Kingdom Hearts -Final Mix- Additional Tracks
Kingdom Hearts -Final Mix- Additional Tracks
Walt Disney Records
December 26, 2002
Buy Used Copy
Kingdom Hearts was a great success, but the executives at Squaresoft decided that the game needed some tweaking, so they released a new version called Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix. This would have been quite a fun extension, but was unfortunately never released out of Japan. It did, however, receive a mini-album to commemorate the release, featuring two arrangements of famous pieces from both game music and classical music, as well as two delightful original themes. Not all were exclusive to Final Mix, but none featured on the Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack to the distress of many. With four themes in total, is the album worth buying? Read on and see.
Final Fantasy VII‘s most famous theme, Nobuo Uematsu’s “One Winged Angel,” received a decent fan-pleasing arrangement from Shimomura to represent the Platinum Match colosseum battle with Sephiroth. Though this wasn’t exclusive to Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, fans were appalled the arrangement was left off the Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack. Synthesizer operator Ryo Yamazaki gives a unique Kingdom Hearts feel by changing the instrumentation slightly and boosts up the bass and percussion for the opening riff. Unfortunately, an entire section of the piece (the ‘Veni, veni, venias’ part) is cut and there is no bridge section to compensate, resulting in two jarring transitions and loss of coherency. While a reduction in the length of the piece wasn’t an uninspired idea, it was treated in an unmusical way, thereby sacrificing the integrity of the arrangement. The overall choice to integrate “One Winged Angel” into Kingdom Hearts and add it to this album was inspired, however, given its popularity and the way it fitted in context.
An arrangement of Modeste Mussorgsky’s tone poem “Night On Bald Mountain” from Fantasia replaces “Guardando nel buio” during the boss fight with Chernabog at the End of the World. It was an interesting choice of theme to arrange, made perhaps in response to cries of ‘Mussorgsky for VGM’, though works well in context and proves a competently implemented reduction of the original. Effectively arranged to retain melodic emphasis while still being an ominous and unpredictable theme, it is filled with dynamic contrasts, wonderful chromatic runs, and brass crisis motifs, though obviously loses some of the power of full-orchestra through its synth use despite the competent synthesizer operating from Ryo Yamazaki.
The first of two original themes, “Disappeared” plays during a fight with the Unknown at Hollow Bastion available only in Final Mix. Opening with ominous synth vocals, the introduction and crescendo of an agitated ‘cello riff gradually turns the track into an amazing action theme. It features eerie vocal use and the same ‘cello riff throughout, but is punctuated wonderfully by Yoko Shimomura’s piano use, ever-growing timbre, and the eventual addition of emphatic blasts from the brass in the most intense part of the piece. Climactic, ominous, and deathly, boosted by memorable melodic fragments and awesome rhythmical impetus, this battle theme rivals even some of the best in the original album.
Played during the Deep Dive secret movie, unlocked after 100 percenting the game, “Another Side” introduces some motifs familiar in the Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack while proving to be an excellent programmatic theme in its own right. Starting off as a gorgeous piano melody accompanied by soft vocals, the entrance of another ‘cello motif results in the track suddenly transitioning into an amazing electronica section. Around the 1:25 mark, acoustic forces accompany the vibrant beats most beautifully with a glorious lyrical string part over a gorgeous chord progression. After a mysterious section and a secondary buildup, the electronic forces briskly leave and the track concludes in a similar way to how it started. It’s a wonderful theme and the best feature in the disc.
Kingdom Hearts -Final Mix- Additional Tracks‘ components are excellent, though sadly too limited in number to warrant a purchase. Now long out-of-print, it’s not worth spending hundreds of dollars on. It’s an excellent extension to the Kingdom Hearts Original Soundtrack, but that’s all. Hardcore Kingdom Hearts fans should look for the series’ box set instead.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.