The Final Fantasy franchise has evolved in many ways since its inception. No two Final Fantasy games are alike, and each game offers a unique experience unto itself. But whether the games are single-player or MMO, traditional fantasy or post-modern/futuristic, turn-based or action RPGs, one creature has been a constant companion since Final Fantasy II: the lovable chocobo. These enduring birds have been a memorable and important staple in most any Final Fantasy game, and its distinctive theme music has remained constant even while Final Fantasy composers have not. This brings me to Compi de Chocobo — a soundtrack only available to Tokyo Game Show 2013 goers that compiles the chocobo theme music in its many incarnations.
The chocobo themes from the canon Final Fantasy RPGs are obviously present, but chocobos don’t limit themselves to just that realm. Chocobos inhabit Final Fantasy gaiden RPGs like Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, and even non-Final Fantasy RPGs like the first Seiken Densetsu (Mana) game, which was renamed Final Fantasy Adventure in the US. The chocobo even starred in its own series of Roguelike dungeon crawlers (the Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon series), some DS minigame-filled adventures called Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, and even a racing game called Chocobo Racing. Music from all of these games as well as the SQ Chips remix and even an epic medley performed by an orchestra for a Distant Worlds concert are present here. I’d say every game that’s had a chocobo is represented here.
Sonically speaking, everything from a simple ukulele arrangement to multi-layered techno funk can be heard. There are even some cool vocal themes, ranging from vocaloid pop to nu-metal akin to Coal Chamber or Static-X. Yes, there is a chocobo theme that invites moshing and headbanging. You would think that an entire soundtrack of chocobo themes would wear thin, but the variety heard in them is fantastic. Some versions play it straight up, but with altered instrumentation. Some play around with notes in different keys. Others play the main melody line then meander off into various different and unexpected musical tangents. In other words, a lot of creativity is seen here. It’s akin to Iron Chef, in which the competitors are given a key ingredient and have to flex their creative muscle to cook all kinds of dishes that showcase that one special ingredient. My personal favorites are Mods de Chocobo from Final Fantasy VIII and Cinco de Chocobo from Final Fantasy VII, but everyone can easily find a favorite.
It’s impossible not to like this soundtrack. I mean, who doesn’t like chocobos? Chocobos are awesome! This is a soundtrack I would play in my stereo at night as I’m going to sleep, so I can dream of riding a chocobo on an epic, world-spanning adventure that will eventually become the stuff of legend. I know this soundtrack is only available to Tokyo Game Show 2013 attendees, but I hope it eventually become available for sale to the masses, because every Final Fantasy fan who’s ever enjoyed time with an adorably lovable chocobo should have a chance to enjoy it.