I don’t think I need to jaw about the quality of Final Fantasy VI‘s soundtrack. By now, you know the story even if you haven’t played the game: It’s sublime. Easily the opus of the SNES’s venerable sound chip, though Chrono Trigger definitely gets a mention. I love Zeal Palace too, too much.
So when news came out about Final Fantasy VI hitting the Game Boy Advance, fans looked at each other and said “Uh oh.”
I’ve already featured a number of Game Boy Advance tracks at Let’s Listen, but even though there are definitely pieces out there listening to, it doesn’t change the fact the GBA’s sound chip is dinky. Re-visiting old SNES favourites on the Game Boy Advance can be like attending a reunion that puts you in the company of old friends, but features background music provided by the Wacky Land Rubber Band.
And as the world at large expected, Final Fantasy VI Advance’s stripped-down soundtrack is kind of bad. But it tries really hard and does a good job considering the resources at hand, so I refuse to hate on it.
Shadow’s theme is a winner to begin with thanks to its spaghetti western-inspired whistling and twanging. It’s beautifully simple, which is probably why it transfers over to the GBA version of the game without suffering much loss.
When you think about it, western music is an odd choice for a ninja, but I suppose Shadow’s identity goes a bit beyond “dude wrapped up in black” and edges into Eastwood territory. He’s a loner, he’s got a troubled past, he probably still has a price on his head – and he has to work alongside his daughter, Relm, without letting her in on their relationship. He probably could tell her who he is, but then he’d have a lot of explaining to do.
And Shadow isn’t interested in long explanations. Didn’t you listen to his music? He just wants to collect his pay and get the hell out of Dodge.
Speaking of Shadow’s over-eagerness to peace out, Final Fantasy VI’s empty party bug just kills me any time I even think about it.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find my favourite video evidence of the bug, which occurs during a fight. Shadow says “I’ve earned my fee” to absolutely no one and takes off, leaving the battle music to play forever like a dumb asshole.