by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I figured today would be a good day to come back and take a look at some classic RPG tunes that may or may not have been overlooked. Of course, for people close to me, a few of these may not be all that overlooked, but I mean more in a general sense. So, as is standard on this list, only one Final Fantasy piece, because I could just flood this list with tracks that I enjoy that might get overlooked in that franchise. I picked a doozy this time. It might not be agreed upon, but I really feel like it set the tone for the whole of the game, and stood out from its contemporaries/counterparts. I’m always curious to know what songs you loved in games that maybe don’t get their just deserts. So, with that in mind, feel free to drop a comment with your thoughts/favorites!
Final Fantasy X-2: Real Emotion (English Version): As an aside, the Japanese version is excellent too. But my exposure was to the ENG version first, since I bought FFX-2 and its Strategy Guide on its first day it was available here in the United States. I was already a die-hard FFX fan and loved the world of Spira. It was such a dark, dismal place, struggling to find some kind of light and hope, but what happens now that Sin is defeated? Does Yuna keep on being a Priestess for a dead god? Of course not. She becomes a pop idol! Real Emotion is the opening track for the game, with a fun, upbeat, synth feel. It feels like a pretty box-standard romance/love song, which fits Yuna well enough. She never really forgets about Tidus after all. It made me feel like the game’s opening was inspired by Charlie’s Angels and that’s not a bad thing. I may have my complaints about the overarching story of the game, but the OST, the Dresssphere System, and much of the actual mechanics were brilliant. The lyrics felt right, and the song really gets the ol toes tappin’. Track: Real Emotion
The 7th Saga: Frozen Depths of the Earth: The 7th Saga honestly just had an incredible OST overall. Every song felt different from every other RPG I had played up till that point, and beyond. “Frozen in the Depths of the Earth” is the deep cave/dungeon music for The 7th Saga. Most of these caves do look icy, or at least have white-blue rock that looks frozen, so the title and the theme fit together. The synthesized drums feel amazing here, and the track, in general, has a pretty haunting sound. It feels like they combined a march with dungeon exploration. You want to get through quick after all because danger is afoot. The drums combined with a violin really offer an eerie quality, and can certainly make a player uneasy for their first time in an unknown dungeon. You really don’t know what you’re going to get in 7th Saga. So many of the monsters don’t appear in any other game. So it’s just another unknown-unknown. Track: Frozen Depths of the Earth
Romance of The Three Kingdoms IV: Governor: This is probably the theme I heard the most in RTK IV, other than the opening ballad, which is another absolute banger of a track. “Governor” is a theme you hear during the planning phase of a month, typically when you’re around the Governor rank. You have a few cities at least, under your command, and the world is your oyster. The music soars and feels triumphant, with awesome brass/keyboard sounds, and a light tapping drum backing it up. Despite this being a time of war, violence, and death, you still have some hope to unite the land at this point. It’s a really nice choice, and Jun Nagao/Kunio Kubota really nailed the music for Part IV: Wall of Fire. It’s probably my favorite OST in the RTK series, even if some of the tracks manage to sound a little Stereotypical Chinese. This one does not and really stands out as one of my favorites. It’s up there with again, the main title theme, and one of the duelist tracks. Track: Governor
SaGa Frontier 2: Rosenkranz (Rosary): I haven’t even thought about SaGa Frontier 2 in ages, but it had a really memorable soundtrack just overall. It was really hard to pick something, so I went with a track that feels different from the rest of the list. I think that’s this week’s theme. None of these songs really stand together on any real principle, other than setting the tone of an area excellently. Rosenkranz feels right at home in an academy or perhaps a church. It’s a peaceful, upbeat tempo piano track, but is accompanied neatly by a violin in the background. The violin is quiet and doesn’t take away from the speed and sound of the piano. It’s another track that seems to imply hope or good tidings, but in SaGa, those are never too far away from disaster. It’s very peaceful and soothing, and just what I needed at this particular moment. Track: Rosenkranz
Lufia and the Fortress of Doom: World Map: Estpolis/Lufia for whatever reason, didn’t really pick up speed in America, and it’s a goddamn shame. These games have so much charm, and such compelling stories that they deserve to be seen. Lufia 1′s World Map might be one of my favorites of all time. It’s definitely top three. It’s suitably majestic, full of bombast. It fits a lone knight setting out on his own to put the world right. Our hero has the blood of legends in his veins, and fearlessly, he sets into the world to battle ultimately, gods. Perhaps today’s theme is “Excellent use of synthesized drums” because this is another shining example of them. It makes you want to sit up straight in your chair, gaze off sternly into the distance, and get ready for battle. Lufia 1′s World Map offers hope and energy, and though there’s a sinister counterpoint, it’s paired with a flute that trills lightly to bring something light. There’s always hope, after all. It has to be heard to be truly understood and appreciated. Track: World Map