Monday, 4 March 2013

Lost in the Music ~ Final Fantasy Legend III

Ever have a video game track stuck in your mind for years. Other songs come and go but every so often something will trigger a memory of that song. With me it usually is with songs from the original NES and Gameboy, if not Star Tropics II music, then Elecman's stage or on a more obscure note, the soundtrack from Jikuu no Hasha SaGa 3 or as it is known in North America, Final Fantasy Legend III.

When I was younger, I loved all things Final Fantasy and thought they could do no wrong (hah!) so at every chance I get I would play Final Fantasy II NA and Final Fantasy III NA or I would rent Mystic Quest, thinking it was a prequel to Final Fantasy II. However there was one time my dad took my brother and I to the local pawn shop to get some used games and one of the Gameboy games available for 5 dollars was Final Fantasy Legend III. When I first got this game I thought it was merely a portable version of Final Fantasy III much like Super Mario Land was a portable version of Super Mario Bros. Other then the name, the game had nothing to do with the main series, but I still enjoyed it.

Thinking back on the soundtrack, my favourite would have to be the title track to the game. It instills a sense of excitement and adventure. You get invested the moment you hear the song and the opening cutscene plays, showcasing the world in peril from the enemy aiming to wipe out humanity. The graphic were simple, but to our young minds, they may have well been produced by Industrial Light and Magic. Utilizing both the track and the cutscene worked wonders as it made you realize you were the worlds only hope and utilizing the music from the title made that cut scene that more important.

To this day I still smile when I hear the title theme to Legends III and am still amazed at how good the music was for a portable machine. These days with the 3DS and the PSVita, it is assumed that the sound chip would be on par with the home console version, but back then that wasn't the case. The ports were usually less then stellar and for a while it seemed that there were very few developers that would try to make something of the Gameboy instead of using it as a dumping ground for ports to turn a quick buck.

Like many games from my childhood, it wasn't the story that I remember, but the music. The soundtrack to Final Fantasy Legends III was unlike any other on the Gameboy. I am not saying that all music on the system was bad, but there were very few game OST's that stood out. Even Nintendo was guilty of this when they released Super Mario Land. When Link's Awakening and Super Mario Land 2 came out a couple years later, it was obvious they had learned how to use the system to their full advantage.

There is something about the Final Fantasy Legends III album that makes me smile. When I listen to it, I am think back to that time of playing on the Gameboy on road trips with the family. Even by the standards of the time, the game was simple. Perhaps it is that simplicity that we yearn for when our lives get too chaotic and the only way out of it, even temporarily, is to go back and play the games from our childhood.

This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.

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