Dirge Of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Sounded Great, At Least

Image: Square Enix / Kotaku

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re kicking open the vault of weird-ass Final Fantasy spin-offs and unearthing Dirge of Cerberus.

Released in 2006 as a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Dirge of Cerberus (playlist / longplay / VGMdb) turned the celebrated RPG series into a third-person shooter. Many people are only familiar with Dirge of Cerberus’ soundtrack because they, like I, were fans of the game’s theme song (more on that later). But what if I told you the rest of the soundtrack was really good too?

Square Enix / Cloud183 (YouTube)

Listening to Dirge of Cerberus’ soundtrack again after many years, I get a feeling I’ve heard something like it before. Have a listen to “Girl Named Shelke.” If that staccato tempo combined with the solo violin sounds like it belongs in Final Fantasy XIII, that’s because Dirge of Cerberus’ composer Masashi Hamauzu also composed Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels. What you hear in FF13, you get an early taste of in Dirge.

Memories with Lucrecia” is a pretty and peaceful if melancholy song. It’s perfect for when you mourn your not-girlfriend running into the arms of your boss and later birthing a world-ending, nice-lady-stabbing asshole. It’s kinda funny (if tragic) that Sephiroth gets meme’d as a mama’s boy even though he completely neglects the woman who actually gave birth to him in favor of a weird, alien creature who merely loaned him a few of its cells. Tough break.

Square Enix / Cloud183 (YouTube)

Counteroffensive” is one of my favorite tracks. I love dark, smoky-sounding songs filled with upright bass and sax. It’s part infiltration, part noir spy thriller jam, perfect for dapper vamp protagonist Vincent Valentine.

Materia thief Yuffie Kisaragi makes an appearance in Dirge as the “Ninja Girl of Wutai.” I actually like this theme for Yuffie much more than her original one from FF7. “Ninja Girl of Wutai” is still fun and bouncy and perfectly “Yuffie” but way more mature—a way to show she’s grown up in the three years between FF7 and Dirge.

Square Enix / Cloud183 (YouTube)

Facilitated by a love of anime, young Ash used to be very much into Japanese rock. I consumed every piece of J-rock I could get my hands on—bands like L’Arc-en-Ciel and Dir En Grey, and solo acts like Hyde and Gackt. I had the biggest crush on Gackt. I followed him from his days in J-rock group Malice Mizer to his successful solo career singing rock ballads and anime ending themes. If 16-year-old me was allowed to put posters on her wall, he would have featured prominently. So when I heard him singing “Redemption” for Dirge of Cerberus, I knew the game had to be mine. “Redemption” screams early aughts edgy, emo madness and I love it. It’s totally worth all the stares I get when I blast this from my car on a Sunday afternoon.

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! Fellow J-rock fans, tell me about your unrequited crushes in the comments or just tell me about what you’ve got planned for the weekend. See you Monday!



Unlike most here seem to, I didn’t hate DoC; but it definitely needed more time in the oven. It’ll be interesting to see how Vincent plays in Remake.