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Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack :: Forum Review

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack Album Title: Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10028; SQEX-10005/8
Release Date: March 10, 1999; May 10, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Djinova

While not being everyone's favourite soundtrack, the music of Final Fantasy VIII rivals with the best out there in the world of video games. Created by Square Enix's resident composer Nobuo Uematsu, who has already been responsible for all precedent Final Fantasy titles, the soundtrack shows why video game music is no longer what it was and plays an important role in the music industry nowadays. Nobuo Uematsu alone puts extreme amounts of inspiration, creativeness, and memorable tunes into an album, which brings about association to the game whenever you hear it.

As the main themes of Final Fantasy VIII are love, war, and witches, the music revolves around them; meaning the soundtrack contains slow and emotional pieces such as "Julia," "Where I Belong," or "Love Grows," heavy and stomping pieces like "SeeD," "The Landing," or "Movin'," and finally foreboding and enigmatic pieces the likes of "Succession of Witches," "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec," or "Heresy."

Of course, it's not everything this soundtrack has to offer, as Final Fantasy soundtracks are known for their great palette of musical colors. It is therefore good to see that experimental tracks don't come short in this soundtrack. "Silence and Motion," "Lunatic Pandora," and "Residents" would come to mind immediately. Whether they appealed to each individual is a different question. I have grown to appreciate these more and more, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I like them.

The only personal thing that prevents me from listening more to this soundtrack is the fact that the percussion seems to dominate throughout despite the variety of themes. It causes feelings of oppression, and I don't like it too much. Well, the facts are said and stated. Let the first track give you a piece of what the soundtrack has to offer...

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Liberi Fatali (Written by Jared)

Here is, to me, the single greatest piece ever created, and what I believe to be Uematsu's best. This is the single best piece of music ever scored and played. And that's a lot to say of one piece.

The piece really makes for an epic opener. Its interesting to see how this piece fits with the opening FMV of Final Fantasy VIII. It's really prophetic and foreshadows what is to happen in the game. Of course, it also makes for a perfect opening piece to Final Fantasy VIII's brilliant Original Soundtrack, which is second only to Final Fantasy VI's masterful soundtrack. Themes from "Liberi Fatali," such as the creepy "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" chant, are used throughout the game to convey the mysterious atmospheres concerning sorcery throughout. The piece even gets its own special arrangement in the "Ending Theme," playing during the credits. That is part of why I love the ending theme of Final Fantasy VIII so much.

Lets start from the beginning. The first thing you hear in this piece is a creepy chant of a female choir. They sing the following words. "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" And thus begins this wonderful piece of sorcery, love, and fate. After the initial chant, a completely AWESOME low string bass line begins that basically stays the same all the way throughout the piece. This provides an excellent foundation for the piece. A couple seconds after the bass line begins, a powerful timpani part plays which cues in a loud brass blare. Following the brass flare comes a harp run and a cool violin melody. Countering the violin melody are some flute trills and woodwind harmonies. After that ends, the bass line supports a powerful male choir chanting the same words as the beginning line. While this continues, flutes and strings counter the choir each time they stop their chant. Then both the female and male voices join for another chant of "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec." With this plays some neat flute and piano parts, finishing with a loud violin and wind blast with timpani backing it up

A creepy chant of more Latin follows. The bass line continues, with the strings playing some gothic sounding melodies. All this leads up to a part where the male and female choirs take turns chanting words. Then begins a very evil, gothic low string part while the flutes accompany it with minor arpeggios. After that section comes a chant of descending notes from the choirs with flute and clarinet arpeggios and snare beats. Then comes the best part of the piece. a huge, loud, epic portion with more power than I have ever heard in anything. Loud timpani beats, powerful chanting with the strings mirroring what the choir is singing. In between the singing are flute trills, violin trills, brass blares, loud orchestra hits, timpani beats, snare rolls, ending with a final chant of "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec."

The entire piece ends with a huge, loud, epic, powerful blare from the entire orchestra. A soft low string note ends the piece, gradually fading out. What makes this piece so great is how loud and epic it is. It is so powerful, and the Latin choir in it gives it this gothic, evil feeling to it that leaves the impression that something huge is about to happen. The piece has a lot of development, ending with a huge climax, which is to me the best part of this piece. It's so loud and ambitious you can't help but like it, or at least respect it. The instrumentation is awe-inspiring — from the low strings to the high woodwinds, every instrument feels and sounds right playing the part is was assigned.

The lyrics in the piece mirror what happens in the game, with themes of love and sorcery. It is great, and when combined with the opening FMV of Final Fantasy VIII, this piece is even better and amounts for the greatest gaming moment I have ever experienced. "Liberi Fatali" gets the most perfect 10+. (10/10)

2) Balamb GARDEN (Written by Tim)

This track is played when you're inside Balamb Garden, your school/house/flying base. The instrumentation is great: the harps playing in the background give it a very ethereal feeling, and the instrument playing the melody gives it a very inspiring tone. This makes school fun! All in all, this is a great track to listen to anytime. You want to relax, you listen to it. You want to sleep, you listen to it. It's great. (9/10)

3) Blue Fields (Written by Jared)

Here we are, the ever-repetitive world map theme of Final Fantasy VIII. While this track has some interesting parts, such as the opening bass and the mallet percussion, it quickly gets annoying due to its very repetitive layers. It's not much to listen to on its own, and while it fits the "world map" motif, it's a huge letdown from past map themes "Tina" and "Final Fantasy VII Main Theme." (6/10)

4) Don't be Afraid (Written by Gilgamesh)

An immediate cymbal crash provides an initial rush of adrenaline as the strings and percussion begin "pumping up" and building momentum. The beat is very quick paced and the strings come in with the melody, attacking the notes with short but sharp accents. Although it's hard to pick out a main melody that is memorable (I originally did not like this battle theme because of this) the overall effect the instruments create is perfect for a battle. Percussion is used wonderfully and the transition to a string/brass dominated bridge provides a good climax point. This track does everything a good battle theme should — for me, this track actually grew more interesting over time as opposed to one that grew more boring. (9/10)

5) The Winner (Written by Totz)

I'm a bit biased towards this rendition of the classic fanfare because of the classic motif: on this one, it's so emphatic, so strong, it really gives you that triumphant feeling. And the rest of the track is pretty enjoyable to listen to as well as you gain some EXP points and your GF's gain their AP points. (8/10)

6) Find Your Way (Written by Gilgamesh)

Soft, relaxing, scene-setting, catchy — those are words that would describe this track. Used in several caves and passageways throughout the game, it creates a very mystical mood that Uematsu has had sucess with many times in the past ("The Mystic Forest" from Final Fantasy VI, "Chasing The Black-Caped Man" from Final Fantasy VII). There are great choices made with the instrumentation using soft strings, chimes, and bells. My favorite section, about thirty seconds in, is during the piano "drop-down" motifs. Not only is that tune very memorable but it serves an environmental depiction purpose as well — I can almost see strems and drops of water flowing down rocks when I hear this music. Overall, one of my favorite ambient tracks that is both melodic and catchy. (9/10)

7) SeeD (Written by Jared)

This is a fairly effective track, though by no means does that mean it's enjoyable. It's highly repetitive, and the militaristic style can get very annoying very quickly. In the game however, this is an effective piece of BGM to go along with SeeD missions or briefings. While it suits its purpose, its annoying and not really worth listening to on its own. (5/10)

8) The Landing (Written by Totz)

This is one of many fantabulous "action tracks" (if I may call them that) in this album. It fits its purpose so perfectly it's amazing: it builds up as Squall and other SeeD candidates are nearing Dollet, a small town that's been overrun by the Galbadian Military (or something like that), then it finally really begins at around 0:51, serving also as Backgound Music for a good part of the mission (battles included). There is not one boring part in the track, no section that'll make you go "This is rubbish.," no nothing. To sum this up: amazingly good and incredibly addictive in a way you won't want to listen to any other track. Go listen to it RIGHT NOW. (10/10)

9) Starting Up (Written by Djinova)

This short track builds up really well and prepares the player for the upcoming unknown danger that is the boss battle. It uses multiple string instruments to create the tense atmosphere as the team reaches the tower. "Starting Up" benefits from an appropriate instrumentation and a fair amount of melodic implications, which makes it a successful, foreboding track on the whole. (9/10)

10) Force Your Way

Written by Jared - Here is one of the series' best boss battle themes. It has every element a battle theme needs. It's upbeat, fast, and evokes a sense of haste. It sounds great, and is awesome to listen to by itself. The version by Uematsu's band, The Black Mages, further exemplifies this, making it even more climactic and frenzied. The beginning is incredibly effective. The ascending synth, the keyboard strikes, and the repeated string notes instantly make this battle theme hectic. Then it develops into a rather climactic point at approximately 1:05. I consider this to be the best part of the track, with great percussion and instrument use. All in all, one of the best battle themes you'll find. On par with "Still More Fighting" from the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. (9/10)

Written by Totz - Something that instantly caught my attention was the intro, which is about 23 seconds long. That's pretty long for me, and I'm not a fan of stuff that keeps dragging on for no apparent reason. Other than that, I'm perfectly happy with the track. Its upbeat tempo will get your blood pumping on every boss battle you fight and the percussion beats will most likely get stamped on your mind in a way you can't forget, but I think the melody could have used some more work. The drums here really save some of the less creative moments of the track. Overall: it works as a boss battle theme, but doesn't come close to the adrenaline-pumping experience that was Final Fantasy VII's "Still More Fighting." (8/10)

11) The Loser (Written by Tetra)

Immediately following the boss theme comes a theme for when your party is wiped out. Rather fitting, I believe. "The Loser" starts out sounding nothing like a party-wipeout track. Instead, it is a nice melancholy chorale, and the chord-building process is similar to those found in other pieces in this Oriignal Soundtrack. After the chorale, the Prelude/Crystal theme makes its only appearance in this soundtrack. While it begins with the normal solo arpeggios, the added in synth gives the theme a more depressed feeling — to fit with the "losing" theme. I normally do not like the losing themes, but this one is suprisingly good to listen to. (9/10)

12) Never Look Back (Written by Gilgamesh)

Hmm, here we have one of those "hurry" themes from Uematsu that tend to generate mixed reviews. This music is first played during the chase by the mechanical tarantula (SeeD test scenario) and is used in many other events that involve a timer counting down. The music fulfills its purpose decently — I did feel rushed, although I've heard better "adrenaline" music in other games. The electric sounds wavering back and forth in the background get tiresome after awhile and only the percussion and occasional string passage keeps things interesting. This is probably not a track that can be listened to on its own. I do like "hurry" themes but there are much better ones in this game and others. (4/10)

13) Dead End (Written by Djinova)

The track is a good example of musical accompaniment in a trapped, "dead end" situation. One cannot get rid of the feeling of being lured into an ambush. "Dead End" benefits from a diversive composition, which makes it action-filled without getting repetitive or boring. The shortness here has the advantage that it doesn't get annoying quickly. Effective track. (9/10)

14) Breezy (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

"Breezy" is an example of the great "calm" tracks of this soundtrack. Along with "Fisherman's Horizon," this track just has that nice, ocean feel to it. The simplicity and tenderness of it all has a dreamy kind of feel to it. Indeed, the track truly does live up to its title. And while it certainly isn't the greatest of "town themes" in Final Fantasy Original Soundtrack history, it is definitely far from being the worst. As a matter of fact, it's at least in the top five of my favorite town themes. (9/10)

15) Shuffle or Boogie (Written by Totz)

Ah, nothing like a nice jazzy tune as Background Music during "exciting" Triple Triad matches. Actually, sometimes this was the only thing that prevented TT from being the most annoying mini-game on Earth. One of the track's greatest assets is its catchiness: it is so catchy that after listening to it a couple of times, either you'll hum alongside it or you'll clap your hands as acompaniment. But there is one thing I'm sure you'll do: you'll like it. Then you'll start running around screaming 'ALL YOUR CARDS ARE BELONG TO US'. Ok, maybe not. But you'll still like it. (9/10)

16) Waltz for the Moon (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

"Waltz for the Moon," for all intents and purposes, does what I guess it's supposed to do in the context of the game itself. The FMV is absolutely beautiful and the event here involving Squall and Rinoa is memorable, but the actual track itself doesn't do a particularly great job of emphasizing this chance meeting between our two protagonists. The orchestra-type instruments used to accent a waltz-like feel seem fitting, but I think the arrangement of it all seems a little kind of goofy and not serious enough. I would have also liked the hint of "Eyes on Me" to either be more prevalent throughout the track or just left out altogether. In any case, for this moment in the game, I would've preferred something more epic and emotional. But that's just me. (5/10)

17) Tell Me (Written by Trepe Groupie)

How fitting that I review a peice so close to my favourite character. This peice takes place when Quistis is telling Squall, emotionally, about her getting fired and doubting herself. It is an arrangement of "Balamb GARDEN," and while the strings set a monotonous bass, the chiming melody rings out a bittersweet feeling. The melody exchanges hands throughout the piece first taking chimes and then moving to brass. All the while the strings are doing the same intervals over and over again. The melody saves this piece and it is most apt for the scene. Listen to the beginning of the piece, perhaps I am looking too much into it but the melody and bass take turns. The melody (Quistis) is saying things to the bass and the bass (Squall) repeats the same thing- '. . ...', Much like the happenings of the scene. It is fitting yet slightly boring. (7/10)

18) Fear (Written by Totz)

This is not the most enjoyable track to listen to. You know why? It goes nowhere. The development on it is close to nothing (it's actually just a small passage, from 0:44 to 1:05). Call it minimalistic, call it whatever you want. I call it boring. (4/10)

19) The Man with the Machine Gun (Written by Totz)

And here we have another fantastically enjoyable battle track, and it's all thanks to Laguna and co., because you will hear this theme in every single one of their battles. And I'm more than thankful for that. If there's one thing that hinders a Role Playing Game is a bad battle theme. And there none in this Original Soundtrack. But I digress. Just like "Don't Be Afraid," this track has all the makings a perfect battle theme needs. First of all, it's enjoyable to listen to. You'll never go "Oh man, this track again. Please kill me now ;_;". Second of all, it is developed just enough to prevent people from saying it's either underdeveloped or overdeveloped. And third of all, it's just so damn FUN to listen to that it's like there's a party going on in your ears. (10/10)

20) Julia (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Sweet. I was hoping I'd get this one. Anyways. "Julia" is a very nice and gentle piano version of "Eyes on Me." Simple as that. To me, it sounds like the only instrument used is a piano, which for my tastes, isn't a bad thing. I actually pick "Julia" as my favorite version of any of the "Eyes on Me" arrangement tracks on this soundtrack. For reasons I simply cannot explain, this track is just beautiful and precious and is clearly indicative of the prevailing "love" motif throughout the game. The only problem I have is the length of the track. At just under 1:30, Julia never gets a full rendition that it deserves. Other than that, this track is absolutely beautiful and is one of the better piano-based tracks from Final Fantasy history. (10/10)

21) Roses and Wine (Written by Mana Dragon)

A very sweet and romantic melody encompasses a simple, yet very effective track. One of the things I like about "Roses and Wine" is the really smooth bass and the sweet little synth melody that plays on top of it. I don't know what kind of lead that is, but it is really engrossing. I don't think I have heard a lead that good in a track like this. The acoustic background flows well, and makes the track more than what it would be if it were lacking it. This theme goes very well in-game, and is listenable to new ears as well. Not a perfect track, but it does what it can with the melody. (8/10)

22) Junction (Written by Totz)

I'm sure Uematsu attempted to make this a very mystical track and all that, but it just repeats itself too much. Sure, it's nice a few times, but when you realize you've heard the whole track a couple of times while reading this review is never a good sign. (4/10)

23) Timber Owls (Written by Mana Dragon)

I have known some people who absolutely hate this track. I, on the other hand, find it to be interesting and quirky. The tick-tock rhythm that plays throughout the track makes it interesting, and the lead by the clarinet is sneaky and upbeat, almost like something from a kiddy movie, but not quite. I also like how the tuba takes over the second half of the melody, to add more effect to it. I felt it perfectly accompanied the scene in the game, when the group first meets the timber owls. It is a subtle track that is good in small doses, although repeated listens may become annoying. But it is a different and fun track. (8/10)

Disc Two

1) My Mind (Written by Conqueso)

Ironically, the arrangement of the "Eyes on Me" theme which gets played the most often in the context of the game is also the weakest. This track consists almost entirely of bells and guitar playing the main melody with bland synth string backing. It's relaxing and enjoyable enough, but it's not a great stand-alone track. (6/10)

2) The Mission (Written by Franzi)

This feels like a mission track to me. Based around whirling string sections, a harpsichord can also be heard as well as some light percussion. Soon enough, long notes for the strings lengthen the track, before breaking into a brief section for the harpsichord again and then returning to its original melody. Simple and enjoyable enough. (6/10)

3) Martial Law (Written by Djinova)

If memory doesn't serve me wrong, this track plays while your party is strolling around Timber. It starts off with a series of distinct beats before the main theme joins in around 0:40. Still, a strong melody is hardly what makes this track interesting, it's rather the cool beats and later on the thunder-like sound that you can easily recognize this track whenever you listen to it. Overall, it manages to create a chillout atmosphere that I find enjoying to listen to. Otherwise, while I don't expect much more from it, it is not a highly exquisite piece. (7/10)

4) Cactus Jack (Galbadian Anthem) (Written by Trepe Groupie)

"Cactus Jack" is a piece that is horrible as a piece of music but perfect for what it is used for. The appropriaton of this piece is spot-on, perfect for an anthem. It fits the tone of Galbadia — clear cut and basic. The idea of people thinking about what their country means to them springs to mind when I hear this. Although I hate listening to it on its own I can't help but hold my hand to my heart while the Galbadian president is introducing the blood-thirsty sorceress. (6/10)

5) Only a Plank Between One and Perdition (Written by Gilgamesh)

Hmm, I've heard a lot of mixed opinions and views on this one. To refresh your memories, this track is best highlighted during the prepartions for the Edea assassination attempt scenario near the end of Disc One (of the game). A short little motif is repeated over and over (played by a low string) while percussion and brass intruments are added one by one. While this theme can be repetitive for some ears, I personally really enjoyed this track. Not only was the tune great for setting up tension and anxiety before a big event, the track was VERY catchy to me — I literally had it stuck in my head during math tests I never studied for; I was busy playing Final Fantasy VIII! Overall, however, I do think that some will find this theme a tad dry since it repeats over and over and only develops to a minor extent. (8/10)

6) Succession of Witches (Written by NavySeal5427)

This piece is one of the best in Final Fantasy VIII. The beginning sounds really cool and so does the whole thing. It is repetitive, but isn't every Final Fantasy piece? Still, this is not too noticable. The words that the people singing are Latin and go really nicely with the music! (9/10)

7) Galbadia GARDEN (Written by Trepe Groupie)

My least favourite piece on the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack. This piece is heard, strangely enough, when you enter and are in Galbadia Garden. It is very repetitive and the chords are predictable and boring. It has little to it and not much point either. It does not give a sense of place, tone, or emotion. It just lacks, full stop. I think it has the potential to be a very unique and good piece, but would need to be revamped. (3/10)

8) Unrest (Written by Aharon)

I can't say I like this track. Strings and bass guitar. The strings have no emotion, as does the guitar. It sounds sloppily put together, and doesn't rank high in my book in terms of composition. It would've been nice had the guitar improvised something nice after the A section. But, alas, this is Video Game Music. Jazz drums could've added something nice, too. Also, for a track called "Unrest," it had a pretty straightfoward time signature. I only felt 'unrested' once when it 'threw' me off. But it could've been better. (1/10)

9) Under Her Control (Written by Djinova)

Deling was a strange city, so is this track. It's music, but in a way that's rather shapeless. There is no real theme for this city as in form of a memorable melody, for example. Basically, melodic fragments, beep and bong sounds here and there are what hold this track together. However, this doesn't say that it cannot be enjoyed. You can actually very well groove to the cool beats, as your party runs through the flashy, crowded streets of Deling City. At first, it seems to be a normal city, but the undertone of this track manages to uncover the real face of any wealthy, golden city. It's corruption, poverty, and dreariness in every corner. It's a bit similar to some tracks in Final Fantasy VII. (7/10)

10) The Stage is Set (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This is one really good track. As the title suggests, this track does indeed set the stage and does everything that is supposed to be good on a Final Fantasy soundtrack. As the mission is revealed to Squall and Co. a nice semi-frantic string melody is heard and from there on the track gets better and better. To go along with the actual in-game events, the track progresses rather smoothly with the dialogue and actions of the SeeD party as they all prepare. There are moments of uncertainty and panic, but the track never loses its luster as an "action" track. the feeling that something big is going to happen. (10/10)

11) A Sacrifice (Written by Neo Locke)

Judged as a piece overall, this isn't too bad. Judged by its purpose, it's pretty good. It's primarily a slower and more 'disturbing' version of "SUCCESION OF WITCHES." The score does well to give an overlaying sense of mystery and eeriness. "A Sacrifice" is an excellent example of how not all good works need to be complex and overhauled. (7/10)

12) Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

What can I say about this track other than that it is just absolutely wonderful and is one of the best pieces of music in all of Final Fantasy? "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec" just has an incredible amount of energy and vibrance to it and just fits in so great with the overall tone of the game itself. It is also the basis for practically all of the sorceress tracks and the awesome "Liberi Fatali." The amount of effort put into this track was well worth it and the result is an overwhelming epic set to an incredible visual display. The primitive-like arrangement of this track does an absolute masterful job of emphasizing the sorceress as something sacred, yet still very threatening. Absolutely wonderful. (10/10)

13) Intruders (Written by Merziloss)

This track is another, fairly dull, 'background' piece. The strings with which it begins are interesting, though their overall note-structure is a bit too straightforward. The triangle, though, while also simple, fits well into the game, and giving it more play would have been distracting. The bass guitar is what really drove the experience down a bit, because the bass line simply isn't very compelling. The keyboard accentuates this fact, as its harmonies aren't especially captivating either. Nonetheless, this work is a sufficient, unobtrusive track which sets the required mood, even if it does leave something to be desired as a complete piece of music. (6/10)

14) Premonition (Written by Neo Locke)

From the moment this piece starts up, you know you're in for a treat! The beginning is a slow, almost hopeless sounding melody that very discreetly ascends in both speed and volume. The transition from the introduction to the actual "Battle" part of this music is also done extremely smoothly. The simple drumbeatadds to the mood this piece has, while not taking away from the intensity of it. This is, after all, perhaps the most intense score on the album. I like to refer to it as "Uematsu's Hobo Stew"; he takes pieces of the best tracks on this soundtrack and combines them with just enough extra to keep you coming back for more. (10/10)

15) Wounded (Written by HunterFlamebrow)

What can I say about this one? It's basically a repeat of the first segment of "Premonitions," played on an organ. It's nice and dissonant, but the absence of other instruments hurts it. Unfortunately, they cut out Rinoa's scream that you hear in the game, which I think would add a bit more unease to the track. (6/10)

16) Fragments of Memories (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track is very simple in its makeup. After all, it is pretty much a one instrument piece and the use of that one instrument is very effective. Now I'm not too sure if it's a xylophone or an orgel, but what I do know is that the simple bell-sounding melodies the instrument makes are very soothing and indeed do a good job of playing out these memories. Despite the lack of any real depth in the arrangement, "Fragments of Memories" is, in my opinion, still a good track. Not great or blow-away by any means, but effective nonetheless. (8/10)

17) Jailed (Written by HunterFlamebrow)

This aptly-named track is played when your party is jailed in a governmental prison, and it captures perfectly the sense of sitting in a prison cell. waiting. and possibly plotting an escape. The instrumentation is very simple; a koto, bass, and cymbal play a repeated pattern over some clarinets and an electric piano. It is a nice piece in the game, capturing the atmosphere very well, but not so much as a stand-alone track, as it tends to get very repetitive after a while. (6/10)

18) Rivals (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Well. for something that has been built up for such a long time thus far through the game and for something that seems to be a central plot point between Squall and Seifer, "Rivals" does not do anything much to further the intensity between the two. The track starts out in a bit of a frantic mood, though not over the top and boisterous. It soon develops into pure dreck — as best as I can explain it — and does nothing to make me think that Squall and Seifer are enemies. In fact, much of this track sounds almost "goofy" in nature and doesn't even begin to sound the least bit serious, as it rightfully should. Maybe I'm just nitpicking, but after the opening FMV battle accompanied by "Liberi Fatali," I just expected something closer in that vein. Definitely a huge, HUGE, disappointment on this one. (4/10)

19) Ami (Written by Merziloss)

This is the conclusion to Disc 2, and its nature is quite contrary to the general mood heard thus far. It is a light piano and strings variation upon the "Balamb GARDEN" theme, and is probably one of the best in the soundtrack. Uematsu continued to impress me throughout the score in regard to how much he could do with such a simple melody, and this is no exception; the brief "Ami" theme which is overlayed across the "Balamb GARDEN" bass line is the high point of the piece and comes just before the repeat. Generally, there is little to complain about here, as the piano is pleasant, and the strings and flute are played well without stealing the show. Also, the occasional dissonant and second-interval harmonies are interesting, and make the rest of the theme sound that much brighter. My one reservation is the piece's simplicity, especially concerning the piano solo which follows the ensemble section. Some virtuosity or flair could have been displayed at any point, yet the performances are so straightforward and minimalist that they never allow the music to transcend the 'pleasant' variety. Nevertheless, this track is a definite high-point. (8/10)

Disc Three

1) The Spy (Written by Djinova)

The beginning of "The Spy" is very reminiscent of "Underneath the Rotting Pizza" from Final Fantasy VII. In both cases, the stealthiness is expressed very well. The fact that the notes are mainly played abruptly or that a bonding melody is hardly present adds greatly to this stealthy feel, as our party infiltrate the Galbadian Missile Base. However, I feel in some cases it is not secretive enough, which is especially the case when the music gets louder and more dramatic. Well, I can understand that Uematsu aimed for development to make this theme more interesting, but somehow this track is still very unimpressive. A little note in the end, it gets a bonus point for being a nice chillout track. (7/10)

2) Retaliation (Written by Totz)

If I'm not mistaken, this track is played when Galbadia fires missiles against Trabia and Balamb Gardens, in retaliation to Seifer and Quistis attacking the sorceress. It's a good short, action track, depicting the missiles being launched and the base self-destructing. Nothing too special, but it's not a skippable track either. (8/10)

3) Movin' (Written by Neo Locke)

There are actually two variations on this piece, the first time this plays it is an orchestration with a beginning and end, the other times it is simply looped. Being that it's the version on this Original Soundtrack, I'll be looking at the piece rather than the track. It's so complex though, that the best way to do such a thing would be to divide it into phases: -

- Phase 1 - A variation on "Starting Up," and as it was on its own, this is a perfect sounding beat to remind one of gears being set into motion.

- Phase 2 - A transition over to the main melody, quite an interesting melody if I do say so myself, with a lot of unique string and woodwind parts to create the overlaying chaos, and a resounding brass part to highlight the climactic moment.

- Phase 3 - A continuation of the above track, "Retaliation," truly capturing the moment of pure suspense.

- Phase 4 - This is where the looped part of the track kicks in, it's here where the melody seems to slow down, which actually hurts the piece if only a little. Despite that, the tune is interesting, bouncy, and quite catchy. (6/10)

4) Blue Sky (Written by Djinova)

This bonus track is only played during a short FMV sequence, when you examine the deck of the flying Balamb Garden. It starts off with some fast alternating tones, which suggest flying (as you can imagine when the wings of some insects "flap"). As the music gets louder, some trombones join in. This all creates an uplifting feeling. With the random, almost silly throw-ins Uematsu wants to point out that Rinoa has made some wonderful discoveries; the landscape, the sky, the fresh air while flying. In general the music in such FMV sequences overcome their shortness to become a nice, energetic piece. This is no exception. (9/10)

5) Drifting (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

I don't know what the general consensus on this track is, but I absolutely love it. The somber tone and the slow pace gives it a unique sad feel. I also love the instances when this track is used in the game. Specifically, when Rinoa is helplessly "drifting" in outer space. For that moment alone, this appropriately titled track deserves a healthy amount of praise from me. As for the structure of the track itself. well, for me, nothing conveys sadness more than the piano and strings and Drifting seems to rely heavily on the usage of the latter. There isn't a whole lot of depth in terms of length and there really isn't any build-up to anything great, but this track still does a fantastic job of conveying the human emotion that Final Fantasy VIII seems to emphasize. (9/10)

6) Heresy (Written by Djinova)

I have no idea how to judge this "piece of music" so that it seems fair for it. On the one hand, I can't stand listening to it. On the other hand, I can see a certain purpose behind this track. Since I have always acknowlegded Uematsu for a lot of his purposeful music, this one purely falls into that category. Unfortunately, it's not a good listen, but, if the purpose of the music was to create some disturbing feel, then so be it. Mission accomplished. This track "benefits" from annoying, constant, repetitive organ blows and is a bit long for its own good, since I don't like it. Still I give it points for originality. (7/10)

7) Fisherman's Horizon (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track is just great. absolutely great. There's just something so serene and peaceful about it. After the fast-paced, frenetic tone the music (and game for that matter) has taken, "Fisherman's Horizon" is a much needed and welcome change. I usually consider the stop at Fisherman's Horizon as the mid-point of the game, where I believe that the heart of the story gets bigger and better from this point onward, and to have a track that sets up the proverbial "calm before the storm" is great. Looking at Fisherman's Horizon and listening to "Fisherman's Horizon," you'd think that the two wouldn't go together, but I believe that the music is once again doing its part in setting a mood and a feel that needs to be guided from human emotion within. Just a great overall track. (9/10)

8) ODEKA de Chocobo (Written by Djinova)

Here you are blessed with holy 8-bit music goodness. The beloved chocobo melody is played in an annoying, minimalistic way. The characteristic tunes are clearly expressed and a certain jumpy, bouncy feeling is behind. This track is played when you enter the chocobo minigame modus, but I have never figured out how it works. Gameplay aside, I don't recommend this track. (5/10)

9) Where I Belong (Written by Neo Locke)

"Where I Belong" is kind of the theme for all six characters and their. uh. 'link'. It's a moderately interesting mix of the "Balamb GARDEN" theme. OK, I lie. It's almost exactly the same thing as the Balamb Garden theme except for a few extra notes and the inclusion of some ridiculously short string parts near the end of the loop (also rather boring). However, since "Balamb GARDEN" is a sweet little melody, I will stop bashing this piece and give it a fair, but legitimate, score. (6/10)

10) The Oath (Written by Djinova)

This track is best to be compared with "Drifting." Although there is not a great deal going on in this track as it first appears, it's yet very emotional in its own way. The sentiments are carried over with sadness and nobleness. Most of the time this track plays for itself in an unnerving way, yet there are parts towards the end where "The Oath" seems to scream out, maybe for attention, maybe to assert itself that it's going to keep the oath under any circumstance. I can't imagine a better instrumentation for this track either, as it sounds as right as rain to me. There are days, though, when it might sound dull and boring. (8/10)

11) Slide Show Part 1 (Written by HunterFlamebrow)

This track is fraught with tension, although compared to what comes next, it really isn't much. It's only composed of a shaker-type instrument that plays throughout and a honky-tonk piano, but it doesn't sound simplistic at all. Unfortunately, as this is only 'part 1' of a larger track, there is really no development, so I'd have to give it a 7. (7/10)

12) Slide Show Part 2 (Written by Neo Locke)

This Spaghetti Western inspired piece is the accompaniment of a short mini-game with an equally silly premise. In other words, the style fits the scene almost perfectly. As far as the actual piece goes, there's really nothing that original. As I just got finished saying, it's the exact thing you'd expect to hear in the fight scenes of a Spaghetti Western. All that aside, the tune is still a fun little, energetic piece. (6/10)

13) Love Grows (Written by Djinova)

This is a very mellow and soft version of the "Eyes on Me" theme. It shall describe the increasing tender feelings Squall and Rinoa develop for each other. For just this purpose, this track is very suitable. However, interesting musical features had to be sacrificed for this love theme. Because it's already played in such a slow, tranquil fashion, there is no time left, so that the arrangement has to play out straight the main tunes in a very predictable way. The mild, airy feel often renders this track unremarkable, however, especially in an album where military and witch themes are predominant. Nevertheless, it's a nice, relaxing track with a touch of sadness. (7/10)

14) The Salt Flats (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Depending on your musical knowledge and your own personal tastes, this track may swing in several different directions for you. For me, personally, it wasn't all too great a track. Granted, it does a fairly decent job in emphasizing the so-called Salt Flats and does indeed have that dry, arid feel to it. Yet at the same time, for some reason that I can't fully explain, this track just reminds so much of the dreadful "The Spy" way back in the prison sequence. Of course, both are very different in manner and composition and all, but both also retain a very empty feel to it. meaning, this track bores me more than anything else. It isn't all bad, as when the track progresses there seem to be more hints of dread and evil around, but overall I could go without it. As a matter of fact, pure silence blended with several sound effects (i.e. wind) would've been more effective. (5/10)

15) Trust Me (Written by Djinova)

I do not remember where this track is played at all. It certainly would help me find out why I forgot the context of this track. There is a certain simplicity about this track, and the instruments used indicate an outdoor location. It might be because of the flute. The only thing that makes this track forgetable is the fact that the introductory phase is just too long, too drawn out. It needs 54-seconds to warm up before the main melody, which is the "Ami" theme, enters. Considering the steady bell sounds have a repetitive nature and the flute has inherent drag-on qualities, the excitement about the main, interesting part just burns down too quickly. Still, I believe the bell sounds are the best feature of this track, as it manages to create a strange harmony. (6/10)

16) Silence and Motion (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Probably considered as one of the more experimental tracks on the entire soundtrack, "Silence and Motion" is definitely an experiment gone completely. good. For the most part of the track, you hear these "bubble" like things constantly hanging around in the background of the actual melody of the track, but it isn't one of those things that is REALLY annoying. The actual structure of the track is actually quite nice and the length of the track is also a plus. "Silence and Motion" also does a magnificent job in setting up Esthar as a whole. Everything about Esthar is so surreal and the track does a nice job of emphasizing that. (8/10)

17) Dance with the Balamb-fish (Written by Djinova)

This track is extremely reminiscent of Space Odyssey. In this film they used waltz music ("The Blue Danube") for their spacy scenes. This track plays in Dollet and while you warp up to the space station. At first it sounds like a waltz, but, in fact, it's not. The only waltz Nobuo Uematsu used was "Waltz for the Moon" and somehow I have always mistaken them due to their very dance-inviting qualities. But, the fact remains that Nobuo Uematsu has a talent for creating waltz music, although arguably he might be copying more than it was an original composition, as dance music is a traditional, long before practised music style. There is something noble and adventurous about this track, that fits the scene like a glove, because exploring the universe is adventure but also a noble act for mankind. Original or not, this track remains an impressive entry and a welcomed change in this soundtrack. (9/10)

18) Tears of the Moon (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

For all intents and purposes, "Tears of the Moon" does a fairly decent job of portraying the moon monsters as. well. monsters. It starts out rather spooky and eerie and you think that it might have some hope. But, as it progresses it becomes more of an "action" track and less of a "scary" track. Well, that's the way I see it at least. It also isn't the longest of tracks, but if the track itself were spectacular, then the length wouldn't matter. There should just be something more historical and evil emphasized with this whole 'Lunar Cry' bit and this track doesn't exactly do it justice. (6/10)

19) Residents (Written by HunterFlamebrow)

This is another of Uematsu's more experimental tracks, but I don't like it as much as I do, say, "Silence and Motion." It mixes annoying little techno 'beeps' with pizzicato strings, as well as a bass and a string chorus, and the effect is not good. It seems very halting and stuttering and doesn't really sound of remind one of anything other than a piece of machinery slowly falling apart. (5/10)

20) Eyes on Me (Written by Neo Locke)

This piece is Final Fantasy history in the making for a couple reasons. First, it began a trend of featuring at least one vocal "Theme" in every Final Fantasy game that follows. Second, this is the first piece of video game music to be recognized with a popular music award (in Japan). With that under it's belt, it's hard to criticize this piece. Really, there isn't much to criticize either. It is a beautiful slow rock piece. The lyrics are real, and Faye Wong sings them gorgeously without too much "Engrish" pronounciation trouble. Again, The lyrics are very true to the relationship between both Squall and Rinoa, as well as Laguna and Julia. The instrumentation is also exceptional, with an equal balance of orchestration and synthesized sounds. Most of the vocals are accompanied by a synth keyboard, bass guitar, and percussion. However, the chorus has the inclusion of a very nice string harmony, and between the two verses is a very sweet flute solo. There is far too much going for this piece to find any complaint that would be enough to bring down this score. (10/10)

Disc Four

1) Mods de Chocobo (Featuring N's Telecaster) (Written by Djinova)

Disc Four starts with the lively chocobo overworld theme. The steady percussion and the electric guitar really keeps this track interesting and the atmosphere rocking. The main melodies of the chocobo theme have been varied in a pleasant way. Nobuo Uematsu even included hand clapping and chants to bring out an easy-going, non-chalant club feeling. It might feel repetitive after a while, but the improvised part from 1:51-2:01 not only saves it, but also adds a nice change again. All in all, it's one successful version of arrangement of so many. (9/10)

2) Ride On (Written by Shadow Spirit)

Ah, the Final Fantasy VIII airship (well. spaceship, actually) theme. This one is much different from the usual airship theme there is in the previous Final Fantasy tracks, being catchy, yet uplifting and enjoyable. At the same time it's very different from the usual concept of airships; its greatness and originality quickly make you forget the differences. A rare flower in the middle of the flowerfield: that's the best way to summarize this one. (9/10)

3) Truth (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track is another variation of the "sorceress" themes, but at the same time does contain its own distinct feel to it that kind of keeps it separate from the other sorceress-like tracks. That's not to say it's any better because of it, but should be noted otherwise. For me, the track is very slow and methodical. It kind of reveals hope near the middle sections of the track all the while maintaining its mysterious charm. This is, of course, the track used primarily at Edea's orphange. Anyway, "Truth" isn't anything blow away and I still prefer all the other sorceress tracks over this one, but there's just something almost comforting about this track, which I would surmise is the right emotion for this particular track. (7/10)

4) Lunatic Pandora (Written by Djinova)

Before going into details, let me start off by saying that I am looking at a great, unusual track. It begins with some mysterious alien sounds. Not long thereafter, drums join in, the track keeps on being emphasized by those but also by a higher pitched synth, that's very interesting to listen to. There is no legato within this track, but rather steady, rigid beats and sounds to portray the huge space ship "Lunatic Pandora," the presence of which draws closer and closer and the moving-on of which seems neither stoppable nor reversible. Tracks like this reconfirm Nobuo Uematsu's ability to create great experimental tracks. (9/10)

5) Compression of Time (Written by Shadow Spirit)

Sadly, this track adds very little to the album as a whole. Although it represents time compression very well with a futuristic and distinctive tune, the track is very repetitive: it starts with a synth tune that is neverending, only ceasing on the final part of the first loop, when it starts again. Apart from that problem, the background track that tags along is very nice, giving a futuristic, "alien" atmosphere. However, after listening to the previous pieces in Disc Four, this track is quite mediocre and disappointing. (6/10)

6) The Castle (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

What a fantastic beginning to this track, that's all I can say. Actually though, the gothic tone to the introduction of this track is great. It actually sounds like something you expect to hear for a castle theme. And since the castle itself has taken an almost "Dracula"-like approach the introduction sounds like it would be perfect for the Count himself. Anyway, the silly sounding cartoon-like "bump" sounds that break the intro from the main melody of theme wasn't really needed and I didn't much care for it, but the rest of the track from there on is very good. There always remains a sense of evil within this track and I believe that the actual theme itself is a scarier version of the "sorceress" themes. The loud and epic intro into the soft and mysterious melody just makes for great background, "stage-setting" music. (10/10)

7) The Legendary Beast (Written by Neo Locke)

And the Final Battles Begin!! Truly, these next three tracks are three of the craziest scores that Uematsu has ever written, and three of the more prominent as well. "The Legendary Beast" starts with a suspenseful and ominous combination of shrieking string chords, and a drawn out timpani roll, it gives the whole thing an epic sort of feel. This all is followed by a climactic combination of several chords, one after the other. Then, just as this reaches its peak, it immediately stops and a resounding string and percusion harmony strikes up. This is joined later by a short and shrill flute melody. And after this long introduction, the main melody of the piece finally picks up. The best way to describe the melody of this piece is to say that it contains a militaristic flair. The drum rolls, trumpet melody, and resounding harmony all work together to form an excellent sense of the epic struggle between good and evil. The melody can get somewhat monotonous, but it's hard to notice with everything else going on. (9/10)

8) Maybe I'm a Lion (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

As Neo Locke said, the next few tracks are going to be very crazy. but I believe, very great. This one is no exception. To go along with the "lion" symbolism that has been prevalent throughout this game, this track does great justice to that theme. The primitive feel to it is a nice complement of both the lion and the sorceress motifs. I thought that was an especially nice touch. The heavy percussion and the heavy chanting just add so much depth and a nice change of pace. Besides, this is a boss theme and the prevailing feeling here is adrenaline. Just another great track by Uematsu-san. (10/10)

9) The Extreme (Written by Neo Locke)

Extreme indeed! Perfect for the final 'Final Battle' (there's certainly enough of them). The track starts off with a creepy sort of "distorted airy" sounding choir chanting the all too familiar "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec." Somehow, despite the eerie and slow pace of this, it manages to prepare the listener for what's to come. After the voices fade away, as if into the darkness that this tune portrays (poetic, no?) a guitar/harp begins playing a rather soothing melody that is later joined by a piano that begins playing a slightly more intense version of that same melody. A choir then picks up the harmony for a short time, building the suspense even further as the piano begins to slow to a halt. Then, with a cymbal crash, and the infamous Final Fantasy battle bass line, the true battle music begins.

One final showdown is everything this piece is about, with an insane amount of melodies and harmonies all going at once, it's hard to decipher them all. At one point there's a quick-paced piano harmony with a slow and steady string melody. While at other times there's a synth melody with a brass harmony, or often a synth melody with no harmony at all. You get the picture. There's even a sort of "interlude" with just a piano playing along with some percussion, as if rebuilding the mounting tension of the fight. An odd mention, there's a certain percussion instrument, a tamborine to be exact, that is used throughout the score. It struck me as odd to use a tamborine so predominantly in the percussion line of such an orchestral track, but somehow Uematsu makes it work. Anyhow, the music is great, right up there with "One Winged Angel" and "Dancing Mad." I've always found final battle music to be one of Uematsu's many specialities. (10/10)

10) The Successor (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Primarily, if not all, a piano piece, "The Successor" is another piano masterpiece on this Original Soundtrack. Compared with the likes of "Julia" and "Ami," this track is also of top shelf quality. It does possess a small arranged portion of the "sorceress themes" that are plastered all over the Original Soundtrack, but it's used in such a great manner that you'd probably appreciate it more, given the important plot element it is emphasizing. The track is divided into different emotions — nostalgia, fear, relief, and new hope. If you really think about it, I'd say that this track kind of epitomizes Final Fantasy VIII in general. The track is just so sweet and gentle and does such nice a job of methodically setting up the masterpiece coming up next. (10/10)

11) Ending Theme (Written by Gilgamesh)

If anyone wanted to know the range of music that Final Fantasy VIII is comprised of, this would be the definitive track for the entire soundtrack. Similar to Final Fantasy VI's "Ending Theme," this track is quite long (about thirteen minutes, if I remember correctly) but contains a wide variety of great themes. It opens mysteriously, using strings and piano uncomfortably to depict Squall's struggle to get out of Time Compression. Whether he barely makes it out alive or actually dies is up to debate for the story buffs out there — but the harsh music dies down and transitions somewhat nicely to an encore of "Eyes on Me." While I am not too fond of the piece, I think it works wonderfully here as Rinoa finds Squall just before showing the flashback between Laguna and Raine. The happy flow of music (bridge portion of "Eyes on Me") may seem a bit corny, especially with the scene involving Seifer, but it continues for quite a few minutes before moving into the classic "Final Fantasy" Theme that is featured in all the games.

This march theme is wonderfully orchestrated with almost real/full quality and the ending video that accompanies it fits in very well with the music's high points. As the video fades out, the orchestra moves toward a more "epic" genre of music while more credits roll — very similar to an ending of a movie. I really liked this section as bits and pieces of the "Liberi Fatali" theme are heard. Finally, the orchestra quiets down and transitions into music of a more calm and relaxing nature. A final video is shown with Rinoa outside on a balcony platform of Balamb Garden. This original section of music is absolutely amazing — the soothing music strays into a slightly sad motif before slowly building up into a dramatic climax. The emotions fit the video perfectly as the camera pans around Rinoa, the gamer unsure of the whereabouts of Squall. As the shooting star flashes across the sky, Rinoa suddenly looks towards someone and points up. Squall is suddenly revealed and smiles for the first time, matching the climactic point of the music perfectly (about the 12:25 mark I believe). The track finally ends gracefully with a motif very similar to the "Prelude" theme as Final Fantasy VIII draws to a close with Squall and Rinoa kissing while Balamb Garden flies away into the night. Now, I'm not a big fan of supposedly sappy endings like this but I have to say that I was amazed at how well the music works for this scene. It was very memorable and appropriate.

Overall, despite encompassing many great and "already-established" themes, the track really shines during this original ending sequence. It may be long but the experience of sitting through this "masterpiece" and feeling all the emotions is worth it! (10/10)

12) Overture (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

The introduction track — the first piece of music heard in the game is. ironically the last track on the Original Soundtrack. Anyway, this track sets a nice tone to the game. While it doesn't necessarily do the same for the Original Soundtrack, I think this track is a very good opener. The militaristic feel it has plays up great to the "SeeD" theme. The frantic accompaniment is also a nice touch and when added with the still shots of the characters (anyone else notice the shot of Selphie's chest area. hmmm) leaves the player wanting more. As a track on its own, it isn't the best on the Original Soundtrack and doesn't exactly break the walls down, BUT, it's still a very good track nonetheless and I thought it was a clever idea to end the Original Soundtrack with the opening track. (8/10)


Written by Djinova

A trend is observed in a Final Fantasy Ssundtrack, and the 8th installment hardly makes an exception. It's the trend that the soundtrack is good earlier on (Disc One), then goes through a dormant phase (Disc Two), then wakes up (Disc Three), and finishes in a firework of excellent tracks.

So, the first disc starts off impressively with a bombastic opening, followed immediately by a calm track which pretty much represents the feel of the soft, emotional side of the game. Also in the first disc, the main minor and major battle theme is played, which is responsible for defining the battle atmosphere in the game. Two of the main themes, "Eyes on Me" and "Ami," are introduced in "Julia" and "Tell Me."

The second disc is the place where the tension focuses; mostly oppressive tunes are found. The witch theme is covered most extensively, in tracks like "SUCCESION OF WITCHES," "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec," or even "Premonition." Despite being filled with these excellent witch themes and others, there are too many average gap-fillers in between to engrave a deep impression.

In the third disc, the emphasis leans towards the softer themes again. With perfectly tranquilizing tracks like "Fisherman's Horizon" or "Love Grows," or joyful tracks like "Slide Show Part 2" or "Dance with the Balamb Fish," this disc shifts this soundtrack to a welcomed balance. It ends with the famous "Eyes on Me" (which is being hated by now by so many).

As promised by the trend, Disc Four is the most impressive one, which really shows the greatness of Nobuo Uematsu and let people forget about or overlook the mediocre tracks. Furthermore I have to admit that I have warmed up to this soundtrack considerably, it now even ranges (almost) on par with the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, which real favor had always relied on the fact that it had more themes. (9/10)

Written by Gilgamesh

Overall, I think that the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack is a very unique one compared with others that may take some time getting used to. The game's environments and music feel very foreign compared with other Final Fantasy games but time slowly allows the gamer/listener to appreciate the multitude of wonderful new themes that Uematsu has composed for this game. The Original Soundtrack opens with a bang ("Liberli Fatali") while slowly dropping hints of themes that will be used later ("Balamb GARDEN" motif, bits and pieces of "Eyes on Me"). Most of the music tends be more of an ambient nature but these by no means are boring — they really paint the environments well! (e.g. "Find Your Way," "Breezy," "Fisherman's Horizon.") I was a bit disappointed in the lack of an epic overworld theme but many of the fighting and action sequences more than make up for this (the regular battles, "The Landing," the boss battles, and "The Extreme" are all excellent). Then of course, there is "Eyes on Me," which may not be exactly awe-inspiring, but was definitely ground-breaking to say the least. Add in a few creative pieces (the music arrangement scene, the Laguna scenes, "Compression of Time") and Final Fantasy VIII pretty much has everything in the bag. I find the emotional pieces a bit lacking but the "Ending Theme" makes up for that in a big way. Overall, Final Fantasy VIII has a soundtrack that takes some getting used to but becomes one that can easily stand on its own compared with other monster Final Fantasy soundtracks. (9/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 9/10