Top 25 Soundtracks 2011: Number 10

Number 10: Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles

If you're bored with the standard fare of gaming soundtracks, The Crystal Chronicles is a good way to get some variety into your musical diet as much like a salad, Crystal Chronicles style is something you probably don't see that often. Which is a shame.

Crystal Chronicles is one of the Final Fantasy series black sheep. An experimental title for the GameCube, Chronicles was a four player co-operative game that required each player to supply their own Game Boy Advance plus connector cable in order to play. Which meant that unlike most co-op games, each player had to sink a fair amount of cash into the game whether or not they played it at another house. While the concept was cool, the combination of price plus co-op difficulty (only one save file, nontransferable from game to game) made the game a hard sell, and it wasn't very popular.

Which is a shame, because some parts of the game really were good. Especially the music. I remember one of the first times I played the game, me and my friends had a small conversation that started with "Dude, this musics really good."

One thing that sets Chronicles apart is it's composer. Unlike the rest of series games (well, at this point the majority), Chronicles wasn't handed to Uematsu, but instead handed over to a woman named Kumi Tanioka, which made quite a bit of difference. Rather then typical instruments, Tanioka chose instead to make large use of older instruments dating from the medieval ages and the renaissance periods. This gives the music a very different period feel then most music you hear today. I wish more composers would take advantage of their history like Tanioka did, because it really does give the soundtrack a powerful sound.

The music itself is well composed as well. Often it has a very relaxed feel, where even the boss songs feel a bit less tense then most other games offerings. Overall, the soundtrack is very smooth. There are a few songs that seem jarring when juxtaposed, but overall there is very little flawed with this soundtrack save one or two songs which just don't quite match up with the rest of the soundtrack. But these songs are mere quibbles when compared to the solid composition and strong melodies of the soundtrack as a whole.

Chronicles is a strong soundtrack with its feet firmly planted, and it deserves it's place at number 10.

Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles
Enjoyment: 4.5
Stand Alone Quality: 4.75
Composition: 4.5
Emotional Reaction: 4.5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 0
Nostalgia: 0
Total: 4.48

Number 10--Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles by Kumi Tanioka

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