes of Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu and more and for me, Theatrhythm was a way to celebrate this music like was never possible before. So I sat down and thought about writing a feature to celebrate the series’ incredible music. The best songs? Too predictable. Lesser known songs? Better, but still a tad predictable.
Then it hit me. Why not celebrate the music that has paid homage to the series’ incredible legacy by creating variations of music from the series? From remakes of the songs in sequels or spin-offs, to covers from YouTube stars, Final Fantasy remixes and remasters are prevalent enough so here we go. Below I list just a few personal highlights that cover songs from the history of Final Fantasy. Give them all a listen, they’re all fantastic.
Still More Fighting – Final Fantasy VII
Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
For many, the music of Final Fantasy VII is the most recogisable in the series. The likes of Aeris’ Theme and One Winged Angel are among the most iconic video game songs ever, let alone in Final Fantasy’s history, but when it comes to those songs, remixes and remasters are everywhere. So I picked a track from PSP prequel title Crisis Core, a reworking of Final Fantasy VII’s Boss Battle Theme. A loud, brash, metal remix, it doesn’t stray too far from the source material but it’s the sort of track you’d expect Square Enix to whip up were the Final Fantasy VII remake many are pining for to see the light of day. You can easily picture something epic happening and it’s a fantastic reimagining of the original song.
Battle Theme – Final Fantasy IX
Itadaki Street Special Original Soundtrack
Itadaki Street is an unusual inclusion in this list as it’s until very recently been a series only ever released in Japan. A board-game-centric crossover between Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Itadaki Street has some surprising gems hidden away at its core and this reworking of the battle theme from Final Fantasy IX is as good as you’ll find. Whilst Final Fantasy IX had a fantastic soundtrack, it never seems to be appreciated as much as the series’ other entries. Here we have a strong orchestral rendition of the battle theme which again doesn’t stray too far from the original source but adds enough to feel epic and enjoyable. Unfortunately, you’ll have to play on a Japanese PS2 if you want to hear the song in its original state but it’s still worth mentioning here.
To Zanarkand – Final Fantasy X
Original Composition – FamilyJules7X
For me personally, I’ve been a fan of FamilyJules7X on YouTube for a long time. Every Tuesday, Jules uploads a new guitar cover centred on a piece of video game music or even a medley but to date, he’s only actually done two for Final Fantasy. For his cover of To Zanarkand, Jules starts off by emulating the original song’s soulful piano keys with a classical guitar before ramping it up with his trademark heavy guitar riffs. It’s not a song you imagine working particularly well with loud, brash instrumentation but Jules pulls it off with aplomb. If this is your first time checking out his work, I urge you to check out the other songs he’s done and give him a subscribe.
Battle on The Big Bridge – Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy XIII-2 Gilgamesh DLC
I’ll make a rather embarassing admission here. When I first downloaded the Gilgamesh Coliseum DLC for Final Fantasy XIII-2, I played custom music so as to mute the game’s original music with plans to edit a video later. So imagine my surprise when watching someone else’s video for the battle that I heard this song. Battle on The Big Bridge is a tune that has seen no shortage of covers but this one’s an interesting take on the original. Featuring a distinctly eastern styling, it still manages to sound suitably epic for a massive battle whilst adding something new to the mix. Throw in a strong percussion track and the occasional loud guitar and you’ve got a brilliant reworking of one the series’ most loved songs.
Find Your Way – Final Fantasy VIII
Dissida 012 Original Soundtrack
For this song, I opted for something a little quieter and less-known than the above sources. For me, Final Fantasy VIII has always had the best soundtrack from the PlayStation Final Fantasy era and its music often doesn’t receive the same level of love that Final Fantasy VII’s does. This particular song doesn’t deviate a great deal from the original source but reworks it enough to sound original and interesting. Having not actually played Dissidia 012 myself, I couldn’t possible comment on the song’s use within the game but it’s a good reworking.
Terra – Final Fantasy VI
Original composition by Jeremy Soule for OCRemix
To finish, I’ve picked perhaps the most interesting song I’ve heard outside of the original soundtracks. Whilst browsing OCRemix’s music, I noticed a remix for a Skyrim song. I clicked on that and saw Jeremy Soule’s name crop up. This wasn’t a shock, I knew that he was the man behind Skyrim’s incredible soundtrack but imagine my surprise when I spotted that he’d contributed a solitary song to the remix site – a rendition of Terra from Final Fantasy VI. Hopefully you’re listening to the songs whilst reading my ramblings so I don’t really need to tell you how fantastic a job Soule did on this track. Considering this was likely done in his spare time and completely by use of PC software, it sounds incredible. If Soule were to be named as Final Fantasy composer tomorrow, I doubt anyone would complain.
That concludes a look at some Final Fantasy reworkings you might not be familiar with. Some are mere covers, made again for another game’s audeince, others simply made by regular Joes on YouTube. The Final Fantasy series has always had incredible music in-game and it’s amazing to see how far others can take the legendary series’ legendary songs.
If you own a 3DS and have yet to invest in Theatrhythm, you owe it to this fantastic series and the likes of Nobuo Uematsu. It’s a fantastic celebration of the music and an enjoyable rhythm title to boot.