Resonance: Mako Reactor

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nswfLcROs-0 Anyone who’s played Final Fantasy VII knows the Mako Reactor theme. While it did not attain the widespread popularity and acclaim that “One-Winged Angel” did, it is still one of the most easily recognizable pieces of music to come out of the Final Fantasy series. We all know why it’s a good theme, we all know why it’s a cool theme, but do we really know why it’s been such a memorable theme? Final Fantasy VII is filled with excellent music. Not to say that all of the music is mind-numbingly awesome, but all of the location and character themes all have their own personalities and come across as distinct, yet still fitting into the same general theme. Most of the boss fights and battle music all sport their own distinct sounds that still all somehow fit together. So what makes “Mako Reactor” distinguish itself among all of these other distinct themes? It’s an interruption. While “Mako Reactor” still fits the overall musical theme of Final Fantasy VII, it’s function isn’t the same as most of the other pieces of music in the game (with the possible exception of music centered around Sephiroth). Whereas most of the music sounds natural to the world and characters, and thus transition smoothly as the player progresses from place to place, “Mako Reactor” does not. Like the Mako reactors themselves, this theme feels unnatural to the world around it. When entering an area with a Mako reactor, the transition is always jarring. It feels like an unwelcome and intentional blight on the soundscape, just as the Mako reactors themselves are a blight upon the world. It’s because of this interruption that “Mako Reactor” lingers with us.  Like its namesake, this theme towers over the listener, foreboding and desolate with a sense of twisted purpose. It doesn’t care that it disrupts the players’ experience, it’s incapable of caring. It does what it was made to do, unconcerned with it’s influence. What kind of impact did “Mako Reactor” have on you when you first heard it? What sort of impression did it leave?

7 Comments Add yours

  1. C. T. Murphy says:

    I think you are right on. It took a relisten to really understand your analysis, but I agree.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Thanks! Perhaps I’ll include a little more context to better illustrate in the future. Hey, what’s your favorite track from the game?

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      1. C. T. Murphy says:

        Aerith’s Theme, but that barely beats most everything else.

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      2. Hatm0nster says:

        That’s the theme when she’s killed by Sephiroth right? That’s a really good piece, probably the most moving out of all the music in the game.

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  2. duckofindeed says:

    When I first heard this song, I thought it was rather bizarre sounding. But, after reading about your views on it, it makes sense why it was made that way.

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    1. Hatm0nster says:

      It’s ominous in an oddly industrial way. Very disconcerting. Bizarre is probably the best word to describe it.

      Like

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