The title of this article may seem a little misleading at first – after all, Final Fantasy IV is famous partially because it was the first Final Fantasy game not presented in 8-bits. It was the series’ first outing on the 16-bit Super Nintendo and an altogether massive leap forward for the series. For many players, Final Fantasy IV was the first glimpse of what RPGs could become on more powerful hardware, a masterpiece made possible only by the power of the 16-bit hardware on which it was presented. Nowhere was this improvement more apparent than the soundtrack; Nobuo Uematsu’s score reached new heights and showed off the capabilities of the SNES’ highly-regarded sound hardware.
But as it turns out, the 16-bit sound hardware wasn’t needed at all. Final Fantasy IV‘s soundtrack could be experienced on an 8-bit chip with incredible results.
Before FFIV was ported to the Game Boy Advance, it made it’s handheld debut on the Japanese-exclusive WonderSwan Color. The portable gaming system was sold by Bandai (and designed by none other than Gunpei Yokoi, creator of the Game Boy) and featured a 16-bit CPU, but only an 8-bit sound processor. This meant that while games would look like a 16-bit SNES game (and Final Fantasy IV actually looked better than the SNES version) the sound would generally be of lower quality. I say “generally” because Final Fantasy IV most certainly does not sound bad. It’s different, but every bit as good as the legendary soundtrack from the SNES version.
Included are samples from the WonderSwan Color version soundtrack. Only samples because, as far as we know, the entire soundtrack has never been posted online. Included with each track is a link to the SNES original so that you can compare them.
Boss Battle Theme
Battle with the Four Fiends
Zeromus (Final Boss Battle)