- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec :: Review by Liminator

Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Album Title: Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10037; SQEX-10025
Release Date: November 20, 1999; July 22, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Like any other compilation, the orchestral album Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec appears to be delicious food for those who crave to hear the very finest sounds of Uematsu's brilliant compositions, consumed only to satisfy the hunger created by the synthetic discrepencies of the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack. Here, fans long to see their favourite tracks justified by Shiro Hamaguchi's arrangement for the orchestra — for most of them anyway — which begs the question: Were they the right choices?

To answer this question, I shall present my humble opinion of the tracks in the most informative and concise way possible. But remember: it's all a completely relative experience that's unique to each and every listener. Shall we begin the journey? The Score generally depicts my personal taste for the track, while the Arrangement Value echoes the effort of the composer in being creative or changing the nature of the piece to suit the orchestra. Replay Value encompasses the number of times one can replay the track without getting sick of it.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Liberi Fatali

It's only the first track and I already begin to feel awkward. As a disclaimer, my opinion of this track is not one to be taken seriously, for I am probably one of the few people in this world who doesn't think "Liberi Fatali" is all that spectacular! I mean, it's definitely not bad. It's actually very good — it's dynamic, vibrant, and encapsulates the themes of Final Fantasy VIII nicely. That's a given. It's definitely rich in instrumental and vocal quality too.

It's simply a matter of the vocals that I fail to have the taste for. No matter how serious or tense they are intended to be, I cannot appreciate these vocal rhythms. The clash of vocals combined with the roaring drums sounds superbly striking at first, but there is a degree of it that feels somewhat chaotic to me (but I think that was the intention). And the fact that this same rhythm occupies the entirety of the song leaves me clueless on how to interpret this piece.

I apologise for not sharing the same enthusiasm as others and for being handicapped in my musical appreciation of the song's complexity. But obviously I must give credit wherever credit is due; it's still a great job though done by Nobuo and Hamaguchi, and still deserves a high score. As an additional note, it was directly transferred from the Original Soundtrack, but it doesn't matter to the average fan because this is meant to be Nobuo's grand masterpiece! Overall, a fitting opening.

Score: 8/10 / Arrangement Value: N/A / Replay Value: High to Very High

2) Blue Fields

Again, not meaning to be different, but I have never had a problem with this tune as a world map theme. Sure, it probably pales in insignificance to "Crossing Those Hills" or the classic "FFVII Main Theme", yet both this version and the Original Soundtrack version are fine by me!

The background bass sounds like careful, trotting footsteps, as if reflecting the fact that we are unsure of the direction we should be going. That's ideal for a world map theme. The echoey, hollow feel of the violin and background melody reflects the enormity of the world map, and gives us a feeling that we're lost somewhere in the wild. Yet there's also a glimmer of hope that we can somehow find our way back to where we belong (not meaning to allude to Final Fantasy IX!).

Because of the use of synthesizers, the Original Soundtrack version sounds more dream-like and echoey, and perhaps is a tiny bit faster or the same speed, but this version is alright. This is all very nicely portrayed. But like any theme, you can easily get sick of it, if played excessively.

Score: 8/10 / Arrangement Value: 9/10 / Replay Value: Moderate

3) Don't be Afraid

This is a nice battle theme for the orchestra. It is very musically fulfilling and does a terrific job of depicting the courage required for facing the battles of Final Fantasy VIII. I particularly liked the sections where the music dies down and you just hear the clinking metallic noise in the background which typifies the mood of any battle encountered in the world map. Basically all synthesizers from the Original Soundtrack have been replaced nicely. Parts of the theme have gushing wind, which sounds good. Great, though there are better battle themes out there.

Score: 8/10 / Arrangement Value: 8/10 / Replay Value: Moderate to High

4) Balamb GARDEN ~ Ami

You wanna know the meaning of nostalgia? This is it. This track by itself retains the innocent atmosphere of the "Balamb GARDEN" and "Ami" tune that Final Fantasy VIII fans are introduced to at the earliest stages of Disc One. It's a very soothing melody that contributes to a friendly, warm feel, as if nothing could ever go wrong. However, my only complaint is that this arrangement is a bit slow in comparison to the Original Soundtrack version. But this is why they are the musicians, not me! It's still excellent.

Score: 9/10 / Arrangement Value: 9/10 / Replay Value: High

5) Fisherman's Horizon

This is really good. The vocals this time are fine as they are; they actually uplift the mood of quietness and solidarity that is accentuated in this track. Initially, the theme conveys the emotion of experiencing freedom; the notion that it's very enjoyable to be living in peace, away from the troubles of this world. Viewed under a certain light, the part near the end seems to portray severe loneliness and a touch of misery, but I think that's a bit of an extreme interpretation.

Sometimes because of the slow nature of the theme, it's not something that can entertain me when I'm after a feel-good, fast-paced song. The Original Soundtrack version was quite fast, which conveyed some happiness. This is a different interpretation. Still, definitely a great piece that represents the town theme quite nicely!

Score: 9/10 / Arrangement Value: 9/10 / Replay Value: Moderate

6) Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec

You know, this track seems kind of silly. The only constructive purpose it accomplishes is the fact that it makes me laugh out loud. Not sure how to compare it to the Original Soundtrack version here. It's not bad at the beginning, and if you're talking about the tune, it's fine. The only problem is that I can't stand the vocals once again. But this time, it's unbearable.

Agreed, it's meant to be a sort of chanting that reflects the seriousness of a type of ritual, but it gets ugly for me after a while. And to make it even more ridiculous, the random lady shouting and screaming at the end just frightens me like mad. She sounds possessed — an absolute nut-case even — and I'm not quite sure if that was meant to be the effect... I don't think there was meant to be a random lady shouting in the streets of Deling.

I don't want to touch this track. Unless I want to have a bittersweet laugh. Easily the worst orchestral track on this album, side-by-side another shocker for different reasons...

Score: 3/10 / Arrangement Value: 4/10 / Replay Value: Non-Existent

7) Eyes on Me

...WHY? It truly is a mystery why this was included on the orchestral album. To most fans, it's like a waste of space on the play list. Unchanged from the Original Soundtrack, this ballad is one of those things where you find yourself classified as one of two people: You either hate it outright or you love it to pieces. I think the tune itself is fantastic but some pronunciation of words makes me shudder.

To be honest, I thought this was absolutely terrible when I first heard it, but it's not so bad after being 'brainwashed' a few times with it many replays later. Overall it becomes a nice love theme. However, many fans would 'kill' for a different piece. For example, Chris himself would have preferred "Silence and Motion". Not a bad idea and the piano collection version was lovely. But many of us still want to know... why??!

Score: 5/10 / Arrangement Value: N/A / Replay Value: High or Dreadfully Low

8) The Man with the Machine Gun

This one is interesting. It's the famous techno battle music of Laguna and company re-arranged for the orchestral stage. The Original Soundtrack version one was my favourites for Final Fantasy VIII. While this version sounds awkward to start with, I don't think it's too bad because if you listen carefully to the background and other features, the arrangement stays true to the original tune that everyone loves.

However, it's a very difficult one to play for an orchestra, given its extremely fast pace and combination of upbeat melodies. The arrangement was perhaps 'the boss level' for Hamaguchi himself. There are a few sweet moments when the main tune gets cranked up a notch in speed, followed suddenly by some heartfelt notes. Given the type of music it is, I think this was done well.

Score: 7/10 / Arrangement Value: 9/10 / Replay Value: Moderate

9) Dance with the Balamb-fish

Firstly, let me confess my major bias: This is probably my favourite track of Final Fantasy VIII or close to it. This track alone was one of the main reasons why I bought this album in the first place! (Not that the others are bad or anything obviously.) It features some extremely cheerful music, conveying a sense of being half-dancing, half-floating in the air. Though people say it isn't a waltz (I'm not musically sound with terminology so I wouldn't know!), it does kind of sound like a dance from the classical music era.

As this plays, it becomes clear this piece is meant to evoke a certain degree of joy, energy, and jubilation. I particularly like the clash of percussions that emphasise the lively nature of the dance, coupled with the varying assortment of instruments that mimic the main tune. Sometimes, I can imagine it being a piece that mirrors the peaceful nature of Dollet's seaside or any other natural scenery that is bursting with life, for that matter.

However, there is not much that has been changed from the Original Soundtrack. The coda, though, makes for a somewhat dramatic closure. The other problem, I think, is that it is a bit short.

Score: 10/10 / Arrangement Value: 6/10 / Replay Value: High

10) Love Grows

This is basically a non-vocal version of "Eyes on Me". It sounds much better and one would probably appreciate the melody better here. Not much to comment other than it is great when instrumental. My friends, this is the 'real' love theme! It sounds much better than the synthesised drone of the Original Soundtrack version and has degrees of flair in various segments of the piece.

Score: 9/10 / Arrangement Value: 10/10 / Replay Value: High

11) The Oath

Patriotic and solemn, this theme stands as a reminder of Squall's romantic and dedicated relationship to Rinoa. It starts off well and sounds good when it stays relatively quiet and controlled.

However, I have to say the tune has been 'overkilled' in some areas. Some sections sound too shrill or unnecessarily loud. And repetitive. But still, we get the message that it's meant to be something serious as the title's name suggests. Aside the loudness, it sounds a bit better than synthesized in the Original Soundtrack version and I like how Hamaguchi incorporated the background percussion in some sections. But to be fair, the soundtrack was a bit shrill as well. There's a stage at the beginning that sounds like "Final Fantasy" main theme, but that could be just me imagining things!

Score: 6/10 / Arrangement Value: 7/10 / Replay Value: Average

12) Ending Theme

FANTASTIC! This is just excellent. And it's so musically rich and exploding with instrumental quality and entertainment value at a whopping 13+ minutes. The first half of it reveals Faye Wong back to haunt us. Well most people would say: 'Uh oh.' But it is, to quote some people's opinions, 'bearable' and 'tolerable'. Why? It's because of the brilliant musical accompaniment such as the matching chords that 'kind of' — excuse my tone here — block out her voice. Nevertheless, when you do get to hear it, her voice seems pleasant here.

The rich ending melody follows in the second half to truly give you this sense of victory and accomplishment. The kind of feeling you get towards the end of a superhero movie when our hero has defeated the bad guy or when our hero is standing up for a noble cause to save the people. It's all up to your imagination really. This arrangement stays exactly the same as the Original Soundtrack version, which includes the dreamy "The Prelude" and, best of all, the "Final Fantasy" main theme meshed in skillfully. But no one cares that it stays the same, because it's a grand piece. The masterpiece at the heart of this album, considered to be in the same league as "Liberi Fatali".

Score: 10/10 / Arrangement Value: N/A / Replay Value: Extremely High

13) Fragments of Memories

This is a decent track. I wouldn't be inclined to listen to it over and over, though, as the effect kind of wears off for me after a few listens. It's the only truly 'sad' sounding melody played on this album and is arranged for strings. There is a moment towards the end where the tune diverges from the normal melody. I feel that this part is the most sorrowful in nature with the deep vibrating violin notes penetrating your heart. I can't comment on much else, though, although it seems to be a rather 'weak' ending in the context of being the final track of the album.

However, the conversion is rather startling, as the original sounds like a little kid's version with its use of synthesized noises that sound like chiming bells, probably done to emphasise Laguna's cherished relationship with Raine and Ellone. This version, though, sounds more mature and realistic. I'm not sure what the underlying meaning is though. Perhaps it also reflects the regret Laguna feels with not continuing his relationship with Julia. Interesting arrangement.

Score: 7/10 / Arrangement Value: 9/10 / Replay Value: Average


Overall, Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec is a worthwhile asset because it embraces the many themes that make the game famous for fans today. Many favourites have been enhanced considerably! Although two masterpieces have been transferred directly from the Original Soundtrack to this album, both are equally deserving of their place here and the album would not be the same without them. It is safe to say most tracks were the right choices, though this is entirely subjective. However, the fact that "Eyes on Me" was included on this album, along with another ridiculous stumbling block "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec", makes it impossible for the album to obtain a 10/10 or near perfect score. Yet, despite the minor inconveniences the album is a must-buy because the rest of the album is of great listening value. Most importantly, support Nobuo Uematsu and co. and the video game music world!

Overall Score: 7/10