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Article - 'Character Themes I' by Blue Typhoon

An item about Graphics/Audio posted on Jul 8, 2004

Blurb

The basics of character themes and how to apply them properly.

Body

This is Blue Typhoon! My first article/tutorial thing here, expect to see more! This will go
over the basics of character themes and how to apply them properly.

What is a character theme?
You're telling me you don't know that? -_-... a character theme is a song it plays whenever the
character does something:
A. Heroic
B. Demonic
C. Introduction of that character

Character themes are an easy way to understand the character's personality. If you have some
super-evil-goth-killer villain, obviously you are going to play some heavy metal music with lots
of screaming or some repetitive tune that tells you that he is evil. However, these themes
must be played properly! You can't go off playing the main character's theme in his home town,
then it wouldn't be so insanely cool or dramatic! For example, in Final Fantasy X, (AWESOME game) a character named Seymour assissts your party a few times early in the game. However, whenever you see him, it plays this evil-ish music called "Seymour's Ambition" and you can only
wonder when he's gonna flip and beat the living stuff out of you. That was probably the one thing I disliked about the game. It played the evil theme before you knew he was evil (unless you're like me and read about the game a lot before you actually by it and then find out a few plot twists and spoil it for yourself). This theme could have been applied later in the game to give you that shocking "Oh my god, Seymour is evil!" idea (sorry, I just unleashed a not-so spoilerific spoiler). That'll show you just how important themes are! Now, this can give you a few ideas of character themes that suit personalities and examples.

NOTE: In order to stop me from getting in trouble, I have only posted the name of the song and the game it was from. If you're smart enough, you should already know where to find MP3s, MIDIs, CDs, etc. of this song.

Heroic Themes:
The main character of your game. Usually he/she is fit into one of these catagories (give/take):

SAVE EVERYBODY!!! kinda' guy/girl
Game example: Zidane, FF9

I DON'T CARE!!! kinda' guy (usually)
Game example: Squall, FF8 (the paragon)

I DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! kinda' guy/girl
Game example: Marche(at the beginning),FF Tactics Advance

These are ideas for basic heroes. So, naturally you'll need basic themes-here is a list.

Save Everybody Characters: These characters are often cliche'd. They make excellent heroes, though. Themes for these characters are often have brass, or very dramatic stuff that I can't really describe.

-Crono's theme from Crono Trigger is a good example of the dramatic stuff.
-Locke's theme from Final Fantasy 3/6 is a great example for the brass-ish stuff

I Don't Care Characters: These characters usually don't have themes. It is difficult to find a good theme for them because of that. Usually their personality suits this quote from Cauterize:
"This silence suits me more than anything that you could say." These characters always end up changing at the end, and how they change will have to have you determine how their theme will end up. I only have one example:

-The theme of the Turks, from Final Fantasy 7

I Don't Understand Characters: Usually these characters start out very confused in the world. Anybody who has played FFTA should understand-this is how a character always ends up in a world so different from there own and finds someone of the opposite gender to comfort them. Anyway... that's how it should be done ^_^;. These themes usually end up having flute-y stuff.

-Terra's theme (World Map) from Final Fantasy 3/6 is a great example
-"Sprouting", from FFX, is an awesome example

Know that you know what these themes should sound like, you should refer to my "A B C" list at the top of the screen. Themes should be played when the character is introduced (this is done in Final Fantasy 3/6). They should also be done when this character does something that describes their personality (ex, if a character is hyper, and that character is doing hyper things, you should play the theme).

These are very basic ideas for themes for main characters. Check back soon for my "Character Themes II" article, which will cover supporting characters/party member themes. "l8ta"