|Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec: Final Fantasy VIII|
|Catalog Number: SSCX-10037 (reprint SQEX-10025)|
|Released On: November 19, 1999 (reprint July 22, 2004)|
|Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu|
|Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu, Shiro Hamaguchi|
|Published By: DigiCube (reprint Square Enix)|
|Recorded At: Sunrise Studio, Sound City, Victor Studio|
|Format: 1 CD|
01 - Liberi Fatali
02 - Blue Fields
03 - Don't be Afraid
04 - Balamb GARDEN~Ami
05 - Fisherman's Horizon
06 - FITHOS LUSEC WECOS VINOSEC
07 - Eyes on Me
08 - The Man with the Machine Gun
09 - Dance with the Balamb-fish
10 - Love Grows
11 - The Oath
12 - Ending Theme
13 - Fragments of Memories
Final Fantasy VIII: Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec features fully orchestrated arrangements of some of Final Fantasy VIII's most memorable songs. This must be what Uematsu envisioned these songs to truly sound like, because some songs that felt choked in the game's MIDI format sounded gorgeous here.
Blue Fields is a key example of that last sentiment. Most gamers would agree that Blue Fields was a rather weak overland theme, but this arrangement sounded lush and beautiful. This was a very pleasant surprise. Another pleasant surprise was Laguna's battle theme The Man with the Machine Gun. Unlike the naturally orchestral battle theme Don't Be Afraid, The Man with the Machine gun utilized more modern instrumentation in the game. Hearing it in a purely orchestral format with modern sounds being played by woodwinds lent the song a completely different feel than its in-game version.
The remaining tunes sounded as I expected them to. For example, the operatic Liberi Fatali totally came out fighting and reaffirmed its place as one of the finest opening themes in the Final Fantasy series. The slower themes such as Ami and Love Grows were lovely to listen to and Dance with the Balamb Fish was really fun. The vocal song Eyes on Me did not have any crazy alterations in its new arrangement, but I definitely found this version more beautiful than the original version. That pretty much sums up my sentiment for the entire soundtrack.
Make no mistake this was a very good soundtrack, even though I would have liked to hear arranged versions of more pieces. Songs that may have sounded a bit thin in MIDI format completely opened up here and made the rose-colored nostalgia of Final Fantasy VIII a bit rosier. Obviously, Blue Fields and The Man with the Machine Gun were my personal highlights, with the former being the most pleasant surprise. Any fan of Final Fantasy VIII's music would do well to check this one out.
Reviewed by: Neal Chandran