Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lost in the Music: Beyond Audiodome ~ Final Fantasy VI vs Final Fantasy VII

     Welcome to Lost in the Music: Beyond Audiodome, a new series where I take a look at competing songs, soundtracks and bands.

     If there have ever been an example of competing games in a single franchise, it would be the fanbases of Final Fantasy. There is so much hate and vitriol among the diehards that the casual fans look on in disgust. One of the common rivalries is the one between Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII. On any forum site, one of the best ways to start a flame war between the two is to say how much X sucked in comparison to Y.

     When comparing the game's music, you have to take into account when the game came out. Final Fantasy VI has great music and still holds up to this day while Final Fantasy VII can seem dated. Take into consideration that the former was the last game of the series on SNES, and Square had been working with the Super Nintendo for a long time, while with the latter was one of the first game that Square had designed for the Playstation, so they were still new to the system and didn't know what it was capable of.

     The three song's I will be comparing in this piece will be the villain themes, the final boss theme and the heroine's theme.

     First up is Sephiroth's theme Those Chosen By the Planet versus Kefka's rather bland sounding, self titled track Kefka's Theme. I am going to out and say that Those Chosen By the Planet is a dark, creepy and down right menacing song. When this song began playing, you knew something bad was about to happen. Meanwhile Kefka's jovial, if creepy soundtrack, while it is fitting for the heinous harlequin, doesn't really work. Yes we are supposed to laugh at him, but it doesn't make him sound menacing. Kefka's theme works for who he is, but it belies his evil ways.

     When we first hear about Sephiroth, the first thing we hear is how powerful and what a great warrior he was. He was a man you did not want to face on the battlefield. When you hear Those Chosen By the Planet for the first, it is during a moment when the party is witness to a massacre in Shinra Tower. It solidifies Sephiroth's place as a man with no equal.

     When you compare the songs, I have to side with Those Chosen By the Planet. Until Kefka made his move, I couldn't take Kefka seriously. He was clown and although he had tremendous power and an unstable mindset, I couldn't take him seriously. Those Chosen By the Planet showcases how evil, how powerful the games antagonist was. You didn't need to see him, only the trail of blood.

     Next up is Dancing Mad versus One Winged Angel. One is reminiscent of the finale of a Wagner Opera while the other is a fantastic church choir that you would hear in St Peters Basilica. Honestly, I will have to say that Dancing Mad is better. While the latter is indeed an awesome song, with splendid imagery, Dancing Mad is by far the better song. Listening to it makes you feel you are going against unspeakable odds. You are facing off against a man who has achieved god hood and blasted the world back to primitive times. One Winged Angel doesn't achieve that level of epic. It's a great song, but when you compare it to Dancing Mad, it crumbles into nonexistence.

     Finally, to complete the trifecta I am choosing the song of the heroine. Now it can be argued that both Terra and Celes are the main heroines of the game, but for sake of the argument, I will be choosing Celes' Theme and Aerith's Theme from their respective games.

     These two songs are nearly identical in sound but the difference is where the song goes. Aerith's song keeps going down in a tune, as if her song tells us her history and what fate lies before her while Celes theme constantly going up. I want to say Celes' theme is not about quitting or giving up, but given a scene around the middle of the game, her actions indicate the opposite. However, she does push aside those feelings and laves her temporary home, looking to the future. Aerith's Theme is one of accepting your fate while Celes is one about keeping the faith alive, even if you have to fight fate.

     I may be looking to deep into things, but considering some of the underlying meanings that are hidden in the Final Fantasy games I could be correct, or I could be looking at nothing.

     In the end, both soundtracks are equally impressive for their time. While one has become slightly dated, they are both phenomenal. But there can be only one victor in the Audiodome and today's winner is Final Fantasy VI. As I said both albums are phenomenal but if I had to choose, I would take the classic SNES RPG.

     Thank you for reading and next week on Lost in the Music: Beyond Audiodome I will be taking a look at a set of bands from a single source material. This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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