There’s no doubt that FF7’s final boss battle is made all the better by the inclusion of the great song ‘One-Winged Angel’ (OWA). It has, in fact, become the defacto theme music for Sephiroth, and rightly so! Having been released on the PS1, the song was fantastic for it’s time! Huge, loud, bombastic – and it had chanting in it! Real voices chanting! Creepy AND cool!
Time, however, has marched on, and though the song still holds an important place in the Final Fantasy mythos there have been, over the past 20 years, a number of songs the easily rival or surpass OWA.
Here’s the Dissidia version of OWA to start with:
And now, in no particular order:
Final Fantasy Tactics: Run Past Through the Plains
Though not nearly as involved as OWA, this battle track from the original Final Fantasy Tactics is grand in its scale and, to me, just as awe-inspiring. Though I don’t think I would say this song surpasses OWA, it definitely gives it a run for the money. Slap on some good headphones or crank up your 5.1 surround sound system and prepare to want to swing a sword around!
Final Fantasy 4: The Dreadful Fight
Anyone who has played Final Fantasy 4 must remember the battle against the four elemental fiends. Long before FF7 was even a thought in the mind of SE, this song was inspiring all who played to battle on against dreadful odds, as each fiend had its own unique way of preventing you from doing any damage to them, while delivering a powerful counter-attack if you struck at the wrong time. Again, another song that perhaps doesn’t surpass OWA, but, to me, is right up there with it.
Final Fantasy 6: The Decisive Battle
Arg! Who can forget battling that stupid giant snail at the mines of Narshe? Not me! This driving battle theme will get your blood pumping! Though this is the Dissidia remix the original, processed on the SNES hardware, sounded just as good!
Dissidia Final Fantasy: Dissidia Menu
Being a menu theme this song is particularly short but very powerful in it’s scope. Dissidia is a fighting game, with its characters akin to gladiators taking to the pit to do battle for their respective gods. This flamboyant, driving beat harkens back to gladiator or period films of old, where the fanfare lead great warriors to stand before Caesar before spilling blood on the sand! A definite contender in the ring!
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy: Cantata Mortis & God in Fire
So the songs on the list so far have been contenders to at least be as good as OWA, but this song, I believe, actually surpasses OWA on so many levels. Comprised of two separate songs, it is the marriage of Canta Mortis and God In Fire from the same soundtrack. It has many of the same elements as OWA with the chanting, stings, drums and horns, but to me it has a more menacing composition. Midway through it changes pace to a driving rock-anthem of god-battling guitar and drum beats. Its is OWA refined and perfected. The battle theme for your final fight with Feral Chaos, to me it sits at minimum, one notch above the big daddy, One-Winged Angel.
Final Fantasy 6: Dancing Mad
Nothing, and I mean nothing can knock this song from its number one spot in my heart. The maddeningly long and complex theme song to a demented Kefkas rise to godhood will forever be cemented as one of the greatest compositions in the Final Fantasy series, and the arranged versions (as opposed to the original soundtrack versions, processed on SNES hardware) have done nothing more than reinforce the fact that Dancing Mad may be one of the greatest pieces of music ever written.
Series composer Nobuo Uematsu claims that he wanted a mere 5 minute long tune for the final showdown with Kefka, but he says he couldn’t stop writing! Things just kept coming to him! Within the songs you can hear the inspiration of Beethoven’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as well as other pieces of classical music! It’s a masterpiece!
The first part of the song plays as our heroes ascend a tower of morbid bodies, comprised of the three gods of magic, whom Kefka sits atop. Once he is reached the song completely changes past into a harried, maddening pace, well suited to represent the mental state of a one whiny, though cruel little man who has acquired the power of the gods and has no desire but to finish his previous attempt at destroying the world!
Truly a song for the ages!