Finest Box: Finest Fantasy For Advance
Catalog Number: FFFB-0001~6
Released On: March 28, 2007
Composed By: Nobuo Uematsu
Arranged By: Nobuo Uematsu
Published By: Square Enix
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 6 CDs

Final Fantasy IV Advance

Disc One
01 - Prelude
02 - Red Wings
03 - Kingdom Baron
04 - Theme of Love
05 - Opening
06 - Town Theme
07 - Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV
08 - Battle 1
09 - Victory Fanfare
10 - Fat Chocobo's Appearance
11 - Chocobo
12 - Dungeon
13 - Battle 2
14 - Ring of Bomb
15 - Maiden Rydia
16 - Castle Damcyan
17 - Sadness Theme
18 - Gilbert's Lute
19 - Mt. Ordeals
20 - Country of Fabul
21 - Escape
22 - Suspicion Theme
23 - Black Clad Golbeza
24 - Master Cid
25 - Country of Mysidia
26 - A Long Way
27 - Palom and Porom's Theme
28 - Golbeza's Four Kings Battle
29 - The Airship
30 - Country of Troia
31 - Samba de Chocobo
32 - Tower of Bab-il
33 - Meanwhile at this Time
34 - Land of Dwarves
35 - King Giott's Castle
36 - Dancing Doll Calcobrena
37 - Tower of Zot
38 - Summoned Monsters' Town
39 - Magic Ship
40 - One More Moon
41 - The Moon People
42 - Giant Dungeon
43 - Final Battle
44 - Ending Theme 1
Bonus Track
45 - Ending Theme 2
46 - Ending Theme 3
47 - Red Wings Ver.2
48 - Paladin
49 - Chocobo Forest
50 - Sword Dance
51 - Fanfare
52 - Impact
53 - Withdrawal
54 - Rest
55 - Crystal
Total Time:

Final Fantasy V Advance

Disc Two
01 - Final Fantasy V Main Theme
02 - Opening
03 - Four Hearts
04 - Hurry! Hurry!!
05 - Lenna's Theme
06 - Dungeon
07 - Battle 1
08 - Victory Fanfare
09 - Requiem
10 - We're Pirates
11 - Town Theme
12 - Good Night
13 - The Sealed
14 - Cursed Earth
15 - Deception
16 - Harvest
17 - Walking the Snow-Capped Mountains
18 - Close Call!
19 - Battle 2
20 - Spreading the Great Wings
21 - Royal Palace
22 - The Fire Powered Ship
23 - Run!
24 - Nostalgia
25 - The Ancient Library
26 - Reminiscence
27 - Musica Machina
28 - Some Day We Will
29 - Huh?
30 - Mambo de Chocobo
31 - Far-Off Hometown
32 - Music Box Memories
33 - The Airship
34 - The Tyrannical Exdeath
Total Time:

Disc Three
01 - Exdeath's Castle
02 - Warriors of Dawn
03 - Clash on the Big Bridge
04 - Unknown Lands
05 - Mogri's Theme
06 - Castle of Dawn
07 - The Ends of the Deep Blue
08 - Legend of the Great Forest
09 - Tycoon Waltz in F Major
10 - Boco's Theme
11 - A New World
12 - Sealed Book
13 - Sleep of the Ancient Earth
14 - Prelude to Empty Skies
15 - Seeking the Light
16 - The Decisive Battle
17 - The Last Battle
18 - The Silence 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:

Final Fantasy VI Advance

Disc Four
01 - Omen
02 - Coal Mine City Narshe
03 - Awakening
04 - Locke's Theme
05 - Battle
06 - Victory Fanfare
07 - Edgar and Mash's Theme
08 - Mage Cefca
09 - Sacred Mountain Coltz
10 - Rebels
11 - Shadows' Theme
12 - March of the Empire
13 - Cyan's Theme
14 - The Unforgiven
15 - Forest of Illusion
16 - Phantom Train
17 - Beast Field
18 - Gau's Theme
19 - The Snake Path
20 - Children at the Street Corner
21 - Martial Law
22 - Celes' Theme
23 - Protect the Illusionary Beast
24 - The Decisive Battle
25 - Metamorphosis
Total Time:

Disc Five
01 - Tina's Theme
02 - Coin of Fate
03 - Techno de Chocobo
04 - Forever Rachel
05 - Slam Shuffle
06 - Spinach Rag
07 - Overture
08 - Aria
09 - The Wedding Waltz ~ Duel
10 - A Grand Dance
11 - Setzer's Theme
12 - Johnny C. Bad
13 - The Empire "Gestahl"
14 - Magic Factory
15 - Airship Blackjack
16 - What?
17 - Mog's Theme
18 - Stragus' Theme
19 - Relm's Theme
20 - Illusionary Beast World
Total Time:

Disc Six
01 - Magical Continent
02 - Catastrophe
03 - The Fierce Battle
04 - Rest in Peace
05 - The Death World
06 - The Day After
07 - Companion Searching
08 - Gogo's Theme
09 - Tombstone Name
10 - Mechanism Residence
11 - Umaro's Theme
12 - Fanatics
13 - Devil's Tower
14 - Ominous Star Mad Dance
15 - Reviving Green
16 - The Prelude
Total Time:

[back cover]
Underneath the brown-ish case is this Amano-art-styled slipcase. Cases and cases and more cases, am I right?

With the advent of the Game Boy Advance, remakes were well on their way. Square Enix's habit of revamping their older titles came up to the end of the 16-bit age with FF games IV through VI, remastered for all to love and adore.

In keeping with this, their soundtracks also got touched up and remade for the handheld. While MIDI has long since gone the way of the dodo with most games, its charm still holds for many, and Square Enix has paid every bit of attention to revitalizing the classic soundtracks while still retaining the themes of their golden years.

Final Fantasy IV - Romance and Chivalry

Final Fantasy IV has received the least treatment. While its soundtrack does not immediately come to mind in vivid detail, nostalgia grants that the improvements haven't harmed the original melodies. Particularly powerful are Black Clad Golbeza, theme song for the game's arch-villain, and then Golbeza's Four King's Battle, which plays when warring with his underlings.

The snare drum in the latter has been reduced from its original power a tad, but there is a much broader depth of sound which more than makes up for it. As for the former, I'm deeply impressed at how Gothic and ominous the entire piece sounds, even next to its original. There's a creepier, sharper edge to the remake, a worthy herald of Golbeza's villainy.

Sadly, one theme seems to have a problem, and that's Maiden Rydia, theme for the piece's titular character. An extra vibration has been added in the early part of the song which utterly hurts it, especially when played at louder decibels. It's unfortunate too, because the old version is a favorite of mine, and it simply doesn't need reworking – at least not in this fashion.

Note also that this release of the FFIV OST offers ten new tracks. Two of them are created simply by breaking the ending theme into three separate tracks. The rest are short jingles and other small melodies that had been previously unreleased, but are now officially "out there" for the first time.

Final Fantasy V - Adventures on the High Seas

I have no reservations with telling a person how much I revile the actual game of Final Fantasy V, largely owing to its poor characterization and utterly shallow story. The music is a different matter, however, and still holds a fond place in my heart. Final Fantasy XII thrilled me when I heard the remix of Battle on the Big Bridge, and here it is no different. It's hard to judge which version is better (the original or this remake), but in either case there's a rush of excitement and battle readiness. Old school hardliners may call foul on it due to the original being such a good composition, but I think this remake is every bit worthy of praise.

Dear Friends, how I love you so. Here the remake is a decidedly better composition. While I adore the original, this new take has a more lulling feel to it, and the extra MIDI instruments only enhance its kind melancholy and lilting, longing melody. If there's one song that soothed the whole atrocious experience of FFV, it's Dear Friends.

But there's always a flaw in everything. The Airship just sounds too tinny for my liking. It isn't truly bad, and I can still listen to it without much problem, but when you put it next to the original, there's a huge difference. I could listen to the original over and over, but the new version is just too tinny for my ears after a couple of playthroughs.

Final Fantasy VI - Of Friends and Trials

For many old-school fans, Final Fantasy VI was the triumph of their age. It still separates the old from the new gaming academia, and its music is a large part of that. As I myself am sympathetic to opera, the soundtrack affected me in my youth in such a way that truly enhanced the gaming experience. Thus it's only natural that I've taken additional time to run over the remake with a fine-toothed comb.

Much of the soundtrack hasn't changed. There are some extra instruments that I can hear, but overall the feel is the same. I can barely tell the difference between the original Theme of Edgar and Sabin and the remake. Some have nice touches, like Locke's Theme which now has a better drum roll in the background. But there are others like Forest of Illusion which just shouldn't have been touched. While the main body of Forest of Illusion is the same, the high string piece has been distorted by too sharp a pitch, souring the entire experience.

Another tinny recomposition is Airship Blackjack. It's just too frail to hold a candle to the original take, and that's really sad considering the GBA's sound capabilities. Relatedly however, Setzer's Theme really shines with its remake. Much like Locke's Theme, the added instruments give the composition a depth it didn't have before, and it's a welcome change.

This final component of the Advance remakes is perhaps its most varied. On one hand you have some very strong takes on the old compositions, and on the other hand a good many tracks are just too tinny. This of course may be due to the GBA's small speakers and the need to convey sound in a different way, but when run through a full-sized sound system, some tracks just don't hold up.

In Closing

I'm overall very enthused by this entire collection. Both Final Fantasy IV and V hold up very well. I rarely enjoyed their music outside of the games themselves due to the rather primitive sound of their times, and so the added instruments do a great service here. Final Fantasy VI suffers more, but even then it's not a true deal-breaker.

It's been a very long time since these tracks were at the forefront of every RPG fan's music collection, but this gives every collector new and old a chance to relive the past. Between the strong compositions of both Final Fantasy IV and V, and the middling region of Final Fantasy VI, it's a really good deal if you can get your hands on it. I personally love this collection, despite its flaws. There are a few tracks just utterly soured, but they're too few to grow any resentment. Definitely a worthy addition to any music lover's library.

...Just, um, be ready to pay an arm and a leg. The album was released as a promotional bonus to Japanese consumers who purchased all three GBA remakes and sent in proofs of purchase. Within days of its shipping, the collection was selling online for over $200, and though the price has slowly decreased, only the most dedicated fans will want to make the choice to pay for this expensive collection, even with its well-remade music and stunning Amano artwork.

Reviewed by: Mark P. Tjan