Antipyretic, Final Fantasy Tactics
The Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack is underrated and has some of the most well composed scores in the series. If you’ve never listened to the tracks (or played the game at all) you’re missing out.
Antipyretic is iconic in the Final Fantasy Tactics universe because of the battles in which it plays. As soon as you hear this track, you know that this enemy is important and is going to impact the story in a big way. The time changes are cohesive and dramatic, and the orchestrated version featured in Dissidia Final Fantasy AC will give you chills.
This post was originally written by Katrina Convey.
One-Winged Angel, Final Fantasy VII
Are you shocked this is on the list? I didn’t think so.
Whether you’re a veteran Final Fantasy fan or new to the series, you know who Sephiroth is, and you’ve likely heard this truly menacing piece. You no doubt imagine the iconic silver-haired, Masamune wielding villain standing amidst the flames of Nibelhiem whenever you hear the opening staccato. Square-Enix (Squaresoft at the time) pushed the limits of the PlayStation with this score, and its burned a lasting hole in our memories.
The score has seen a number of reworks to fit into the gigantic cash cow that is Final Fantasy VII. Most notably is the Advent Children score that got our blood pumping as we discovered the reason for the Reunion, as well as Kadaj’s true identity.
To Zanarkand, Final Fantasy X
Another iconic piece, To Zanarkand’s graceful, melancholy piano carried us away into a new era of Final Fantasy. As the first Final Fantasy to be released on the PS2, the game had to make an impression, and it did so in a big way.
We all have the memory of booting up the game for the first time and watching in awe as Tidus stood looking over the ruins of his home. Immediately, you understand that this story is going to carry some serious weight. This score and its accompanying scene make the perfect set-up for what is considered one of the best games in the franchise.
Clash on the Big Bridge, Final Fantasy V
Gilgamesh is recurring fan favorite character, and his battle theme is undoubtedly one of the more widely respected scores in the series. This is a fast-paced score that creates urgency and tension with its running bass line and brassy eighth and sixteenth notes. Oddly enough, the piece also works for the in-game dialogue that occurs during the fight without it seeming obtrusive or out of place.
Clash on the Big Bridge did receive a remade score with the release of Final Fantasy XII due to Gilgamesh’s appearance as an elite mark for Clan Centurio as well as one in Final Fantasy XIV. Perhaps, (and we’re secretly hoping) the composition will see another overhaul with the release of Final Fantasy XV’s DLC, Episode Gladiolus.
You’re Not Alone, Final Fantasy IX
The opening synth chords of this piece instantly give the player a sense of something deep. When you enter the scene in complete darkness you get a sense of foreboding. You know something is off. Then the guitar comes in and only adds to the desperation and despair that’s already hanging in the atmosphere. There is a metric ton of music theory and interpretation we could get into with this track, but we’ll spare you the nitty gritty details and leave you with this:
Keep in mind how the track starts off with only the background chords and relatively simplistic melody. Zidane feels completely alone at this point in the game. How could anyone possibly understand how he feels? Then take note of how suddenly there are more chords, a chorus, and a whole new melody pushing the old one aside. This could be a representation of how his friends (your other party members) remind him that they’ve all been in his position, and he has never left them alone. See? Full circle.
Now go listen to this song on repeat.
Man With a Machine Gun, Final Fantasy VIII
When you first hear this song, it can take you aback. When this track came along you knew you were about to start getting into the real meat of the story.
Laguna’s portion of the story take place during the war on Esthar, a city that utilizes advanced technology (fitting for the cool synths that carry the melody). He’s a bit unconventional and rather naïve, yet somehow he manages to stay upbeat, much like the score. The title fits perfectly to his character, the man with a machine gun.
Also if you’ve never listened to this song whilst doing cardio, you are missing out. It gets an A+ for motivation.
Terra’s Theme, Final Fantasy VI
Imagine you’re traversing the snowy mountains in a strange mech, unknowing of what’s about to happen to you or where the road will take you, but you know that you have a purpose. It’s only a matter of finding it. That is this song.
The opening, and consequently the main character’s theme, is iconic in its composition for the way it introduces the player to the game. You know nothing. You don’t even know your character’s name, just that you’re on a journey to do a thing. A whimsical flute carries the melody, and it isn’t particularly an upbeat score, which is rather fitting for the overall tone of the game.
Theme of Love, Final Fantasy IV
Overall, the scene is beautiful. There isn’t anything particularly pivotal about it, but it’s a nicely done introspective look into many things at one, such as the nature of Cecil and Rosa’s relationship and Cecil’s wavering faith in both the king he has sworn his life to and himself.
The harps right in the beginning of this track are simply divine and immediately sets a dreamy tone. The violin that follows suit is passionate and does a splendid job of depicting the love between Cecil and Rosa. She is so sure that Cecil is a good man despite carrying out orders he shouldn’t have, and Cecil doubting the good in his heart really brings out the underlying lament and desperation in the score.
Prelude, Final Fantasy
The classic. The original. The one that has been remade upwards of ten times in the last 30 years. This is Final Fantasy and everything it represents as a franchise. What can we even say about this piece?
Over the years this score has earned the alternate title of ‘The Crystal Theme.’ It makes sense given the mystical and fantastical tone. The Prelude has appeared in every mainstream game in some fashion as has become a symbol of nostalgia for Final Fantasy fans.
Celes’s Theme, Final Fantasy VI
A fan favorite, this score has brought tears to many with its moving melody over cellos and violins. Despite the game’s events at this point, where everything seems hopeless and the world is plummeting into darkness as it’s torn apart, this piece still manages to bring out a lone strength that is extremely telling to Celes’s character.
Whether you manage to save Cid and get off of the island, and thus back to the rest of your party, or not, the music is somehow able to fit both outcomes. It truly speaks to the talents of the composers as well as the directors. It’s not every day a piece can represent both life and death, but this one does it flawlessly.
It’s almost impossible to pick just ten, as there are way more than ten amazing songs in the Final Fantasy franchise. Here are some others that could have totally made the cut.
What are you favorite Final Fantasy themes and songs? Let us know in the comments.
Aerith’s Theme, Final Fantasy VII
Blinded By Light, Final Fantasy XIII
Sunleth Waterscape, Final Fantasy XIII
Otherworld, Final Fantasy X
LUNA, Final Fantasy XV
Liberi Fatali, Final Fantasy VIII
The Sanctuary of Zi’Tah, Final Fantasy XI
A Realm of Emptiness, Final Fantasy XI
A Light in the Storm, Final Fantasy XIV