Final Fantasy V OSV

[back cover]
Catalog Number: PSCN-5015/6 (first print N33D-013/4, reprint NTCP-5015/6)
Released On: November 26, 1994 (first print December 7, 1992; reprint October 1, 2004)
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu
Published By: NTT Publishing (first print Square Brand/NTT)
Recorded At: Sunrise Studio
Format: 2 CDs
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Disc One
01 - Ahead on Our Way
02 - A Presentiment
03 - Four Valiant Hearts
04 - Hurry! Hurry!
05 - Lenna's Theme
06 - Fate in Haze
07 - The Battle
08 - Victory's Fanfare
09 - Requiem
10 - Pirates Ahoy!
11 - Tenderness in the Air
12 - Good Night!
13 - Sealed Away
14 - Cursed Earth
15 - Deception
16 - Harvest
17 - Walking the Snowy Mountains
18 - Danger!
19 - The Fierce Battle
20 - The Dragon Spreads its Wings
21 - Royal Palace
22 - The Fire Powered Ship
23 - Run!
24 - Nostalgia
25 - The Ancient Library
26 - Reminiscence
27 - Musica Machina
28 - The Day Will Come
29 - What?
30 - Mambo De Chocobo!
31 - Home Sweet Home
32 - Music Box
33 - The Airship
34 - The Evil Lord Exdeath
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Exdeath's Castle
02 - Four Warriors in the Dawn (Galuf, Dorgan, Zeza & Kelgar)
03 - Death Battle in the Big Bridge
04 - Unknown Lands
05 - Mog's Theme
06 - The Castle in the Dawn
07 - Beyond the Deep Blue Seas
08 - As I Feel, You Feel (The Great Forest)
09 - Waltz Clavier
10 - Go Go Boco!
11 - New World
12 - The Book of Sealing
13 - Intention of the Earth
14 - The Prelude of Empty Skies
15 - Searching the Light
16 - The Decisive Battle
17 - The Last Battle
18 - The Silent Beyond
19 - Dear Friends
20 - Final Fantasy
21 - End Title
22 - The Prelude
23 - Fanfare 1
24 - Fanfare 2
25 - I'm a Dancer
26 - Piano Lesson 1
27 - Piano Lesson 2
28 - Piano Lesson 3
29 - Piano Lesson 4
30 - Piano Lesson 5
31 - Piano Lesson 6
32 - Piano Lesson 7
33 - Piano Lesson 8
Total Time:

[back cover]
The first print looks, on the surface, like slightly different packaging. But this card stock slipcase housed two separate CD cases.

Released in 1992, but initially overlooked for US localization, Final Fantasy V is one of my favorite games in the series. I suppose it follows, then, that I have an affinity for its soundtrack as well. By the time of V, Uematsu and his sound programmers were very familiar with the task of writing music for Final Fantasy games. All of the instruments have a much less harsh sound than in IV, and the stereo capabilities of the SFC hardware are fully realized here. Also, the instrumentation used is more diverse, as is Uematsu's style. On top of that, all of the tracks are sufficiently looped, and the compositions are just the right length.

Uematsu's compositional style hits a sort of early plateau here. "Main Theme of Final Fantasy V" is a truly stirring piece of music. In an indescribable way, it's triumphant, hopeful, and yet almost longing at the same time. The theme, however, is almost overused throughout the album; as usual, some of these reiterations are nice complements to the theme, some of them are extraneous, none of them are bad. The 'sad' version, "The Day Will Come" is the best of these.

There's plenty of variety here. One of the town themes is done in the usual Uematsu style: a pleasant melody played by a woodwind instrument over a harp and strings, and it works very well. The other town theme, "Harvest," is done in a celtic style. The dungeon themes here are almost all very well composed as well, many of them having some nice sounding percussion in them. In particular, "Sealed Away," "The Prelude of Empty Skies," and the very odd "Musica Machina" exemplify this.

The battle themes are very good as well, with the possible exception of the standard one. "The Fierce Battle" is oddly similar in both structure and sound to Final Fantasy IX's "Battle 2," and even the percussion rhythms here sound similar. They are both good tracks, however. "Death Battle in the Big Bridge" is a great track. It has some very fast-paced synth organ rhythms layered with horns and percussion, and it is ideal for the Black Mages remix it later received. The best battle theme here, though, is "The Decisive Battle." Played for the first form of the final boss of the game, it has some of the greatest percussion in a SFC game soundtrack (The best is found in Seiken Densetsu 3's "Sacrifice Part 2").

It happens rarely, but sometimes I come to like a track only after I have heard it arranged. In an unusual way, hearing what the arranger saw in the track gives me a new perspective on the piece itself. I had such an experience with "As I Feel, You Feel." I first heard its Dear Friends album arrangement on the US release of "Final Fantasy 1987-1994" (which was the first RPG related CD I bought), and what was previously an okay, sort of nice track became an incredible, serene piece of music.

The weaknesses of this album are shown in some of the 'danger' music. "Hurry! Hurry!," "Danger!," "Run!"...anything with an exclamation point after it is very repetitive and annoying. Luckily these are short. The other weakness is Uematsu's indulgence in repeating a section of measures far more times than necessary. When the background remains unchanged, this can get tedious at times. This appears in "The Ancient Library," an otherwise pretty good track that has a background that is repetitive to a fault. Another example of a track that fails at its potential is "The Silent Beyond." While it is a good composition overall, its first section is very slow to really move anywhere.

I don't know why I love Final Fantasy V's music. It's not as good as the music in VI or VII, and it suffers from occasional compositional problems. Many people have criticized the soundtrack, calling it simply "in the middle" between IV and VI. The game itself is less popular, and itself suffers from poor plot and character development. However, in spite of the mostly uninteresting plot, there was one scene in the game that worked very well. A flashback to the main character's childhood, when his mother was dying. Playing over that scene was a music box: a simple, wistful tune, but for the game's hero, as well as for the listener, the slowing of that music box is tragic.

Reviewed by: Ben Schweitzer

Until the release of FF Anthology (or maybe the translated ROM), FFV was the game that drew a line between the casual Final Fantasy Fan and the know-it-all FF gamer. And one thing known about this game was that it was intriguingly different from all the others. One thing that made it this way was, oh yes, the music. This music has something rather...unique about it. Hard to describe, yet fun to listen to.

Personally, this is my 3rd-favorite FF OST out there (1st is VI, 2nd is VIII).

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann