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Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version :: Forum Review

Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version Album Title: Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
Record Label: NTT Publishing
Catalog No.: PSCN-5001/3 (1st Edition); NTCP-5001/3 (Reprint)
Release Date: March 25, 1994; October 1, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Chris

The Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version was simply unbeatable at its time — it remained consistently good throughout the score and was a host to endless memorable and enjoyable themes. It is not surprising that it remains many people's all-time favourite. It has a very strong place in the history of game music in that it was so revolutionary. It really did lay the foundations for the development of many other more recent and popular soundtracks.

This is all thanks to one man: Nobuo Uematsu. While I am often critical of his style of composing, he deserves a huge amount of credit for this spectacular masterwork. It is largely as a result of this work and its high level of exposure that he is now so popular as a composer. He stretched the limitations of 16-bit quality sound beyond imagination by creating three CDs full of some of the most memorable melodies ever written. Still, contrary to popular belief, it isn't just his melodies that he is so popular for, but his radical experimentation too. This soundtrack is literally full of experimentation, even if some of his later albums are not. It is these unique abilities, which cannot be matched by any other game composer, that make him deserved of being described as a genius.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Opening Theme (Written by Z-Freak)

The album starts off with a organ solo, which is succeeded by a synthesized choir and a quick piano solo. While the opening sequence plays, we hear a rendition of "Catastrophe," which is found on Disc Three. This part compliments the background story really well as we learn of the War of the Magi. The final phase of this theme is a rendition of "Tina" found on Disc Two. While the credits roll and we see the Magitek Armor moving towards Narshe, the music represented that an epic battle was about to take place. Easily one of Uematsu's strongest themes! (10/10)

2) Colliery Narsh (Written by Gilgamesh)

Low strings and minor guitar phrases paint the picture of a run-down low key town, gray and filled with smoke and lifeless people. Well, Narshe is more than that but the music, though a bit bland and boring, certainly fits the atmosphere and condition of this town. Not very memorable and I found that most of the downcast or depressing town themes were quite indistinguishable from each other. But still not too bad. (4/10)

3) Awakening (Written by Piano)

This is played when you first awaken from a heavy battle and the slow strings gently accompany the wonderful melody of "Tina." It's fairly short, but is beautiful in its nature and serves its purpose well. (8/10)

4) Locke (Written by Conqueso)

Here's the first upbeat track we hear in the entire soundtrack, and the first character theme (though the motif representing Terra has already been introduced), and not only is it the theme of one of the coolest characters in the game (and my all-time favorite character), the theme itself is also one of the best (which is saying something, since this game's character themes are ridiculously awesome), even if it's a bit short. The theme is very happy and adventurous, with lots of spunky, dissonant harmony and grandiose orchestration, and a good reminder that this game's not all gloom and doom (and bizarre Ted Woosley translations), which you'd think from these first three tracks. It's neato-riffic! (10/10)

5) Battle Theme (Written by Tim)

Inevitably, the main battle tracks in the Final Fantasy series tend to score lower than other themes simply because you can't help but get a little sick of them after hearing them hundreds (if not thousands) of times throughout the course of the game. Still, when you sit back and consider the battle themes that have made it to future (and thus more technologically advanced) Final Fantasy games, none of them can hold a candle to this one. The pace is frenetic and you can't help but picture a battle scene when listening to it. (7/10)

6) Fanfare (Written by Leer317)

Seriously, what can be said about this other than standard fanfare theme? The sound seems fresher and more improved over the Final Fantasy V version of the track — it seems more rich and fulfilling. Overall, however, this track got old fairly quickly. (3/10)

7) Edgar and Mash (Written by Tim)

This unbelievably catchy track plays as you enter the burrowing castle of Figaro, also known as the home of King Edgar. Edgar has one of the coolest homes of any Final Fantasy character, as his home has the ability to disappear into the sand when enemy attacks are imminent. The theme track of Figaro Castle is very moving, and conveys an immense amount of power and prestige. Certainly one of the most "hum-able" tunes in the history of Final Fantasy. (10/10)

8) Kefka (Written by ffpianomaster)

A true classic! This is the theme for the main villain in Final Fantasy VI, Kefka. Like the previous character themes, it perfectly describes the emotions and personality of the character. Kefka looks like a clown, and the track reminds me of a circus tune. Although "Kefka" is kind of short, it is a very catchy tune that is also disturbing at the same time. Each time I hear it, I think of Kefka's laugh and his character — cheesy and evil. Great track! (9/10)

9) Mt. Koltz (Written by El Jenzo)

A well-used theme in the game whenever something is about to happen. It is used in several more places than Mt. Koltz. It's an intense and pushy theme, which is, like most of Uematsu-pieces, built up by strings, percussion, certain synth-sounds, and a few tones on the harp. It's a good theme, but it is still too short and reused too much — you'll get fed up with it after a while. (5/10)

10) Returners (Written by Tim)

If memory serves, the "Returners" theme only plays once during the game, shortly after meeting Banon and convening at the Returner's hideout to discuss Terra's future plans. It's a shame that this piece isn't played more often because it's actually a very listenable piece. The bass line is fairly repetitive, while the melody portrays a sense of urgency and great concern on the part of the Returners. This track is definitely one of the more underrated on the album. (8/10)

11) Shadow (Written by Chris)

The theme of "Shadow" is a credit to the collective character themes, which are widely and deservedly regarded as the strongest feature of the entire Original Sound Version. Although simple in musical terms, it is complex in the way that it is so representative of Shadow in so many different ways. The distant and wandering whistle melodies represent a theme of a lone ranger, which you first assume Shadow to be. The warmth of these melodies as they develop, however, makes it self-evident that Shadow has a lot more depth beyond this. The accompaniment mainly consists of strummed chords on the acoustic guitar and a pizzicato ostinato on the double bass. Although this is simple in musical terms, it deserves not to be criticised for this, considering it is entirely appropriate for reinforcing what the melody creates. Tracks crafted from such simplicity show the extent to which Uematsu is an artist. (10/10)

12) Troops March On (Written by Leer317)

The Empire's coming! The Empire's coming! This theme is used, as the title implies, when the troops of the Empire are marching on. The rhythmic drums and bass in the background, combined with the brass (especially the trumpets) and strings, excellently portray an army that seems extremely large, organized, invincible, and heading your way!!! It seems kind of short, however. Prepare for battle!! (8/10)

13) Cayenne (Written by Gilgamesh)

This is another great character theme composed by Uematsu. Cayenne, or Cyan, has a theme that is introduced by a strong pan-flute, playing boldly with the support of string and percussion pulses. Though it sounds a bit Japanese-ish and has a strong unemotional feel, it really matches with the honorable swordsman character that Cyan is. After about thirty seconds, the strings erupt into a new courageous and uplifting theme, a great contrast to the first half. Quite a memorable track, this theme is really hammered on to Cyan as it played quite appropriately during all his side-quests. (9/10)

14) The Unforgiven (Written by Tim)

"The Unforgiven" continues an unbelievable stretch of excellent tracks on Disc One. This piece, like virtually all the others on this album, just. fits. It plays at several incredibly tense moments in the game, most notably when a house is collapsing and Sabin holds it up while you scurry in and rescue everyone. The pace is incredibly frantic, and your heart pounds like crazy while listening to it. Tremendous. (9/10)

15) The Mystic Forest (Written by Chris)

The seemingly unstoppable stretch of excellent themes continues through "The Mystic Forest." This is mainly an ambient theme, but is much easier to enjoy than most ambient themes thanks to Uematsu's simple yet effective instrumental contrasts. Here, one hears a distinct chromatic motif in the bass line that emphasises a sense of mystery/mysticism and sets the firm musical foundations for the theme to develop. It is the eloquent contrasting clarinet and flute melodies that add musical enrichment to the track, however. It develops well, is profoundly composed, and full of the atmosphere needed for the game. This track is certainly recommended for everyone. (9/10)

16) Mystery Train

Written by El Jenzo - Beware! Haunted train! This is the theme of the Phantom Train you only visit once. It begins with only the sound of the train against the rails going faster and faster (one of the first times in VGM history tempo change was used!), and then fades away giving room for the actual theme. It's a nice melody that is first played by only some kind of synth instruments. It then develops so that it is played by a brass section, including a notable (though a bit too clear) tuba part and some percussion. The piece is gradually built up, just like the tension in this point of the game, and it really fits. The piece then ends with the sound of the train slowing down and finally stopping. It is a well-balanced and composite piece that is well worth listening to. Though it isn't one of the best tracks, it definitely serves it purpose. (8/10)

Written by Gilgamesh - I must admit, this track took a while to grow on me. To this day, I still cannot explain the feeling this piece gives me, but it suits the "Phantom Train" scene perfectly. A bit ambient with mysterious harsh melodies, the music seems to capture the sad or gloomy mood of everyone on-board the train heading to their eternal destination. A great track once appreciated. (8/10)

17) Wild West (Written by Chris)

With the exception of "Devil's Lab," this track is the funkiest in the game. The 'cello melodies are extremely catchy while the rumba-style drum beats that accompany them give an exotic and wild flavour ideal for representing the Veldt. If it weren't for this track the tedium of hunting Gau's rages in the Veldt within the game would have increased massively. (10/10)

18) Gau (Written by El Jenzo)

This is the theme of the wild boy Gau that you meet when he is running around in the fields. The piece is something as rare as a 'cello solo (we need more of those), accompanied by a guitar. After a while, the theme is taken over by a flute and we'll also hear some strings in the background (typical for Uematsu). It is a very beautiful theme; though I think it seems a bit to calm to be the theme of a rowdy boy, it is still one great piece of music and one of the album's most loved tracks. (10/10)

19) The Snake Path (Written by Tim)

Alas, all good things must come to an end. The amazing streak of awesome tracks had to end somewhere, and, in my opinion, it's here. "The Snake Path" is uninspiring and at times grating. If it weren't for the unnecessary string section in the background, the piece would be much more listenable, though still mediocre. (4/10)

20) Kids Run Through the City Corner (Written by El Jenzo)

Aaah. The classical town theme. There is one in every game and they are always good. This theme, like most, is built up by strings, harp, and guitar. This is one of the better town themes, I still think it's a bit dreary. It's not very varying, rather short, and very simple — just like a standard town theme. It is good, but it could have been better. (7/10)

21) Under Martial Law (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track does a lot in helping to convey a foreboding mood and a feeling that something or someone is imposing their power on you. Yet, at the same time, the synthesized drum beats give a feel of urgency and adrenaline that seems to suggest "I gotta get out of here." It has a quiet feel to it, which, given the title, suggests that the population is indeed under martial law. (7/10)

22) Celes (Written by Gilgamesh)

A sad but powerful string and harp passage introduces this beautiful theme. Though the core of "Celes" is based off the opera track ("Aria De Mezzo Caraterre") later in the game, I love the first few seconds of the track. It is a great representation of Celes' character: somewhat cold, hardened by the Empire, but with a sense of hope and humanity still within her. A light chime or bell-like instrument plays the ever popular opera piece section that Celes herself sings later on. The transitions are really nice and this track is yet another awesome character theme composed by Uematsu. (10/10)

23) Save Them! (Written by Leer317)

When I first heard this track, I absolutely hated it. There seems to be no set melody that I could find. Instead, there is just a bunch of brass instruments and some strings playing the same short two-second run of notes over and over. It probably has something to do with the fact that I never liked minor chords. Anyway, first used in the first big battle against Kefka, this track attempts to portray the urgency of saving something, hence the name. In my opinion, it fails miserably. The only part I thought that was quasi-good was the little bit of the "Tina" theme heard in the middle of the track. This made me feel that this was a desperate battle and that I was up against something I would need all my energy to defend against. In my opinion, however, it gets ruined by the main melody, though I'm sure people will disagree. (5/10)

24) The Decisive Battle (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

I must say that this track is probably one of the better boss battle themes throughout the entire Final Fantasy series. From the beginning of the track alone you can get a sense of fear of knowing that you're about to go up against something mean and frightening. The percussive beat in the background also provides a great feel of urgency. It could use a greater sense of climax near the end, as the melody begins over again, but, all in all, the track just sounds great and resembles that of the older generation boss themes that have been missing in recent Final Fantasy games. This is what a boss theme should sound like! (9/10)

25) Metamorphosis (Written by El Jenzo)

Aaah! The stressy hurry-track! It's played whenever something big is happening or when you're under pressure. Uematsu uses the classic combination of strings, percussion, bass, and lots of dissonance. This is a piece that serves its purpose very well; your pulse rises only by hearing it. Indeed, not one of the most prominent tracks, but yet one of the most fitting. It is a bit short, but since the point of the piece is to annoy you, Uematsu can do that as well when it's needed. (What can't he do? He even managed to hide a small "Tina" variation in it.) (5/10)

Disc Two

1) Tina (Written by Z-Freak)

Here is the world map theme for the first half of the game, the flute takes the lead, backed up by other instruments as we move across the world to visit new towns, the Empire, the Opera House, etc. Basically, this theme is among the most memorable to those who play Final Fantasy VI and with good reason. It's simply a decent overworld theme — something Nobuo Uematsu can't seem to be able to do anymore, which is a shame. (10/10)

2) Coin Song (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track is a very nice and slow melodic piece that is based on the "Edgar and Mash" theme quite nicely. In fact, it is a nice change of pace from the recent faster-paced tracks and does a great job of emphasizing the particular situation. Nobuo Uematsu does a fantastic job with this track. This is one of those tracks that you can fall asleep to. (10/10)

3) Techno de Chocobo (Written by Tim)

It simply wouldn't be a Final Fantasy title if there weren't at least one Chocobo theme, and Final Fantasy VI is no exception. This upbeat tune is the only Chocobo theme in Final Fantasy VI, and is probably the best of the entire series. It really does a nice job or portraying the "foot loose and fancy-free" mood you have while riding these immense birds, free of the burden of random battles. (8/10)

4) Forever Rachel (Written by Conqueso)

Here's something very unusual in this soundtrack — a brilliant character theme, this time of an non-playable character, specifically Locke's deceased girlfriend/fiancée, Rachel. Appropriately, this track is largely based on "Locke" from all the way back at the beginning of Disc One. However, unlike most of the "sad" versions of character themes ("Epitaph," "Coin Song"), which add little new material beyond the different arrangement, the melody isn't so much the theme of "Locke" in minor mode, as it is an emotional outpouring using "Locke" as a jumping-off point. As good as these tracks are, this is the one that really becomes something special. (8/10)

5) Slam Shuffle (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

I may be the only one who thinks so, but I think this track is probably one of the lesser desirable tracks on the entire soundtrack. For me, personally, it doesn't do anything as far as setting a mood or emphasizing a situation/event. It also seems very simplistic in its composition and doesn't exactly take me away with its arrangement. The whole 'rain drop' in the background can also get annoying. In its defense, though, the structure and overall feel of the track seems quite appropriate for the town Zozo in which it is used primarily. However, Zozo never was my favorite of places to play and the Zozo theme never was one of my favorite themes to listen to. In all honestly, playing through Zozo the first time through and listening to this track kind of made me tired and bored beyond reasoning. Unlike "Coin Song" or "Forever Rachel," "Slam Shuffle" is the kind of track that puts you to sleep for the wrong reasons. (4/10)

6) Spinach Rag (Written by El Jenzo)

One of the few Final Fantasy rags. We could have used some more, but then, the rarer they are, the bigger the excitement when they finally are heard. This catchy piece of music is the theme of the Opera House, which could seem a bit strange since it's hardly operatic — I'd rather see this piece used somewhere else since it feels a bit misplaced. However, as a stand-alone track, it's great. Anyone who played the game would find it difficult to forget this catchy and cheerful track. (10/10)

7) Overture (Written by Gilgamesh)

Majestic strings open our wonderful opera scene, which is fitting for an overture of such a grand scale. As the steady pulses die, there are hints of themes being developed before a harp takes over and begins a sad and mysterious tune, which is perfect as 'storytelling intro' music or for an opening narration. Strings and percussion take over again, setting up for the grand introduction of our hero. We then finally hear the singer's voice, in all its Super Nintendo MIDI glory (seriously, producing that kind of sound in 1994 was very difficult thing to do). He sings a very melancholy melody containing small bits of the "Celes" motif near the finish. As the scene shifts back to Locke and company, the strings begin to play some ambient material (very similar to the middle parts of the Final Fantasy VII boss theme if I may say so) that seems to represent a premonition of some sort. A gentle flute begins a sort of medieval gentle melody loop while Locke prepares Celes for her solo. A great track, but only a taste of what's to come! (9/10)

8) Aria Di Mezzo Carattere (Written by El Jenzo)

The curtain rises and Maria (Celes) enters during the harp intro. She then opens her mouth and starts to sing. It's the same beautiful melody as the theme of "Celes." After the first passage, the whole orchestra joins in. The track then fades away and we hear only the marvelous orchestral interlude. This interlude is perfectly arranged and balanced, one of the best things Uematsu has ever done. After this, the vocal part comes back in as the theme reaches its climax, which leads to the final passage, where the piece slows down, fades away, and leaves you in a state of supreme happiness. A great track! (9/10)

9) The Wedding Waltz ~ Duel

Written by FinalFantasyMan - Boy, anything that has to follow "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" has a dubious task ahead of itself but this track does a great job in building the climax for the rest of the opera. At the time, the visuals in this entire scene were simply magnificent and a large part of the success of the opera was Uematsu's music, because it IS an opera after all. Essentially, it'd be great to just consider all of the tracks in this event one giant track, but that is not the case. However, each individual part of the opera (with its own unique track) is just outstanding. "The Wedding Waltz ~ Duel" seems to be the climax of the 'opera tracks'. It begins with what I assume is a 'cello on a frantic solo but just builds up bigger and better as the track progresses. Following "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" is hard enough, but this theme holds its own and shouldn't be forgotten in the shadows of the spectacular track before it. (10/10)

Written by Conqueso - Even the weakest segment of the opera is still pretty strong. It begins with a sweet, simple waltz and then segues into a pretty generic bit of action music. All that really makes this track noteworthy is the last bit of "sung" dialogue in the opera and the beyond bizarre ending (which becomes infinitely less so in the context of the game). (7/10)

10) Grand Finale? (Written by Gilgamesh)

There's a few seconds of simulated (YES, more Super Nintendo human voice impressions!) audience mumbling before a timpani begins the upbeat battle sequence with the gang and our good friend, Ultros the octopus. While the trumpet and strings try to develop a heroic or emotion driven theme, I found the drumbeatin the background to be just a bit repetitive. Uematsu has certainly done better battle themes before, but this is still not a bad track — it certainly fits the type of battle music near the end of an opera or play. (7/10)

11) Setzer (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

The track begins with a frantic 'cello opening and quickly turns into a spirited track decorated by how various instrumental parts overwhelmingly overtake parts of the track. I'm not sure if the track fits in too well with the Setzer persona (I would guess something a bit more rambunctious and toned-down would be better), but, since it seems to be used primarily on the airship, it fits in quite nicely to the feel of riding in an airship. It's a good theme in general, but it doesn't distinguish clearly between the airship and Setzer, even though they are pretty much connected throughout the entire game. (8/10)

12) Johnny C. Bad (Written by Tim)

Drop your beer mugs, take your lady by the arm, it's time for a little "Johnny C. Bad" action. This rambunctious mostly-piano and bass guitar romp is a staple in various pubs and inns throughout the world of Final Fantasy VI. The piano sections are especially well done, but there are times throughout the piece where several themes jumble into one making the piece sound like a confusing mess. It could also be argued that the piece is a bit repetitive, but overall, I can almost guarantee you'll bust a move everytime you here this piece. (8/10)

13) The Empire "Gestahl" (Written by Gilgamesh)

Similar to the beginning parts of the Opening Theme on Disc One, we hear the Empire theme using the same 'dark' instruments — slow percussion, strings, brass, and other low chimes and bells. Though it's not a very interesting theme to me, I love the mood the strings (at the very beginning of the track) create as Setzer's airship flies through the darkness towards Vector. Otherwise, it's a decent track, but not spectacular. (6/10)

14) Devil's Lab (Written by Leer317)

This track is used for the Esper extraction centre place in Vector. It starts off with several 'factory' sounds, such as banging metal hammers, etc. It sets the mood quite well, though it made me picture a factory made by Disney. The main melody uses an electronic synth instrument, and works to fit the robotic and electronic theme of the factory. The strings add to that effect as well! Every time I hear this track, I feel compelled to do a Tinman-type (from the Wizard of Oz) type dance! It just fits the electronic mood perfectly! The melody itself is also quite catchy, which is a big plus!!! (9/10)

15) Blackjack (Written by Makojunky)

What is effectively Setzer's 'real' theme is used when you're fly the airship in the world of balance — its slick, stylish, and cool, perfect for Setzer and his airship. Although the Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale version is superior with its full orchestra and swanky saxophone, this is still pretty solid track. (9/10)

16) ?? (Written by Conqueso)

This crazy-ass track, the musical equivalent of an anime-style sweatdrop, is one of the weaker tracks melodically, which is forgivable, since the track consists solely of various pitched and unpitched percussion sound (including a "dog barking" patch that could have come straight out of Mario Paint). It's. unique, to say the least. If you thought "Silence and Motion" from the Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack was too strange, you might want to steer clear on this one. But if you're completely insane (and who isn't, a little?), then this might be right up your ally. As for everyone else. well, listen to the nice segue it makes with the other wacky track after it! Oooh. Aaaah. (7/10)

17) Mog (Written by Gilgamesh)

With heavier percussion than normal, this is the "Mog" theme that we've all come to know and love. Well, maybe. I personally don't find the "Mog" theme to be a particularly classic Final Fantasy theme. Though the Moogles have their biggest role in the series in this game, this theme is played sparingly throughout the game, mostly as background music in the special underground cave of Narshe where the Mogs hang out. Musically, this isn't much more developed past "Cripper Tripper Fritter" from the Final Fantasy V Original Sound Version (where the theme originated), except for the addition of a 'Mario-like' underground drum. Still, it's a nice and cute little tune. (4/10)

18) Stragus (Written by Makojunky)

This is used when you go to Stragus' and Relm's home town of Thamasa and it suits the town probably more than the character; mysterious and untouched by outsiders. There are elements of Mysidia in Final Fantasy IV present, which would make sense — both these towns are populated my mages. Unlike its Final Fantasy IV counterpart, this track is more melancholy, and has a smoother melody played on a flute-sounding instrument over a strong beat in the bass. This theme is never used in any other events in the game, as touching moments between Stragus and his granddaughter are accompanied by "Relm." (7/10)

19) Relm (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Another one of the good character themes. This track just fits in so nicely with Relm's persona. It's nice and sweet and the track does a great job in displaying that. It primarily uses "soft-sounding" instruments, such as the piano. I like the structure of the track because, as I said, it portrays this sweet, young innocent girl that doesn't seem to scare you. But then you realize that Relm can draw her enemies into oblivion and the track means more because of the way she disposes of monsters — with grace and skill. My only gripe with this track is its development. For such a beautiful track, I suppose I wanted more from it. (9/10)

20) Another World of Beasts (Written by Tim)

This mysterious track is prominent during several flashback sequences in Final Fantasy VI. It also plays when Terra first makes contact with the Esper in Narshe. It takes on two distinct flavors, both of which have their merits. The first part of the piece features a simple bass line with a flute-like synth playing the eerie main melody. Later on, the piano makes up the bass line and really builds the tension. Overall, this is another track that just fits very well with what's happening in the game. (8/10)

Disc Three

1) New Continent (Written by Gilgamesh)

A short, but hurried, harp arpeggio introduces this very epic but chaotic theme. Percussion and strings seem to develop something that wavers between a awe-struck feeling type of theme and chaotic ambience. One of my favorite sequences in the game, I wish the theme was carried out just a bit further. I love that feeling of "Yikes!" and it would have worked quite well here as our heroes journey and battle their way through loads of random fights aboard a huge floating island. Towards the end of the theme, the music seems a bit strained and harsh sounding and there's something very intriguing about that long pause right as the music loop takes place. The only other track I can think of where Uematsu does this is in Final Fantasy X during the 'Festival of the Hunt' fight sequences. Neither the most pleasing nor catchy of tracks, but it definitely fits the scene and does its job. (8/10)

2) Catastrophe (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

What is essentially the opening part of the "Opening Theme," "Catastrophe" is definitely a good track. Everything up to this point in the soundtrack and the game makes this track mean much more than a dark and powerful piece of music. The track begins slowly and ominously with a bell/gong being hit in the background, which signifies the end of all things. It then picks up in intensity and it only makes the track far more terrifying. Indeed, for setting a mood/scene and for structure/orchestration merits, "Catastrophe" is an outstanding track. (9/10)

3) The Fierce Battle (Written by Z-Freak)

This battle theme represents one of the more memorable confrontations in game with the Atma Weapon. This theme really showed off the immense power of the beast and it captured the feeling of an aggressive encounter very well. I rank it among the top five major boss battles by Uematsu. Everything about this theme fits like a glove. (10/10)

4) Rest in Peace (Written by Tim)

Every Final Fantasy title has an obligatory 30 second "you died" piece that plays when your party kicks the bucket and "Game Over" flashes on the screen. This is Final Fantasy VI's version, and, though it's too short to really excel in a musical sense, it does a good job for what it is. (7/10)

5) Dark World (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track is essentially the new overworld theme after Kefka has taken over. While it may disappoint many of those who loved "Tina" as the overworld theme, "Dark World" definitely has enough merit on its own to make it a pretty good theme. Basically, it features an organ playing in the background of the entire track that provides a slow and methodic mood. Much of the main melody of the track also defines the setting and the current state of the world in the game. Halfway through the track, the track provides a nice interlude that I can only describe as 'giving hope', even though much of the track is designed to do the opposite of that. (8/10)

6) The Day After (Written by Tim)

I believe this piece is played in the town of Maranda, shortly after it's been taken over by the Empire. As such, this piece has a feeling of worry and foreboding. The residents of the town are quite concerned, and this piece portrays this emotion admirably. The distinctive bass line compliments the brass melody line very well, while a piano-like synth fills the gaps in nicely. I know I've said it many times in my other reviews, but this piece just fits the mood perfectly. (9/10)

7) Searching for Friends (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

This track replaces "Blackjack" as the airship theme during the Dark World and is a better and fitting replacement. Much of the melody seems to be played on a wind instrument and throughout much of the main melody there is a frantic sound that does a lot in conveying the mood of the track. The interlude during the middle parts of the track also has a sound of 'hope and light'. "Searching for Friends" is a really good track and I certainly think it has a "buddy-buddy" feel to it. (9/10)

8) Gogo (Written by Tim)

Though there's no denying that Gogo is definitely a zany character, I found the timing of this music to be a little off within the game. This is the happiest and perhaps catchiest tune in the entire game, and it plays while you trek through the insides of a huge vacuum-like creature searching for Gogo. It would've been more fitting to play this after finding Gogo, but I digress. Musically, this piece is one of my favorites on the entire album. There's absolutely no way you can keep from humming after hearing it. It's another perfect character theme, and again, it fits the personality and appearance of Gogo perfectly. (9/10)

9) Epitaph (Written by FinalFantasyMan)

Truly a memorable piece. "Epitaph" is an arranged version of "Setzer," but one that is MUCH slower and somber in terms of tone, mood, and instrumentation. In my taste, this is for the better. "Epitaph" is a great track and it makes you really sad with its slow and soft melody. It also does what many of the other tracks do on this soundtrack — show dual-personalities of each of the game's main characters and this track does no different with Setzer. Add to it that the track fits in so perfectly with the corresponding event in the game and you have here one of the masterpieces on this seemingly 'untouchable' soundtrack. (10/10)

10) The Magic House (Written by Gilgamesh)

This is a somewhat dark and mysterious theme. The strings provide a nice introduction before the oboe, flute, and other instruments come in and play the main part. The main core of the theme is actually taken from one of the tracks in Final Fantasy II — it's certainly a catchy tune that captures the feeling of mystery and premonition well. (8/10)

11) Umaro (Written by El Jenzo)

This is the theme of Umaro, the mystical monster found inside the Narshe Caves. It's a quite uninteresting theme; it's built up by some percussion, strings and other synth sounds. It's a very short loop and could definitely have been both longer and better. But it's only played once during the whole game, so it's bearable. (5/10)

12) Fanatics (Written by Chris)

I cannot say this is one of my favourites of the Original Sound Version. In fact, I admit that it annoys me with its infantile melodies, cringe-worthy synth vocals, and overall repetitive nature. Still, I fail to see why people abhor this track completely. It is certainly bearable, if not atmospheric and enchanting at times! It certainly represents the fanaticism of those soulless individuals who follow Kefka well. Is it really that bad? (6/10)

13) Last Dungeon (Written by El Jenzo)

Aaaah. the final dungeon. You are almost there; you have played this game forever and have finally reached the last place. Now there's only the final boss fight and you're done! This great piece begins with an intro played by some synth strings and a funky bass. It perfectly builds up the tension. This passes over in a grand orchestral theme. The piece suggests conclusiveness and seriousness. A magnificent theme! (10/10)

14) Dancing Mad (Written by Jared)

This track is easily my favorite track on the album and also my favorite boss theme of the entire series. The wide variety of styles is very unique and effective and is great to listen to on its own. The pipe organ gives the track the creepy evil sound one would expect in a boss battle theme. Combined with creative use of drums and guitar, it makes for a very complex and involving track. The track starts out slow, but soon picks up in a steady beat of drums and guitar. It then fades into a creepy sounding synth and pipe organ section. The track picks up again, bringing in the main theme of the track, using synth pipe organ and guitar to form a catchy melody that fits the track well. Following a long pipe organ section comes the bass guitar and drums setting up a great rhythm for the guitar and keyboard to harmonize with an upbeat, energetic melody. The track ends with a pipe organ and guitar theme, fading out with organ and bells, adding to the overall crazy and gothic effect of the track. This theme is a great addition to the soundtrack, and stands up with excellent boss themes such as "One Winged Angel" and "Summoned Beast Battle." An outstanding track that really shows Uematsu's genius and ability to make the best boss themes out there. (10/10)

15) Ending Theme (Written by Tim)

While most of the ending themes in the Final Fantasy series have been nothing short of tremendous, I'd have to say that this one absolutely demolishes all others. If you enjoyed the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version as much as I did, you'll love how this track puts a wrap on the entire story. It presents a strong blend of all the tracks you heard and loved throughout the game, and meshes them perfectly into one unbelievable track. In fact, if one was curious and wondered whether or not they'd enjoy the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version, I would advise giving this piece a listen. Just about every great tune is presented here in beautiful, slightly arranged fashion. Many would also argue that of all the Final Fantasy endings, this one did the best job at "tying up" all the loose ends. The thoughts and intentions of the characters are made clear as their themes play in the background while scurrying out of Kefka's ruined dungeon. Oh and, of course, no Final Fantasy ending theme would be complete without the signature tune that has played during the staff roll. Combine it all together and you have one of the most emotional, beautiful, and memorable tracks in the entire Final Fantasy series. (10/10)

16) The Prelude (Written by Jared)

The same classic theme we all know and love. While it is basically the same as always, this is my favorite version. It is the same as the Final Fantasy VII "Prelude," however, it seems as though the quality is slightly better. It doesn't have much going for it and it is repetitive, but it is a classic and is a nice close to this wonderful soundtrack. (7/10)


Summary by Z-Freak

In conclusion, for all you Final Fantasy veterans or Square/RPG music fans, it would be silly NOT to buy this timeless masterpiece. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version has clearly given Uematsu a solid spot in the VGM industry, even today, I can only think of Hitoshi Sakimoto that could rival his talent. And like many VGM CDs, the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version doesn't suffer from Secret of Mana syndrome, another good reason to get it. This is really worth the money you'll be paying for it and it is readily available even after 10 years following its release. Go for it, you won't regret it! (10/10)

Summary by FinalFantasyMan

This particular soundtrack has been said to have been Uematsu's greatest work to date and that is, indeed, an arguable point (a very difficult argument, however). And while some may prefer other albums to this one for various reasons, I firmly believe that Final Fantasy VI is the standard in Final Fantasy music. Uematsu experiments and adds all kinds of genres and different sounds to achieve an epic, global feel to this game. I believe that a little bit of everything was represented on this soundtrack. And while some may appreciate some of the experimentations more than others, the risk taken pays off more often than not.

This Original Sound Version is also, obviously, loaded with memorable tracks and tunes that are unforgettable. Right from the "Opening Theme," which includes variations of "Catastrophe" and "Tina," you get a sense of just how great this soundtrack will be. Of course, much to the delight of myself personally, the character themes are simply amazing and each so perfectly portrays a character's personality. One character theme that I just absolutely love is "Kefka." Absolute brilliance as far as I'm concerned. And then, of course, the main attraction of the soundtrack — the opera sequence, and more specifically, "Aria Di Mezzo Carattere." Is there anything else I can add to this wonderful track that hasn't already been said?

The soundtrack also closes on a grand and wonderful note (no pun intended) with the epic pieces, "Dancing Mad" and "Ending Theme." As I've said, these two themes are the standards. 'Mad' gives so much more emphasis to the final battle and the nature of Kefka and 'Ending' makes winning the final battle all worthwhile, while at the same time, giving the player and listener the satisfaction that, I believe, each player receives.

All in all, you can't go wrong with this soundtrack, Final Fantasy music fan or not. Uematsu has created an epic soundtrack that I believe could rival even the best of film scores. And even though some tracks are repetitive and less desirable, the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts. As stated earlier, Final Fantasy VI is the standard and all other Final Fantasy soundtracks should be held up to this one. (10/10)

Summary by Conqueso

I'm much better at disparaging things than lauding them — I don't know why. For some reason, I'm always able to find more legitimate reasons for disliking what I don't like than reasons for liking what I do. So just let me say: I adore the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version. I absoluteley love it.

But. I'm never quite able to get into it, thanks to one major flaw: simplicity. None of the tracks, save "Dancing Mad," have anything to go on except sheer melodic power. Even the 23-minute ending is merely a medley of character themes without a huge amount of development on them until the very end (which is rather appropriate, since that lengthy ending only provides meaningful closure to about four of the fourteen protagonists). And while melodic power is by no means a bad thing, a three disc set of short, simple tunes grows tiresome. While this may not bothersome, it detracts from the experience for me, and I feel the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version lacks the sort of satisfying "wholeness" of later Final Fantasy Original Soundtracks.

But, more importantly, the melodies are really really good. Choose any track in the entire set, and you're virtually guaranteed to get a catchy, hummable melody that doesn't grow old quickly, if ever. Nowhere else are you going to get such a complete package of such great music. After all, as a wise man once said, too much of a good thing. is an awesome thing. (10/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 10/10