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Final Fantasy: Pray
Compact Disc
Nobou Uemastu
Risa Ohki
A great CD that any Final Fantasy veteran can't do without.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Final Fantasy: Pray
By Ridwan Khan

Some fans might be surprised at the number of music CDs based on the long running Final Fantasy series of games. Even so, a number of great CDs have been released under the RPG's moniker. One of the best on that list is the new Pray disc. The CD is the first in a series of vocal remixes of memorable songs from the series. The lyrics, as sung by Risa Ohki, are in English, Japanese, Portugese, and French. Knowing only Japanese and English, I can testify that Risa's English is very solid, though a little slow. All of these songs were composed for games on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo, so their wonderful hooks and melodies finally get the benefit of being played on real instruments and Risa's superb voice.

The first track is a stunning vocal, but lyric-less version of the series' "Prelude" theme (most recently played during the game over screen of Final Fantasy IX. Track 2, "The Promised Land" is in English and is from Final Fantasy II. Compared to the other great songs on this CD, "The Promised Land" is a bit lackluster and the choice of words seems a bit awkward, although it is still a pretty song. "Mon P'tit Chat" is the third track and is obviously French. The song has a very French feel, which is not a bad thing, and it's actually quite pretty.

"Toki no Hourousha", the next track, is the highlight of the disc. The song is a remix of "Terra's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI. Even in the SNES's MIDI format, the song is stunning - and this version is awe inspiring. For me, Risa's vocals on this track were unwelcome at first, but I quickly warmed to her strong voice and the beautiful Japanese lyrics. "Hikari no Nakahe", another Japanese track, is based on Final Fantasy IV's "Theme of Love". Like "Terra's Theme" this song truly benefits from being arranged and vocalized. Track 6 is a fast paced version of Final Fantasy V's "My Home Sweet Home." The Portugese "Esperanca Do Amor" (from Final Fantasy III) however, loses much of thejoy and sorrow of the original track in the remix. "Voyage" is the next track, but despite it's English name, the lyrics are Japanese. This is another solid song on a CD of greats. It is easily worth a listen, but just doesn't shine like some of the other tracks.

"Au Palais De Verre", track 8 is a different case entirely. It is a French version of Mayota's Cave, a true classic of the series. Track 9 is "Once You Meet Her" taken from Final Fantasy III. Like "The Promised Land" the English lyrics seem a bit slow and the word choices seem a bit odd, though nothing is blantantly wrong. Track 10, "Pray" is a Japanese version of the Main Theme of Final Fantasy, a stirring song. The title track of the CD slowly builds into an epic and in doing so is both lovely and strong. The final track "Nao Chora Menina" is a slow, lyrical version of Final Fantasy VI's "Kids Running Through the City" one of the town theme. The song features Risa and an accoustic guitar. It is quite simple and gorgeous. It's is a close second to "Toki no Hourousha" as the best song on the CD.

It's hard to find much wrong with Pray. However, one of the major issues a fan might have with the CD would be the song selection - there are so many memorable tracks from the games that some deserving songs would miss out ("Mog's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI and the "Pirate's Theme" from Final Fantasy V). Some of this is alleviated by the sequel CD Love Will Grow. However, there are no tracks on either CD from Final Fantasy VII, VIII, or IX.

Excepting the track selection, "Pray" is an excellent CD, especially if it's considered as a retrospective of where the series has been (like Final Fantasy IX). The songs are stunning and will certainly take an experienced RPG gamer to the golden era of the series.

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