The Music of Lufia

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

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Sun Dec 13, 2015 5:07 pm

Guard Daos wrote: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.

Thanks. :D I definitely intend to keep 'em coming, and I'll review the Lufia II soundtrack as well thereafter.

I've always thought of it as light. A difference in interpretation, maybe? I suppose that, in comparison to Lufia II, Lufia I does have this sort of persistently bleak-ish feeling even at its lightest moments with the exception of "Town", "Triumph", arguably "The Battle of the Island in the Void", and possibly a few others I haven't yet listened too. But I do find "The Earth" to be rather light - it never fails to make me sit back and relax.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby SinReVi » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:59 pm

Guard Daos wrote:Awesome reviews! Keep 'em coming!
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.


Fun fact: At one of the Estpolis/Neverland Offs either Miyata or Yukio Nakajima said that the slow walking speed in Lufia I was to stretch playtime and to increase sense of adventure.

Fun Fact II: The (Japanese only) cell phone version of Lufia I doesn't have the slower walking anymore.
(or at least in dungeons. The video I saw a long time ago only showed the intro text and the Fortress of Doom, so I don't know if the overworld also uses the faster walking speed)
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:24 am

LUFIA & THE FORTRESS OF DOOM
Original Soundtrack Review
Part Three


18 - Battle 2
The second battle theme on the album. Let's see if its any better than the first, shall we? Well, right from the outset this is a darker and more understated track than you might expect. This isn't nearly as sloppy as "Battle 1" was and it also plays a trick: the initial 'segment' of the theme loops back around the way "Battle 1" did, but after the second loop it launches into a new section. This is by and far the highlight of the track, and certainly one of the more fun sections. Sadly, this second segment doesn't get as much development as it deserves, which is unfortunate, but this is still easily several steps above "Battle 1". 4.2 out of 7.

19 - Port Town
This theme follows along from "Town" and "Village" as music for a prominent area of human residence. This breaks from the mold of peaceful (from "Town"), and relaxing and slightly dull (from "Village") completely by being an active, bustling piece of music that makes shockingly effective use of the brass - its weakness of which I have noted several times. It's joined by an electric bass rolling along in the background, the usual strong usage of strings and an entirely expected percussive compliment wherein the snare/timpani (it's genuinely difficult to tell) plays a minor role next to the hi-hat. (The hi-hat of all percussives has been far more prominent than timpani and snare has, often times, and you will notice this in "The Last Duel" as well.) While "Town" and "Village" are quite nice on their own merits, I must say I like this active, joyful, bustling theme much more. It's very easy to close your eyes, sit back, and watch the scenes of an active port town play out in your mind. 6.2 out of 7.

20 - Parting
"Parting" brings back "Battle 2"'s trick of faking its loop before a second segment of greater development. This is sad track, with some happy moments. In one part, it also once again continues "Town", "Village", and "The Last Duel"'s alternating rising note pattern. (To be completely honest, I suspect this is a fake-out in "The Last Duel", with the impression of alternating created by the way the notes are programmed. Very well done, Mr. Shiono!) You can detect hints of "Priphea Flowers" and "The Spoils of War" in this, but only barely. This theme is reflective, and melancholy. It almost feels by-the-numbers, in some ways, but, like "Castle", it does a couple interesting things with its melody. Unlike "Castle", this is unique enough to actually be rather likable. 4.6 out of 7.

21 - To A New World
One can only guess that this is the airship theme (another RPG stalwart created by Final Fantasy), but it is tragically short and undeveloped in the way "Battle 1" is. Thankfully, it loops far more naturally than "Battle 1" did, which is a small comfort. Brass plays full throttle, backed by strings and some percussion. (No hi-hats, I'm afraid.) This isn't particularly memorable nor particularly innovative. Like "Castle", this is a distinctly generic approach, but unlike "Castle", this isn't long enough or developed enough. No interesting things are done with the melody. A genuine disappointment, both for what it is and what it could've - should've, arguably - been. 2.5 out of 7.

22 - Tower
With "Tower" we have a dungeon theme in the same vein as "The Ruins of Dread": dark, oppressive, ambient. This track has a far faster pace to it thanks to percussion - both the snare/timpani and a deep timpani rolling around in the background - as well as a background idiophone ostinato. It isn't quite nearly as oppressive the way "The Ruins of Dread" was, but personally, given my pick between them, I think I prefer this one. 5.9 out of 7.

23 - Door of Journey
This is a somewhat short track, but unlike "Battle 1" it never feels undeveloped. This track is also very difficult to assign a mood too - I'm opting for happy with sad undertones, but your interpretation may vary from mine. Interpreted as 'happy-with-sad-underneath', this theme is very, very good at doing that. A little bit too short, arguably, but very good. Perhaps that was the intention: a track which could have many moods depending on when it was played? I'm honestly not sure. But anyways, my score: 5.3 out of 7.

24 - Lexis Shaia Labs
Light and playful is a very nice to way to describe the track. It's a very fun track to listen to, and you can't help but be uplifted by it. The mechanical idiophone ostinato playing in the background still makes it feel like there's Science happening somewhere on the premises. Perhaps light isn't quite the way to describe it - happy is far more befitting it, I think. It's science, yes, but with music like this you can't help but think that science must be a rather fun thing to do. Ah, if only. 5.0 out of 7.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:41 pm

LUFIA & THE FORTRESS OF DOOM
Original Soundtrack Review
Part Three


25 - In the Ocean
Here's another track in the vein of "Tower" and "The Ruins of Dread" - this one, however, goes for an approach even more minimalist than either. You won't find any timpanis grumbling around in the background here. Instead, we have the wonderful addition of oceanic sounds, bubbles of air going upward. It's a magnificent way to give it that aquatic feeling. The melody is driven by idiophone, and after an initial segment with plenty of aquatic sound it moves on to one with faster percussion, removing those bubbles in favor of a somewhat swifter feel. It doesn't last very long and it soon loops back. Strings quietly wile away in the background, and all in all this is a very good track, perfectly suited to an underwater feel and enjoyable besides. 5.4 out of 7.

26 - Silent Shrine
And another track along that vein! "Silent Shrine" takes the occasionally oppressive atmospheres of "Tower" and "The Ruins of Dread" and carries it perhaps the furthest it can be taken. It opens with unhappy, low strings with typical Shiono percussion and a little bit of idiophone before moving to a quieter section driven by slap bass, with percussive and pizzicato compliment and idiophone doing a bit echo in each ear before strings come back in for a slower, somewhat melancholy burst of what must surely be heroism and then going back to that quite slap bass driven section for a little while before looping back. It's worth noting how well each individual piece of this track works: the oppressive opening. The quieter section that might just send a bit of a chill down your spine before the strings come in and lift your spirits a bit.

Secondly, it all seems that the echo-ey idiophone doesn't loop in time with the rest of the track until the 2nd loop - it follows along with the first playthrough, but upon 1st loop, it doesn't follow along. It keeps playing on its own. Not until the 2nd loop does the idiophone once again 'follow along' with the rest of the track. I think that this does a very good job of adding a bit of the somber feeling to moments where it would otherwise not be present.

Now, it could be argued that each of these sections could do with a bit more development. However, this piece also works very well on its own. Personally, I was quite pleasantly surprised - this track had never really stood out before. But then, I was listening as a listener and I was doing other things at the time, the music as a background. 5.8 out of 7.

27 - Underground Market
This track can very easily be interpreted as a darker iteration of "Port Town", even though they don't share melody. This track does a very good job of understating itself, with a quiet strings and pizzicato together with a timpani following along with the pizzicato. Mild percussion - hi-hats - gives this an almost lounge-like feeling, and finally, on top of it there's a woodwind playing a simple melody. "Underground Market" is also rather on the short side - which is unfortunate. This track could've done with a little bit more development. 4.3 out of 8.

28 - Spirit of Hades
Echo-y idiophone plays a simple melody and it's joined by oboe playing another simple melody. There's also a little bit of electric bass compliment. For it's simplicity and shortness, this is nicely developed. But it's perhaps too simple. It's not as generic as "Castle" nor as disappointing as "To A New World" was, but... sigh. One really struggles to point out good things here because there's just not enough to really be distinct in any particularly noticeable way. 3.7 out of 7.

29 - To the Sky
The promise of "To A New World" without the attempts at orchestral epic that it and "99 Years Later" so tragically failed at. Swift hi-hats, timpani, strings, harp, - there's more than I care to list. This track is joyful and uplifting. It conjures an image of hope and adventure - and, further, the melody of "Departure" returns here, and, like "Priphea Flowers", it gets more development - indeed, it is somewhat difficult to tell the connection to "Departure". For my money, this further developing of that theme is a good thing and, let's face it, motifs that span across multiple tracks is a rare thing in the 16-bit era, so the fact that it is difficult to recognize isn't really a problem. This track is a pleasure to listen to as it surely must be even in-game. Certainly one of the highlights of Fortress of Doom's soundtrack, in my opinion. 6.0 out of 7.

30 - The Island in the Void
And here we have the final appearance of the Sinistral motif. It's backed by a very nice ostinato (which itself is backed by a little bit of electric bass) and percussion (snare drums with a bit of timpani. Yes, I learned to distinguish which is which!). This is the Sinistral's motif in its most recognizable and most pared down form. Indeed, I doubt it would be wrong of me to say that this is the Sinistiral motif. It doesn't get much development, but I suppose that it doesn't really need much, does it? One thing that'll strike you about this track is the sense of fatefulness this has - it feels very much like you are approaching the end. It's a very good atmosphere to create, especially given where in the game this surely must play. 5.6 out of 7.

31 - Four Mad Gods
This is a very, very simple track. Slap bass playing in the background, hi-hat, a little bit of harp, that snare, and finally, the strings in the forefront. ...and they're doing an ambience quite similar to those in "Tower", "The Ruins of Dread", and "In the Ocean." Oh, it works very well, and it isn't nearly as lacking as "Spirit of Hades" was, but one can't help but want something with more substance. This, like "To a New World", while disappointing for what it is, is far more disappointing for what it could've been. 3.1 out of 7.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Guard Daos » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:36 pm

Terry93D wrote:This track is a pleasure to listen to as it surely must be even in-game.


Wait... you haven't played it? :shock:
Wow. That explains how you can keep the review so technical. I can't listen to these songs without the memories flooding back of playing the game as a kid.
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:12 pm

Guard Daos, a Member of the Forum wrote:
Terry93D, an other Member of the Forum wrote:This track is a pleasure to listen to as it surely must be even in-game.

Wait... you haven't played it? :shock:
Wow. That explains how you can keep the review so technical. I can't listen to these songs without the memories flooding back of playing the game as a kid.

I haven't played any Lufia games. XD Just listened to the music and read a bit of the plot. And watched the 16-bit Gems video on Lufia II. And also joined this forum. I might be playing them soon, though!

OR: Curses, I've been found out.

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Re: Original Soundtrack Review Part Five

Postby Terry93D » Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:58 am

LUFIA & THE FORTRESS OF DOOM
Original Soundtrack Review
Part Five


32 - Battle 3
The trick "Battle 2" and "Parting" used - that of repeating its entirety before adding in a new section of development - is repeated here. Some context - repeating a theme's intro isn't an uncommon thing in videogame music. It's the most common thing imaginable. ("Departure" did it, for example.) But repeating a piece's entirety before new bits is less common. Yuzo Koshiro did it, but this predates Etrian Odyssey IV by well over a decade.

But anyways. "Battle 3" is for the most part very similar to "Battle 2", albeit this has a faster pace. Furthermore, like "Battle 2", it's mostly underwhelming with the exception of that additional segment, an absolutely wonderful guitar solo that's easily the highlight of the track.

It could be argued, though, that "Battle 3" is the biggest disappointment of the soundtrack. This is supposed to be the final battle theme. Final battles are big events. The player's last hurdle to completion. This, though... it doesn't feel like a final battle theme. It just feels like a faster-paced derivative of "Battle 2" with the addition of a guitar solo. I mean, perhaps "Four Mad Gods" works fantastically in-game, even if - devoid of the knowledge of where it would go, with only educated guesses to make - it seems like glorified ambience. And I've praised previous ambient tracks, so perhaps knowledge of where "Four Mad Gods" goes would change my opinion. Indeed, from a non-critical standpoint, I actually quite enjoy listening to "Four Mad Gods" on its own.

If we remove the stigma of final battle themes from it, though, "Battle 3" is easily the best battle theme on the soundtrack - longer than "Battle 1" and not nearly as sloppy, better than "Battle 2" for its quicker pace. It's just that as a final battle theme, this is a huge let-down. 4.6 out of 7.

33 - Field Motif
"Priphea Flowers" makes a brief return for the intro before original material takes over - and that's not a bad thing (though the name "Field Motif" absolutely mystifies me). I am a fan of having melodies woven in and out of numerous tracks, but I am also equally fond of themes that don't make recurring appearances.

This is, without a doubt, the saddest theme in the game. The emotion here is quite tangible. It is by other standards a rather simple piece, but considering the simplicity of the vast majority of tracks so far it's actually one of the more complex pieces. This theme is mainly flute, with some oboe and a bit of pizzicato harp. It's a well-developed and saddening. 6.2 out of 7.

34 - A Reunion, And...
Though "Field Motif" us undoubtedly the most emotional of the themes present, "A Reunion, And..." is no slouch either, though it is somewhat weaker. It's not quite as strong, both for the somewhat dinky noises used and the usage of strings - they appear in the background, but they're too 'full' a sound. A solo strings instrument would've worked better rather than the ensemble sound, but I believe Shiono didn't have any solo violin sounds. 4.2 out of 7.

35 - Journey's End
The happiest theme on the soundtrack. I can't identify the main instrument, but it works very well. Considering the weakness of the soundfont, this works very well, and it's easy to enjoy and bop along too.

Of course, it's ludicrously cliche and very, very cheesy. But Shiono's natural talent for melodies carries the piece along very well and it seems over before it's begun. From a critical standpoint, if I believed in 'objective' reviewing, I should be pounding this into the ground or something before calling a guilty pleasure. But, you know, I don't believe in 'objective' reviewing. Reviewing is very much a subjective thing based on the reviewer's opinions. I embrace this wholeheartedly.

So, with that in mind, I'll give it the 5.3 out of 7 that a critic would sneer and spit at.

Overview
The soundfont is the weakest aspect of the soundtrack. The strings ensemble sounds are the strongest aspect of the soundtrack, followed closely by woodwinds, idiophone, and guitar. The brass and pizzicato (harp, really) sounds are very weak - the brass is obnoxious and overbearing while the pizzicato harp is very flat and thin. The percussion falls somewhere in the middle, but it is effectively used and the SNES always struggled with percussion - timpani excepted, of course. As a judgement, this is a distinct soundfont, roughly on par with Romancing SaGa.

"Battle 2" and "Battle 3", though disappointing, show good grasp of how to do a battle theme and it's better than other composers might do in Shiono's place. "The Last Duel" is not just the best piece on the soundtrack, but one of the best pieces to ever hit the SNES. It is what I call a capital-C 16-bit Classic. Meanwhile, the 'Sinistral motif' is one of the most memorable melodies out there and it's effectively used in "The Battle of the Island in the Void", "Wave of Evil", and the sadly undeveloped "The Island in the Void."

"Battle 1" is a decent and effective, but amateurish, sloppy effort. The dungeon themes, "Cave," "The Ruins of Dread," and "Tower" go for ambience and atmosphere, and though it may not be to everyone's liking it's definitely to mine. "Cave" is a bit noisy and irritating, while "The Ruins of Dread" falls into the background much easier, though the transition during loops may irritate. "Tower" goes a step further with a quicker, tenser pace and loops flawlessly, making it the best out of them. "In the Ocean" takes this ambient approach another step further and adds the actual sounds of air bubbles in the ocean to it, which I absolutely love. "Four Mad Gods" simplifies the approach to the bare basics but disappoints due to the presumed place it plays in-game, but may well work far better than I give it credit for if my guess is wrong and "Silent Shrine" takes the approach in the reverse direction of "Tower" with a somewhat slower feeling to it, even though from a factual standpoint it may actually beat "Tower" for speed.

"The Earth" is a strong overworld theme, and "Castle" continues the generic approach of chamber music, which is one that I don't enjoy much at all, but it has a decent melody. "Town" and "Village" are decently relaxing pieces, while "Port Town" beats both for its energy. "Underground Market" is tragically simple, and while the flute melody is nice, it doesn't do anything new beyond that one melody. "99 Years Later" and "In the New World" practically put the weak soundfont on exhibition by attempting to be orchestrally mighty but ultimately just sounding weak.

Final Thoughts
What emerges is that Shiono has a strong grasp of melody. The 'Sinistral motif' is one of the most memorable themes in an RPG of the 16-bit era, while "The Last Duel" is a plain and simple classic. It is, while a simple soundtrack, a decent first effort.

Averaging all the ratings for each individual track, this soundtrack gets: 4.7 out of 7.

Conclusion
While I personally quite enjoyed it, I'll admit that this won't be to everyone's taste. Simple or complex, I enjoy music. But listeners whom are more used to deeply complex pieces or even just used to soundtracks more in the vein of Final Fantasy probably won't find this as good as I seemed to. As much as I enjoyed it, it's simple and often not as developed as it needs to be. To be completely honest, I would only recommend this soundtrack to someone whom was already a Lufia fan.



Well, I've finished that review. Phew. It took longer than I expected. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading it - what are your thoughts on individual pieces? Or even just the soundtrack as a whole. Incidentally, could I also have some opinions on the soundtrack of Ruins of Lore, of which Shiono had no involvement, with Yukio Nakajima composing everything? Is it the weird cousin nobody talks about or is it an accepted brother with a couple quirks about it?

And for my next review... hmm. I don't know. I guess we'll see.

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby SinReVi » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:53 am

Actually Ruins of Lore's music composer is unknown.
The game doesn't even have a credit roll after you finish the game.
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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:56 pm

SinReVi wrote:Actually Ruins of Lore's music composer is unknown.
The game doesn't even have a credit roll after you finish the game.


Really? I've seen a number of places credit Yukio Nakajima with it. Hmm. I'm lead to believe that Atelier Double was a ghost company along the lines of TOSE, so it's possible that one of their in-house composers did it.

I mean, the game lacks "The Last Duel", so I'm highly doubting that Shiono scored it. (Tangentially related, but Shiono is actually following me on Twitter now!)

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Re: The Music of Lufia

Postby Terry93D » Thu May 05, 2016 3:51 pm

Not really a new review, I know, but I did a faux-8-bit arrangement of "Watchtowers of the Seal."

http://bit.ly/1Tpm53i


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