Last week, I got some sort of weird game music-related virus and made a list of my favorite video game tracks, then a list of my favorite battle themes. As is the nature of the beast when talking about music, I barely scratched the surface of my favorites. Therefore, I still have one more music post to share, and that happens to be my Top Ten Favorite Game Soundtracks. The usual rules are in effect, meaning that just because these are my favorites doesn’t mean your favorites are any less special or vice versa. These are just soundtracks I really like and listen to frequently, so take that for what you will. If you happen to like my suggestions, I’ll include an Amazon link in the heading for each, but really, no pressure there. Okay, enough formalities out of the way. Time to enjoy more video game music!
10. Mass Effect 2:
Not too long ago, I blitzed through Mass Effect 1 & 2 a total of two times in a row. Afterward I realized that I really liked the soundtracks I heard. This prompted me to, naturally, find said soundtracks and listen to them properly without my attention focused on things happening on-screen. And you know what? Mass Effect 2 is wonderful as an orchestra soundtrack. The background score fits things perfectly with drama and action, yet it still has those rare techno nightclub tracks that I’m so fond of. Simply, this is one cool soundtrack.
9. Custom Robo GameCube:
Yeah yeah, I know, “You like THAT game?” Yes I do, actually. I found Custom Robo on the GameCube, the first Custom Robo game to make it to the US from Japan, to be an extremely underrated game that few people really gave a chance to. It was far from perfect, especially the concept behind the Robo battles, but for some reason I became rather fond of the soundtrack. Enough so that I’ve listened to it multiple times in its entirety. It has a very arcade-like quality to it, a quality that I enjoy due to my upbringing with video games in general. The music stirs up emotions I wouldn’t expect a game like this to stir up, so in the end, hey, I love this game and especially love this soundtrack. I really wish they’d make a new game in the series or remake the originals. Why haven’t they done that yet?
8. Super Mario Galaxy 2:
Of all the Mario games, how could I pick the newest one? Well, for one, the Mario Galaxy games have a real orchestra doing the music for them. That alone goes a long way to kick things up a level in terms of quality, but really, it’s just that both the series staples and the new additions are treated with equal care, making excellent recompositions of old favorites and new tracks that become well-loved instantly. The Puzzle Plank Galaxy’s music blindsided me the first time I heard it since I audibly said, “Wow, I think I really like this.” Taking background music for a Mario game and combining it with orchestral pieces in such as way that neither aspect is lost is just a feat I’m astonished by. Therefore, I love this soundtrack.
Anamanaguchi is an awesome band, and I’m not just saying that because I had the chance to meet them and see them play live. However, I will say that if you’ve played Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game more than a few times, you know that the music gets stuck in your head to the intensity that old Mega Man tracks are still imbedded inside your frontal lobe (or wherever they keep that stuff). I started having trouble sleeping after playing the game enough since I wasn’t able to stop the music in my head from waking me up. In total I’ve probably listened to the soundtrack a dozen times at this point, and I’m still hearing new tracks that I’m enjoying. The game gets a serious boost thanks to the soundtrack, so that’s why it lands on my list.
6. Final Fantasy VI:
My very first Final Fantasy game was Final Fantasy III for the SNES. I’m aware that it’s really VI, but I don’t care anymore. The point is, the soundtrack was the first thing that made me like the game to begin with. I didn’t want to give this game the time of day but the music I heard in just the first half hour of gameplay alone forced me to continue playing long past the point of thought. I just knew that I now loved this game. Every character has a distinct and likeable theme, multiple areas stand out as great examples of music done right, and the opera scene, a scene every gamer seems to know by heart at this point, is enough to justify placing this soundtrack in a special league of its own. That league happens to be this top ten list, but still, that’s something, isn’t it?
5. Chrono Trigger:
Take everything I just said about Final Fantasy VI, drop the part about the opera scene, add a trial sequence, multiply things by a factor of 1.1, and you have my love for Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack. I picked Robo’s Theme not too long ago as my favorite track from this game, but it was a hard, HARD choice to make since each character has a theme I really love. The Battle with Magus, the world map, the opening cinematics, it all adds up into one monster of a good soundtrack. I’ve even managed to get my wife to successfully play Chrono Trigger while actually liking it to the point that Frog’s Theme can make her turn her head and yell out, “Oh! That’s my Froggie!” So there you go, welcome to the list Chrono Trigger.
4. Soul Calibur 2:
Now before it happens, let me stop you right there Mr. Soul Calibur fan: The only Soul Calibur game I own is Soul Calibur 2. I played Soul Calibur 3, and acknowledge that a lot of people consider Soul Edge or Soul Calibur to be the best of the series. That said, I don’t care about those games; my favorite is 2 and one of my favorite game soundtracks comes from 2. I’ve been able to listen to it repeatedly and still enjoy myself since each track is extremely detailed to fit the stage it’s from. In fact, the amount of detail is staggering to my feeble little brain to handle. Having so many epic tracks in one 2-disc soundtrack boggles the mind, so I try not to think about it too much. I forgo that thought process and just enjoy the music for what it is: A masterpiece.
3. SSX Tricky:
If there’s one thing EA does well, it’s assemble soundtracks. While the SSX series doesn’t have any tracks that are inherently exclusive to SSX, SSX Tricky became one of the first video game soundtracks I decided I needed to order online, purely so I could listen to it at my leisure. And listen at my leisure I did. To this day, I’m amazed that every single track on the soundtrack is a track I have no problem listening to, and even more, some have become real favorites of mine as normal everyday music. It is a shame that the CD doesn’t include the mixes of “It’s Tricky” into the other tracks, brought on by filling your Tricky meter, but at the very least you have a solid CD filled with good music to cruise to while driving, and really, isn’t that what most music strives to be? Now why couldn’t I summon any interest in the series after Tricky?
2. TMNT IV SNES:
I knew I was going to select Turtles in Time as a favorite soundtrack, but what I didn’t know was whether I’d choose the SNES soundtrack over the arcade soundtrack. Here we are at the fabled day and I’m down to the wire having to make the choice, so with a gun to my shell, I’m going with the SNES version. Why? Something about it sounds better to me. Perhaps it’s the desire to hear this soundtrack played with real guitars. Because it has yet to be converted to such an awesome tribute album, I prefer to hear it as if it were closer tied to a video game, and the SNES version does just that. Plus, something about the arcade music sounds, I don’t know, weird. Debate aside, listen to Turtles in Time’s soundtrack and try and tell me it doesn’t sum up beat-‘em-ups perfectly. If only someone could recreate this soundtrack for a GOOD TMNT arcade game, my life would be complete.
1. Super Smash Bros Brawl:
At last, my favorite video game soundtrack, and wouldn’t you know it, I managed to select the king of soundtracks. Most soundtracks on this list contain under 50 tracks, whereas Super Smash Bros Brawl has over 300 tracks, a staggering number by all accounts. I have a version of the Melee soundtrack on CD as performed by the New Japan Philharmonic, but Brawl far outshines it in diversity and scope. It contains the greatest hits of video game music with tracks from Mario games, Zelda games, Sonic games, Metal Gear Solid games, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, Metroid, Star Fox, and more. It’s unbelievable just how much work and how many composers had a hand in this soundtrack. This is the most bang for your buck, so if I was forced to choose only one single soundtrack to listen to for the rest of my days, here it is. Can’t do better than this in my eyes.
There, I’m done. Four consecutive posts all about video game music. I’m all musiced out, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. I want to know what your favorite video game soundtracks are. Do you love some of my choices as well? Or do you have some you’re surprised I didn’t mention? Leave a comment and let me know, though it may take a while to respond since I have over 300 songs to listen through before I can do anything again.
Want more Top Ten lists? Check these out: