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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - A Musical Journey :: Review by Jared

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - A Musical Journey Album Title: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - A Musical Journey
Record Label: Nintendo of Europe
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: March 11, 2004
Purchase: Buy at eBay

Review

The soundtrack to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is one of the most inspired and original soundtracks that the Final Fantasy series has ever seen. Featuring a variety of ancient and ethnic instruments, Kumi Tanioka experimented considerably, and the outcome was fantastic. Combined with the gameplay, her melodies and unique sound were the perfect compliment to a great game. This promotional CD is slightly mistitled; it isn't much of a journey into the soundtrack. It contains six tracks, all of which are used very early on in the game and Original Soundtrack. However, it still functions as a great sampler to the full soundtrack.

The tranquil "Kaze No Ne" makes two appearances on the album; the first in Japanese, the second in English. Both versions are absolutely flawless; this vocal theme is simply put one of the best that gaming has ever seen. The Japanese version is sung by Yae, and her vocals hold such a controlled and relaxing quality that singers like Rikki and Emiko Shiratori lack. Yae shows she is a very mature singer; she applies vibrato extremely conservatively, if at all. Her voice simply sounds great and well developed. Besides the vocals, the track is a great combination of ethnic percussion and stringed instruments. They work wonders with Yae's voice and set the track into a lot of motion, but also with a lot of emotion as well. The English version is identical; the only change is that it is in English and Donna Burke provides the vocals instead of Yae. Burke is just as perfectly suited to the track as Yae, also having a great and mature voice.

The other tracks are various background settings for places and events in the game. "Caravan Crossroads" is upbeat and fun, but also very repetitive. It consists of a percussive beat, some string backing, and a very simple wind melody. This repeats several times, and then the track ends. Very functional in game, however it doesn't impress much here. "Setting Out" is a much more well-rounded track that "Crossroads". The track is melodically ambient, if that makes any kind of sense. It has a constant melody, but functions as being a subtle background in the game. It doesn't repeat too soon and develops enough to keep interest and prevent the listener from getting annoyed. The same could basically be said for "Clouds Reflected on the River." Though it is much shorter, it follows a similar formula to the previous track. "The Water of Life" is a decent event theme. The lack of bass and overabundance of treble instruments is slightly unnerving when listening, but overall it gets the job done and isn't bad by any means. It isn't near as enjoyable as most of the previous tracks, but in-game it works great.

This short album is a decent look into the soundtrack of Crystal Chronicles. It easily shows how different the soundtrack is to previous entries in the series; however the choice of which tracks would be featured is slightly poor. "Caravan Crossroads," "Setting Out," and "Clouds Reflected on the River" sound largely similar to some degree, and "The Water of Life" isn't exactly inspired writing or great listening. However, it does feature both versions of "Kaze No Ne," whereas the soundtrack only contains the Japanese version. All in all, it works as a promo CD, but definitely could have been much more well-rounded as far as track choice.

Overall Score: 6/10