Video Game Soundtrack appreciation thread

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.

I could listen to MIDIs of the music from Mega Man 2 non-stop and never grow bored.

Not very in-depth, but I mostly certainly do appreciate that music.

I love the opening theme of Chrono Cross, The Scars of Time. The soundtrack is a big part of my game enjoyment…if the soundtrack is lacking, I just don’t like the game nearly as much.

It’s very unlikely that anyone will know what I’m talking about, but The Getaway for PS2 (an early, underrated and mostly forgotten GTA-style gangster game set in London) had an amazing score. It was all recorded by the London Session Orchestra. It’s a mix of a “jazzy” sound but with orchestral arrangements. It makes the game very distinctive.

If anyone remembers this game, say so so I don’t feel like a total tool.

Love video game soundtracks! Final Fantasy VI is my all time best. The ending medley of each character theme is one of my single favorite pieces of music in any genre. V and XII are also outstanding from the FF series, and Chrono Trigger is awesome. I can still sing most of the lyrics to the songs in Parappa the Rapper even though I haven’t played the game in years. Lately I’ve been humming tunes from Space Channel 5 Part 2 nonstop.

Bioshock, baby. Soundtrack song list here, featuring “Beyond The Sea”.

Oh yeah, something else I have to mention - Wave Race 64.

One night, during the summer where I first started using marijuana a lot, I was playing this game and I was just like, “this music is unbelievable.” I called my friend Nate and was like, “man, you have to get over here and get high and listen to the Wave Race music right now - it’s amazing.” (Nate was studying electronic music at IU and we were both starting to get into rock with Minimalist influences, like Grandaddy.)

We smoked and then went to the “Audio” screen in the Options of WaveRace where you can just listen to whatever song you want, without even playing the game. We listened to every song, intensely, picking them apart musically and discussing the individual elements of them.

Drake Lake : great fast-moving, jazzy bass line, and mind-blowing Phillip Glass-style synth arpeggios and little string-section runs.

Twilight City: Snazzy square-wave lead and sweet funk bass-line at the bridge (0:26.) Dig those Latin chords and percussion. More cowbell!

Sunset Bay: dig those tri-tone guitar chorus leads. Boston, eat your heart out! This is an amped-up version of the regular Wave Race theme.

Dolphin Park: love those crashing power chords. The square-wave lead, towards the end of the melody, sounds somewhat like the Mary Tyler Moore theme. This song may be cheesy but I do love it anyway.

Options Menu Music: A chill Latin version of the main theme, with badass little Moog-esque synth lines and trippy George Martin-style string-section rises and falls.

First Place: more Philip Glass-esque minimalist arpeggios and badass crashing power chords. Also what sounds like xylophone bells, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band-style, in the background.

You can hear all the songs Here.

No video game music has got its hooks in my quite like Final Fantasy 7. All the games in the series have great music, but 7 is the soundtrack I keep around. I got all 85 tracks on both my work and home computers. It does a good job of covering just about every style of music you can think of and touching on any mood you can feel. I’ve also managed to track down a few full, live symphony(not sure which) covers, those are absolutely beautiful.


The soundtrack to Myst 3: Exile is extremely good; track 16 is one of the best pieces of music I own (from any genre).

I really enjoy the score to the Baldur’s Gate series.

Also MDK had some incredible music in it, especially the snow board level.

Some of the introductory themes in Team Fortress 2 are also very enjoyable, like the one thats mostly drums.

Aw, hell, anything by Michael Giacchino.

After that, Bill Brown’s soundtrack to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, the soundtrack to Maniac Mansion; the NES’ Micro Machines (only MIDI I could find, sorry.); and, of course, the lovely soundtack to SimCity 2000.

A hearty second for FF6 and Chrono Trigger. Even though many of CT’s themes are variations on the main OP, it’s just about the only music I can study to–the melodies are abstract enough that I don’t find them distracting in the least.

Many Square RPGs left a good impression on me as far as the soundtracks went: Super Mario RPG, Secret/Legend of Mana/Seiken Densetsu 3, Final Fantasy Tactics…

All of the obvious Square stuff (FF and the two Chrono games, but also Xenogears and Secret of Mana, among others). Suikoden 2. The Lunar games. The original Tetris theme. Gah, so many, even just in the RPG genre… and they haven’t had a monopoly on the great music (though sometimes it seems like it).

(insert obligatory link: OC Remix )

I have a ton of this stuff, and I need more, more, MORE! I just wish I had more of an opportunity to listen to it these days - I find that it’s best for reading and studying, neither of which I can do nearly as much of since I’m out in the Real World now.

Chrono Cross cannot get enough praise for its soundtrack. The soundtrack is what, in my opinion, really sells the setting of the game. For those of you who don’t know, pretty much the whole game takes place in a fairly sleepy little archipelago. The music has a very island-ish feel to it that really immerses you.

Also, I’ll take a cheat and mention Super Smash Bros. Brawl because it includes something like 250+ songs from countless Nintendo games.

edit: Oh, and how can I forget Portal? Only a few songs, but they’re all great.

I’ll second most of this thread and add Grim Fandango. I also like the final track to Riven (not the bonus track, but Fissure). Now I want to listen to all this stuff again! Time to dig out the CDs.

The Soundtrack to No More Heroes is fantastic, and most of the songs are just the thing for an extended trip on Audiosurf.

If you’re a tool, then we’re a matching pair…I played and LOVED the Getaway (though the sequel, Black Monday, was a train wreck, an exercise in how to make a game repetitive and not at all fun), the score was absolutely fantastic, and one of the many things that drew me into it.

I came in here though to mention Portal, particularly “I’m Still Alive”…probably the most clever video game song I’ve ever heard. Kudos to Rock Band for announcing the song as an upcoming downloadable.

All of the Final Fantasies from the 16-bit era on have great soundtracks.

But no video game had me so eager to get my hands on the soundtrack album as the Katamari Damacy games - particularly We :heart: Katamari. Everlasting Love has a tendency to stick in my head for ages. (Which is a good thing in this case…I love it.)

Super Hangon is used on my webmaster page.

I love video game music. The most recent soundtrack I’ve fallen in love with is Mario Galaxy. The fully orchestrated tracks really capture the epic feel of flying through space but they’re also great to listen to on their own.