So it's been a while since I did one of these and I might as well do another one for two reasons. One to fill in the gaps, two because i feel like it. Now i'm only going to count world maps you can actually walk around in, no map menu or anything like that. The world map can however be linear so long as you actually get to move your character around it. World map themes are designed to capture the feeling of adventure and as such i'm looking for that adventure feeling... not that i'm going to ignore those without that feeling. In any case here we go!
10. Zone Of The Enders - Global 1
Bet you thought this list was going to be solely JRPGs. Well you were wrong. As much as this series pissed me off with it's ridiculously infuriating fights and levels, the music... at least of the first game is pretty good. This is no exception. Totally rips off Valkyrie Profile though. I like the sci-fi techno style that this song has, it's unique and it's just what you'd expect from gliding through space over a huge urban landscape and honestly the fact that the game even has a world map in the first place kinda took me back. Something tells me Kojima's played a lot of JRPGs.
9. Final Fantasy VI - Terra's theme
Honestly, this should have been the world map theme for Wild Arms... if it was on the SNES (unsurprisingly enough the one in Wild Arms sounds quite similar)...i'm not kidding it makes you feel like a cowboy riding across the wild west. A bit odd for such a game. Regardless it's quite differrent from other world map themes. I could have put other world map music from this game on here but i'm torn between all 3. Regardless it's definitely a memorable one and carries a more melancholic feeling than other world map themes.
8. Final Fantasy V - Unknown Lands
This game just had to be on the list as it pretty much defined the meaning of adventure. Of all the ones to choose, I ended up with this one... it was close with the third world... really close but the second world just felt more quirky which is natural as you're essentially in another world so it has that "otherworldly" feeling to it but at the same time it feels surprisingly comforting. Come to think of it, this game should have been a Star Ocean game lol.
7. Chrono Trigger - Corridors Of Time
Someone asked me "Terry, why isn't this song on your top 5 towns list?" well for starters, this song first plays as a world map theme but also plays in towns so I classed it as a world map theme. Nevertheless this is definitely one of my favourites and I wouldn't ignore it but to put it up against Dipan would be cruel and regardless I think it deserves a place on this list mostly as it pretty much represents the antiquity timeline. I like how the drum beats feel so oriental in the sense that despite it's vast technologies, the society still follows old traditions (much like asian countries) and essentially makes it an ancient yet technologically advanced civilization... which it is, that's why the song is so... exotic.
6. Tales Of Phantasia - World 3
Once again, another example as to how incredible the SNES could produce amazing sound. This song just has Motoi Sakuraba written all over it, it's dynamic, catchy and just plain awesome. It also carries that feeling that you're getting closer to the end of your journey and the final battle is just on the horizon. Isn't it funny that music from the tales series degraded after this game? I can think of a few reasons why.
5. Star Ocean - One Challenge
Literally jumping to Motoi Sakuraba's next world map theme (unless there's some Shining Force game that came out in between but i'm not a SEGA fan so I wouldn't know). This song feels like you're in a marching band...exploring the world "ten hut!" If you consider that one of your characters is technically in the military... it kinda makes sense though why it sounds like a marching band I have no idea... but it seems to work, it gives off that feeling of progression as you move from place to place on the world map and as you move, the music keeps playing to the beat. So keep marching forward!
4. Baten Kaitos Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean - Valley Of Wind
This one's for you Shade, not that it matters because i'd put it on the list anyways but nevertheless this song is calming (maybe not as much as Valkyrie Profile 2's but that's disqualified for not actually having a traditional world map, makes the list a bit more interesting at least since it makes the list slightly less predictable). My only complaint is that the islands are completely linear... but I kinda understand why, I mean it would be difficult to carry the same level of beauty with a traditional world map wouldn't it, they wouldn't be able to make it look so detailed. Regardless this song is simple but beautiful and sometimes, that's all it needs to be.
3. Valkyrie Profile - Doorways To Heaven
This song makes you feel like you're flying through the sky... which is literally what you do in the world map. Who needs an airship when the protagonist has wings? (Well apparrantly Kalas Does in Baten Kaitos but whatever). This song really makes you feel like the world is slowly collapsing and every second counts but there is still hope. I just wish that I could explore the world at my leisure but sadly the best thing you can do in this world map is fly around because you'll basically be following a linear path for the whole game if you want to get the best ending. This essentially makes the whole world map idea a complete novelty which is a damned shame. Still, I did love flying around the map in this game, very much like Zone Of The Enders.
2. Star Ocean The Second Story - Field Of Expel
It kinda carries that "Welcome to a whole new world" feeling and considering the Star Ocean series revolves around foreign planets, it kinda makes sense. As you would expect from a world map theme, it's pretty epic and carries that feeling of adventure but it also kinda feels otherworldly... as if you're lightyears away from home which is pretty true considering Star Ocean is based on space exploration. Shame this game didn't have much of it though... at least compared to the other games in the series. Still, this song carries both adventure and mystery and manages to be epic all at the same time.
1. Final Fantasy VII - Main Theme
Before you say "omg generic choice" allow me to elaborate. Final Fantasy VII is quite possibly the most overrated game on the face of the earth, this is a fact. That's not to say that the game is bad though. Of course all games have their flaws and Final Fantasy VII is no exception, I could rag on about it forever if I wanted to but honestly Final Fantasy VII is nestled in my past, almost forgotten to me. I very rarely bring it up (though I did write a blog about it a while back). It made me wonder "just what makes this game so well loved by fans of JRPG's?" Then it hit me, this song played and I was reminded of everything, the adventure, the thrills and the unforgettable experience that I had when I was young and many of you guys had. I mean there are some very good world map theses out there and I listed a few, you could probably find better ones but none of them come close to this.,. as much as I hate to admit it.
I mean, believe me I hate picking the obvious choice but I couldn't help it, this song is just too good. It's more than just nostalgia that makes this song so amazing. I find the reason this song is greater than any other world map theme is simply because it captures all the emotion that an adventure carries, the song is grand in some parts but also quite melancholic in others. Honestly considering the nature of most JRPGs which are typically epic adventures filled with both joy and sadness throughout. This song just seems to wrap it up perfectly, the meaning behind what a JRPG is all about and if there's one thing that stands out in this game, it's this song. Seriously it could work with pretty much any JRPG... except maybe Parasite Eve or Shadow Hearts because they're just way too dark lol.
I really hope they don't fuck up this song in the remake... otherwise it would kill the entire game.
Regardless I just wanted to put this out there to soften the wounds I've had over the past week. Hopefully I'll post some more of these at some point but i like to save them for when I can finalize my decision.