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Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon Original Soundtrack :: Review by Z-Freak

Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon Original Soundtrack Album Title: Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10014; SQEX-10064
Release Date: December 21, 1997; February 1, 2006
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


By 1997, Square had done lots of experimental projects. Some, like Final Fantasy VII, were highly successful, whereas others, like SaGa Frontier, received a cold reception in North America; however, no other early PlayStation game was despised as much as Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon in Japan. It appears that the game was a total failure. Yet, according to my theory regarding Square games, the music is always one of Square's departments that NEVER dissapoints, no matter how bad a game was. Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon is one of the better examples which proves this theory. The composer here is none other than the brilliant German-born Japanese composer Masashi Hamauzu. Hamauzu had started back with Square in 1996, along with another newcomer for Square, Junya Nakano, and assisted Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda in Front Mission: Gun Hazard, a spin-off of Square's popular strategy-RPG series Front Mission. A year later, Hamauzu is assigned to write the score to Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, his first solo score. He, of course, succeeds flawlessly, and would go on to compose for the scores of SaGa Frontier II, Final Fantasy X, and Unlimited SaGa.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) Prelude (orchestrated)

This is a wonderful opening theme that holds a few bars of the ever popular "Chocobo" theme from the Final Fantasy series. I consider it one of the best opening themes in a game ever and the high variety of the instruments used here gives the listener a fairly good idea of what to expect from this soundtrack.

2) Beginning of a Journey

A very interesting track, which starts off sounding bouncy and happy, and ends up sounding epic yet corny. This is the best way to describe this track.

3) Chocobo's House

Awww! This a nice music box rendition of the "Chocobo" theme, perfect to put the kiddies to sleep if they're naughty.

4) The First Dungeon

This sounds a little like a theme you'd expect from SaGa Frontier II, with emphatic percussion use and all. In the end, we get a quiet dreamy passage before the track starts off again. It's a good dungeon track that's pretty happy, but still has a hint of mystery in the air.

5) A Mystery

The corny sounds here just seems to fit right in as the track progresses. It leaves me wondering where this track was used.

6) In Search for the Illusionary Item

Woo! We start off here with a few trumpet samples, then move on to some decent synth. This is one of my favorite tracks on the disc. I don't know why, but it just sounds good.

7) Whisper of the Water

A bit of synth and piano is what makes this track so enjoyable. It's probably another happy dungeon theme and it seems to be the inspiration for certain works in SaGa Frontier II.

8) Chocobo Village

Now here's a cute track. It's very upbeat and happy, and sounds like something that could easily fit in SaGa Frontier II. You've got to love this theme folks again.

9) Fat Chocobo

Haha!! Though brief, I love this track. Don't get squashed by the Fat Chocobo!

10) Shopkeeper

Eh? Is that a new robot master for the Mega Man games? (Sorry, couldn't resist!) Humour put aside, this seems to be a perfect shopping theme. It's as if the Chocobo goes into a store, the seller says "Welcome Chocobo, I've got lots of goodies for ya, take your time, friend"!!

11) I Don't Know Which Way to Go

Long title, but you should get the idea that it's used for a maze or something. It obviously has an adventurous feel to it. Chocobo: "Wark!!" (Translation: Where do I go? Right? Left? Up? Down?? Screw this, I'm going left!!) Sorry, I couldn't resist to insert such a gag!

12) Wooden Room

I'm not too sure how to describe this one. It sounds both happy and mysterious at the same time. Again, it sounds like it could fit in SaGa Frontier II.

13) Scythe Man is Coming!

I'm usually very good at guessing out battle themes, and I'm pretty sure this is the normal one. It starts off with cartoony spooky sound effects, then the piano takes the lead. It's somewhat corny, although fitting, for this kind of game.

14) Let's Go Underground

OK, presumably Hamauzu was sick of using happy and bouncy music and for that reason, he started using some eerie ones here. It's easy to imagine the Chocobo venturing in some dark caves. It's another winner in my book.

15) Challenge

Now it gets interesting. I'm pretty sure this is the boss theme, sounding pretty epic and fast-paced. It's fitting for decisive battles.

16) After the Battle

It's starts off like the previous track, but changes quickly into a wonderful passage, which quiets down eventually. The "Chocobo" theme eventually makes an appearance, and though it sounds somewhat out of place, it's still an excellent track.

17) A Brief Rest

Now we go back to happy music. Take a break, Chocobo, you've earned it!

18) Searching for You

More corny sound effects are inserted here. It's probably another town theme, as it is a quiet, short, but cute, track.

19) The Unknown Space

Here's more piano goodness from Hamauzu! It sounds happy of course! What else?!

20) Unresting Wings

Lots of music box samples here. It's fairly bland at best. This could be the game over theme, as it does sound sad.

21) Atora's Theme

Oh yeah! This is march-like track with the "Chocobo" theme in it. At some point there is a xylophone sample, an instrument we don't hear often. Another bouncy theme that can perk you up if you're feeling blue.

22) Your Subject of Research?

This one leaves me dreamy and it sounds a lot like SaGa Frontier II music. I can't put my finger on it, but I like this for some reason or other. It's probably the jazz influences.

23) Let's Have a Dream

Piano, piano, and more piano!! I think Hamauzu has overdone it here, but the "Chocobo" theme makes a welcome appearance here. I wonder what the Chocobo is dreaming about?

24) God's Errand

This is one of the few tracks that really left me unimpressed. It's simply too bland for my tastes.

25) World of Darkness

This track has an extremely oriental sound to it, and it sounds pretty foreboding. It's surely intended for one of the final areas in the game, as it slips into the ambient style. A very creepy and fitting track indeed.

26) Steel Warrior

This is certainly the final dungeon theme. It sounds very foreboding as you're entering the villain's territory, but it has a hopeful passage at the end. It certainly deserves to be praised.

27) Where We Reached

Finally we're there. We've survived the dungeon, and the ultimate treasure is right in front of us. That's the impression I get while listening to this track. It's a nice break from the ambient themes heard earlier.

28) Courage

This one makes me imagine the following situation: Villain: "Gya ha ha ha ha!!! This is MY treasure!!! You'll never get it!!!" Chocobo: Wark!! (Translation: Shut up!! I'll kick your ass!!). That pretty much sums it up!

29) Fight, Chocobo!

Yes, the final boss theme has arrived. Hamauzu proves how good he is here by composing an awesome theme which is epic, fast-paced, and heroic. What else would you want in a final boss theme???

30) Finale (orchestrated)

An ever changing theme that ranges from happy to aggressive, from downright corny to hugely beautiful. Yep, a winner among ending themes.


In conclusion, I must say that this is a wonderful soundtrack and any fan of Square/Chocobo/Hamauzu should get it. Now re-released, it could be a great purchase from CDJapan.

Overall Score: 8/10