If you know anything about Japanese role-playing videogames, then you probably know something about the Final Fantasy series. With fourteen numbered entries and a number of spin-offs over the past 26 years, the games have become one of the most well-known franchises gaming has. Odds are, if someone has played a JRPG at some point it probably had Final Fantasy somewhere in the title. The series has come to represent the JRPG genre almost like a sort of mascot. But it has mascots of its own that are pretty popular in their own right: moogles and chocobos.
It's the chocobo that I'm concerned with today. Since their inclusion in Final Fantasy II, the beloved chicken-ostrich things have won people over with their adorable kweh's and their ability to outrun monsters on the world map. Having a catchy theme tune hasn't hurt either. The duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duuuuh that accompanies chocobos has been around for as long as they have, and like their character designs it's always different from game to game. But which duh's are the best duh's?
If duh's were actual chocobos running a race in the Gold Saucer, which would be the fastest and which would be left behind in the dust? These are questions we have somehow never addressed here at Destructoid. (According to the search bar, at least.) So it is that I have taken it upon myself, dear readers, to search through every Original Soundtrack in order to discover which chocobo themes are the S-classed members of the breed.
Unhonorable Mention: "Chocobo" – Final Fantasy X-2
Before we get to the top ten, let's take a quick look at the chocobo that came in last place. The simply titled "Chocobo" is probably not what anyone would expect from a song by that name. While some of the chocobo themes can sound pretty different from one another initially, they all contain elements that make them easily identifiable as chocobo songs. This one has a piano refrain that zips by, and, uh – some other stuff. “Mods de Chocobo” is another theme that's a little out there, but at least in its case the out there stuff is still alright.
This is definitely the dark chocobo of the family. Except it can't cross extra types of terrain. Now let's move onto the winners …
Honorable Mention: “Crazy Chocobo” – Final Fantasy XIII-2
… right after we cover the honorable mention. Really, there's no way that I couldn't mention the metal-themed “Crazy Chocobo” in this list in some form. Not with lyrics like this:
You're loco if you think you're gonna hide this chocobo
Everybody's gonna wanna ride your chocobo
It's choco-loco style in a choco-rodeo
Gonna ride him straight through hell in this chocobo rodeo!
Yeah, let's ride!
Brilliant. “Crazy Chocobo” may not have made the top ten – it was too busy throwing up devil horns (feathers?) and stopping to play air guitar for the crowd – but it gets an A for the effort it put into lapping mad.
10th Place: “Chocobo's Theme” - Chocobo Racing
There's always been something about the slightly goofy version of the chocobo theme from PlayStation racer Chocobo Racing that I've found endearing. The tune makes it easy to imagine Mog chiding Chocobo in Cid's workshop while he finishes up Chocobo's motorized in-line skates. Yep, when chocobos are serious about racing they put on skates with big, hot-rod like exhaust pipes.
9th Place: “Chocobo Final Fantasy XII Arrange Ver.1” – Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy XII's default chocobo theme isn't bad by any means, but it is missing two things that allowed this alternate version to pull ahead right before the finish line: a glockenspiel and castanets.
8th Place: “Fiddle de Chocobo” – Final Fantasy VII
I was somewhat torn between choosing this track and Final Fantasy XII-2's “Rodeo de Chocobo.” I like both of them for similar reasons, such as their great energy. It's not difficult at all to imagine chocobos running around the countryside when listening to either of them. One thing I really like about “Fiddle de Chocobo” though, is its stronger barnyard roots. It epitomizes the domesticated chicken side of the chicken-ostrich ratio.
Also, there is a guy who yells “Yahoo!” Trade secret: yelling yahoo makes chocobos run faster; like painting tanks red.
7th Place: “Chocobos of Pulse” – Final Fantasy XIII
A lot of people may have had problems with Final Fantasy XIII – myself included – but at least one solid part of the game was this jazzy chocobo theme. The game's other theme, “Chocobos of Cocoon,” was unable to place due to so-so singing and a less interesting synth-pop melody.
6th Place: “Dash de Chocobo” – Final Fantasy XI
You'd think a song with dash in the title would be fast-paced, but Final Fantasy XI's “Dash de Chocobo” turns out to be quite the laid back affair. It has a relaxing quality similar to Final Fantasy IX's “Aloha de Chocobo,” except with a wider instrument range. This is the kind of music that I can imagine playing while a hero and trusty chocobo sidekick take a break in a grassy field, each with a piece of straw in their mouth/beak.
5th Place: “Brass de Chocobo” – Final Fantasy X
Can you imagine Bill Nye the Science Guy swing dancing to this song? I can, and that certainly didn't hurt its odds.
What's that? You didn't know that there was a chocobo Christmas song? Yep, it's from the lesser known spin-off game Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon on the PlayStation. Chocobos plus Christmas is an amazing enough combination to get this theme right outside of the top three.
3rd Place: “Chocobo's Theme” – Final Fantasy III
If you want a good old-fashioned chocobo theme without any fancy smancy gimmicks, then look no farther than this bronze medal winner. “Chocobo's Theme” is the classic theme that started it all, except cleaned up a little nicer than the actual theme that started it all from Final Fantasy II.
2nd Place: “Mambo de Chocobo” – Final Fantasy V
Someone at Square-Enix (Uematsu, at least) must like this silver medal winner. Not only did it make it's way into Theatrhythm as a bonus song and sneak into Dissidia as an extra, but Final Fantasy IX's “Ukelele de Chocobo” seems to take some strong cues from it.
It's no wonder that they dig it, since it's got everything a great chocobo song needs: one of those ribbed wooden fish things you drag a stick over and a guy who says “Hua!” at regular intervals. An instant classic, but it still wasn't able to unseat the current champion.
1st Place: “Techno de Chocobo” – Final Fantasy VI
It's only fitting that the best chocobo theme belongs to the best Final Fantasy game. I can't count the number of times I've hopped onto a chocobo in Final Fantasy VI even after getting the airships just because of how great this theme is. Just listen to those echoing “kewh's”! Just listen to that disembodied voice saying “cho-co-bo”! This song has everything a chocobo theme needs, right down to the crackling noise of electricity in the background (which is necessary to power the motorized in-line skates). And so it is that it, and only it, is fit to receive the coveted gold trophy of this top ten list.
Disagree with the ranking? Think I left something off? I'll agree that depending on the race conditions some of these songs could shift places – the musical quality of the Final Fantasy series is just that strong!
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About Justin Villasenorone of us since 10:40 PM on 01.17.2007
Hey all, I've been hanging around Destructoid since late 2006. I joined the staff in 2007 as a News Contributor after flooding the tip line on a daily basis, and then I got to write stuff on the front page. Now I mostly just bum around while doing grad school stuff.