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This page is a personal review of the tracks on The Black Mages' albums. Each track will have a brief commentary from me and two ratings. Note that I have listened to every track in full, even those I dislike, just so I can give a proper verdict. Of course, if I haven't heard the original I can't make a comparative verdict, and if I'm familiar with the original my pure verdict may be slightly biased.

  • PV (Pure Verdict): How I rate the track based on its own intrinsic merit
  • CV (Comparative Verdict): How I rate the track compared to the original

For each album, the ratings of all the tracks will be totalled to give an overall verdict. The scale is as follows:

  • Wonderful "This...is a wonderful track!" (+5)
  • Great "This is a great track." (+3)
  • Good "Mmm, this seems like a good track." (+1)
  • Average "This is a pretty average track." (=0)
  • Poor "This track doesn't seem to be very good." (–1)
  • Terrible "I can't recommend this track." (–3)

If you prefer your music reviews to have less detail, a lesser degree of subjectiveness, or a numerical scoring system, you can read Captain Darkblade's review instead. It's also worth reading his because we differ in opinion on a few tracks. Each of us also has a list of tracks we'd like to see in future albums; click here to go to mine, and you'll find a link to the Captain's list there too.

The Black Mages
The Black Mages II: The Skies Above
The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10

The Black Mages[edit | edit source]

Battle Scene[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy

I quite like this track. Having never played any of the main series before VI, I am utterly unfamiliar with this, but it's good. I like the way it starts, and it holds my interest with a pretty cool melody. I'm not so keen on the bit from about 2:39 to 2:54, but it's still ok. The end is a bit abrupt, but it works reasonably well, so I can't fault it too much.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: N/A

Clash on the Big Bridge[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy V, later used in Final Fantasy XII

Clash on the Big Bridge is one of my favourite tracks in the entire series, having first encountered the Final Fantasy XII version. More recently I've listened to the original Final Fantasy V version, and it's great (and nicely retro). I think that this cover of it does it justice, if not more than. The beginning is pleasant, and then it breaks into coolness, especially when it goes into uber-awesomeness as soon as the main melody kicks in at 0:45. The change at 2:15 is good, and doesn't break the flow of the piece, and then the rockin' returns at 2:59. Finally, it ends really well, and even better can be adapted to be loopable. I've done it, you just crop the opening and some of the end to leave the segment from 0:20 to 4:15. To summarise: this track is Epic Win.

  • PV: WonderfulWonderful
  • CV: WonderfulWonderful

Force Your Way[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VIII

The opening of this is a bit... blech... but it soon improves after 0:23. The problem with this track is that it's okay, but it doesn't hold my interest much, to the point where it's in a way slightly boring. It improves a little after 1:00, but the segment from 1:31 to 2:17 is sort of off on a tangent... I can't say I'm impressed by it. After that, it gets back on track, but that means it resumes the slight boringness too. I think it might be that it's a bit too slow-paced. I'd probably prefer the original over this, but it's not that bad. On the plus side, it ends rather well, which is more than I can say for some of The Black Mages' other tracks.

  • PV: Good
  • CV: Average

Battle Scene II[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy II

I quite like the way this track starts off, and overall the melody is quite cool. The slow pace contributes to a sense of meandering, but I think that a meandering pace actually works quite well for it. The change at 2:14 is interesting, but after 2:30 it gets a bit... meh. It returns to the initial bit at 3:18, but the end comes out of thin air. It's not outright abrupt, but you don't really see it coming.

  • PV: Good
  • CV: N/A

The Decisive Battle[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VI

After an unexpectedly quiet opening, the rest of the first 38 seconds of this is pretty rockin'. Then it breaks into the instantly recognisable melody, and does it well. The brief low bit at 2:20 is interesting, and then it gets quite funky (in a good way) from 2:23 until it returns to the main melody at 3:06, and draws to a close reasonably well at 3:51.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Good

Battle Theme[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VI

The start is a bit interesting, but also a bit nondescript. Once the main tune begins at 0:29 it's immediately noticeable that the pace is quite slow, but it works well enough. As it progresses, I find myself thinking that it's good, but nothing special. This lasts until 2:10, where it takes a turn for the slightly worse. It's still okay, but it's on the bad side of "nothing special". It recovers somewhat at 2:41, but it's still lacking. The repetition from here to the end sucks as a buildup, though the end itself isn't too bad.

  • PV: Average
  • CV: Average

J-E-N-O-V-A[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VII

Is it me, or does it sound suspiciously like the Advent Children version? Once it passes the 0:43 mark, it becomes an interesting take on the piece. The AC version is "harsh", for want of a better word, and the original was a little bit harsh too. Now contrast them with this version, in all its smooth-sounding glory. Even when it becomes more active at 1:29, it retains a shade of this calmness, until the classic rise at 2:15. After this, at 2:33, it goes off on a tangent, but unlike Force Your Way, I quite like this tangent. It flows nicely, and builds well as it apporaches the rise again at 3:19. So far so good, right? Well, that's exactly it. If it ended after that rise, it might have had a Wonderful rating from me, but it continues and by the time we get into the fifth minute, I'm actually a tiny bit fed up with it. I still think it's great, don't get me wrong, but I feel it's drawn out a bit more than it should have been. Furthermore, regarding the short segment from 4:24 to 4:30... WTF? The remainder after this only furthers my slight boredom, and it's quite a lame ending.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Good

Those Who Fight Further[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VII

Starts off nice and rockin', as it should. This track compares extremely well to the original, and I'd go so far as to say I might prefer it, but it's a close one because the original is extremely awesome too. The bit from 1:50 to 2:37 is a slight low point, but only very slightly, so it's still really good. Of course, it returns to form immediately afterwards. From 3:52 onwards, it builds to the end, and it's really good. If only it ended at 4:15 with a single definitive sound it'd be perfect, but I suppose the actual ending is still pretty cool.

  • PV: Wonderful
  • CV: Wonderful

Dancing Mad[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VI

I can sum up this whole track review in six words: "Twelve minutes of pure epic win". This track is up at the top next to Clash on the Big Bridge, and deservedly so. It's perfectly true to the original while bringing new life to it at the same time, which is exactly how it should be. This is one of those tracks you put on full blast and just listen to. I'd be doing that right now if not for the fact that I'm diverting some brain power to writing this review. The first segment is from 0:00 to 2:45, the second from there until 4:43, the third until 6:34, and the fourth thereafter. The first segment is awesome, but has little that is noteworthy (i.e. nothing extra awesome), although of course it inevitably gets better as soon as the fast beat kicks in at 1:25. The second segment is awesome when the undertone kicks in at 3:00, and remains cool throughout the organ solo. The third begins with more organ work, which is great, and we can hear Kefka's Theme creeping in underneath. Then begins the fourth segment, which has always been my favourite part of Dancing Mad: the hyper-remix of Kefka's Theme! The guitar comes in at 7:07 and makes it instantly incredible, and the other phase of the segment begins at 8:01. To be honest, this always reminds me a little of the music towards the end of the Doomsday episode of Doctor Who. Anyway, this phase lasts out the rest of the fourth segment until the introduction returns at 10:59, which carries it to the end with a bit of bell tolling to add that finishing touch. I'll say it again: Epic Win.

  • PV: WonderfulWonderful
  • CV: WonderfulWonderful

Fight With Seymour[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy X

Starts well, and takes the already cool instrumentation of the original up a notch, if that's even possible. While it's certainly excellent, I feel that this track lacks the "oomph" needed to award it a "Wonderful" rating. I think I also see what Captain Darkblade means about it not feeling right as the last track on the album. The change in tone at 3:37 is very interesting, and I certainly very much approve of this segment. However, the immediately following segment from 4:09 to 4:32 is less to my liking, especially the bit around 4:25. Having recovered from this, it goes on to end well, which nearly earns it a "Wonderful" rating back, but not quite.

  • PV: GreatGreat
  • CV: Great

The Black Mages II: The Skies Above[edit | edit source]

The Rocking Grounds[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy III

The start is pretty cool, and I must say that "Rocking" is fairly accurate. The melody is interesting, and I quite like the bits from 1:51 to 2:15 and from 2:39 to 3:01. It's great from 3:43, and it's just a pity that the end at 3:53 sucks ultimate balls and dies.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: N/A

Zeromus[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IV

Pretty cool, and extremely rockin'! Once it gets properly started at 0:24, I'd go so far as to say it's somewhat invigorating! I love the tune; seriously, it's awesome, although the bit from 1:48 to 2:10 is a bit dubious. The remainder is great, and the ending is good.

  • PV: Wonderful
  • CV: N/A

Vamo' Alla Flamenco[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IX

Reasonable opening, and once it gets properly started at 0:29 it's great, although it just ain't the same without the clapping. The tone and pace are interesting, and I quite like it. The deviation from the original at 1:54 is interesting, and I don't mind it at all, but I'm still happy when it returns to the familiar form at 2:36. The change at 3:12 is very peculiar and I like that too. From 3:35 it's normal again, until an utterly genius switch to acoustic sound at 3:57 which then lasts until the end, which is one of the best track endings as well.

  • PV: Wonderful
  • CV: Wonderful

Hunter's Chance[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IX

The start is great, and it continues to be good for most of the track. The segment from 2:25 is a little unattractive in instrumentation and arrangement and I'm definitely happier once it returns to form at 3:11. From 3:30 it's very different, but certainly pleasant enough, and then it resumes the usual again at 4:22 until the end, which is pretty decent.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Great

Otherworld[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy X

I had to force myself to listen to this one all the way through. The opening is passable, although not brilliant. It was okay, more or less, until 0:34, at which point my brain tried to eject itself from my head (not literally, obviously). Seriously, Kazco Hamano can GTFO of my favourite FFX track. The only consolation, and it's tiny, is that at least more of the lyrics are intelligible, although they pulled a reversal by making the clearest lyrics (Go into the sand and the dust in the sky etc.) practically inaudible in this version. The music itself is also disappointing, and the end sucks too. The only reason that this gets "Poor" instead of "Terrible" for Pure Verdict is that I'm treating it as if I were unfortunate enough to only have encountered this version and not the original.

Thus is Otherworld betrayed, then stabbed and left to bleed in the gutter.

  • PV: Poor
  • CV: Terrible

Matoya's Cave[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy

Slow to start, and while a pleasant enough melody, it's a little on the boring side. It picks up a bit at 1:22, which is a welcome improvement. The change at 2:05 is interesting, and I'm really not sure whether for better or worse. It sounds a bit casino, to be honest. At 2:58 it drops back a little, and while it's not exactly worse as such, it's unexceptional. I love the short interlude from 3:42 to 3:51, and the remainder is fine. Best of all, the final segment from 4:26 to the end is another good ending.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: N/A

The Man with the Machine Gun[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VIII

One of my favourite tracks in FFVIII, so I was desperately hoping this version would be good. I wasn't disappointed, but neither was I excessively thrilled. The start is passable, but it really gets stuck in at 0:28, and it is sweet! Unfortunately, the segment from 1:19 to 2:05, while undoubtedly not bad, isn't entirely to my liking. The subsequent buildup from there to 2:26 is unexciting, and it has an arbitrary chunk of The Legendary Beast thrown in, though it does work fairly well. Returning to normal at 2:42, it becomes great again and remains so until a great ending segment at 4:00.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Great

Maybe I'm a Lion[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VIII

Right from the get-go, it's nicely rockin', but the main drive has a really late start at 0:51. From then on, it stays pretty consistently good, especially from 1:50 onwards. However, it soon becomes tiresome and by the time it got to 4:00 I was getting somewhat bored. It was around this time that it started making an effort to hold interest, so perhaps TBM knew it was dragging slightly. Still, I can't complain about the end, which is fairly good, apart from that random and intrusive noise at the very end.

  • PV: Good
  • CV: Average

Battle with the Four Fiends[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IV

I don't have much to say on this one. I rather like it, and it keeps my interest reasonably well. I can't shake the feeling that the segment from 1:23 to 1:53 sounds oddly familiar, but I'm fairly sure I've never heard this track (or rather, the original) before. Weird.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: N/A

The Skies Above[edit | edit source]

Original title Zanarkand, from Final Fantasy X

I decided to give this track another chance to prove itself. This was the old review:

The start was pleasant, and much as expected. Lovely. Quiet, also as you'd expect, until it suddenly goes majorly rockin' at 1:40. Not particularly pleasant rockin', either. Finally, at 2:11, a crisis occurs. GTFO now, Tomoaki Watanabi. This does not want or need lyrics. I think the music itself is passable, but it's hard to tell 'cause of all that f*cking SINGING! Skip to 6:26, for the blessed relief of piano once again. This piece just doesn't work for rock. It has to be piano, or maybe woodwind would work too. Still, the end is great. Shame about the five minutes in the middle. This makes things difficult, as I'm going to have to average my ratings for the two separate chunks, and unfortunately, the horrible chunk is much larger, so it's not gonna be very positive. The comparative verdict is bad because killing it horribly is one thing, but putting two beautifully done pieces alongside the bleeding remains is just perverse.
  • PV: Poor
  • CV: Terrible

But I'm really rather glad that I've chosen to give it this second chance, because I'd like to officially reject most of my old review. It's really not anywhere near as bad as I first dismissed it as being. So here's the new review:

As before, the piano is lovely until it ends at 1:41. Unfortunately, no matter what I say about the rest of the track, this rockin' is still pretty horrible, and is the primary reason that (even with this new verdict), this track is unlikely to remain on my playlist of favourite TBM tracks. Which is a shame, and I mean that sincerely. The lyrics are still somewhat unwelcome, if only because I can't decipher half of them. From 3:11 to 3:37 is a definite improvement, and the lyrics are more decipherable, so I don't mind this bit so much. It continues to be kinda interesting until about 3:50, when the nerve-grating guitar rockin' makes an encore, and the track goes off on a deviation that doesn't impress me much. However, at 4:41, it breaks into an awesome section, and I love it until 5:13. Even the, even with the lyrics returning, I can actually bear the remainder right the way through to the returning piano at 6:28. My final verdict couldn't be much more different from my old one... well no, it could, but the unpleasant rockin' bits prevent a "Wonderful".

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Good

Blue Blast – Winning the Rainbow[edit | edit source]

Original composition

Starts interestingly, and gives me the haunting air of familiarity, but that must surely be due to Nobuo's style, as it's an original composition. Breaks into coolness at 0:47, and gets into the main body at 1:05. The melody is awesome, as is the delivery of it. At 2:27, it seems to waver a bit, and the overlying guitar is a bit all over the place, but it's still okay. Once it returns to form at 3:06, it's better, and from 3:19 to 3:38 is an interesting change in tone. The end is slightly sudden, but still fairly good.

I'm just left wondering what the inspiration for the title was...

  • PV: Wonderful

The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight[edit | edit source]

Opening ~ Bombing Mission[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VII

Starts very well, and is a truly classic nostalgia trip for all those not already on one because they're replaying FFVII at the moment (i.e. me at the time of writing). It maintains this greatness for a while, but then it drops into weird synth-y stuff from 1:44 to 1:59, followed by horrible guitar work after that. It never really recovers from these injuries, and is in critical condition by the end, which itself not only sucks balls, but specifically Vaan's balls. This is not a particularly good start to the album, is it?

  • PV: Poor
  • CV: Poor

Neo EXDEATH[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy V

Not a bad track, with a nice ominous opening, leading into upbeat coolness. The instrumentation is slightly weird, and it's just the right sort of weird to appeal to me. The melody is extremely awesome, and between this and Clash on the Big Bridge I'm wondering what other musical gems Final Fantasy V has, waiting for me to discover them. Anyway, this more than makes up for the car crash that was the previous track, and the end is close to perfect.

  • PV: Wonderful
  • CV: N/A

The Extreme[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VIII

This track starts well, with some interesting background noise additions. However, after it builds up perfectly, it has a moment of silence at 1:14 which really breaks flow. The underlying rhythm in the background that begins at 1:24 is amusing and slightly annoying, because for some reason I can't help saying "Banana... banana... banana... banana" in my head in time with it. The extremely weirdy guitar that enters at 1:54 is somewhat offputting, but this otherwise remains good (...banana...) until 3:53 when the weirdy guitar has an encore. After that, it's plain sailing until (...banana...) the segment from 5:06 to 5:30 which, while not bad, is also (...banana...) quite offputting, and the ending is rather unsatisfying as well.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: Good

Assault of the Silver Dragons[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IX

The start is quite interesting, though it soon sounds kinda like something out of cheesy sci-fi until 1:26. It finally gets in gear at 1:40, and even then it feels somehow lacking. At 2:25, we encounter some extremely unwelcome blooping synth noises, only being freed from them at 3:00. By this time, you swiftly notice that this track really doesn't seem to be going anywhere. We finally get some long-overdue awesome at 3:40, but it is squandered by being repeated ad nauseum for the remaining minute. I certainly don't think it compares very well to the original.

  • PV: Average
  • CV: Poor

KURAYAMINOKUMO[edit | edit source]

Original title Final Battle to the Death, from Final Fantasy III

The start is... unusual, and quite slow, but it nonetheless holds my interest for a while. It's definitely bordering on weird, but it's the kind of weird that I approve of, so that's okay. At 0:45 it breaks into the track proper, and the weird cranks up a notch. Which is still a good thing. The melody is intriguing, albeit a tiny bit too repetitive. The change at 2:04 is perfectly respectable, although the subsequent section is not quite as much to my liking. The bit from 3:00 to 3:12 is teetering close to the bad kind of weird, but the immediately following part is wonderful. From 4:02, it reverts to the good-weird bit, which works well enough at this point. From 4:25 to 4:47 it jams with it, which is cool, and then moves seamlessly to a good ending.

  • PV: Great
  • CV: N/A

Distant Worlds[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy XI

I don't know why I delayed listening to this one. Maybe it was something to do with my default tendency towards slight disdain for anything Final Fantasy XI Online, but this track is now firmly on my TBM favourites list.

As the track began, I couldn't believe how quiet and atmospheric it was. I kept thinking that it wouldn't last long, but I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised to find that it did last. I'd possibly even go so far as to call this track "beautiful". The first section, from 0:00 to 1:22 is wonderfully ethereal, although I will admit that it got slightly boring after a while because it doesn't really go anywhere. Section two, from 1:22 to 3:08, is lovely, after which it ups the volume not to loudness but to a great build. From here on in, it periodically switches style and instrumentation, and every single time it does so is pulled off perfectly. At 5:30, it reaches a rising swell that carries it until 6:40. It then resumes the ethereal tone, which lasts for the remainder of the track.

  • PV: WonderfulWonderful
  • CV: N/A

Premonition[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy VIII

The opening is interesting, though a bit drawn out even compared to the original. Finally gets into it at 0:39 and it's pretty good from then on until 2:31, when a organ comes in and starts scraping, for want of a better word. This is replaced at 2:53 by something worse, until it subsides back into good form at 3:12. It loses it again at 4:33 with rather dubious instrumentation, which persists and therefore overlays and ruins the otherwise awesome ethereal buildup at the end. The very end itself is a real letdown.

Strangely, this has somehow ended up on my TBM favourites playlist, so I obviously like it more than I think I do :S

  • PV: Good
  • CV: Average

Grand Cross[edit | edit source]

Originally from Final Fantasy IX

Ah, another favourite of mine. The initial chorus of tormented souls sounds suspiciously almost exactly the same as the original, but I suppose that doesn't matter. The switch at 1:20 is a bit abrupt, but I'll let it slide. The instrumentation is funkier than the original, which is really saying something isn't it? It's awesome thus far, a pattern unbroken until 3:37, where a guitar overlay emerges that I'm not keen on. At 3:58 there's a spot of WTFism that lasts until 4:18. After that it's great again until it goes batf*ck insane at 5:09, which then continues right to the lame crappy end.

  • PV: Good
  • CV: Good

Darkness and Starlight[edit | edit source]

Original title Opera: Maria and Draco from Final Fantasy VI

Like The Skies Above, I've decided to give this track another chance. This was the old review:

The only track that I haven't listened to all of. The start isn't that bad, but at 0:43 it starts slipping. Once it hit 1:03 it was a case of GTFO of my Aria di Mezzo Carattere. Unlike some people, I don't find the opera part of the game particularly interesting, but what I do like is the music, so this version offends me. At 1:25, it takes a turn for the WTF. I'm lost already, and there's 14 minutes left. The GTFO returns at 2:00. My advice is to spare yourself a quarter of an hour of torment by avoiding this track like the plague.

Am I really going to force myself to listen to this, just to give it a chance? Errr... no. I suffered as far as 4:00 before I gave up and simply sampled it for a few seconds at every remaining minute up to the end. Here are the results:

  • 5:00 GTFO of my Aria di Mezzo Carattere
  • 6:00 GTFO etc.
  • 7:00 An instrumental island in an ocean of horrible vocals
  • 8:00 Total WTF
  • 9:00 GTFO etc.
  • 10:00 More WTF. Also a fractionally less horrible bit of GTFO
  • 11:00 Yet more GTFO
  • 12:00 ...and again...
  • 13:00 ...and again...
  • 14:00 ...and again...
  • 15:00 ...and again...

...and the end is shit too. They couldn't have killed it more if they'd tried. Give me the game's synth voices any day.

  • PV: TerribleTerrible
  • CV: TerribleTerribleTerrible

Again like The Skies Above, I'd like to officially reject most of my old review. This track isn't actually that bad, and it serves well enough if playing in the background. However, I still say that you can do a lot better than this if you have quarter of an hour to while away. A fuller re-review will be done later.

  • PV: Good
  • CV: Average

Life ~ in memory of KEITEN ~[edit | edit source]

Original composition

Short, sweet and moving. This is a lovely little track, and a generous dedication. At only 1:38 long, it's by far the shortest track, but length doesn't matter. It's a tribute, and that is what gives it its intrinsic merit. The melody is simple and I love it.

  • PV: Wonderful

Overall Album Ratings[edit | edit source]

The Black Mages: WonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodAverageAverageAverage = 72
The Skies Above: WonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGoodGoodAveragePoorTerrible = 42
Darkness and Starlight: WonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodAverageAverageAveragePoorPoorPoor = 28

On his page, the Captain has now implemented a cool little rating arranged by game. It's a great idea, and I give full credit to him as he did it first. Obviously, my "scoring" system makes this a bit more complicated than the Captain's version, so I've averaged all scores, counting the Pure Verdicts and Comparative Verdicts as separate inputs to the calculations:

Game Chocobos Score Average Game Chocobos Score Average
FFI GreatGreat 6 3 FFII Good 1 1
FFIII GreatGreat 6 3 FFIV WonderfulGreat 8 4
FFV WonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderful 25 25/3
FFVI WonderfulWonderfulWonderfulWonderfulGreatGoodGoodAverageAverageAverage 25 25/8
FFVII WonderfulWonderfulGreatGoodPoorPoor 12 2 FFVIII GreatGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodAverageAverageAverage 13 13/10
FFIX WonderfulWonderfulGreatGreatGoodGoodAveragePoor 17 17/8
FFX GreatGreatGreatGoodPoorTerrible 14 14/6
FFXI WonderfulWonderful 10 10 Original WonderfulWonderful 10 5

This gives a ranking order of:

  1. Final Fantasy XI
  2. Final Fantasy V
  3. Original tracks
  4. Final Fantasy IV
  5. Final Fantasy VI
  6. Final Fantasy and FInal Fantasy III
  7. Final Fantasy X
  8. Final Fantasy IX
  9. Final Fantasy VII
  10. Final Fantasy VIII
  11. Final Fantasy II

Although of course XI is unfairly advantaged by having only one track, which is excellent.

Tracks I'd like to see[edit | edit source]

This is a list of tracks that I'd love to see a version of by The Black Mages. This, of course, is subject to the condition that they don't ruin them in the process. You can compare this list to Captain Darkblade's one if you want; I've emboldened the ones we share:

  • Kefka's Theme (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Phantom Forest (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Shadow's Theme (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Devil's Lab (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Battle to the Death (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Magic House (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Searching for Friends (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Kefka's Tower (Final Fantasy VI)
  • Shinra Inc. (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Trail of Blood (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Crazy Motorcycle (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Cid's Theme (Final Fantasy VII)
  • The North Cave (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Highwind Takes to the Skies (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Jenova Absolute (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Birth of a God (Final Fantasy VII)
  • Blue Fields (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Movin' (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Ride On (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Lunatic Pandora (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Compression of Time (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • Gargan Roo (Final Fantasy IX)
  • Black Mage Village (Final Fantasy IX)
  • Iifa Tree (Final Fantasy IX)
  • The Airship Hilda Garde (Final Fantasy IX)
  • Dark Messenger (Final Fantasy IX) -- perhaps titled as Envoy to Destruction
  • Blitz Off (Final Fantasy X)
  • Auron's Theme (Final Fantasy X)
  • Via Purifico (Final Fantasy X)
  • Esper Battle (Final Fantasy XII)
  • The Battle for Freedom (Final Fantasy XII)
  • Blinded by Light (Final Fantasy XIII)
  • Eidolon (Final Fantasy XIII)

Of course, they'd probably never do Blitz Off, Esper Battle, The Battle for Freedom, Blinded by Light or Eidolon because they're not originally by Nobuo. Of the above, I'd suggest the best candidates to be used as the album name would be Devil's Lab, Magic House, Trail of Blood, Birth of a God or Dark Messenger. Although if the last two albums are anything to go by, the namesake track is always one that gets a comparatively poor treatment...

For example, I have designed four themed albums below using the above list, excluding "Blitz Off" and the FFXII tracks. Obviously, the latter three albums (especially the last one) will really benefit from me adding tracks to my list:

Envoy to Destruction Magic House
Tracks in no particular order
  1. Kefka's Theme
  2. Devil's Lab
  3. Battle to the Death
  4. Kefka's Tower
  5. Shinra Inc.
  6. Trail of Blood
  7. The North Cave
  8. Jenova Absolute
  9. Birth of a God
  10. Envoy to Destruction

I will admit to there being a heavy Kefka-and-Sephiroth bias here, but the thematic link – a sprawling mosaic of death and destruction – is particularly obvious in relation to the selected titular track, Envoy to Destruction

Tracks in no particular order
  1. Phantom Forest
  2. Magic House
  3. Lunatic Pandora
  4. Compression of Time
  5. Black Mage Village
  6. Iifa Tree
  7. Via Purifico
  8. ...
  9. ...
  10. ...

The theme of this album is clearly "mysterious locations", for which I decided to select Magic House as the titular track. Originally, this album also contained what became the basis for each of the two albums below

Ride On ???
Tracks in no particular order
  1. Searching for Friends
  2. Crazy Motorcycle
  3. Highwind Takes to the Skies
  4. Blue Fields
  5. Movin'
  6. Ride On
  7. Gargan Roo
  8. The Airship Hilda Garde
  9. ...
  10. ...

The theme here is transport, primarily but not exclusively airships. I had originally merged half of these tracks into the Magic House album, but decided it deserved to be expanded into an album in its own right

Tracks in no particular order
  1. Shadow's Theme (Magic House)
  2. Cid's Theme (Ride On)
  3. Auron's Theme (Magic House)
  4. ...
  5. ...
  6. ...
  7. ...
  8. ...
  9. ...
  10. ...

Yeah, the character themes are kinda leftovers. I have no idea what to call this, as "...'s Theme" would be a stupid album title. I may just merge them back into the other albums; Cid into Ride On and the others into Magic House

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