Wednesday, November 09, 2011

10 Favorite Video Game Songs

Why not? If the London Philharmonic Orchestra can do it, then I will too. Except I am musically challenged so I'll be linking to YouTube videos instead. Though I can still play a few rounds of Chopsticks on piano. With both hands!

Like some of my other lists, there isn't a ranking. All of the songs are equally capable of being someone's favorite. I did my best to provide variety and not solely focus on Nobuo Uematsu. He might just get his own list one day. But there is a lot of great stuff out there. Tons. Too many in fact. Whittling it down to 10 was difficult. But I hope some of you would agree that these would be a better selection in the "Greatest Video Game Music" catalog over Angry Birds.

~ Chrono Cross - Time's Scar

Upbeat. Catchy. And very Celtic. One of those songs that you will hum for days because it will not quit. And you don't want it too.

~ Donkey Kong Country - Aquatic Ambiance

How can you not love this? It's a serene, yet transient melody that guides you through your swimming adventures as the tie-wearing ape. One of those songs that you can get lost in, and forget that you have enemies coming at you. Also one of the few songs where I recommend the Wii Remake of DKC.

~ Ecco - St. Gabriel's Mask

Obscure enough? Ecco the Dolphin was a Sega Genesis game in 1992. I remember being a Dolphin, and swimming, and something having to do with a mystical storm and only you can bring peace back to the sea. It's an odd game. But some of the best old-school music you can find.

~ Final Fantasy X - Path of Repentance

This will be my only Final Fantasy entry. I can already hear the crys. "Why not Dancing Mad?" "What about Sephiroth's Theme?" "Did you forget about FFIV?" I chose this one because it is a personal favorite. I love it because it is simple, and yet complex. It tells a story of being trapped with no escape, but there is a glimmer of hope for freedom amongst the refrain. It's a haunting melody that always moves me.

~ Halo: Combat Evolved - Under the Cover of Night

I'd argue this is the most under-appreciated of all of the Halo songs. Most of you will probably listen to the song and wonder where it is in the game. We all know the main theme and the Covenant Dance. What I love about it is that it's subtle. It doesn't have the glaring boom of the opening theme nor the choir of vocals. It fits with the mood of the game. And it feels kind of jungly and spacy all at once.

~ Katamari Damacy - Katamari on the Rocks

Dare you to not bop your head or sing "na-na-na-na-na-na" after listening to this. Go on. Try.

~ Parasite Eve - Primal Eyes

By far one of my favorite opening songs for any video game. It has action, drama, romance, sorrow, anger, fear, hate, excitement all smashed into 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Basically a preview of what to expect with the game.

~ Shadow of the Colossus - The Farthest Land

Another game where all of the music is stunning. So it was difficult to narrow my selection to one. I decided on this piece because it best represented the journey the player takes through the game. It also combines multiple styles of music (traditional Eastern European sounds with Japanese instruments such as the shamisen)to weave itself into the story.

~ Sonic 3 - Ice Cap Zone (Act 1)

Don't get me wrong. I still love the Greenhill Zone music, but I've always been a sucker for the electronica of Sonic 3. What I enjoy about this song is it's archaic nature to stick with the theme of the Ice Zone while pushing forward in the field of gaming music. It's catchy. It's bouncy. And still pretty cool when you listen to it. Literally and figuratively.

Super Metroid - Prophecy / On Top of Jacob's Ladder

I'm still looking for the original version of this on YouTube, as I could only find the FSS Studio's Project Majestic Mix version. For me this song is everything that I love about Metroid. The intrigue, the aliens, the play-style. All of it. I remember as a kid playing this zone for days because of the music. Because you know, back then, we didn't have the internet. :p

Honorable Mentions:

Donkey Kong Country - Fear Factory Original SNES version. Wii Remake.

Mother 3 - Hard Rain

Chrono Trigger - Undersea Palace

Einhander - Dawn

And all of the Final Fantasy Chocobo themes (13 excluded from this particular video, but it's cool too!)


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