For this month's top five list, I decided to focus on the Final Fantasy series and the accompanying soundtracks that are so widely respected. While everyone has their own favorite tracks from each game, one of the defining constants through all the years has been the battle theme. Each game is host to a distinctly different spin on the battle theme, generally as a reflection of the story and setting of that numbered entry into the series. The following is a list of my five favorite battle themes from the core Final Fantasy games. Spinoffs such as Crystal Chronicles and sequels like XIII-2 and FFIV: The After Years will not be considered for this list, nor will boss battle themes or variants of the primary battle theme. Each of these entries is limited to the main battle theme from the respective games.
#5 - Final Fantasy IX: With a classic nineties vibe to it, Final Fantasy IX's battle theme certainly stands out from the rest of the pack. It's something of a nontraditional approach to the battle theme, using heavily synthesized sounds to give it an electronic style. But it's certainly an interesting listen.
#4 - Final Fantasy VI: The battle theme from Final Fantasy VI has a darker tone to it, as if the battle at hand is of a most dire consequence. I really enjoy the way that this tune is coupled with the steampunk-esque world of FFVI, and think it is a strong reminder of the darker territory the series began to explore in FFVI and the games that followed.
#3 - Final Fantasy II: Taking a wildly different approach than that of its predecessor, the battle theme in Final Fantasy II is fast-paced, loud, and reflective of the medieval fantasy roots of the long-running JRPG. It screams action with every note, and despite it being so radically different than the rest, I quite like it.
#2 - Final Fantasy XIII: This song played time and time again during my play through Final Fantasy XIII, and I looked forward to it every time. Final Fantasy XIII's soundtrack is among my favorite video game soundtracks of all time, and while the battle theme does not rank as high for me personally as the likes of "Fighting Fate" or "Born Anew", it's still and awesome track. It's a great fit for the futuristic sci-fi/fantasy hybrid realm that Lightning and friends spend their time exploring.
#1 - Final Fantasy: Above all the rest, the original Final Fantasy battle theme is easily my favorite. Its approach is more simplistic than the rest, but for an NES tune, it's pretty intense. It really captures the atmosphere of the battle, and is an instant classic for me. Plus, it is the formula that practically every other Final Fantasy battle theme followed. It's an oldie-but-a-goodie, for sure.