I’ve been thinking a lot about video game music recently. I’m not sure why exactly, but maybe it’s just because I love video game music at all times. My iPod is actually full of more game-related music than non-game-related music. So I wanted to assemble a list of my favorite game tracks. 50 tracks later, I realized that I needed to filter my choices a bit. So here’s how it worked out: The first list is compiled of video game tracks I love. The second list is devoted specifically to battle music. The third list is full soundtracks. But because even that didn’t narrow my choices down enough, I had to break the first list into two parts. All ready? Good! So here are my Top Twenty Favorite Video Game Tracks #20-11.
20. Halo Theme Mjolnir Mix (Halo 2)
I may not be the biggest Halo fan, but damnit, Halo has some of the best music you can ever hope to hear in gaming. Oddly enough, when Halo 2 came out, I didn’t have an Xbox. So, instead of purchasing the game, I purchased the soundtrack. From there I was hooked, listening to the first track over and over again, imagining what the game itself must be like. I’d wager that without the Halo theme, the Halo series wouldn’t have been as possible of a marketing boom as it turned out to be. Maybe.
19. Tempest City (Blast Corps)
While I never played Blast Corps, I heard a lot about it. Turns out people either love it or hate it, as seems to happen with most games. Since I never played it, all I have to go off of is the soundtrack, which I’ve listened to a number of times. My favorite track turned out to be Tempest City, and judging from just that one track, I’d have to assume the game was incredibly intense and awesome, like Transformers done right. But I’ll probably never play it, so perhaps I’ll never know.
18. Intro (Banjo-Kazooie)
Banjo-Kazooie was a game that Nintendo Power effectively hyped to me, promising me the best game I’d ever played. While it wasn’t the absolute best game, it was still incredibly good, and to this day I’ve never been as excited about a game’s release. So when I patiently sat and watched the intro begin, I was delighted to have a bear playing a banjo for me while a witch doctor rocked a fiddle, flute, and xylophone. If the intro alone doesn’t make you happy, brentalfloss’ With Lyrics (not for kids) will put you over the top.
17. Robo’s Theme (Chrono Trigger)
Trying to pick a favorite track from Chrono Trigger is not an easy thing to do. Every track is a good track. And while some stand out more than others, such as the battle with Magus, I have a soft spot for Robo’s Theme, and part of this may be that it syncs up with “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Seriously, it really does. I’m not kidding.
How something that awesome happens is beyond me, but the bottom line results in me loving Robo more than I thought possible.
16. Funky’s Fugue (Donkey Kong Country)
I played the hell out of Donkey Kong Country when I was a kid. I still play the hell out of it now and then. So naturally, I’m going to have a favorite track. It was once more extremely difficult to find one or two to pick out as a definitive favorite, but when pushed to it, Funky’s Fugue came out on top. The reasoning here is that I’d hop into Funky’s airplane barrel thing purely so I could hear his music, otherwise I’d never have a chance to listen to that track in the game. Wasting time in a game purely for the music? That sounds like a favorite to me.
15. Setzer (Final Fantasy VI)
Yet again, Final Fantasy VI was a tough one to sift through. I can at least say that I’ve managed to keep this list down to a single song per game, so that amounts to something. But how could I choose which FFVI track to place above all others? While the Opera sequence is good, I’m kind of tired of it. It dawned on me that in my head, I was always remembering the scene as it plays out in the game, immediately followed up by Setzer’s Theme, or simply Setzer as the soundtrack calls it. The theme of the gambling airship pilot always sent me over the edge with glee, so that’s how it gets to top the FFVI tracks. Didn’t break the Top Ten, but not too shabby.
14. Endless Challenge (F-Zero X)
I’m cheating and I know I am, but this is my list. Endless Challenge is not actually a track from F-Zero X. It’s far cooler than that. The composers, Taro Bando and Hajime Wakai, crafted a pretty solid soundtrack for the game comprised mostly of remixed themes from the previous game. However, feeling that they were cooler than just that, they released a full guitar remix album of the game’s soundtrack, meaning that instead of MIDI files each track had real instruments kicking our ears in the teeth with rock. I don’t care that I’m cheating, Big Blue never sounded so good. Plus, this was by the original composers anyway, so it totally counts.
13. Rock Solid (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)
If you haven’t noticed, Rare games have appeared four times thus far. I’m sad to see the state that Rare is in these days, but back then, Rare had it going on and then some. A somewhat underrated game (insomuch as anything other than complete Nobel Prize-winning praise is not doing this game justice), Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a brilliant sample of work that pushed every boundary the industry had in place, specifically when it came to language. I could easily have placed the song of The Great Mighty Poo on here, but I’m a techno nut, so when a game does a great job with techno, I take notice. Therefore, the background music from the rock peoples’ club, Rock Solid, is one of my favorites. And it’s even over seven-minutes long (my version). Man, did they understand techno or what?
12. TMNT Main Theme (TMNT)
I’ve never beaten the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, though I’ve tried many, many times. I even tried again at PAX this year. I’ve managed to reach the Technodrome, but never Shredder himself. I did at least manage to make it past the title screen, but that was as far as I ever wanted to go since the intro music is so damned good. I keep hoping someone at Overclocked Remix decides to take up this track and add in some real guitars and drums. In the meantime, I’ll keep putting TMNT into my NES and just setting the controller down so that I can hear this track as many times as I want. Who wants to beat a game anyway?
11. Wily Stage 1-2 (Mega Man 2)
The track that everyone else assumes is the best Mega Man track, the background music from Wily Stage 1-2, is undeniably epic. It is definitely a track you can point to and say, “Don’t like NES music? This song rocks and you know it.” Every time I manage to get to Wily’s Castle in Mega Man 2, only to be greeted with this track, I get goosebumps. This really is super popular for a reason…but then again it’s only number 11 on my list. Don’t let that fool you! I love me some Wily Stage 1-2, but if I placed it at the top of my list, how interesting would that be? Really?
That’s all for today! Curious what my ten favorites actually are? Come back Wednesday for the conclusion!
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