Kefka‘s infamous rise to supremacy was the primary driving force in excelling FFVI’s story to the top of my all time greatest video game stories list. This maniacal villain is much akin to contemporary Batman’s Joker. Becoming the ultimate bringer of chaos, death and destruction is his only true unwavering motivation. But what makes him dynamic is that he is not simply a raving lunatic.
Upon attaining his pinnacle of power, he laments confusion for the very purpose of life, “why do people insist on creating things that will be inevitably destroyed?” Which simultaneously infers that his power to obliterate will eternally triumph. His phenomenal insanity is but one reason this demented clown consistently appears in top villain charts.
His final battle theme, Dancing Mad, is another. This four movement composition, written by Nobuo Uematsu, is a work of unequivocal genius. Each movement represents a different aspect of Kefka and exhumes more on FFVI’s deep storyline. What has been said in dialog and actions performed by the characters is echoed and elaborated in song. It is what all ending themes should strive for, a conclusion that summarizes from beginning to end and building towards the momentous climax.
A critical analysis of Dancing Mad, movement by movement, been written by a Destructoid community member. He and I share a fondness of classical music from a young age, which is no doubt a prime reason for my reverence of this game. His article, the music and the beast that was Kefka, were inspirations for this post.
Judge not based on the lack of depth of the instruments, these were 16-bit days after all. Though, if you really can’t get over that, there are orchestral versions out there. Personally, the originals strike a truly nostalgic chord.
Updated 2013-11-12 to fix links!