Video Game Soundtracks seem to have a love/hate relationship with the world. You either love them and appreciate them, or see them as just noise (even with CD quality new-gen systems). About 10% of my ipod consists of Video Game soundtracks. I thought I would start a thread where everyone could discuss their favorite soundtracks, share some listening suggestions, or any other thoughts.
The other day, I was listening to the Final Fantasy 4 soundtrack. FF4 (originally released for the Super NES as Final Fantasy 2 - the game with Cecil) is one of my favorite games of all time (and is where my username came from!), and also has one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, but one thing I really started to notice for the first time were the unique variations of the main theme (the overworld theme) used throughout the game. The underworld world them has a variation of it played by the woodwinds. The Theme of Sorrow has another variation of it. Even the Moon overworld theme has a very distorted version of it! And of course, there is an orchestrated version of it in the first part of the ending sequence.
Another game that really deserves special recognition is the soundtrack from Super Castlevania 4, another of the earliest SNES games. This game has a very diverse selection, so that there should be something that especially appeals to everyone, from the jazzy-rocking first stage theme (which gets reprised each time you kill a boss), to the drum&bass fun second stage theme (forest, swamp, river) theme, to the classical themes from stage 3 (cave, waterfall, sunken city) and 6 (entrance hall, chandeliers, ballroom). Infact, I remember once reading an article that stated that the sunken city theme (BGM 05 in the sound test in the options menu of the game) is the most complicated piece of video game music ever written - it starts out sounding like a Bach-inspired baroque, but then turns into a smooth jazz organ-driven piece, still keeping on the baroque themes. One of my favorite themes is the fourth stage (the fun house, BGM 06 in the sound test) theme, which starts off as a pipe organ tocatta, but then continues to build into a very creepy, chaotic theme. The second half of the stage has a variation on this theme (BGM 07) which builds up to be even more hyper and intense. This song was later reused in Circle of the Moon. I’m also a big fan of the treasury theme (BGM 0D) which starts out slow as this weird piano solo, but then turns into a very jazzy and memorable song. The last three stages of this game feature 16 bit versions of the stage 1 themes of the first three Castlevania games for the NES.