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Ashley Winchester Mar 29, 2017 (edited Mar 29, 2017)

I ordered a few more Final Fantasy soundtracks today and couldn't help but focus on this one omission:

AW's Final Fantasy OSTs:
Final Fantasy I & II (Remakes)
----------------------
Final Fantasy IV
Final Fantasy V
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

I'm not entirely sure why, but I don't have III and - to be honest - I don't feel a real need to obtain it. I do like some tracks in three (namely "Battle 2") but I don't feel strongly about the NES or DS music either way. Is that weird? I mean I like II and V even though they didn't come out in America immediately.

Is there a gap in the FF albums you like/own? Is there a gap in any make-shift collection of VGM you have?

Edit:

I should probably mention I didn't buy all those albums all at once. I had most of them already, I just filled in the gaps with what I picked up.

FuryofFrog Mar 30, 2017

Personally I quite like the FF3 OST though I can see why it is a non essential item for you. The tracks are not particularly memorable, with the stand out track for me being the Pavillon of Doga and Une.

I personally own all of the main line FF soundtracks except for 11 and 14. I own zero of the Plus albums and Piano Collections. 13-1 and 13-2 I have but no Lightning Returns.

The main omissions in my collection is

THE KING OF SOUNDTRACKS '94-XIII DISC V
http://vgmdb.net/album/31774
It has all the themes for the DLC characters for KoF XIII and was only given out at a local SoCal tourney. I own all the Fatal Fury/Art of Fighting/King of Fighters stuff otherwise but this one has eluded me for a long time.

The other big one is the CastleVania Order of Ecclesia soundtrack. I have all the important CV releases otherwise but since this was a bonus Japanese pre-order pack in I lost my chance at this guy forever.

Ah! I am missing the orchestral Dragon Quest VIII as well.


Going back to Square stuff, I hate their new releases on Blu-Ray. They make it so that I intentionally won't collect the album to listen to.

TerraEpon Mar 30, 2017

DQVIII is the only orchestral mainline DQ i'm missing as well, because I refused to buy a 2CD set that easily could have fit on a single CD if they took out the redundant (compared to DQ as a whole) DQIV track.

longhairmike Mar 30, 2017

i could tolerate the 8 bit ff3 ost,,, and then i played through the craptastic DS remake and grew to completely despise it

Ramza Apr 1, 2017

While I *have owned* all the FF OSTs at some point, there are many I have sold since.

I think I've owned the FF3 (NES/Famicom) OST twice, and the DS one once. Presently I own none of them.

But I do own the FF3 arranged album, the one with all the narrating and singing (Roaming Sheep is still a favorite!)

For me, the FF3 NES soundtrack is something I'd sooner own over FFI&II. The FF3 tracks on Piano Opera FFI-II-III (which I've also kept) are easily some of my favorite Uematsu compositions. The FF3 overworld music *and* the Boundless Ocean are probably in a top 20 individual tracks written by Uematsu, for me. The underground cave / dungeon music is probably in the top 30.

I love FF3. I love the game and I love the music. I just happen to love other FFs more, because Uematsu grew as a composer, and the games got progressively better over time (generally ... I'm not going to attempt a ranking here).

My personal opinion? If you're gonna own Mystic Quest OST (good choice, good find!), which I imagine cost a fair bit, may as well go for the FFIII OST. If you're feeling nostalgic, try and get the original print, N23D-002. Digipak for the win.

Ramza Apr 1, 2017

TerraEpon wrote:

DQVIII is the only orchestral mainline DQ i'm missing as well, because I refused to buy a 2CD set that easily could have fit on a single CD if they took out the redundant (compared to DQ as a whole) DQIV track.

I'm a proud owner of the DQ I~IX set (Tokyo Metropolitan), which I know some people can't stand because of the track layout. But it saved me the trouble of having to hunt down the Symphonic Suites individually, *and* have to decide for myself which recording(s) I'd want for the older titles.

Of course, that did leave me to have to buy DQX Symphonic Suite separately. I haven't bought the OST(s) though.

I'm interested in seeing if Sugiyama has some wild flash of inspiration for DQXI. I'm not expecting anything special. But I'm open to being surprised. smile

GoldfishX Apr 1, 2017

I don't want to start a theme of crapping on FF3, but I do think of the "old-school" Final Fantasy soundtracks, it is one of the most inconsistent, if not the weakest (although I never felt a strong affinity for II either). There are about 10-15 tracks that stand out with that classic Uematsu touch, but filler on the NES is pretty easy to spot. I picked it up recently strictly because it was a bargain. The 3DS version though, I thought was just bad from start to finish. The synth is horrendous (in contrast, I loved the FFIV DS soundtrack and it peacefully co-exists with the original). I do want to stress though...the GOOD tracks of FF3 are excellent.

FF music effectively ends for me after FFX and the series has largely felt foreign to me since then. Occasionally, I'll dabble in something related to the series (such as World of Final Fantasy, which is the side of Hamauzu I would have liked to have seen, instead of what he did on the XIII games and XIV, which I find generally good, but for some reason, seems to lack staying power). Oddly, one I think is worthy of a second opinion is Dirge of Cerberus. Obviously it requires a totally different mindset than vintage FF or even FFX, but the thing works. I think it manages to be cinematic without losing that "gamey", melodic edge to it (Counteroffensive immediately sticks out).

But yeah...FFIV through FFVII...Give me those on a desert island please.

As for Dragon Quest, for whatever reason, VI just didn't do ANYTHING for me (and that's doubly bad, since I played the hell out of VI when it was finally released. Usually I can soak up an entire Suite from start to finish, but I flipped a lot of tracks on this and I only highlighted about 3 tracks (the town medley was worth highlighting). Admittedly though, I have yet to hear a suite past DQ7. 

And since we're talking about gaping holes in VGM...I love the Konami Battle albums, but I think they dropped the ball on the Snatcher Battle album. Snatcher has some amazing tracks and some amazing arranged albums, but the Battle album is not one of them. It's just flat, unexciting, poorly recorded...Bleh! I'm keeping my copy for completionist's sake, but I'm done trying to like this one.

Ashley Winchester Apr 1, 2017 (edited Apr 1, 2017)

GoldfishX wrote:

FF music effectively ends for me after FFX

The above list of mine probably made it clear, but yeah, X is my stopping point game and music wise.

I still think making 11 part of the numbered continuity was a bad idea because it broke my immersion with the series with a kind of game I had little interest in. I had no issue with making an online FF, I just wish it was named FF Online or something.

Edit:

GoldfishX wrote:

(although I never felt a strong affinity for II either).

There are some rather significant sections of FFII I dig. For example, I think the difference (contrast) between the Empire and Rebel Army's theme is really well done.

Remember, Kingdoms are good, Empires are bad.

GoldfishX Apr 2, 2017

Mizuta has just never impressed me in any way, shape or form. 90% of the music I hear from him, I need to flip to something else after about 30 seconds. I honestly gave XI a fair chance (I was surprised how much I ended up liking X and I did originally buy the XI soundtrack, as a result of said pleasant surprise), but it was too repetitive and bland. While there were some Uematsu moments in the past I was less than thrilled with, that was the first outright FF music stinker I had come across and an enormous drop off in quality. It almost prepared me for what was to come later from Takeharu Ishimoto (which was literally so bad, I had to step away and re-assess why I was listening to VGM in the first place).

My solution...I just pretend Crystal Chronicles is the "real" FFXI soundtrack and I'm good to go. I'm not a huge Tanioka fan, but she did a good job overall on that one. In retrospect, it's easier to appreciate nowadays because of the "medievil" fantasy feel it has to it.

Ashley Winchester Apr 2, 2017

GoldfishX wrote:

Mizuta has just never impressed me in any way,

I like what he did for 4 Heroes, but beyond that I just like a track here and there.

Adam Corn Apr 2, 2017

I don't think I've ever listened to the full FFIII OST itself but just listening to the various FF arranged albums there's no doubting it has some great themes. That airship theme track on SQ Chips is great ("Are you readyyy" vocal samples and all).

Ramza wrote:

But I do own the FF3 arranged album, the one with all the narrating and singing (Roaming Sheep is still a favorite!)

The synth instrumentation in that album (FFIII Eternal Legend of the Wind) hasn't aged well for me but yeah, Roaming Sheep is beautiful.

GoldfishX wrote:

As for Dragon Quest, for whatever reason, VI just didn't do ANYTHING for me (and that's doubly bad, since I played the hell out of VI when it was finally released. Usually I can soak up an entire Suite from start to finish, but I flipped a lot of tracks on this and I only highlighted about 3 tracks

Which recording did you listen to for that one? I first got the London Philharmonic one and like you the score didn't do much for me. Then a year or two later I heard the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra one and suddenly found myself impressed. Something about that version, the pieces just seem to have more presence to them so that tracks that were skippable in the LP recording have impact.

Also DQVI Symphonic Suite even more than the others demands a patient listen to really appreciate, since its strength is as much in the repetition and reprisal of its themes as it is the themes themselves.

GoldfishX Apr 2, 2017 (edited Apr 2, 2017)

I have the London Philharmonic one (the one that came with the OST on disc 2). For what its worth, the OST portion of the soundtrack didn't do anything for me either and this comes from a massive fan of the SNES sound system (and someone who actually listens to the original DQ music). I'll try the Tokyo Philharmonic one at some point, but I don't have my hopes sky high for it. I believe the issue is the source material.

On that note, I would like to add that originally I was not sold on FFV's soundtrack as a whole and I thought it wasn't quite on the level of its predecessor and its successor. Having the music screwed up on the PS1 emulation didn't help matters much. It was the arrangements on the Pray and Love Will Grow albums that made me take a second look at it, as well as Dear Friends. So early on, that was kind of like a strange hole for me. But nowadays I think it slots in well and I'm forced t0 declare a three-way tie between it, IV and VII (VI still coming out way ahead, of course).

Ashley Winchester Apr 6, 2017

I didn't want to make new thread for this, but I'm starting to think FF3 might have some company. Well, it's not that severe.

I got around to listening to the FFX OST and man, so much of it doesn't work for me. I know it's been established by some this one is hit-and-miss, but I didn't really notice it until I sat down and listened to it. I'm not going to act like all the OST before this point were perfect but certain areas of this one are patchy IMO. The character themes on this one are also somewhat bizarre to me.

That said, I like some of most down trodden tracks the most. Don't ask me why I like "Hurry!" and "Normal Battle" so much. The former is probably due to loving "Roadblock" from Dew Prism.

Qui-Gon Joe Apr 8, 2017

A bit late to this thread, so just a few random thoughts:

FF3 is definitely my favorite of the Famicom-era Uematsu soundtracks, so I can't even imagine not having it in my collection!  That said, I really am not a big fan of the DS arrangements.  The FFXIV versions, though, are glorious. 

Mystic Quest is an amazing OST for a very mediocre game.  If you can find a copy of the CD, it's worth having in any collection.  Really wish that Ryuji Sasai were still in the game music scene.

I've never really liked Mizuta's stuff very much, with a few exceptions, so I didn't keep up with XI music at all after the initial CD set where there was a lot of Uematsu and Tanioka.

Speaking of Tanioka, I wish she'd get more jobs.  The original Crystal Chronicles is absolutely brilliant and Echoes of Time is almost as good.  Ring of Fates was a little iffier, but still a solid listen as I recall.

Lastly, FFX is where FF dropped off a bit for me in soundtracks.  It's also the thing that introduced me to my love/hate of Hamauzu.  I feel like he supplied both some of the absolute highs AND absolute lows of that soundtrack.

Ashley Winchester Apr 8, 2017

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Mystic Quest is an amazing OST for a very mediocre game.  If you can find a copy of the CD, it's worth having in any collection.  Really wish that Ryuji Sasai were still in the game music scene.

I don't know. I own Mystic Quest (soundtrack and game) and I think the game is judged for what it's not. If you look at the game for what it was intended to be I think it's a fine product. That said, hardly anyone is going to look at it in a vacuum like that. Indeed, the idea that Westerners needed a "beginner" RPG was a little insulting and Square didn't need to really do anything to boost the demo of the role-playing games because when the next generation of consoles started FFVII pretty much threw the doors open.

But that soundtrack, yeah. I like how the synth is kind of a between the extremes of NES and SNES quality. It adds a unique texture to Sasai's work.

Ashley Winchester Apr 12, 2017

FuryofFrog wrote:

The main omissions in my collection is

I just realized there's a pretty big omission in one of my collections.

I have most of the Wild Arms music on disc; however, the exception is Wild Arms 5.

I should probably just pick it up at some point, but when I'm honest only like about 10 tracks out of 5/6 discs.

Wild Arms 5 broke me as a fan. I had played and completed all the games up to five and I just had it when the game tried to make me use all six characters (two parties of three) in the last few hours of the game. I didn't want to use the characters I absolutely hated but then I had to use Dean. Well, at least he was good in battle.

I don't know what happened there. The first two games had great protagonists and then Media Vision got stuck into that trope of the young, teenage male thing.

Ashley Winchester Apr 15, 2017

I was looking into the Final Fantasy III OST (NES) and it seems you can't find this one new anymore. I was thinking of nabbing a copy next pay. Just kind of curious since you think most FF OSTs are/were in print.

Zane Apr 15, 2017

I currently own copies of FFIV - XII, with the exception of V. That's the one Uematsu-era OSV that I just can't make up my mind on, and it has been this way for about 15 years. Whenever I don't own it and hear it I'm inclined to purchase it (first press with slipcase and separate CD cases, of course); whenever I own it, it's one of the first to go on the chopping block if I trim down my collection. Maybe someday I'll make up my mind.

Qui-Gon Joe Apr 15, 2017

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I was looking into the Final Fantasy III OST (NES) and it seems you can't find this one new anymore. I was thinking of nabbing a copy next pay. Just kind of curious since you think most FF OSTs are/were in print.

Does Square Enix hold the rights to any of the older stuff that was printed originally by NTT, or is it just what used to be Digicube?  It occurs to me I haven't actually seen reprints of any of the oooooold stuff on the SE label.  That said, most of the older Squaresoft stuff from NTT is readily available dirt cheap all over Japan, so maybe they're not chomping at the bit to get it anyway?

(obviously there are exceptions to this like Mystic Quest, Rudra, etc.)

GoldfishX Apr 15, 2017 (edited Apr 15, 2017)

Zane wrote:

I currently own copies of FFIV - XII, with the exception of V. That's the one Uematsu-era OSV that I just can't make up my mind on, and it has been this way for about 15 years. Whenever I don't own it and hear it I'm inclined to purchase it (first press with slipcase and separate CD cases, of course); whenever I own it, it's one of the first to go on the chopping block if I trim down my collection. Maybe someday I'll make up my mind.

Just a funny note...At one point, I had 5 copies of this one. I double-ordered it originally, back when FF Anthology came out (special order unexpectedly came through, after I had bought one and because I was impatient), got a first print for a reasonable price, got a PSCN one lumped in a bundle and another first print one I picked up because it was $3 (near mint). I'm down to one PSCN and one first print pressing, but at one point this was like a point of personal hilarity on my shelf.

Ashley Winchester Apr 15, 2017

Zane wrote:

I currently own copies of FFIV - XII, with the exception of V. That's the one Uematsu-era OSV that I just can't make up my mind on, and it has been this way for about 15 years. Whenever I don't own it and hear it I'm inclined to purchase it (first press with slipcase and separate CD cases, of course); whenever I own it, it's one of the first to go on the chopping block if I trim down my collection. Maybe someday I'll make up my mind.

I don't know. V is a weird one. I don't think it's weird in the sense that it doesn't fit in with the SNES scores because we got the game late; I think it's weird in a way like Goldfish said in another thread - it's very "gamey" sounding. I find that quality very endearing and very off-putting at the same time. I don't think there's anything unlistenable on there, but there is a very big divide between the tracks I love and everything else.

Zane Apr 16, 2017

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I think it's weird in a way like Goldfish said in another thread - it's very "gamey" sounding. I find that quality very endearing and very off-putting at the same time. I don't think there's anything unlistenable on there, but there is a very big divide between the tracks I love and everything else.

I think that makes total sense, as the synth feels simultaneously under- and over-developed to me; like, not gamey enough to be straight up game music, but not full enough to allow the listener to forget they're listening to a Super Nintendo soundtrack.

I think there's also some emotion missing throughout the soundtrack. I can't really explain it, but there's this tangible feeling that Uematsu didn't put his whole heart into it the way he did for other soundtracks. (Not saying this is the only example of that, but is the album that has the largest amount of these types of tracks for me.) The album also  feels like a compilation of a bunch of reworked tracks from IV or VI that didn't make the cut on their respective albums. You have stuff like "Home Sweet Home", which feels very Relm/Shadow to me, and songs like "Hurry! Hurry!" and "Pirates Ahoy" that both feel like they were written for IV but didn't fit the overall vibe of that soundtrack. "Musica Machina" feels like a beta/demo soundtrack for the Magitek Research Facility.

That said, it did bring around some great themes like "Battle on the Big Bridge", the aforementioned "Home Sweet Home", and "Dear Friends" (all of which had improved reprises/arranges on other albums). The one song I really love off this album is the dungeon theme, as I feel like it carefully blends elements of IV/VI into a really cohesive tune that's shrouded in mystery, but also has that old-school Uematsu melodic charm. (The ambient SFX really help, too.)

GoldfishX Apr 16, 2017

I actually agree with every word up here. But that just adds to why I hold the soundtrack in high regard...Classic Uematsu, in that time period, with that sound and with that sense of melody, still outshines the majority of VGM composers at their best, even today. Which is ironic, because I often feel like MODERN Uematsu can do no right at times and I have the same criticisms with Blue Dragon or Granblue Fantasy. FFV, I feel like I am listening to top-of-the-line SNES music, modern Uematsu I feel like I am listening to a once-great composer struggling with the removal of his sound limitations. That said, if he had tried to fill a four disc soundtrack for V (like he did for VIII and IX), I doubt the end results would be quite as memorable. He hit JUST the right balance on this one.

As an aside, whenever I listen to Harvest, I have to remind myself that while this sounds like something Mitsuda can throw together with his eyes closed, this pre-dated Mitsuda's first published works by a good 3 years or so. For something that has become something of a VGM trope, this seems to be the earliest example of the Celtic/festive sound I can find in VGM Land. Does anyone have anything that predates December 1992?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c5-qVkVfqU

Ashley Winchester Apr 16, 2017

Zane wrote:

I think that makes total sense, as the synth feels simultaneously under- and over-developed to me; like, not gamey enough to be straight up game music, but not full enough to allow the listener to forget they're listening to a Super Nintendo soundtrack.

Personally I think V's synth is a little bit of a step back from IV's, which is why I find it kind of odd it being smack in the middle of the SNES games. But yeah, the synth doesn't quite have the quality that something like Mystic Quest does - that very odd but lovable hybrid that's stuck between NES and SNES synth.

Zane wrote:

"Musica Machina" feels like a beta/demo soundtrack for the Magitek Research Facility.

Never though of it that way. Still, "Musica Machina" is a track that's pretty damn dependent on it's context.

Ashley Winchester Apr 17, 2017

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:
Ashley Winchester wrote:

I was looking into the Final Fantasy III OST (NES) and it seems you can't find this one new anymore. I was thinking of nabbing a copy next pay. Just kind of curious since you think most FF OSTs are/were in print.

Does Square Enix hold the rights to any of the older stuff that was printed originally by NTT, or is it just what used to be Digicube?  It occurs to me I haven't actually seen reprints of any of the oooooold stuff on the SE label.  That said, most of the older Squaresoft stuff from NTT is readily available dirt cheap all over Japan, so maybe they're not chomping at the bit to get it anyway?

(obviously there are exceptions to this like Mystic Quest, Rudra, etc.)

I still want to nab III at some point, but to be honest I can't find any deals I want to bite on at the moment. If anyone sees a good deal on this one please let me know.

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