This is a very successful opus, perhaps surprisingly so, considering the relative obscurity of the game. There’s a wide variety of tunes, ranging from the goofily cute (“Gysahl’s Veggies”), to the mysterious (“The Cave where the Crystal Lies”), to the boisterously adventurous (“The Huge Battleship Invincible”), to the desolate (“The Boundless Ocean”). This is also the first time in the series that one of the protagonists gets their own theme: “Elia, the Maiden of Water” is a lovely, sad piece, befitting its namesake. Another memorable tune is “Let Me Know the Truth” (“Pavilion of Dorga and Unne” in the DS version), the dreamy music from Do(r)ga’s Manor, Unne/Unei’s Shrine and a couple of other places. It has, notably, made an appearance as an Easter Egg in FFIX, requiring the party to purchase Dorga’s Cup and Unne’s Mirror.
Apart from these, “Eternal Wind”, the overworld map music, is a lovely, light, breezy tune. “Crystal Tower” is appropriately grand. “Forbidden Land” (“Forbidden Land Eureka” in the DS version) is anxious and ominous. “Castle of Hein/Hyne’s Castle” has a fittingly eerie feel to it, as does “Dark Crystal”, the theme of the final dungeon, which alternates slow chimes with a more urgent motif. And the music for the final battle, aptly named “Battle to the Death”, has real flair to it. The few misses to counterbalance all these hits include the throwaway “Four Old Men’s Theme”, the excessively brassy “Megalopolis Salonia/Saronia” or the hiccuping rhythms of “Underwater Temple”.
The DS version makes a very successful effort to brush up the music, thus improving an already good selection of tunes with some genuinely memorable new arrangements. In particular, “Forbidden Land Eureka”, which now sounds truly grandiose and has become my favourite track in the game, and “Memory of the Wind”, a beautiful orchestral medley that accompanies the introductory video, mixing “Eternal Wind”, Elia/Aria’s theme and the famous FF Prelude. “Battle to the Death” has also received an upgrade, now sounding decidedly groovy. It’s also worth noting that Nobuo Uematsu’s now-defunct band, The Black Mages, did a particularly bitching cover of that song.
All tracks except the last one are from the DS version of the game.