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The third and final phase of the RPG Music Challenge is completed and all of the entries are in! Now it is time for the Voting Round

Voting begins now.
Voting ends on Friday, February 17th at 6pm UTC Monday, February 20th at 6pm UTC

There were 19 entries to Phase 3 of the RPG Music Challenge. There were 3 midis, 1 ogg, and 15 mp3s submitted. I have broken up the entries by their format and labeled them as Entry 1 thru Entry 19. To vote, reply to this topic. When you cast your vote, please be very clear which entry you are voting for, for example:

My Vote: Entry 99

If you wish for your vote to remain anonymous, vote privately via PM to kentona. Please include "RPG Music Challenge - Phase 3 Vote" in the subject line.

Feel free to comment upon any of the entries - feedback is appreciated and encouraged!

To the entrants, please do no reveal which entry is yours until after the voting for phase 3 is completed.

Phase 3: Inspired
All of us have our own strengths and sometimes when moving out of the comfort zone we don't get to use them as well as we'd like.

In this phase entrants were free to use any kind of instrumentation and sources of sounds they wished.

If they felt they didn't get to do their own thing in the earlier phases, this is where then went all-out, any way they pleased. Though the piece still needed to match the theme of the phase.

The theme of phase 3 was VS Close Friend Battle Theme

Please, listen to them all and vote for the one you think sounds the best and fits best the given description and theme of the phase.

Without further ado, here are the entries:

MIDI Format:

Entry 1

Entry 2

Entry 3

OGG Format:

Entry 4

MP3 Format:

Entry 5

Entry 6

Entry 7

Entry 8

Entry 9

Entry 10

Entry 11

Entry 12

Entry 13

Entry 14

Entry 15

Entry 16

Entry 17

Entry 18

Entry 19

Good luck!
I REALLY like entry 1.
Most of the entries either focus on being sad or being a battle, I think this one has a nice balance between the two.

My Vote: Entry 1
Devil's in the details
Did you really listen to all of them already?
Yeah. It was a hard choice between 14 and 1.
18 was pretty good too.
hmm, having a hard time with this one. i've got like 5 that i like.


EDIT OF KINGS: Okay, here's my pick for this phase: Entry 9

here are my thoughts, on this entry, and my other favourites:

Right at the beginning, 9 hits you with an OHH SHIII, sudden total betrayal. The guitar is great, and the rest of the sound feels like it has real depth, a back and forth feel. The emotion of the song passes seamlessly between sadness, anger, and betreyal. The only piece of the song i wasn't a fan of with this little ear to ear wobblyness for a few seconds. There were other songs I liked a bit better, but I think this song fit the theme to a T whilst still being a kickass song.

My other favorites:

7 starts off sad, and quickly builds into a nice angry action of revenge. I think later in the song, some instruments were a bit too loud in comparison to others, but I still think this would make a great song for a game.

8 is chiptunes, my weakness, but's beside the point. In the first few seconds i'm hit with the feeling of a desperate, inevitable battle. I just think it lacked the depth of emotion the other entries had. Lovin the song though.

14 was hard for me to not vote for. It's a very high quality sound. starts off like a standoff, but it just doesn't feel like a battle song per se. fantastic song, and i love the instruments. This is a piece of music I wouldn't be surprised to see in a retail rpg, but I don't think it would be in the battle section, i think it would be story background or dungeon background.

15 was probably my favourite song of the whole bunch. I analyzed it, and liked everything about it, but for some reason I couldn't describe at first, i couldn't pick it as #1. It starts off like the beginning of the game's final battle, letting the melody be amazing but taking a backseat to the action on-screen. it's THE most epic song of this entire phase, and you could slip this into retail game and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. (one thing that sounded cute to me was the little musical thing in the middle, it sounds a lot like ff7's end-of-battle theme) The only reason I didn't make this one #1 was because I couldn't feel the rival battle in it, the loss of a friend - it was TOO final bossy. so hard to deny you this one (;_; ) Whoever made this track? you rock.

19. Hands down. When I think of fight between friends I think "out of tune Burger King electronic toy version of Smooth Criminal."

Actually this one is pretty hard to vote for because so many of them went for exactly the same mood (big orchestral/rock end boss) and did an equally good job. None of them really hit both battle and friendship that well, but this was a pretty hard phase. I don't think it was the one I enjoyed the most but I think 10 hits the closest to the mark so my vote is Entry 10
My Vote: Entry 7
Second Place: Entry 2
Third Place: Entry 8
Fourth Place: Entry 19


Entry 1: Nice, It is very simple but actually that made this song sounds better I guess.
Entry 2: Hell yeah this sound is to crazy, one of my favorites, nice job. I love the piano "mess" thing
Entry 3: I actually start writing the reviews when I got to entry 4 but now that I return to review the midi's, glad I made this at the end, The midis of this phase are the best.
Entry 4:... No comments really, is very far from a battle theme
Entry 5: I like really much the mood you put there, could be more like the default battle them, maybe if there were some parts more epic to put emphazis that is an important battle.
Entry 6: It fit's to the theme and its good job but don't actually love it.
Entry 7: This is incredibly good, I can imagine the battle between two heroes, nice job.
Entry 8: Cool :) it's difficult to create something to fit the theme with the old style but you did it.
Entry 9: I remember those who fight but still doesn't sound like that, it is fine but not the best.
Entry 10: Don't know it is good but not outstading.
Entry 11: Entry 9, 10 and this are like deja vu of the same thing. they are just too similar and nothing incredible to show.
Entry 12: Nothing outstanding, is seems that is a pretty hard to create a fight theme, not because they don't fit but because almost everyone is to similar based in the works that have already been done.
Entry 13: A little more outstanding that the ones before, I like the rock style you add it. I like this one.
Entry 14: Sounds me more like a... high-tech dungeon.
Entry 15: Nice song that all I can said.
Entry 16: One of the best sounds and actually one of my favorites but doesn't fit the theme so well.
Entry 17: This is pretty random, I don't have really comments about this just that it could use more work.
Entry 18: I like it that's all I can said.
Entry 19: hahahahaha this is the most awesome fight theme I have heard, it has like this sound of legend XD
I'm a dog pirate
My favorites are 10, 14, and 15.

14 is awesome - great use of strings, but it's iffy as battle music. Doesn't fit the theme very well.

10 is great but the drums get a little annoying after a while.

15 is the best song overall, but it's too "shifty" for battle music. If features lots of sections and passages; some fit the theme, and some don't. If the first half had been expanded and developed, it would've been my runaway favorite.

After relistening to the songs a few times, I have to go with Entry 10.
I might've considered 10, but the instruments turned me off and I couldn't get into the piece.
Okay, I had a really hard time choosing a song to vote for for this one, and in the end, I let my heart decide...

Here are my notes:
Entry 1: Good battle theme, though kind of short, with nice pacing
Entry 2: I have entered the villain's evil lair! Not quite fast enough to evoke a sense of a deadly battle. Cool piano solo.... but WHOA all of the sudden takes a hard right into EVIL CIRCUS LAND? Gets back on track after that.
*Entry 3: Start makes me think of Chrono Trigger (always a good thing). I really like this theme! Excellent pacing and orchestral work here! I could fight to this.
Entry 4: is moody....slow...HOLY FUCK HORNS. Not very battle-ish, though.
Entry 5: This gets the conflicted sadness part of the theme spot on, then kicks in to battle gear! Nice work here.
Entry 6: Nails the battle theme aspect. And strikes just enough of a mood to evoke a battle versus a former friend. Well done!
*Entry 7: Slow mournful buildup...nice. I'm battling now. An EPIC battle. But now I am driving a car? VROOOM VROOOM. Still, I really like this one.
*Entry 8: Chippy! I am in love with this. Megaman vs Protoman
Entry 9: WHOA! Epic. Then lavos appears. Then gets back to being epic and good. The WOUN WOUN WOUN section in the middle kills it, though.
Entry 10: This makes me think of an epic medieval battle - it would work as a battle in an RPG. More of a final battle though.
*Entry 11: Now this strikes the right chord (lol) and evokes a sense of battling a friend. Good work!
Entry 12: This is fitting miniboss music, in a futuristic RPG. Seems it'd fit right in with, say, FF7.
*Entry 13: Creepy, almost Engima-esque start, and changes to epic rock ballad. With that violin, I can almost picture the hero bitterly fighting back tears as he duels with his former friend.
Entry 14: Your best friend is a japanese robot. From the 80s. (Money For Nothing?)
*Entry 15: Great buildup on this one! All and all a great track.
Entry 16: This isn't so much a battle theme as it is a background theme (of a maze through a dystopian future city). Oh wait, there it goes. Now I am racing through the city!
Entry 17: This is the scene BEFORE the betrayal+battle versus the friend. Then gets kind of happy/upbeat?
Entry 18: Standard battle fare. Good tune, but nothing really sticks out for me
Entry 19: Annie are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay Annie?

so when I was reviewing my notes, I starred ones I liked. Then I realized I starred nearly all of them so I had to double-star the ones I really really liked. I then narrowed it down to 11, 13, and 15...and was stuck. So I listened to them all again a 3rd time and went with my gut reaction:

My vote: Entry 13

Great work everyone! This phase in particular had some amazing entries, and overall the contest was a huge success! It was a lot of fun participating, and seeing just how talented the musicians here are was humbling.

You've been struck by... a smooth criminal.
It's neat that we all have a varied array of favourites.
I'm a dog pirate
Yes, this was a great turnout - I regret not participating more from the get-go, but the third round was great. Listening to the previous rounds, I'm really impressed at the amount of talent on this site. As Kentona said, it's very humbling.

But yeah, my top tracks from this round, in order: 10, 15, 14, 7, 13.
There are quite a few tracks that I like, but nothing that stands out far and above the rest.

15 is probably the most fun to listen to and most well written, but it also sounds more like a medley than a battle theme against a friend.

14 also suffers from the same thing, but to a greater degree in that it's a great track, but not a battle theme at all.

9 is definitely a battle theme, but the production is off and the guitar is really muddy.

11 is well done, but has parts I don't like in the middle.

8 was fun, but the beat stayed the same for far too long which made it uninteresting.

So with all that in mind, my vote is for #19! One must be a smooth criminal in order to gain someone's trust only to turn on them.

Okay, not really... #19 gets the WTF award. I'm having too much trouble voting for one of the real tracks, so I'll come back to it later.
Not voting yet (will probably PM my vote anyway)

Maybe.. I dunno..

But anyway - dropping by to say nice work to all the participants across all three phases. This has been a loooong event and it's awesome seeing everyone's stuff.. So yeah. Awesome stuff everyone :D
Most of these seem like they're either rhythmically off or melodically off-key, which put me off quite a bit. I also noticed the use of quite a few rock guitars, orchestral instruments, and choirs.

Mega In-depth Reviews (with * to mark favorites):

1. Intro seems a bit odd, quite a bit of off-beatness in it. It's mainly inconsistent, and a bit short. Seems kind of like the person didn't know what to do. It definitely works as a battle theme, but doesn't really have enough depth for it. Also, doesn't loop?

2. Seems to be in an odd time signature, with plenty of random chord changes. It ends up working about 1/8 of the way in, so it's alright. Could use a bit more consistency though (not quite as much as 1, but...). I do like the piano solo in it, btw.

*3. Me gusta. Very, very nice, especially for midi. It sounds very similar to a song I had done before, when I only worked with midi. The bell sounds in the background are nice. Honestly, for midi, VERY nice. Could use a slightly better transition though towards the middle. That and it being midi are pretty much the only things I can see to improve in this one - again, VERY nice.

4. There was an odd glitch at about 25 seconds in where I'd get thrown back to the beginning. Don't know what this is. Overall, for this one, it seems mainly random, with a lot of harmonies that *didn't quite* work. I'm sorry, this just wasn't really that good. :| I'd suggest a study of harmony, rhythm, and basic musical theory.

5. Aw, very sad beginning. A bit of an odd rhythm in the beginning before the violin, and then it keeps happening. It's very sad, until the drums and guitars kick in. After that it seems to be more optimistic. The weird rhythms go in all the way up until the drums and guitars. After that, it's pretty good. Unfortunately, the odd rhythms really, really put me off and the rest of the song wasn't good or deep enough to make up for that. (The water droplet-like sound made it sound a lot deeper, when that came in, so... I'd suggest a bit more reverb and larger/more background pads) Nice tune, btw.

6. I feel like it only needed one intro, not an intro for the intro. The instruments here seem to be lacking. Perhaps a tempo change, as well as some more background would be good. Not really a feeling of a battle, it's not frantic enough. Though not all battles have to be frantic, I suppose...

*7. Again: Me gusta. Not quite as much as 3, but good nonetheless. It doesn't seem quite sad enough at some points, but still really cool. Actually sounds kind of like a KH song. I like the long snare rolls, building up quite a frantic background. The piano hits bring in the sense of urgency as well. 2:09 to 2:22 - Wow. Quite a strong break.

8. Intro reminds me a bit of Pokemon. Sounds really cool, chiptunes generally do. xD Not really something I'd think of in a serious game though, sorry.

9. Really cool intro, the horns seem evil. Not quite fighting against a best friend. The rock part is cool, but a bit out of character. I also definitely don't like the drums. (OMG ALL MY PAGES CLOSED OUT BUT THIS IS STILL HERE WHEN I GET BACK PHEW) They seem pretty bland. The weird band pass or whatever it is towards the middle kills the mood quickly. It does get back into the "epic evil battle" again though. I do like this one overall. Not overly much though.

*10. Intro sounds right out of an actual game. Kudos for that. It goes on a bit long for a battle though - seems more like "You're about to get into the battle." in the beginning, for about 40 seconds. After that, it works really well - sounds actually like the final boss fight for LoZ OoT. More final-boss-ish, as Kentona said. For that, I would definitely vote for it. As it is, honorable mention for being one of the best-sounding tracks here. Just not fitting.

11. HQ sound right from the start, cool. It seems to go on a bit too long initially for me to like it. After that, the synthy horns really put me off, though it regains it quite quickly for sounding magnificent. A bit overly epic and dramatic for being sad though. More like a battle against some kind of evil demon that just killed an army. Really epic-sounding.

12. I once again detect FL Studio. Sounds cool, but jumps in a bit too quickly. Sounds KH-like, if the songs of KH were slightly lower quality sound-wise, were repetitive as heck, and didn't have a real intro. It's alright. I'd rate it as slightly below average.

*13. Ooh, mysterious. Sounds like some kind of apocalypse battle. A lot of timing bumps in the beginning, before the main theme. The drums are a bit intrusive as well, and it seems too much in the low register. The violin is very nice, it's just drowned out a bit too much to be heard by the guitars and drums. I LOVED the intro, and the violin. I think it could be a lot clearer though, so it doesn't get my vote. The transition loop is also fuzzy, btw. Those are pretty hard though.

14. Pretty cool. The guitar seems a bit too electronic and "zappy" for my taste. It's very mechanical. Nice reverbs and sounds, I really like them. Seems a bit random in some parts though, so I don't quite like it enough.

*15. Very nice intro. I liked the background electric guitar. When it gets into the song though, the timing seems off a little bit, and it doesn't seem to fit the theme overly well. The sounds overall are really cool though, and I can hear it's well-done. Some odd transitions in there.

*16. I like the beginning. The background synth sounds very cool, though it comes in a bit too strong. This is actually one of my favorites overall, though it doesn't fit the theme. My only qualm with it is that it's a bit too repetitive.

17. Really march-like. Not fitting too much in the theme, and a bit low-quality. Too slow for a battle as well. More like leading up to the final battle.

18. Quickly into the fray, huh? I like it in the beginning, but it also seems pretty low-quality. Could use some more instruments. Doesn't seem to loop very well either.

19. No comment. And no more time to write on this.

My vote, in the end, goes to NUMBER 3.

Grats, man (or woman)!

01: Sounds more like a crisis theme than a battle one.

02: Sounds more like an army campaign theme. The bridge is clown music. The second part is clown campaign music. The ending feels really out of place. Overall I think this entry's author tried and failed in making a song that has several movements.

03: At last, a battle theme. Good mix of instruments, has some memorable and emotional parts. A solid entry in my opinion.

04: Behold the Trumpet of bleeding ears. The author tried to turn it into a more emotional fight but the feeling it gives is quite weak. Nice try though.

05: The strings are too strong, making them annoying. Pacing drops way too low in the quieter parts. I don't like the song much personally but it is a solid entry.

06: Has a little Castlevania flavor to it. I like it but there are too many instruments used here and there. It feels like the author ran out of ideas in making a better melody and tried to compensate by adding instruments.

07: The drums crescendo is nice, but the cymbals are too strong and hurt the ears at the beginning. The violin and piano are sometimes too strong also, as if the author alters their volume several times. Yet the overall melody is simple and effective.

08: Chiptunes! It sounds like a Robot Master song from Megaman. The middle and ending parts are really boring though, and overall doesn't sound like a battle theme for an RPG (the contest is about RPG music afterall).

09: This one sounds different from the other entries so far, which is interesting. It feels darker and sicker at first, which I really like, but it fails to sustain this feeling by mixing three or four other genres during the middle part. The second half sounds too different from the first half, therefore the whole song lacks definition. A solid entry nonetheless.

10: Without a doubt the best entry so far. Solid writing, excellent blend of instruments and great balance of strength. The epic feeling is okay but could have been toned down a little. The choice of instruments lacks originality though.

11: Another very good entry. It sounds just epic enough and has the close friend emotion right. The combination of horns and flutes boosts its originality. It remains true to itself the whole time and feels like a battle theme. It also reminds me of newer JRPG compositions and sounds professional. It beats Entry #10 in my opinion.

12: A solid composition that unfortunately sounds bland. I didn't feel much and wasn't moved by any part, therefore I can't say much more about it.

13: The drums and cymbals sound out of place at first and take too much of the spotlight during the whole song, hindering the other instruments' melodies. It could be a solid entry if rebalanced.

14: The Asian touch and instruments add originality and the melody's interesting. The electronic sounds feel like a failed attempt at taking it a step further. Changing these for an electric guitar and rewriting a kickass part for it (think Advent Children's version of One Winged Angel) would have earned this entry first place for me.

15: Excellent blend of instruments and balance. The strings of note feel right but the pace doesn't, making this entry sound more like a final dungeon theme. It is an excellent composition though and I'd honestly picture it in a professional game.

16: Parasite Eve pops up. It sounds great and is fun to listen too, but doesn't sound like a close friend theme, nor like an RPG battle theme.

17: What is this..?

18: This is overall a good composition, well-written, great choice of instruments... But it sounds like what an RTP battle song would be, therefore making it unimpressive. A solid entry fine for an actual game but just not a contest winner.

19: But the chair is not my son! (no, that's from Billie Jean)

My vote: Entry #11
Track comments...

1. Might be nicer with more instruments, feels kind of open. Not really a clear themes. The percussion gets a little grating as well.
2. Orchestral entrance is wonderful. That change 2/3 of the way through is certainly... inspired
*3. Nice melody. Probably the best of the MIDIs, this isn't held back by forma at all.
4. Needs mastering work, doesn't really work as a battle theme either.
5. Love the transition into violin, though the tempo change is kind of weird. Piano is awesome, downtempo areas not so much.
6. The guitar sound is weird, but good percussion. Sounds a little muted.
*7. Good pace, kind of weird pannning. The piano and violin are nice, though the guitars get kind of old. Feels like it needs to change, or have a more distinct/repeated melody. Cellos are always cool.
8. True FC mix, cool! Doesn't have much direction though.
9. Good BGM, but probably not a battle. The guitar doesn't really fit with the long notes on strings.
*10. Concentrates a lot on drama? Good use of percussion, could use some more melody.
**11. This is the type of orchestral I really enjoy. If it weren't for that piano keychange towards the end this would be perfect. I think the piano in general is weak, but the driving low strings are excellent.
*12. This feels really open/incomplete. Just the bass/guitar/string lead doesn't really do it in some places.
13. Lacks a good melody. The guitar is well-done, but it just doesn't sound good with long string notes on top. Why did so many people do this...?
*14. Feels very open... more battlefield/cave/mystery rather than a battle. The guitar is really cool though. Good use of panning
15. Decent orchestration, but just guitars doesn't really make it a battle theme. Sounds kind of rock anthem-y, or maybe a more open battlefield. A bit meandering.
16. Nice acid/moving bass feel, good percussion. Still, doesn't really feel like a battle. Some sort of melody from the violin would've been nice.
17. Mastering work needed. Clips in the bass. Melody is nice, it's a shame. Weak ending on the piano as well.
**18. Excellent rhythm and bass. That top instrument is annoying, but this one sounds the most like a battle theme. The dropout around :35 is good composition. 1:16 is great. This sounds like a 16-bit legit battle and I really like it.
19. kentona, you troll you

Vote: 11
I wish I could vote for: 18
pffft. Everybody is hiding their comments. When in Rome...

Entry 1 - Nice intro for a midi, but kind of loses it beyond that. Feels structureless.
Entry 2 - wut? Half a dozen different things going on. Sounds more like a medley than anything.
Entry 3 - Very good :o It fits the theme and is a neatly paced, settle-shit tune. Actually, one of the best.
Entry 4 - The trumpety-sound hurts my ears. Too bad. It has some potential, otherwise.
Entry 5 - This is my favorite as far as potential goes, but the instruments chosen were the wrong ones for the job.
Entry 6 - A little too passive and backgroundy for a theme/scene that's meant to be one of the most emotional.
Entry 7 - Some of the sounds are really bulky and weird o.O
Entry 8 - Despite being a mere chiptune, this is among the best in the bunch :D
Entry 9 - Great! A favorite :D I love how "OMFG WHYYYYY~" it sounds at the start, then breaks into coolness.
Entry 10 - Definitely one of the top contenders this round. Climactic and battle'y. I like it.
Entry 11 - I'm not keen on the interlude bit that starts at 1:44, but the rest is professional calibre as far as I'm concerned. The battle theme is there, as well as the melancholy that would go with fighting your best friend.
Entry 12 - Good battle music. I feel like the theme is present in the track, but not really enforced. If that means anything.
Entry 13 - hmm... I'm not musically inclined, so I can't describe it properly. It just sounds too bulky or bass'y.
Entry 14 - This is neither battle'y nor sorrowful :o Despite that, it's nice to listen to.
Entry 15 - Sounds like it was composed for a scene-in-motion where two ex-friends who don't afraid of anything meet for a fight.
Entry 16 - A little too techno'y for my personal tastes.
Entry 17 - Rather than old friends fighting, they shake hands and become best buds again o.o "Let's not fight to the death for our respective causes of world salvation and enslavement of all races on earth, and just get a beer instead."
Entry 18 - Very useable battle music, just not for this particular scene/theme. In fact, it's good regular fight music :D
Entry 19 - I actually like this :D Good listening. It's not quite a chiptune though, if that's what you were going for.

My Vote : Entry 11
Sooo... I apparently look for something different in this kind of battle music. Personally I thought #5 was the best one. It started out slow - disbelief that my friend would ever betray me and the memories we'd shared, then determination to finally do what must be done - end them!

Honourable mentions to: #6, #7, #10, #11 and #15. But yeah, if I had musical talent, #5 would have been the one I'd have tried to make.
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