Final Fantasy IV Original Soundtrack
Final Fantasy IV Original Soundtrack
January 30, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
It’s been over 13 years since Final Fantasy IV first graced us with its presence. Being my favorite Final Fantasy game, as well as having the score with which I am most in love, it offered something truly magical to the RPG scene. Now, to try to garner in new blood, Square Enix has decided to release it on the Nintendo DS. With the upgrade from sprites to 3D models and the addition of voice acting, Final Fantasy IV definitely has a major facelift. The same goes for its music. Arranged by Junya Nakano and Kenichiro Fukui, how does it compare to the days of old?
Junya Nakano and Kenichiro Fukui lend their arrangement skills to the Final Fantasy IV soundtrack for the Nintendo DS. However, for the most part, a lot of the tracks remain unaltered with the exception of a sound upgrade by synthesizer operator Hirosato Noda. Unfortunately, some of the sound upgrades affect the battle themes in a negative way. By no means are they unbearable, but they lack the oomph found in the originals. The percussion, in particular, is much heavier in the remastered versions and detracts from the compositions slightly.
Fortunately, some of the sound upgrades also improve a lot of tracks. That twangy sound in “Fabul” on the original is no longer heard, and we are left with a much more majestic, and arguably more enjoyable, “Fabul.” The tracks that are played on the moon, such as “Another Moon” and “The Lunarians” offer a much more pleasing sound. The quirkiness seems to be enhanced in “Another Moon,” while taking out the annoying factors found in the original. The harp work in “The Lunarians” is clearly an improvement and features a much softer and gentler sound.
Then we have the one track with an extremely noticeable difference: “Theme of Love.” Not only is the sound greatly enhanced, but the track starts off entirely different. Opening with a lovely harp arrangement of the main melody and moving onto a more Celtic feel, it is quite reminiscent of the Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon arrangement. It definitely has a more polished sound as well being the backbone of the album. It’s a shame that most of the other tracks remained unarranged because this composition proves Nakano is a pretty viable arranger.
The vocal version “Tsuki no Akari”, arranged by Fukui, further enforces the Celtic nature of Nakano’s arrangement, heard prevalently in the woodwinds, in addition to adding a nice piano and strings harmony. The singer, while not the strongest, allows her voice to carry most of the song, as this is another simplistic arrangement by Fukui, along the lines of “Kiss Me Good-Bye” from Final Fantasy XII. However, this version is much shorter than the one in the single so people may prefer to purchase the single if the vocal theme is the main draw for them.
“Opening Movie” is a medley featuring many of the more popular pieces in Final Fantasy IV. Opening with an orchestrated Celtic arranged “Theme of Love,” it offers the first hint of what Nakano had done with theme. As the track progresses, we are familiarized with the “Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV.” It’s really nice hearing this orchestrated, as it adds more power to the entire piece. Closing with the rather clichÈd “Prologue,” known as “Final Fantasy” in later games, it comes full circle. The “Prologue” orchestration is pretty standard, as it’s been done countless times before, but it still closes off the piece quite nicely.
For the most part, little difference can be seen between the original and the arranged soundtrack. More of a remastering than an arrangement of the original soundtrack, Final Fantasy IV offers a lot of the magic heard in the original. With a few new additions, such as the “Theme of Love” vocal arrangement and the “Opening Movie” tracks, it does offer something the original didn’t have. At the same time, though, portions of the soundtrack sound slightly worse than the originals. This can easily be seen in the battle themes and tracks that focus heavily on brass. One of the major draws is that this is a two CD release (with a bonus promotional DVD), so tracks get a chance to loop unlike their originals. In the end, you are probably better off sticking with the original; however, there are a bunch of wonderful remasterings to consider. The choice is really up to you.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 16, 2016.