The Music of Lufia

Talk about anything related to the Lufia series, and ask for gameplay tips.

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The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:18 pm

Of the various Lufia soundtracks - Fortress of Doom, Rise of the Sinistrals, The Legend Returns, Ruins of Lore, and Curse of the Sinistrals - which is your favorite? For my money, Rise and The Legend Returns easily have the strongest soundtracks of the series, and Curse's remastered versions aren't half-bad either, though I'll admit that the second disc's arrangements are absolutely amazing.

Though I have been wondering about Fortress of Doom's soundtrack. A lot of websites, I notice, credit Aki Zaitsu and Naomi Kuroda along with the good Yasunori Shiono, and yet every review I've read of it, the CD release, and the CD release's liner notes make no mention of them. Why are they credited on these websites? It's the only videogame credit either of them have. There's no track-listing which also includes who composed what. There's literally no information on them out there. I have concluded that they - at least as Lufia composers, even if people with the same name might - don't exist. Does anyone know more about this?

Further, the soundtrack to The Legend Returns. In addition to Mr. Shiono, a Yukio Nakajima, Tomoko Morita, and Akiko Ishibashi are credited. Does anybody have a track listing which includes credits for who composed what?

(Eventually I plan on reviewing the Lufia soundtracks. Eventually.)

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Shade-Duelist » Sat Oct 17, 2015 10:45 am

My favorite soundtrack has got to be Rise of the Sinistrals'. Just... wow. Though I'm kind of partial to Fortress of Doom's soundtrack too. My only complaint about Curse of the Sinistrals reusing both soundtracks is that the Tower theme from Fortress of Doom wasn't reused. :wink: ...I like the Tower themes...
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Sun Oct 18, 2015 1:43 am

Agreed. Fortress of Doom's Tower theme has to be one of the strongest on the soundtrack.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Shade-Duelist » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:21 am

True! I'm also partial to the danger theme, Lufia's theme, and the final boss theme. So epic...

In Lufia 2, though, there are precious little tracks that can beat the castle theme, Dekar's theme (can't ever get enough of the strongest man in the world and his own theme song imho) and the main theme. All near-7 minutes of it. Oh, and lest we forget, the airship theme, with and without the little intro part.
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:42 pm

Oh yes, the Lufia II Castle theme! Now that is absolutely excellent. Such a grandiose, almost arrogant theme. Certainly much better, in my opinion, than Fortress of Doom's counterpart. Though Fortress of Doom beats Lufia II when it comes to town themes.

I absolutely love a sequence of three themes from Lufia II - The Lost World, Watchtowers of the Seal, and The Island in the Void. Three themes of incredible quality, each of which captures a particular mood excellently - a sad, lost place gone unremembered, fate - the world in your hands, and then a comparatively darker theme that conveys very much that the end is nigh.

Also a big fan of Shudder. And Rumbling, because it's so very long. I mean, it's essentially the same melody played several times with one or two changes, mostly focusing on playing around with instrumentation, but that ending with the drums and the low strings makes it very much worth it, though I can see why people might get irritated after the first few minutes.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby SinReVi » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:46 pm

Terry93D wrote:Though I have been wondering about Fortress of Doom's soundtrack. A lot of websites, I notice, credit Aki Zaitsu and Naomi Kuroda along with the good Yasunori Shiono, and yet every review I've read of it, the CD release, and the CD release's liner notes make no mention of them. Why are they credited on these websites? It's the only videogame credit either of them have. There's no track-listing which also includes who composed what. There's literally no information on them out there. I have concluded that they - at least as Lufia composers, even if people with the same name might - don't exist. Does anyone know more about this?

The Japanese version of Lufia I shows the credits twice during the game, (a shorter list) during the intro and the ending. In the intro only Shiono is credited for music. Aki Zaitsu and Naomi Kuroda might be responsible for other sound related things, like sound effects or creating a sound driver.

Terry93D wrote:Further, the soundtrack to The Legend Returns. In addition to Mr. Shiono, a Yukio Nakajima, Tomoko Morita, and Akiko Ishibashi are credited. Does anybody have a track listing which includes credits for who composed what?


No there's no list like that, but:

http://web.archive.org/web/200503081059 ... /staff.htm
(the link above is an archived version of Lufia TLR's official site)

- According to this, all four have done music for the game

(copying one of my older posts I did on Gamefaqs)
Anyway, so for TLR:
-There are 68 tracks total (of which 6 are unused)
-4 songs are returning songs from Lufia I and/or II (Doom Island, Victory, Reunion, For the Savior themes)
-3 contain parts of tracks from Lufia I and/or II (ending theme, one of the port town themes and the name entry theme)

Yasunori Shiono: Unknown amount of tracks, but has composed the tracks that are originally from Lufia I and II
Yukio Nakajima: 2 tracks composed (+arranged tracks?)
Tomoko Morita: 3-4% of total amount of tracks
Akiko Ishibashi: Unknown involvement


The order they're listed in the credits is Yasunori Shiono, Akiko Ishibashi, Tomoko Morita, Yukio Nakajima. So that might indicate an order of most amount to least amount of composed tracks.
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Shade-Duelist » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:00 pm

Terry93D wrote:Oh yes, the Lufia II Castle theme! Now that is absolutely excellent. Such a grandiose, almost arrogant theme. Certainly much better, in my opinion, than Fortress of Doom's counterpart. Though Fortress of Doom beats Lufia II when it comes to town themes.

I absolutely love a sequence of three themes from Lufia II - The Lost World, Watchtowers of the Seal, and The Island in the Void. Three themes of incredible quality, each of which captures a particular mood excellently - a sad, lost place gone unremembered, fate - the world in your hands, and then a comparatively darker theme that conveys very much that the end is nigh.

Also a big fan of Shudder. And Rumbling, because it's so very long. I mean, it's essentially the same melody played several times with one or two changes, mostly focusing on playing around with instrumentation, but that ending with the drums and the low strings makes it very much worth it, though I can see why people might get irritated after the first few minutes.


Oh, yes, The Lost World and Watchtowers of the Seal! (The Island in the Void is pretty much out-of-contest awesome) :P Yeah, the Castle theme from Lufia 2 is kind of arrogant. I love the way the same atmosphere comes back in Dekar's part of the intro and Dekar's Theme. Because, well, Dekar is his own reason :roll: But I always thought, when playing the game for the first time, that Dekar just didn't understand the meaning of arrogance and just liked to promote his (literal) strong suit in favor of his incredible social ineptness and black hole of a memory. :lol:

I find Shudder and Rumbling so very ominous. I love it!
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:48 am

Thank you very much, SinReVi, for your answers. A shame that there isn't a track listing like that available, but not entirely surprising, I suppose. There's no track listing for either the first or third Breath of Fire either that lists who composed what, and I think it's rather a shame that composers aren't credited for what they compose. They should be. Credit where it's due, after all.

Dekar's theme... The Strongest Man... I'm afraid I wouldn't know anything beyond the music as I haven't actually played any Lufia game. Not yet, anyway. The intro is certainly arrogant, but I think that the theme overall is more grandstanding than anything else. I love how it, like Theme of Daos, also uses the main theme of Lufia II - in the former, it's very upbeat and fun, almost wistful I could argue, whereas in Theme of Daos it's used as a burst of pure heroism in the midst of the evil and malice of the character. (Something similar can be found in Terranigma's final boss theme Overcoming Everything, which towards the end of it [before looping, obviously] has a similar musical 'burst' of heroism that comes in without warning. Overcoming Everything, coincidentally, is probably my favorite final battle theme, at least right now.)

You may be interested in this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WpNrfveHKE arrangement of Watchtowers of the Seal, from the Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals soundtrack CD release. Ryo Yamazaki did a magnificent job with arrangement, keeping the theme true to its roots while adding a couple of original pieces - to the piece's benefit, I think - and making it all the better for orchestration. (I say orchestration, but none of the arranged pieces were actually played by an orchestra. It's probably just sampled instruments, but you won't see me complaining about it. Not being orchestrated is part of the reason I prefer the term 'grand arrangement'.) I'm not too fond of the brass - french horn, I think - as it sounds, well, drunk, but I can forgive it given the overall quality of it.

There are fourteen such 'grand arrangements' from the CD release, done by Hidenori Iwasaki and Ryo Yamazaki (not collaboratively. Iwasaki did 7, Yamazaki did the other 7) and they are only available on YouTube through that user's extensions. Unfortunately, the arrangement of Rumbling - under the name of Main Theme - was shortened from a magnificent six minutes to around two minutes, and seems to have the result of making it a theme that can be looped (as opposed to Rumbling with its clear beginning and end) and it's a rather disappointing loop, and I can only presume a disappointing 'arrangement', due to its lack of length, in spite of the Very Nice arrangement and instrumentation.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby SinReVi » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:56 am

Terry93D wrote:There are fourteen such 'grand arrangements' from the CD release, done by Hidenori Iwasaki and Ryo Yamazaki (not collaboratively. Iwasaki did 7, Yamazaki did the other 7) and they are only available on YouTube through that user's extensions. Unfortunately, the arrangement of Rumbling - under the name of Main Theme - was shortened from a magnificent six minutes to around two minutes, and seems to have the result of making it a theme that can be looped (as opposed to Rumbling with its clear beginning and end) and it's a rather disappointing loop, and I can only presume a disappointing 'arrangement', due to its lack of length, in spite of the Very Nice arrangement and instrumentation.

Actually, that most likely has to do with how the themes are used in the games. In Lufia II it was used in the introduction scene you get when you turn the game on. It introduces all main playable characters and the instruments change when the scene moves on to the next character.
In Lufia DS however, the music is just used as the title screen music, so there's no need to make a 6 minute version of it.

Actually, this thread might be of interest, it has translations Shiono's comments in the booklet that came with the 2006 ost.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1385153

Oh! A few weeks ago I finally managed to get the 1995 OST and for relatively cheap too! (32 euro, not counting shipping costs... and then it got stuck at customs too) (it doesn't have an obi but I can live with that)

Which means, I'm now the proud owner of all Lufia OSTs!
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I wanted that 1995 ost ever since I found out about over 10 years ago... but it doesn't show up often and when it does it isn't cheap. Also doesn't help my parents wouldn't let me buy things from foreign sites back then.

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Also own this CD, this is a fanmade CD not an official one. This has Lufia II arrangements. Here's a demo: http://www.nekonomikan.com/dmc/download ... e_demo.mp3
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:33 pm

SinReVi wrote:
Terry93D wrote:There are fourteen such 'grand arrangements' from the CD release, done by Hidenori Iwasaki and Ryo Yamazaki (not collaboratively. Iwasaki did 7, Yamazaki did the other 7) and they are only available on YouTube through that user's extensions. Unfortunately, the arrangement of Rumbling - under the name of Main Theme - was shortened from a magnificent six minutes to around two minutes, and seems to have the result of making it a theme that can be looped (as opposed to Rumbling with its clear beginning and end) and it's a rather disappointing loop, and I can only presume a disappointing 'arrangement', due to its lack of length, in spite of the Very Nice arrangement and instrumentation.

Actually, that most likely has to do with how the themes are used in the games. In Lufia II it was used in the introduction scene you get when you turn the game on. It introduces all main playable characters and the instruments change when the scene moves on to the next character.
In Lufia DS however, the music is just used as the title screen music, so there's no need to make a 6 minute version of it.

Actually, this thread might be of interest, it has translations Shiono's comments in the booklet that came with the 2006 ost.
http://lufiaworld.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1385153


That is very much of interest. Good to know why Rumbling's arrangement is so short - that does make sense, admittedly. I am still disappointed that it wasn't kept at full-length, but at least there's a good reason behind it.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Guard Daos » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:23 pm

The Final Duel. And Iris' theme. Amazing.

But really, mostly the Final Duel. It still gives me goosebumps. And it's a connecting thread along the series. That in itself is pretty awesome.
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:16 pm

Guard Daos wrote:The Final Duel. And Iris' theme. Amazing.

But really, mostly the Final Duel. It still gives me goosebumps. And it's a connecting thread along the series. That in itself is pretty awesome.

Agreed. The Last Duel is simply incredible. My favorite arrangement of it (after further consideration from when I initially posted this thread) is the version from The Legend Returns.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:33 am

LUFIA & THE FORTRESS OF DOOM
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
Part One

1 - Departure
What a surprisingly cheerful track considering its name! Our launch into the world of Lufia is an upbeat one, cheerful and light-hearted. One immediately notes, however, that Fortress of Doom's soundfont isn't particularly realistic - indeed, it's among the weakest of any SNES game out there. Super Mario World had a better sound palette. But one should not let this hamper your enjoyment of the soundtrack. This is a cheerful and entertaining track, and one can't help but love the section of it played on a flute. 5.1 out of 7.

2 - The Battle of the Island in the Void
This is much closer to what I'd expect. Still, though, the music once again confounds the expectations one has based on the name, but I am not going to complain. This is a melancholy, heartful theme that introduces one of the main themes of the Lufia series, which will henceforth be called the 'Sinistral motif' for ease of reference. This is a strong and melancholy theme with plenty of emotion, truly introducing us to what's happened in the world of Lufia, ominously beginning with low strings and pizzicato violin before launching into the Sinistral motif as the onscreen narration begins its tale, the camera panning across the island. Finally, the camera returns to the front and pans towards the Fortress right when the theme loops... This theme packs emotion and feeling and perfectly compliments the narration in opening the game. 5.6 out of 7. (I must highly recommend this instrumental arrangement of the theme - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9O9DJYPAHc)

3 - The Last Duel
And here we are. This is easily one of the classic pieces of the SNES era and it stands with the best. Strings, brass, and percussion all combine along with what is probably a piano in this powerful piece of music. It creates a sense of finality and a feeling of end that is quite distinctive. It's no wonder this plays within the Fortress as Maxim approaches Daos' chamber. It may be a bit unusual to say this, but in spite of that air of finality, this is also a very fun piece of music, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Memorable, fun, final, and one that can be hummed to quite easily - "The Last Duel" is an RPG classic, and on of the binding threads of the Lufia series, present in every single game except for Ruins of Lore. 6.7 out of 7.

4 - The Spoils of War
Once again, the name betrays us: this is not a triumphant theme of victory. This is a sadder, more subdued theme, quietly reflective of what's been lost. It's short, and not particularly memorable, but it very effectively creates a reflective, somber mood. 4.8 out of 7.

5 - 99 Years Later
With this theme, composer Yasunori Shiono is actively trying to create something epic and orchestral. It doesn't work very well, though, because the soundfont just isn't powerful enough to carry it. Its main theme is memorable, but this isn't nearly the classic that is seen in other RPGs of the era. This could, in part, be put down to Shiono's own lack of experience compared to Uematsu and Sugiyama: the former had already composed over a dozen games before Final Fantasy, while the latter was a genuine symphonic composer in his own right long before ever making his name in videogaming on the Dragon Quest series.

Shiono, by comparison, had collaboratively worked on eight games with two others (with the exception of Miracle Ropit's Adventure in 2100, in which he collaborated with one other), every one of them games that are almost entirely unknown, as well as one game where he was the sole composer. One frequent collaborator was the far more prolific Motoi Sakuraba, whom is still composing today. Sakuraba gained quite a lot of experience before making his name in RPG musicdom first with the Tales series and then with the Star Ocean, Golden Sun, Valkyrie Profile, and Dark Souls series.

To be fair, I am not by any means trying to put Shiono down. He's very talented and one can easily imagine that if a Lufia III or IV had come out on a system like the PlayStation or even PS2 that, with Shiono at the helm and the system's inherent higher quality of sound, that Shiono might've easily become as recognized as Uematsu, Sugiyama, Hamauzu, Sakuraba, Mitsuda, Kikuta, Ito, Iwadare, or Koshiro are today. Lufia, it could be argued, is what happens when you put a relatively inexperienced, but talented nevertheless, composer in charge of an RPG franchise. The results are almost always interesting to see. 4.5 out of 7.

6 - Town
Cheerful and understated, this is the perfect theme for a quiet village, only let down by flawed instrumentation with regards to the brass. Somewhat short, one of the real pluses of this theme is how understated and content it is. The brass, admittedly, seems like an attempt to inject it with more importance, which doesn't really work, but thankfully it's a natural development from the remainder of the piece and, soundfont aside, it too can be enjoyed. 4.4 out of 7.

7 - Shopping
Ooh! Shopping! And how else to represent shopping than with something on the quick side? Indeed, this is a quick theme, and not particularly long either. It is rather fun, though. 4.3 out of 7.

8 - Goodnight
Short, quiet, and suitably night-like. Additionally, it's not really a theme or a piece of music, it does not even make the ten second mark. There is a necessity and this fills it admirably. What other comment can be made, really?

9 - Priphea Flowers
This theme recurs in the next Lufia game, if my memory is not mistaken. This theme is, in fact, a development of "Departure" from earlier in the soundtrack, but this one is much quieter and, I daresay, more emotional. Indeed, this is one of the longer pieces of the soundtrack. Unlike "Departure", however, this theme is not particularly cheerful - it is much closer to melancholy in its feeling. It gets a lot more development than "Departure" did, and one can almost see sad memories of laying in a field, calmly, enjoying the peace and quiet - at last, those the images my mind conjures. 5.2 out of 7.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:12 pm

LUFIA & THE FORTRESS OF DOOM
Original Soundtrack Review
Part Two


10 - Castle
Lufia's music so far has not been groundbreaking or innovative, but here is the first example of a track that is downright dull. Like most RPGs of the era, castle themes followed the straightforward rule of trying to emulate chamber music. Slow, easy listening was the name of the game, along with appropriate period instruments. This meant that strings dominated castle music, with the occasional compliment of brass and even percussion (though that is rather rare).

This tradition started with the first Dragon Quest, with its Castle theme being a straightforwardly Baroque piece, and continued with "Corneria Castle", from Final Fantasy - which was easier listening than Dragon Quest's example. Uematsu almost assuredly followed Sugiyama's example here as he has mentioned in an interview that he deliberately took a different style of music than Sugiyama as he felt he couldn't match him. (Entertainingly, the next four Final Fantasy games did have Castle themes but did not take the chamber music approach at all. On second though, perhaps this isn't an example of following the trend, but that chamber music was chosen as the approach to try and achieve a 'period' feel, as castles in RPGs are often modeled off the European castles of yore, with its stonework and aristocratic nature - and what says aristocracy better than chamber music? [besides gaudy costuming, obviously])

"Castle" falls into the same vein, even if its melody is different. Strings, harpsichord, even a little bit of pizzicato cello. It has an interesting melody, which redeems this track - but that's not enough. It must also be easy listening. And unfortunately, this isn't. The strings and pizzicato cello are just fine, relatively speaking, but the harpsichord sounds closer to a triangle. This has a decently interesting melody, but the weakness of the soundfont, lack of length to the track, and generic approach prevent this from really excelling. 3.6 out of 7.

11 - The Earth
And here we have the overworld theme. This is a fairly light melody, mainly on brass before switching to a flute, while strings, percussion, and either a harp, a pizzicato strings instrument, or an idiophone of some sort back it. (The weakness of the soundfont makes this difficult to distinguish.) By and large, it's easy to see that the flute part of the composition is easily the most enjoyable.

This is a light, easy to listen to theme that one might happily listen to on a loop as background music were the brass to be better.

I have made mentions several times of the weakness of Lufia & the Fortress of Doom's soundfont. But for the most part, it is completely serviceable with one exception - the brass is extremely difficult to bear with, as it may be weaker than even Romancing SaGa's brass. The weak brass hinders the soundtrack greatly.

Nevertheless! This is a very enjoyable track. It's easier listening than "Castle" - ironic, given the chamber music approach of it. The flute approach makes this an excellent track. 5.4 out of 7.

12 - Battle 1
And here we come to the first battle track. It's reasonably swift and fairly effective, but not a highlight at all. The bass seems rather messy, while the guitar melody is far too short. Even looped once, this track barely hits the one minute mark. It is far too short for a battle theme, and its beginning is messy. Subdued, understated, and underwhelming is one way to describe it. 3.2 out of 7.

13 - Triumph
This is an even shorter theme but - unlike Battle 1 - that's okay, because it doesn't need to be long. This track opens with a victory fanfare ala a typical RPG battle theme - brass and percussion - but this a short segment as it is followed by a short xylophone melody complimented by minor percussion and a blasts of brass off to the side as complement. What's not to like, really? It is very short, though. 4.8 out of 7.

14 - Village
This is another slow paced track - and you may notice, in the background, that this is playing on an acoustic pizzicato strings of some sort the same xylophone melody as in "Town". This isn't quite as simple, and the only brass you'll find here is an oboe. The backing strings are somewhat grating on the ears, though. It's a peaceful track, slower than "Town" and it tries to be even more quiet village like than it - arguably, it succeeds, but this is also a touch more boring. Like "The Earth" it has a flute portion, but it isn't nearly as enjoyable. This is one of the weaker tracks on the album, certainly. 3.4 out of 7.

15 - Cave
This track reminds me rather of the dungeon theme from the Romancing SaGa games. Like "Town", "Village", and even "The Last Duel", this has a rhythm played by alternating notes upwards, played on some sort of high-pitched instrument - another idiophone? (High-pitched rhythms also characterized many of the dungeon themes from the Romancing SaGa games.) You'll recognize it: it's the xylophone melody of "Town", the strings of "The Last Duel", and the acoustic pizzicato of "Village". A nervous tic of Shiono? Habit? It works, don't get me wrong, but it is curious that these disparate tracks have such similarities.

This track features the return of 'That Sound in the Right Ear' from "Battle 1", though this time it isn't in the right ear. This is a dark, somewhat ambient track, and repetitive to boot, but long enough to change the melody a bit. It would definitely get irritating after repeated listenings, though. 3.8 out of 7.

16 - The Ruins of Dread
Ambience returns along with the same dark and oppressive atmosphere that so characterized "Cave". This, however, is much better as it is not nearly as irritating with its high-pitched idiophone. This once again has an idiophone, but it is far quieter and inverts that alternating rhythm from the previous tracks. This is a simpler melody, and the way it ends/transitions-between-loops may irritate you somewhat, but this is quite good and falls into the background much better than "Cave" does. 5.3 out of 7.

17 - Wave of Evil
The Sinistral motif makes its first re-appearance here, played around with a bit. Plenty of sharp notes to give it a malicious, 'off' feeling. It's interesting to see how the theme, once filled with such emotion and melancholy, becomes a villainous theme. This is something you can easily imagine the heroes gritting their teeth in determination too. Not all of the melody from "The Battle of the Island in the Void" is here, but that's alright. The melody plays once before an end/transition similar to "The Ruins of Dread", but it works much better here.

It's not overly complicated and it's rather on the short end of things, but I can only assume that this may well have been the intention, seeing as I am not knowing where, when, or for how long the track plays. 4.2 out of 7.
Last edited by Terry93D on Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Guard Daos » Sun Dec 13, 2015 11:56 am

Awesome reviews! Keep 'em coming!
I dunno... is the overworld theme that light? I think it's pretty dramatic, especially when compared to Lufia II's overworld. In Lufia II, the overworld gives me the feeling that I'm taking a stroll around familiar grassy lands, whereas Lufia I gives me the feeling that I'm embarking on a long and difficult journey. Though that's not just because of the music, but also because of the clouds you see flocking by and the fact that you walk much slower, as if you're always walking against a harsh wind.
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