Top 5 Video Game Soundtracks!
I’m not going to lie, I had something else planned, but it’s been slightly delayed so I can play more of the game to write on it better. I want to make sure I get my thoughts down just right before I show it to the world. So while writing, I have a tendency to listen to music. My taste in music varies, and I’m certainly no musical expert, but as I listened to various themes, I asked myself, what is my favorite soundtrack? Soundtracks are important to game design, as a good tune can add so much to any part of a game, be it a cut scene, a boss battle, or even just a great catchy theme song. To keep things as varied as possible, I have added a rule. My one per franchise rule is in play, but I’m also going to cut out what I call mix tape soundtracks, from things like sports games or music games. I want music that is written for the game, not a mix of popular music. And I will include a link to my favorite song on that soundtrack.
Honorable Mentions: Mass Effect 3, Halo, Final Fantasy, Super Mario 3 soundtrack, Catharine, Castlevania 3. Portal 2
5. Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
God damn you Skyrim and your catchy ass theme!
It’s really the reason why so many people pick this game as a soundtrack great. All because of one song, picking the entire thing up on its back and carrying it. To be fair, it’s a memorable song, easily the soundtrack standout without question, as it conveys the sense and scale of the epic adventure to be had. To be honest though, much of the soundtrack is ambience though, and many of the few other “songs” are just variations of this one song. It’s why it rates so low on my list. But this one song gets my blood pumping just to hear it. It makes me want to slay dragons and use my booming voice to effect the world, and then gives me a game to do just that. Plus the fact that they made a language for the game and used it in this song is a special kind of cool.
4. Mega Man 2.
Mega man 2 is a cliché choice, I can’t lie. Everyone who appreciates old school chip music gravitates to MM2, and there is a good reason for it. Every tune is catchy and memorable, and considering how often you may replay a stage to beat a boss, they never grate on the ear, which is very important, especially in the older days of gaming, where music had to be as short as possible and was often looped. It’s also hard to pick a favorite, as so many tunes are well done. Some highlights are Crash mans theme, the opening theme, flash mans theme, and of course, my personal favorite, Dr Wily stage 1.
It’s widely considered to be one of the best themes in the series, and I’m inclined to agree. After battling through 8 tough stages, this theme picks you right back up, giving you that push to move forward and save Dr. Light. It’s invigorating.
The reason it’s so low on my list is because, quite frankly, I prefer the mixes that came out of this game as opposed to the chip tunes themselves. They are excellent, don’t get me wrong, but so many people have made great remixes of these songs, and some of them are better than the original tunes, such as this remix of crash man and Justin Timberlake’s lovestoned. Or even check out OCremix for a huge list of remix’s of these songs. You really can’t go wrong either way, though.
3.Street Fighter 2
I could pretend to have taste and put something classy here, like a Zelda tune, or a final fantasy soundtrack. But, that wouldn’t be me.I’m not a terribly classy guy. I had to ask myself, what is my favorite song in gaming? I had only one answer.
Guile themes rounds out as my favorite theme song ever, and the soundtrack of the game is awesome too. To hell with Ducktales, I can’t stop humming this after I hear it. It’s catchy, it literally goes with everything, and is iconic as all hell. Even if you have never played a Street Fighter game, you know this theme, and you know to go home and be a family man. The entirety of SF2’s soundtrack is awesome, showcasing what the SNES could do in terms of music. Everyone had a great theme, and each one is easily identifiable to its character, at least at this stage, before some of the stranger soundtracks, like Street Fighter 3’s hip hop/ jazz soundtrack. And something as simple as the soundtrack speeding up as the match was coming to an end was just really cool, and something you don’t see often, either then or now. But Guile easily stays ahead of the crowd with this jaw dropping masterpiece of musical bliss. It’s also really easy to remix, as the many remixes you can find online will tell you. This is taking nothing away from any of the other excellent choices I could have made, but personal preference ruled the day here. The only reason it doesn’t go straight to number one is this about soundtracks, not songs themselves. Guile’s theme is great, and would win on its own, but the rest of the soundtrack, while good, doesn’t compare to the cheesy fun that is Guile’s theme, or so of my other choices.
2. Double Dragon Neon.
This was a surprise hit for me, and was a contender for one of my favorite games of the year last year. It sadly didn’t make the top 5, but a top 10 it would have easy. The soundtrack is one of the reasons why. Nothing about Neon is subtle. It’s completely tongue in cheek from beginning to end, and is very much a throwback to the ridiculous 80’s, where everything was simpler and we just accepted the random crap we had to deal with in games. Logic had no place then. Neon is a throwback to those nostalgic times, and to help is a soundtrack that does sound like it was made in the 80’s, and the whole thing rocks. I can’t say often that I enjoy the entirety of a game’s soundtrack, but Neon does provide that. I can listen to any song at any time and groove on it, and each one is memorable. But the standout track to me is an early one, before the game goes over the top.
This song just… infects me, and makes me groove, like full out dance to it. It’s a cheesy 80’s dance hit, and it does nothing to hide that, nor should it. The entire soundtrack is a lot of fun, and like the game itself, is very much a love letter, er.. song rather, to the era that inspired it. The best part of the soundtrack however, is that you can download the entire thing for whatever price you want, even free.
1.Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Of course Metal Gear is at the top of the list. The franchise rule really stuck me here. The entirety of the Metal Gear Solid franchise has excellent music, so it was harder to narrow down. I was able to narrow it down to three out of the Metal Gear franchise, Guns of the patriots, Snake Eater and Metal Gear Rising. Ultimately I had to choose between the majestic and symphonic work of Harry Gregson-Williams for Guns and Snake Eater and the wicked metal soundtrack that is ultimately so infectious of MGR. All 3 soundtracks have excellent themes, be it from MGR’s awesome metal soundtrack to punctuate your hack and slash game play and jazz you up for more intense action, to the somber and atmospheric tunes that are in much of Snake Eater and Guns. It was tough, but one song titled the favor, and if you’ve played the game, I bet you know the song.
I’m a sucker for Bond themes though, so perhaps it’s not fair. But Kojima and Harry really hit this theme out of the park. It’s somber and catchy, and the music video/ intro it’s attached to is wicked. It’s no wonder that not only does the game play the song twice, but Konami sneaked the song into one of the Karaoke Revolution games. It’s that good. And the rest of the soundtrack has great moments as well, helping to give the game a truly cinematic feel to it, full of wonder and bombast, something that Guns just couldn’t do as well as Snake Eater did. Harry Gregson-Williams is one of my favorite composers admittedly, and this game is one of the many reasons why. Snake Eater is one of the more intimate and personal stories in the MG series, and the soundtrack helps sell it as being one of the best in the series to boot.
Of course, those were just my picks. Feel free to throw out your favorite’s soundtracks, or even just the songs themselves.