It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
[ Company: Square | Year: 1990 | Console: NES ]
Random battles, turn-based combat and over-dramatic storytelling, it must be a Final Fantasy game. As it turns out, it's not just any old sequel; it's the very first Final Fantasy game. This 8-bit adventure game has you traveling around the world, battling monsters, saving prisoners and making sure the world doesn't get overtaken by evil spirits. This is the blueprint for how to design a Japanese role-playing game. Thankfully modern RPGs have better music. Located about an hour into the game, here is the official Final Fantasy theme song.
There's something cold and uninviting about this Final Fantasy theme. Much like The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy attempts an epic sound and comes up short. The 8-bit hardware is too limited to pull off what Square was reaching for. The melody is generic and there's no memorable hook to speak of. I like the late title card, but wish that it was accompanied by more interesting music. The notes are so shrill and at times I started to wonder if the Final Fantasy theme could be used as a dog whistle. On the other hand, this intro says that Final Fantasy was made by Square's "A-Team". I can only assume that it was B.A. Baracus who wanted to put Sid in every game.
Final Fantasy's theme really doesn't feel very notable to me. It hardly feels like a theme, even. Not to say that it's a bad piece of music, it's actually more musically interesting than many theme songs, but the problem with this song is that it's so very generic. If you played it for me without any video, I would never be able to guess its origin. It sounds like the background music to the castle of a good king in any game with a medieval setting. It just sounds so similar to so many other medieval-styled background songs, even outside of video games, that I can't help but be bored by it. It's not a bad piece of music by any means, but it just doesn't stand out.
He's a furry animal with an attitude. But here's the kicker: He's probably not the furry animal with attitude you're thinking of. This one has nine lives ... and only four games!