Bomb hip-hop sounds and agreeable 16-bit outtakes.
Reader review by Necrosaro
I was a little disappointed at my first listen to this disc, because the packaging is misleading. It isn't a collection of dance remixes of Final Fantasy themes, as I thought it would be - only the first three and the last three are. In between are nine unreleased tracks (outtakes) from the 16-bit games.
That said, I still think it's a great CD. Track 1, "Tina", is a standard house music version of Terra's theme from FF6. It would blend in perfectly with any house DJ's collection - repetitive and too long, with a xylophone, piano, soulful vocals, bass riff, and numerous trippy ambient effects thrown in. Track 2 is my favorite - the wistful "Dear Friends" theme that Uematsu dedicated to his friend Richard Remington (does anyone know the full story on this?). It's backed by a truly poignant and melancholic assemblage of echoing xylophone, rap samples, a midtempo hip hop beat, flute and acoustic guitar. Real nice one. Track 3 is a reggae-inspired mix of the overworld theme from FFIV, with sampled drums, synths, trumpet and a rolling bass line. It's good, especially if you're into reggae, but not as awesome as the other two versions of this theme found on Celtic Moon and Love Will Grow.
Tracks 4 through 12 are a nice collection of short 16-bit stuff. If you like the Final Fantasy OSVs, then this will suit you just fine. Nothing special, but some solid material. My faves from this bunch are "The Sea of Silence", a tranquil meditative piece; "Theme of Love", a pretty version of Rosa's theme from FF4 with a piano interlude and a proper ending (instead of the repeating fadeout); and "Matoya", a rousing new version of the overworld music from FF1 that starts out sounding 8-bit but then bursts into some great 16-bit effects.
Track 13 is a Latin-flavored, salsa-like version of the Chocobo theme. It's different from the similar-sounding ones from FF87-94 and Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections, but equally good, so if you're into Latin dance music you'll want this one to finish your Salsa Chocobo Trilogy. Track 14 is a forgettable house-inspired mix of "The Prelude". It doesn't have any version of the main melody, just that harp going up and down the scales. It's standard dance music, a little too sparkling for my taste and not as good as "Tina". Finally, track 15, "Final Fantasy Megamix", is just what you'd expect - a midtempo hip-hop beat, with samples galore (arranged really well) of rap, DJ calls, old disco records, and a few (not enough) themes from the various Final Fantasy games. The mixture builds to a polyphony and then almost gets atonal right before the ethereal finish. It's produced and mixed rather competently, but it isn't wide-ranging enough to live up to its name of "Megamix".
All in all, Final Fantasy Mix is a nice CD that you should buy if you're into dance music, and/or if you want to hear some of the 16-bit music that never made the final cut.