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FF Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King / Darklord Mini Album :: Review by Chris

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King & My Life as a Darklord Mini Album Album Title: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King & My Life as a Darklord Mini Album
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Purchase: Buy at iTunes


Square Enix debuted the WiiWare service with a town-building spinoff of the ever-inflating Final Fantasy series, entitled Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, where gamers play as the character of King Leo. Following its success, Square Enix released a devilish sequel entitled Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord. Kumi Tanioka created a short orchestral score for both games, though their full soundtracks have yet to be released. Instead Square Enix released a digital mini album featuring the main themes and several medleys from each game. Is it enough to satisfy appetites?


Let's start with the main theme from Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. The fragile harp introduction and light-hearted melodies hints at King Leo's youthful nature, though there is also a regal feel created by the classically-oriented woodwind work in the subsequent section. As the theme develops, there are some pretty impressive twists with transitions occurring from slow tranquil moments to dark buildups all the way to a vivacious peak. There is little special here musically or thematically, but it is nonetheless a very nice way to portray a character and the regal influences differentiates the score from its predecessors.

The Town Medley meanwhile presents a beautifully shaped melody in several variations. It opens as a slow wistful flute melody, then moves into a playful clarinet melody, all the while presenting a few serene interludes along the way. Calming harp arpeggios feature throughout each variation and some soft strings are also added with each loop. The individual compositions are very simple and composed strictly to RPG convention, though this familiar format is desirable for a game such as My Life as a King and ensures the town themes are unobtrusive during gameplay. Nevertheless, some more compositions certainly could have certainly prevented the endless repetition of the themes during the game.

The main theme from the sequel Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord actually opens the album. It is immediately contrast with the main theme of its predecessor with its mischievous woodwind melodies and driving string bass. In this regard, it's very fitting for the main character Mira, who is the daughter of the Darklord from the previous game. For several reasons, though, the track doesn't live up to its predecessor: the harmonies are coarse, the melodies are coarse, and the implementation is jarring. It's a pity that the music was implemented using primitive MIDI technology rather than by synthesizer operators like most Square Enix titles.

The rest of the mini album comprises three battle medleys from My Life as a Darklord. As with the Town Medley, the melodies are continuous in each of these medleys, but presented in variations with different instruments and volumes. The first medley is rather enjoyable for the way it juxtaposes renaissance-styled woodwind phrases with a bombastic militaristic tone and playful tuned percussion parts. Though similar in style, the second medley is even more silly in tone and has qualities comparable to a sea shanty. The boss battle medley is also surprisingly light-hearted in its primary variation, but benefits from a catchy melody and a driving militaristic bass. The second variation is much heavier, fortunately.


The Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles My Life as a King & My Life as a Darklord Mini Album is the only official release dedicated to the two scores to date. However, it is woefully incomplete with just two main themes and four medleys, leaving many fans of the soundtracks dissatisfied. There is still hope for a full soundtrack one day, but time is running out. As for what is offered, it is generally of mediocre quality, since most tracks are simplistic and derivative, perhaps indicating that Kumi Tanioka has grown tired of the series. Still, the tracks still work well in context and are charming enough outside it, so it might still be worthwhile giving the mini album a listen.

Overall Score: 6/10