Back in 1987, Nobuo Uematsu took part in the game that saved Square from financial crisis: Final Fantasy. His music certainly had an impact of the success of the company as he became the main composer until a few more joined later. Final Fantasy II was released in 1988, and was as much as a success. 15 years later, Square decides to give the two first games in its ultra-successful series a complete remake treatment, but Uematsu has been watching several composers grow alongside him, he didn’t feel like re-arranging both FF games on his own, so he had to choose a partner. In the end, he chose Tsuyoshi Sekito, the genius behind the above average scores to Brave Fencer Musashi and several other titles. Barely getting back from his composition for All Star Pro Wrestling II, Sekito was offered to work with Uematsu for arranging FF II, we can easily tell he did not refuse. Anyway, on with the review.
Final Fantasy was given a more classical/symphonic treatment, enough to rival Koichi Sugiyama’s best works. This is evident in tracks like “Cornelia Castle” and “Dead Music”, which has violin/cello samples. The “Main Theme” is far more epic now, while “Matoya’s Cave” is as good as ever. Some themes like “Gurgu Volcano” and “Floating Castle” not only sound better but sound slightly different than its NES counterparts, which isin’t a bad thing at all. An interesting thing here is that they added the new tracks from the WonderSwan Color port into the PSX version, meaning we finally get to hear boss and final boss musics in FF1, which is quite a treat. They are mostly based off the normal battle theme, but they have a very epic feel to them. “Final Battle” starts off with a bit of organ, than the main melody plays through with added effect, which shows off Chaos’ might even more than ever. The Ending Theme is as sweet as it used to be, but it is obviously much more enjoyable this time around.
Final Fantasy II, which is arranged by Tsuyoshi Sekito, has a totally different feel and sound at points, clearly hinting his presence because of passages/techniques he used in Brave Fencer Musashi. The first noticeable track is “Battle Scene 1”, which if you listen closely, you’ll automatically recognise the drum patterns that Sekito used extensively in Brave Fencer Musashi. “Castle Pandemonium” also has the Sekito’s touch sprinkled throughout the track. “Temptation of The Princess” is actually a passage from Tchaïkovski’s “Swan Lake” piece, but Sekito added vocals to further the mood, which simply sounds fantastic. The piece which players will be reminded right off the bat of BFM is “Battle Scene B”, it has the weird voice synth which Sekito used a lot in BFM, it is pretty light for a new battle theme, but still nice for all the Sekito fans. All in all, Sekito has done extremely well in arranging FF II, we can only hope Square will entrust him with a future FF score.
So the conclusion, should you buy this CD? If you are a hardcore FF fan, not buying it would be considered a sin. These new arranged pieces simply must be heard by anyone who barely enjoys video game music. Be sure to pick it up!