Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was described to me as Elite Beat Agents with Final Fantasy music and some RPG elements. That description is pretty accurate thus far, but it's the RPG elements that have most impressed me thus far. You build a party of 4 characters from the main characters of each of the 13 Final Fantasys featured in the game. Each character has a different stat progression (you have 6 stats: hp, cp (used to equip abilities), strength, magic, agility, and luck) and learns different abilities as you level them up. The game describes what the stats and abilities do but it's a little unclear how relevant they actually are. (I switched from a party with levels 30-23-23-21 to a party of levels 30-1-3-1 and didn't really notice a difference.)
What most interested me was the 13 main characters picked to be in the game. For me I feel there are 11 obvious main characters and then 2 which are up in the air:
FFI - Generic warrior of light
FFII - Firion
FFIII - Generic onion kid
FFIV - Cecil
FFV - Butz
FFVII - Cloud
FFVIII - Squall
FFIX - Zidane
FFX - Tidus
FFXII - Vaan
FFXIII - Lightning
FFXI is a tricky one since it's an MMORPG. Everyone who played the game built their own character and chose their own leveling path as they played the game. You could screw around like with FFI and FFIII and go with some generic 'hero' but at least in those games you had to be the same race! In FFXI you could be a TaruTaru (cute little midget) or a Mithran (cat woman), or a Galkan (huge male ogrey thing) or a more generic elf or human. What they ended up doing is taking one of the major plot NPCs (I think she had an expansion pack designed around her on top of being one of the starting Windhurst quest givers) and slotting her in as the main character. Seems reasonable enough. And since our first 11 choices were 10 males and 1 female we clearly needed to bring in a female from FFXI in order to hit our quota.
FFVI on the other hand is a game where I feel there are a few different characters that all compete for the glory of main character. I think there are three real contenders:
Terra - first character you see in the game, a focal point of the plot since she's half-human and half-esper
Locke - first character you actually get to name, is the central organizer of the party in the first world
Celes - first character you control in the second world (Terra and Locke actually don't join your party for a long time in the second world and have pretty involved side-quests to get them back)
I've always thought of Locke as the main character since he's the one I named Nick and clearly as a male gamer the main character should be the one that represents me. This is something I'd thought about a fair bit over the years and I'd mostly come around on Celes being the main character of the second world for sure. And since she does play a pretty important role in the first world as well... I could see her being the main character. Especially for a compilation like this where we're on the short end of the female spectrum.
They ended up putting Terra in as the main character. I can somewhat see it in the context of FFVI as a whole but I'd put her in 3rd of the 3 choices I think. However, Shantotto from FFXI fills our 'little girl' quota by virtue of being a Tarutaru. Lightning fills the uncharacteristically strong bill. So we need the third archetype for Theatrhythm and that's the role filled by Terra. Also she has green hair so she'd stand out more. (Assuming you don't mix her up for Rydia, anyway...)
At any rate, my starting party was Squall and the three ladies. You get a scoring bonus when playing a song for using the right character for that song so I've been cycling around a little bit. I tagged in a team of Squall, Warrior of Light, Cloud, Onion Kid and was surprised to see an 'all male' scoring bonus. I wonder if there's a similar 'all female' bonus? There are only 3 female characters to start but I've been accumulating crystals to unlock more characters and maybe some of those are female... You get a shadow outline of the character (so you can guess who is coming I guess) and I think one of them might be Eiko from FFIX. Which would really surprise me since I can't imagine there are a lot of Eiko fans out there and there are so many other characters that could be added... Like Kimahri! He needs experience you know!