The West and East were waging war... Draco, the West's great hero, thinks of his love, Maria. Is she safe? Is she waiting?
Ladies and Gentlemen, let us talk about a little tune that got thousands of young gamers interested in Opera for one fleeting summer back in 1994. I am of course talking about the Aria de Mezzio Carraterre, a song that many people consider is Nobuo Uematsu's magnum opus.
Why is this song so beloved? For me, it is because it showcased that games were more then mere distractions. It showed that games are an art form in their own right (I will not be getting into this argument, so please leave it out of the comments). When I first played Final Fantasy IV, I didn't really pay attention to the music. I enjoyed some of the songs like the World Map, Red Wings, and Golbez's theme were cool, but I didn't pay it too much mind. When I went to Final Fantasy VI, my opinion slowly began to change. With Edgar and Sabin's Coin Toss Theme and Forever Rachel, I felt myself get a little sad. It wasn't until i got to the Opera House when I realized just how important music could be in a game.
So what does the Aria have to do with being a Crowning Music of Awesome? It's the tune for a minigame, not the the final boss theme. Instead of something epic and in your face, it's a soft, romantic opera piece.
Being awesome doesn't mean it has to be bombastic. I chose Power and Holding Out For a Hero last time because they were awesome moments in those games. They were a turning point in the game, expanding on the world you are playing and leaving an impression on you. That is exactly what happened with the Opera from Final Fantasy. It left an impression on me and to this day it is still damn impressive. The fact that Uematsu was able to turn an opera piece into a simple 16bit track and keep the lyrics, even if they became incredibly warped.
So let's talk about the actual song itself.
I my opinion, I feel that the entire opera scenario one of the best moments in this series which says alot for a 25 year old franchise. It takes a break from the serious part of a game and has the characters think outside the box instead of fighting their way through. The boss fight of this minigame also culminates in one of my favourite scenes because it is so random and out of blue. This entire sequence showcases how you can successfully weave both comedy and melodrama without taking any tension away from the main story.
The Aria di Mezzio Caraterre is a wonderful song. It sets the game apart from it's peers at the time because it had you get involved in the story, albeit in a rather silly manner. It was also a message to the other jRPG's at the time saying, “This is how you do it. You go big or you go home.”
Next week, we look at a simple photo and recall adventures and how sad it is to say farewell To My Dear Friends. This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.