"Battle 2" from Final Fantasy II (IV) - Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991)
Publisher: Square Co/NTT Publishing
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
This song popped into my head while at work, and remained stuck in my head for the rest of the day, and pleasant memories abound. My reactions to hearing this theme are heavily colored by my experience playing it (twenty plus years ago). As I play the song in my head, I have the sensation of tensing up, holding on, knowing that the killing blow and that satisfying pop of the boss monster death rattle is just around the corner. Yes, I could die any moment, but just hang on! Cure, Bersk, Ice 2, Attack! What I love about this theme is that it really contributes to the sense that the enemy is a 'villain' not just an obstacle. The grand, sweeping movements of the music also speak well to the length of time spent fighting bosses in this game.
Usually this theme came after some sort of brief story portion, fit with its own music, following a longer exploration portion, with it's own unique song and full of battles containing a different fight theme. So when this fight theme came on, the increased intensity was palpable. Good memories.