Final Fantasy 4 advance sound restoration

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by FAST6191, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Bregalad, the guy who did the Final Fantasy 5 and 6 advance sound restoration hacks as well as one for Final Fantasy tactics on the GBA and source of a lot of good information on GBA "sappy" sound, has just released a sound restoration hack for Final Fantasy 4 advance. For those not familiar with the situation Square Enix ported pretty much all of the old style Final Fantasy games to the GBA but the SNES ones suffered what might be said to be an audio downgrade ostensibly for technical reasons but given full restorations have now happened for those games by way of hacks that is disputable.

    Anyway page (click on the version number to download)
    Filetrip download
    One readme

    * Final Fantasy IV advance : Sound Restoration Hack *

    ** By Bregalad **
    August 30th, 2012
    Version 1.0

    1) Introduction

    Final Fantasy IV has been remade literally a million times. Then why care about the Game Boy Advance remake ?
    Well first of all it is rather truthful to the SNES original, as opposed to the US SNES version which has been heavily modified, or the DS remake which basically completely changed everything. Second, it made some significant improvements on the graphics (they are in fact from the Wonder Swan Color remake, but in all honestly, who outside of Japan has a Wonder Swan Color ?). Third, it's probably the "easiest" version of FF4 ever released, and some people do not like level grinding, and would like to avoid resorting to cheat codes.

    When it comes to sound, while it's not as bad as Final Fantasy V and VI Advance, and definitely not as terrible as FF4 DS, Final Fantasy IV Advance still has mediocre music compared to the SNES original.

    After restoring the music of Final Fantasy V and VI Advance, I finally didn't resist the urge to do the same treatment to good old Final Fantasy IV, even though I said earlier I wouldn't. Just restoring the music by hear as I did in FF5 and FF6 wasn't an interesting challenge anymore, therefore I decided I would make the FF4 hack better. I decided I would completely remove anything related to sound from the original game and re-do everything by scratch (instead of preserving sound effects like I did with FF5 and FF6).

    I made a script that was able to rip all music and sound effects from FF4 directly from the SNES ROM, and after some modifications I had to do by hand, I was able to re-insert the sequences "as-it" in the GBA version. This time, the music and sound effect porting has not been made by hear, but is 100% accurate to the original.
    This didn't mean this was easy to do though - the GBA driver only updates at only 60Hz while the SNES sound driver updates at 222Hz - in other words the GBA allows for much less precision in rapid pitch changes, and because of this some sound effects were tricky to port to the GBA, and doesn't sound exactly like their SNES counterparts. I still tried to make them sound close enough.

    NOTE : This hack was meant to be played on real hardware. It will work in emulators, but the GBA sound tends to be very poorly emulated.

    2) Changes that make this hack.

    - All 55 musical tunes were "imported" directly from the SNES ROM
    - All 131 sound effects were "imported" directly from the SNES ROM
    - A fully orchestrated music, preformed by Tokyo's philharmonic orchestra plays during the first part of the ending
    - Sound effects in the intro specific to the GBA version were changed to silence
    - The sound engine was configured to use less CPU time
    - There is another surprise

    3) Known bugs

    Sometimes the game plays the wrong sound effects. For example when the village of Mist is destroyed at the beginning of the game, the SNES version plays sound effect 0x5E, but this version plays 0x5F instead.

    These are errors in the programing of the original game, and since I only have the knowledge to change the sound effect themselves - not what sound effect is used when - I can't fix this.

    4) FAQ

    Q: I've never played the SNES version of FF4, or even any SNES game, should I use this hack ?
    A: Yes. Most of the instruments of FF4 advance sounds bad anyway. Even if SNES instruments doesn't sounds incredibly good by modern standards, they definitely sound better. Even if you never played the original SNES game and want to play FF4 advance, I strongly recommend you apply this patch on your ROM. However, to fully hear all sounds, you must use headphones that are able to reproduce bass sounds that the small GBA/SP/DS speakers can't.
    Original GBA's and DS have a headphone jack, but for the SP you'll have to use a stupid adapter (stupid because mine broke).

    Q: Does this hack affect anything else than the sound in any way ?
    A: Not really. Like FF5, the original game was lagging, and I reduced CPU usage for sound, but the game still lags in a lot in battle when you have 5 characters in your party. Programmers in charge of porting this game definitely sucked hard at making efficient code. Hopefully the change removed one lag or two though.

    Q: Will you make a hack that restores the font/dialogue boxes/translation/etc.. of the SNES game ?
    A: No I won't and I'm unable to. If you want that you should as well play the SNES original.

    Q: Will you make a hack that restores the music of any other game in the Final Fantasy Advance series ?
    A: I made hacks for Final Fantasy V and VI too. They don't restore the sound effects though, and I currently have no plan to make hacks that does.

    Q: Will you make a hack that restores the music of any other SNES game ported to the GBA ?
    A: Most likely not, I've already made 3 of them and I'll probably want to move to something else.

    Q: I want to improve this hack/make my own hack for another GBA game. How do you do it ?
    A: Before contacting me read my GBA sappy sound engine document, available on

    Q: Will you send me a ROM ?
    A: No, it's a IPS patch for legal reasons. You should be big enough to find a way to get a ROM by yourself.

    Q: I can't apply your IPS patch to my ROM / It crashes when loading.
    Q: On which ROM should the patch apply ?
    A: You should use an European version of Final Fantasy IV advance only. The reason for this is that you can play it in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, so more people are targeted by the hack. Also they fixed quite a few bugs that were present in the American version. Unfortunately, saves are not compatible with the American version, because apparently they changed too many things.

    Q : Will you do a similar patch for FF4 DS ?
    A : Good question. It's a matter of opinion, but personally I absolutely can't stand FF4DS. If the music port in the GBA version was cheap, the DS version is an insult to the original game and to Nobuo Uematsu. At least the GBA version got the music correctly - it just sounded cheap. The DS version got wrong notes all the time in the harmonisation, baselines and melodies, and it makes it sound just horrible (and I only tried the game up until Kaipo - I gave up past this point because my ears were bleeding and because it was even much harder than the SNES hard type, level grinding is not my cup of tea).
    The game would most certainly need such a patch - but I feel it's so horrible it doesn't even deserve this anyways. That and I'm not experienced with sound engine on the DS platform, buy I suspect it's similar to GBA's. In the first place what is in Square Enix' mind to release two ports of the same game at only 2 years of intervals between their releases ? They really have money to waste ! They could make brand new games instead - oh no I forgot that Square was basically dead and will never make good games ever again. Instead they order TOSE to remake FF4 for the 324th time and every time it comes out worse.

    5) Versions

    1.0 (July 6th 2009) :
    First version to become public

    6) Special thanks :

    - Square for making the Final Fantasy series

    - Nobuo Uematsu for composing the music of this game

    - Whoever at Square Enix who decided to implement the cool music player available once you beat the game (this hack wouldn't have been possible without it)

    - Authors of Audacity

    - Tokyo's orchestra for the streamed intro

    - ipatix for supporting me in reverse engineering the sappy engine

    7) Special non-thanks :
    - TOSE for sucking at making ports of Final Fantasy games

    - Square Enix for releasing dozens of cheap remakes instead of releasing brand new games like back when they were Squaresoft.

    You can find the other patches for the later SNES ports on filetrip as well as palette fixes on
    Another on Bregalad's community page on RHDN
  2. WiiUBricker

    WiiUBricker Insert Custom Title

    Sep 19, 2009
    Jeez, FFIV DS is a REMAKE, not a port. Remakes tend to sound different than the original, especially if the original is a 16 bit game.
  3. raulpica

    raulpica With your drill, thrust to the sky!

    Oct 23, 2007
    PowerLevel: 9001
    Man, this is awesome :wub: Makes me want to buy an headphone adapter for my GBASP...
  4. clonesniper666

    clonesniper666 KRII LUN AUS

    Jul 31, 2007
    United States
    The Great Underworld Warzone
    This is about the superior GBA version than the DS remake. good to see that more of the old GBA FFs are getting sound restores.
  5. Clarky

    Clarky Don't you know who I think I am?

    Oct 4, 2007
    United States
    3 people like this.
  6. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

    Apr 29, 2011
    United States
    Dr. Wahwee's castle
    Just tried it out on VBA-M, it's quite impressive and it's in stereo. Way better than the original crappy audio!
  7. Hyro-Sama

    Hyro-Sama I'm from the fucking future.

    Oct 25, 2009
    After Earth
    People could have just played the PSP version. It's basically an HD port.
  8. M[u]ddy

    M[u]ddy GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Sep 4, 2009
    Being able to read sometimes really helps.

  9. shakirmoledina

    shakirmoledina Legend

    Oct 23, 2004
    Dar es Salaam
    if only this came out 1 yr ago.

    still applaud the work!
  10. Rydian

    Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Feb 4, 2010
    United States
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    "or the DS remake which basically completely changed everything"
  11. redfalcon

    redfalcon GBATemp Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Gambia, The
    Too bad they sound awful on gpsp on PSP, makes me wish I had a GBA flashcard.
  12. Vanth88

    Vanth88 Private

    Oct 1, 2007
    United States
    LOL what??? if you have a modded PSP why would you play the GBA version instead of the PSP version which has the gba content, better graphics, better soundtrack, and a crap ton of other junk? I don't understand you sir :|
  13. redfalcon

    redfalcon GBATemp Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Gambia, The
    So? I don't like the revised graphics style of the PSP remakes and prefer the SNES/GBA versions. Besides I was solely talking about the sound quality of the GBA version, no idea why you suggest me the remade PSP version.
  14. DiscostewSM

    DiscostewSM GBAtemp Guru

    Feb 10, 2009
    United States
    Sacramento, California
    From what I remember years back when I played the GBA version, it wasn't the audio that irritated me. It was the way the battle system worked when queuing up who will take action next. First-come, first-serve was how it always worked for any relevant FF game, but the GBA version of FFIV somehow messed that up, and would push a character back who was up next for another who just got rdy for a command.
  15. loco365

    loco365 GBAtemp Guru

    Sep 1, 2010
    There's been days where I've contemplated doing this myself. The DS soundtrack is awful imo.
  16. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    Good to see the sound will be, finally, fantastic.
  17. WiiUBricker

    WiiUBricker Insert Custom Title

    Sep 19, 2009
    And yet he complained about FFIV DS sounding horrible even when he knows that a remake is not supposed to sound exactly like the original.
  18. Vanth88

    Vanth88 Private

    Oct 1, 2007
    United States
    I brought up the PSP version because your using a PSP emulator to play the GBA version. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it I just thought it was funny because you may as well just play the PSP version which is the SNES version with the stuff from the PSX and GBA mixed into one. I also have no idea why you'd have issues with the visuals as its the SNES version but in widescreen.