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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Favorite Tunes #54: Those Other Games from Square Enix

I've been listening to a lot of music from various Square Enix games. Threads of Fate, Front Mission, Tactics Ogre, Tobal 2, Parasite Eve. Square Enix really does have a sizable catalog of games to fall back on yet they insist on pimping out the Final Fantasy series. Well there won't be a single track from that game in this edition of Favorite Tunes. It's all about those other games we wish Square Enix would recognize more.

Before there was Final Fantasy Tactics, there was Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, a tactical turn based RPG. A few years later, Tactics Ogre was released with an even greater emphasis on strategic combat. Not only do the the Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics games share the same game director, Yasumi Matsuno, but they share the same composers as well. Both Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata are responsible for crafting the some of the most engaging battle themes in RPGs, tactical or otherwise. And yes, for those not in the know, Avilla Hanya is indeed a battle theme. That slow build up leads into a powerful main course that explodes at about 33 seconds in. The SNES sound chip never ceases to amaze me. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was released on the PSP a few years back and I recommend tracking down that version. A SNES cart of this game does not come cheap, nor does the PS version. The PSP game was given a beautifully arranged score, but I still prefer the SNES version of this track over the arranged tune.

Rasdan - Threads of Fate (PS)

Another game released during Square's more experimental years, Threads of Fate (called Dewprism in Japan) allows you to play as tow different characters, Rue and Mint, each with their own set of music. Rasdan plays in the final area of Rue's game and is an alarmingly calm music piece, one I couldn't expect for a lead up to a final battle. But it sounds so soothing that I doubt you'll care. 

Frozen Flame - Radical Dreamers (SNES)

By LicaWolf

Released in 1996 on the SNES Satellaview add on that never made it outside of Japan, Radical Dreamers is a text based adventure game and side game to Chrono Trigger. You'll find a ton of references to 2000's Chrono Cross in this game from character names, designs and even music. Select songs from Radical Dreamers were arranged and used in Chrono Cross like Frozen Flame. I actually think this track sounds better than the Chrono Cross arrangement despite being on underpowered hardware. Naturally, all of Radical Dreamers music was scored by Yasunori Mitsuda.

Happy Humming - Dragon Quest VI (SNES)

The Dragon Quest series, is immensely popular in it's homeland of Japan. When each game releases, there a long lines and they games are usually released on Sundays so kids don't skip school. For years, Dragon Quest V and VI never saw releases in America but this all changed when Square Enix released remakes of Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI on the DS.

100 Missing People - Bushido Blade (PS)

Bushido Blade can be a tricky fighting game to get into. If you're expecting Soul Calibur with nothing but ninjas, boy, are you in for a surprise. Bushido Blade has no life meters and if you're skilled enough, you can instantly kill your opponent with a precise sword strike. Thinking about attacking your opponent when their back is turned? Not very honorable. But if you can deal with Bushido Blade's gameplay mechanics, you'll be treated to one of the most unique fighting games on the original PS.

Body Shop - Racing Lagoon (PS)

RPG elements in a racing game? That's Square for you. While the game did little to turn the genre on it's head Racing Lagoon featured some of the best jazz, fusion, and techno music you could hear in a racing game.

Seabed of St. Elles - Soul Blazer (SNES)

I'm baffled as to why we haven't seen more stuff from Enix's catalog on the Virtual Console. We got ActRaiser but no Illusion of Gaia or Soul Blazer. Named Soul Blader in Japan, this is part of Enix's creation series in the same line of the Terranigma (another game that hasn't been released in America) and the aforementioned ActRaiser. You get to enter people's dreams, fight off huge monsters and repopulate the world. No, not in the way you're thinking.

Grope After Truth - Tobal 2 (PS)

Character designs by Arika Troiyama? Check. Quest mode where the player roams a 3D dungeon? Check. The same team of composers like Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobou Uematsum, GUIDO, Masashi Hamauzu and company returning to do the music? Nope. Tobal 2 contains a sole composer, Takayuki Namura. He didn't partake in scoring Tobal No. 1's soundtrack, but he's work on the Virtua Fighter series speaks for itself.

Those Imprisoned by Fate - Chrono Cross (PS)

I believe I've made it clear more than once on this blog that I'm not particularly fond of Chrono Cross. It has way too many characters, many of which are devoid of any sort of personality and the plot is one I'm still trying to fully comprehend. One thing I've always loved about the game is it's soundtrack. This is actually a battle theme and is another reminder that not every battle track needs to be loud and heavy to carry the point of conflict.

Sacrifice Part Three - Seiken Densetsu 3 (SNES)

This game is unofficially known as Secret of Mana 2 since it's the sequel to the first Secret of Mana. It was never released outside of Japan, but there is a fan translation out there for those curious. It has some of the most colorful graphics I've seen on the SNES and Hiroki Kikuta's score on this game is still some of the best work he's ever done. This final battle theme, may be his crowning music of awesome for this entire game's soundtrack.

Favorite Tunes Database


Chris Clash said...

No tune from Seiken Densetsu / Final Fantasy Adventure ? Blasphemy ! :)

Reggie White Jr. said...

I was thinking of including one from that game because it has GREAT music from Kenji Ito. But I passed in favor of other titles. I'll be sure to mention it sometime in these features.

Tommy said...

I don't remember Tobal, so I'll make a note to check into that game.

Here's a song you might like from the arranged soundtrack that came with Soul Hackers 3DS.

Reggie White Jr. said...

That arrangement literally rocks, Tommy.