Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Final Fantasy VII Original Sound Track

As the dusk of the 16-bit console era was coming, Squaresoft decided to jump ship from Nintendo consoles to the fledgling Sony PlayStation, given the restrictive cartridge medium that affected titles such as Secret of Mana, initially slated to be a launch title on the Super NES’s vaporware CD addon. The compact disc medium gave Squaresoft significantly more freedom to develop the seventh installment of their eternally-polarizing Final Fantasy franchise (and the first since the original on the NES to come out with its actual Japanese name and numeral, despite many earlier entries having not made it outside Japan).

The CD medium allowed Squaresoft to include sharp-looking CG FMV cutscenes to Final Fantasy VII, and the soundtrack, composed by series regular Nobuo Uematsu, had great quality, as well. The music marked a bit of a departure from prior entries, given the seventh installment’s hybrid science-fiction and fantasy setting, although the soundtrack itself opens with a track familiar to most people who had played prior entries of the series, the Prelude. Following that is the first of many tracks in Uematsu’s new style, which bears some resemblance to the chase music in the original The Terminator film.

Other tracks pay homage to real-life musical tracks, with one of the chocobo themes, “Electric de Chocobo,” opening with an almost identical-sampling of the surf rock instrumental “Pipeline” by the Chantays, followed by the familiar track of the vehicular avian most series fans are likely to recognize, the piece afterward sampling the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out.” Another variation of the Final Fantasy chocobo theme, “Fiddle de Chocobo,” includes a segment of the classic American tune “Oh, Susanna,” with the variations on the series transportation’s theme definitely being welcome.

Although not evident until a few hours into the game, the seventh Final Fantasy has its own central theme that doubles as the overworld music, which is very peaceful, this reviewer remembering getting occasional shock when the more intense regular battle theme interrupted upon triggering a random encounter. The other battle themes, including that for bosses, as well, are enjoyable, with several solid endgame boss themes such as “Birth of a God,” and the final boss theme, “One-Winged Angel,” which contains actual Latin chanting.

The other main theme to the Final Fantasy series plays during the staff roll, accounting overall for another solid Final Fantasy soundtrack and feather in composer Nobuo Uematsu’s cap. Those who prefer the fantasy settings of prior series entries might miss the composer’s older style, although most can agree that regardless of the good and bad points with the seventh Final Fantasy’s gameplay, not to mention the graphics that haven’t aged very well, that the music is inarguably one of the game’s high points and is recommended listening.

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