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Final Fantasy week, day 4

As we near the end of our weeklong countdown, it's time to look at one of the biggest parts of any Final Fantasy - the music. Each game in the series features an astonishing number of quality tracks, from burning guitar rock, to tear-jerking ballad, to rave-friendly electronica. There's probably no other game series in the world that's had as many full-blown concerts in its honor, be they garage bands cranking out angsty riffs or a legitimate orchestra performing for a crowd of thousands. But which are the best?

5. Final Fantasy X

Though it can be uneven, Final Fantasy X's soundtrack marks a number of important innovations for the Final Fantasy series and offers some of its best listening. For the first time, series composer Nobuo Uematsu (who composed all of the tracks of the other four soundtracks on this list) was joined by other Square Enix musical talent. He still managed to contribute two of its most memorable tracks, though - the haunting piano melody of "To Zanarkand," which plays when you first load game, and the punishing metal of "Otherworld." With a wide range of styles and, in contrast to the earlier PlayStation efforts, excellent sound quality, it's a truly enjoyable soundtrack that evokes the complex moods the game requires - most notably with the melancholy vocal track, "Suteki da ne."



Above: Cloud's "Crazy Motorcycle" tune from FFVII and the emotional "suteki da ne" scene from FFX are excellent standouts

4. Final Fantasy VII

For a game that redefined role-playing - maybe even the whole world of games - it's sure got some crap-sounding music. Hear us out; the only reason this isn't eclipsing the next game on the list is due to its horrible, horrible sound quality. The arrangements and melodies are top-notch, but everything sounds like it's been through multiple recordings, re-dubbings and pumped through a hollow oil drum. Once you get past the tinny audio, you've got a real winner on your hands - anything with "Jenova" in the title is solid, as are "Crazy Motorcycle" and the inspired "Cosmo Canyon." The best musical aspect of FFVII, however, has to be the outstanding fightin' music. Even with shoddy sound, "Again the People Fight" sounds hot and, of course, "One Winged Angel" makes most other game music sound childish by comparison.

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