There is something that is deathly important in any video game, atmosphere. Without a great soundtrack or good ambient noise your game is as good as bargain bin'd. Tonight's list will attempt to list my favorite game soundtracks.
There are so many games, and I stress the "so" in that sentence, that have top-notch soundtracks and deserve to make tonight's list, but unfortunately I have to trim it down to only 10. There will probably be some hate, but I'm ready. I am super cereal about this topic. See you all at the end.
You have to give Martin O'Donnell some credit for making a great soundtrack for a game that's campaign mode that was panned by many as horrible. The infusion of rock guitarist and bands into Halo 2's soundtrack such as the Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix that featured Steve Vai, or the best song in the game in my opinion is during the revolt of the brutes when you come into a huge room on the forerunner ship where the elites and brutes are fighting and the song Blow Me Away by Breaking Benjamin starts. Fucking awesome.
Super Mario World
Many of the Super Mario games have music that is so bland and repetitive as to drive you insane by the end of the game. The thing about them is that they are instantly recognizable songs. However, with Nintendo's first foray into a 16-Bit Super Mario game introduced a plethora of great new music into the Mario universe. It was great to hear that with the addition of Yoshi as a sidekick the music got a whole new layer of dimension. Great game, with a great sounding score, especially when you are in the castle levels and the boo-houses, so much fun!
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Wow, Harry Gregson-Williams definately knows how to make a soundtrack doesn't he? The sweeping orchestrations, the minimalist music when nothing's going on, and the scripted music that grows in intensity as you progress. Snake Eater is by far my favorite Metal Gear game to date (I'm hoping 4 will be great as well) and has a great vocal track sung by Cynthia Harrell titled "Snake Eater" that hearkens me back to the old days of 'good' James Bond movies. The soundtrack to this game is one of the few to actually move me to tears near the ending of the game, play it and you'll understand why.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Just with me listing the title alone, I'm sure that there are many of you that can think of the opening strums of guitar combined with the sound of the Ocarina playing, can't you picture it now? Well, what about the other songs that you learn in the game? Remember some of those?!? I sure do, what about the music you hear when you're in a shop or just in the town? The Legend of Zelda series has yet to disappoint me when it comes to music, but this game did what none of the others did, it made me emotional.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Perhaps the only good game in the whole series of Tenchu games was the first one. It wasn't the most beautiful game, but damn did it have some awesome gameplay. The music was done by a relatively unknown composer named Noriyuki Asakura and has many traditional Japanese instruments combined with acoustic guitar to make a soundtrack that is eerily reminiscient of the Dune soundtrack, but nonetheless is an amazing soundtrack that sucks you into the world of Feudal Japan.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
From the moment I started the game and heard Mr. Mister's Broken Wings song playing, I knew that I was in for a treat. Rockstar's second 3-D Grand Theft Auto foray took alot of us old geezer gamers back to another age, the awesome days of the 80's. I recall watching Miami Vice back in the day, and thinking how cool it'd be to cruise through Miami blowing shit up. The radio stations ranged from New Wave, Power Ballads,and my favorite Flash FM (Pop Music). The station had songs like Hall & Oates: Out of Touch, Wang Chung: Dance Hall Days, and Joe Jackson: Steppin' Out. Damn so much good music! It just goes to show you that nostalgia sells.
Like it or not, Chrono Cross was an amazing game. The graphics were beautiful, the fighting system was polished, it had plenty of characters that you include in your party, and for me the most important element an awesome soundtrack. It could be the fact that I am a huge supporter of Yasunori Mitsuda since the first time I heard him on Chrono Trigger. The emotion that the man can bring through with his music is nothing short of amazing, and the great thing is that the samples that he created for all of the songs on Chrono Cross are amazingly clear so the music sounds like it is straight from a CD instead of being in-game music. You really can't go wrong with this man's music.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Perhaps the best and last of the 2-D ancient sprite based side scrolling console adventure/RPG made. The varied music contained on the soundtrack created the perfect backdrop for an already gorgeous game and did a perfect job of actually immersing you into the gothic-horror filled lair of Dracula's castle. From beginning to end of this game, there is not a single bad track of music to be heard.
Secret of Mana
OMFG, I can't tell you the dreams I had as a child playing this game. I can still hear the music from the towns, the boss battles, and even when you hitch a ride on Flammie. This game's soundtrack magically transports me back to an era of my life that I wish that I could return to. Back to that age where you had no responsibilities in the summer but waking up, the rest of the day could be spent wasting life away in front of the SNES with you and two good buddies kicking ass and level grinding your way through your childhood...man, that's some potent music right here.
The soundtrack is the product of Hiroki Kikuta, who is really only known through his work on the Seiken Densetsu series and the wholely unknown Koudelka. He is now just a recording artist who releases his own works of music not related to games.
Yet another beautifully made soundtrack from composer Yasunori Mitsuda. I really don't mean to sound like such a fanboy, but I seriously think that this man is the best video game music composer, even more so than Nobuo Uematsu (who I can't forgive for the music in Blue Dragon). The range of musical styles in this game's soundtrack are many, but the best songs were the Chrono Trigger-esque town/fair music, and the travelling music on the world map. A truly great soundtrack for a game that never got as much praise in America as it really deserved.
Sorry folks, no number zero for some easy laughs tonight, unless someone can give me a good enough reason to include one.
That does it for another edition of A Weird Kid's Top 10. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. As always, let me know if you have a particular top 10 that you'd like to see, and I'd be happy to oblige. And for all of you that have submitted ideas, I promise I'll eventually get around to yours. Thanks for reading!!!
Tonight's list was inspired by community member Variable Gear
. My thanks to all of you for the help, comments, suggestions you send my way.
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy Tactics
Jet Grind Radio
Contra: Shattered Soldier
The Guardian Legend
Guilty Gear Series
Mr. Driller: Drill Land
Mega Man II