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OCR01911 - *YES - Final Fantasy 4 'Step Into the Light'

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Justin Medford



Final Fantasy IV

Into The Darkness

I've always enjoyed the Final Fantasy IV soundtrack; as a matter of fact, it's basically what got me into music in the first place. I'd never heard songs like this in a game before (or anywhere, really), and they've stuck with me for years. This song specifically was one of my favorites from the game. It plays during the first "dungeon" level and really sets a mysterious tone for the area. I had that same idea in mind as I was rearranging this.

With this song, as in my previous Mario 64 submission (which may or may not be posted first, depending if this is accepted of course), I tried to go for a cinematic orchestral feel. I wanted them to sound like they could be part of a movie score or soundtrack. You may notice the extra reverb applied in the first 30 seconds or so - I was trying to get a wide open sound like it was played in the mist cave that the OST pertains to. Hopefully, I achieved the epic, sweeping feel I was going for with this song.

As with all of my orchestral and strings stuff up until this point, this was made using freely available samples and soundfonts. I hope that it shows how much can be done on a tight remixing budget.


http://snesmusic.org/v2/download.php?spcNow=ff4 - "Into the Darkness" (ff4-12.spc)

Not gonna say too much. The original theme is one of the more memorable tracks from FF4, though not really my style. Justin did a decent job here of retaining a similar style to the original (due to the string lead and 3/4 time), while giving this a different bent with the arrangement into orchestral.

The buildup ultimately leading into the melody arriving at :40 was a bit flat, though I realize how difficult it is to make effective dynamic changes from soft to loud without risking some clipping.

I don't want to sound like a hater, and there could be some differing opinions, but I wasn't overly impressed at least in terms of the sound quality (brass!). It's serviceable to me, but I don't think it's pulled off quite as well as with the Super Mario 64 mix. I'd appreciate some possible crits from other Js on how to improve the realism here with the existing samples. In terms of the sequencing, I felt that was pretty solid.

The composition felt a little bit meandering on my first listen, but ultimately I really enjoyed the arrangement, sophisticated with the writing in much the same way that the Super Mario 64 one was. The substance was there, and the sounds were solid, though I'd really like to see some growth on that level as you continue to improve. I'm willing to give this the nod. Good luck with the rest of the vote!


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  • 2 weeks later...

This song showcases some excellent writing. Wonderful interplay of instruments, good variety between sections, a few pleasantly unexpected moments, and lots of quotes from the original. It treads the line of being too liberal after the first 1:40, but those quotes hold that connection and I never lost the sense that this is a remix of Into the Darkness. All in all, very impressive. You did one of my favorite songs from that soundtrack justice.

Production was fine. Good separation of instruments and good filling of the soundfield, though I think there are parts that could use a little more clarity to really bring out the detail of the writing. I also felt that the intro buildup could have been done a little more softly to really sell that moment at 0:43. Just things to think about next time, or in case this doesn't pass. I'm comfortable giving it a


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  • 2 months later...

I'm definitely agreeing with Larry here about the sound quality. Could use some work, but there's nothing that's really awful except for the brass at 1:20-1:30 and a whistling mainly noticeable at 3:06-3:23 that I'm pretty sure is coming from one of your samples and not the encoding.

Nothing too terrible about the sequencing. Good dynamic contrasts. The woodwinds at 1:52 felt a bit flat. Sound balance is okay for the most part, but there are some parts as Palpable mentioned that could be a little better, like 1:08-1:30 and 2:24-2:56.

Arrangement is definitely solid. Nice spinning of the original to give it that grand feel, and the added writing and original material is good too. There's definitely room for improvement in the production, especially in comparison with your Super Mario 64 mix, which sounded better than this. Arrangement's good enough to cover, so keep up the good work on that while working on your production game.

YES (borderline)

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Well, unlike Larry and Cheese I'm not gonna hate on your brass. I think it's fine. Cut the guy a break--he's using free samples, and this is better than some subs I've heard using Giga-crap etc.

This is a really nice track. While I will say that I personally don't see anything outstanding enough to gush over, It's cetrainly nothing short of solid. I agree that the dynamic contrast was executed well--with just a couple places that made me wince slightly - mainly your cymbal crashes (0:40, 0:55, 2:24). While they may not clip visually, you can definitely hear where you ran out of headroom. Too bad, because the rest of your mix stayed well enough away from 0db to where I was a little disappointed when I heard that (and then looked at the waveform), but seeing as that's my only *real* gripe, I'm definitely not going to throw your mix into purgatory.

Nice arrangement, too. Took the original and made it into something with much more grandeur, and an epic, yet soothing feel. Also, I just noticed this is noted in the title comparison. "Into the darkness" vs. "Step into the Light". Very fitting.


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