T-McBee’s Top 10 Video Game Soundtracks

VideoGameSoundtracks

I like listening to music. I like playing games. What’s the best thing when you got music and games combined? That’s right! Video Game Soundtracks.

I find music tracks in video games are remarkable to listen to, just like soundtracks in films or orchestral pieces. Before soundtracks for games were an underrated genre to an universal audience and can be to some people. But now with games like Journey and Bastion having such remarkable soundtracks overall, video game soundtracks have become quite recognizable in the media today compare to 20 years ago. Movie soundtracks can’t hog all the fame to compose instrumental scores.

This is T-McBee, who’s ready to announce my Top 10 Video Game Soundtracks for this latest written countdown. Please be all aware that the choices are just my personal preferences. Keep in mind that I have different tastes in things and may not end up as exactly as you wanted. You’re welcome to mention your favourites by leaving a comment here or at the forums at itstailtime.

Now for you gaming and music enthusiasts out there. Grab your headphones! Turn on your music devices from i-pads or CD players! Let’s begin T-McBee’s Top 10 Video Game Soundtracks. So here we go!

10. Earthbound (Mother 2)

(Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka,Hiroshi Kanazu)

Earthbound_Mother2

There’s got to be that one RPG soundtrack from the Super NES days like Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger. People are aware about my appreciation for Earthbound/Mother 2 and one of the reasons why I loved Earthbound was its simple sounding soundtrack, with other diverse tracks that are groovy, cheery and even bone chilling at times. You really got to thank Suzuki, Tanaka, Kanazu for making the soundtrack fits Earthbound’s simple design.

The best thing about Earthbound’s soundtrack is how its 16 bit sounding tunes can show a wide of emotions to the player or listeners. Some tracks can be a bit unsettling to listen to, but it’s somewhat acceptable to fit Earthbound’s odd world really well. Also this soundtrack uses simple tech button, static and other ambient sounds in a few tunes to capture Earthbound’s quirky tone. Suzuki was also inspired by many tunes in the 1970s when composing this soundtrack. No wonder why people say they had such fond memories with this game! 😛

Favourite Tracks from Earthbound

Sunset & Onette Theme

Guardian Sanctuary

Paula’s Theme

Threed, Zombie Central

Your Name, Please

Kraken of the Sea

Bazaar

9. The Wolf Among Us

(Jared Emerson-Johnson)

OriginalSoundtrack_zps61a3e7a7

Jared Emerson-Johnson have worked in sound and music for other point and click adventure games in the past and the music he has composed for TellTale Games’ The Wolf Among Us is simply atmospheric. His way of composing in the game uses a lot of sound ambience as well as simple calm beats to capture the games neon world and art direction. It simply got me engaged the first time I jumped into the first episode of the game due to nostalgia sounding soundtrack.

The music tracks I heard in the first episode were simply outstanding as I could find myself listening to those tunes for hours while working on school projects or even working on these lists. I will admit that the tunes in the other episodes don’t stand out strong in my books compare to the first episode, but they certainly do capture the atmosphere in the game nicely. Sometimes soothing sounding tunes from The Wolf Amoung Us is all you need to calm your nerves down, even if the music doesn’t feel clean at times.

Favourite Tracks from The Wolf Among Us

Opening Credits

Faith

Inside Luxury Apartments

Bigby’s Place

I Was Fine

Crane’s Business Office

Pudding and Pie

8. Final Fantasy 7 & Final Fantasy 9

(Nobuo Uematsu)

ff7_ost

Final Fantasy IX OST 2

There’s a reason why many people admire the Final Fantasy franchise and its beautiful composed soundtracks. You really got to thank Uematsu for composing such memorable tunes for the Final Fantasy franchise and making these RPG experiences memorable. The two soundtracks that I had to choose from this series got to be Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 9. For someone who isn’t a hardcore FF fan, these soundtracks are ones that I can repeatedly listen to in an occupied state of mind.

Final Fantasy 7 may not be my favourite Final Fantasy game, but the one thing I got to accept from the game was its music, which some of the tracks truly capturing the right tune for its environments and locations. Final Fantasy 9 on the other hand had a really consistent soundtrack  to fit its medieval, steam punk like universe. And of course with FF9 being one of my favourite games of all time, it had tunes that somewhat pulled on my heartstrings personally. Any gamer has to have at least one track from the series that they got emotionally touched with.

Favourite Tracks from Final Fantasy 7

Anxious Heart

Fighting

Crazy Motorcycle Chase

Main Theme

Golden Saucer

Fiddle de Chocobo

You Can Hear the Cry of the Planets

Favourite Tracks from Final Fantasy 9

Vamo’alla Flamenco

Steiner’s Theme

Crossing Those Hills

Kingdom of Burmecia

Sleepless City Treno

Protecting My Devotion

You’re Not Alone

7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

(Koji Kondo)

Koji_Kondo_-_1998_-_Ocarina_of_Time

Zelda: Ocarina of Time being the first Zelda game I played also had a soundtrack that made me dive down into its gameplay experience right away. The tracks today maybe too simple for today’s game music compositions, but its the ambience of these tracks is what made the Ocarina of Time soundtrack very engaging for me. I’ll never get tired of listening to tracks like the Temple of Time, the Forest Temple and the Spirit Temple as the years goes on.

The music in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were just composed right for the game’s environment surroundings, even if some tracks were used in more than just one location, i.e. “Inside the Deku Tree” or “The Shadow Temple”. But honestly, some gamers probably didn’t noticed or cared about it that much because they believed it was a-okay for the music to be placed in those levels. Most gamer or fan of game composing have a favourite game soundtrack that Koji Kondo has worked on and his work for Zelda: Ocarina of Time still remains as my favourite today.

Favourite Track from Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Hyrule Fields

Temple of Time

Chamber of Sages

Forest Temple

Gerudo Valley

Spirit Temple

Final Battle Against Ganon

6. Chrono Cross

(Yasunori Mitsuda)

ChronoCrossost

As much as I like Chrono Trigger over Chrono Cross for its overall gameplay and story experience, there is one thing that I like from Chrono Cross over Chrono Trigger a little more; which is the soundtrack. Mitsuda’s composing work for Chrono Cross is outstandingly beautiful and it is the one thing that makes this game really pop out. I may have a love hate relationship in playing Chrono Cross, but I can’t say no this beautifully composed soundtrack.

Since I tried out Chrono Cross back in high school from a friend of mine before trying out Chrono Trigger on my own, I personally gotten high nostalgia with Chrono Cross’s music. There is a great diverse of songs that are placed in the right moments of the game, giving it such great intensity and graceful ambience overall. I may not remember all the tracks from Chrono Cross, but there are a few that strikes out magnificently whenever I try out this game or listen to the games’ original soundtrack…even though I find it an okay game.

Favourite Tracks in Chrono Cross

Time’s Scar (Intro)

Dream of the Shore Near Another World

Drowning Valley

Another Termina

Shadow Forest

Zelbess

People Seized with Life

5. Beyond Good and Evil

(Christophe Héral)

beyond_good_and_evil

Of course I had to add a game soundtrack to one of my favourite games of all time, but what can I say? I did enjoy the sci-fi and ambient track in Beyond Good and Evil. Beyond Good and Evil had a unique diverse soundtrack that were catchy, intense and emotionally beautiful that left me loving this soundtrack for so many years. The tracks from the game really makes gamers feel like they’re at the edge of their seat while playing Beyond Good and Evil.

Christophe Heral composition definitely has a French feel in music composing as gamers experienced it in other Ubisoft titles like the Rayman series for example. The soundtrack for Beyond Good and Evil blends multi-cultural ethnics, sci-fi, spiritual or deep thinking ambiences and meanings overall that literally gotten me to show many hard emotions whenever I encounter a well composed track that made me happy, sad or feeling determined. The game also included a few tracks that had lyrics of a made up language combined with some real languages to fit the game’s hybrid sci-fi world. Now that earns extra points in my books!

Favourite Tracks from Beyond Good and Evil

Safari

Mamago’s Garage

Home Sweet Home

Propaganda

Spanish Bar

“Insert Character’s Name Here” Death *Spoiler!!!*

Final Suite

4. Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark and Donkey Kong 64

(Grant Kirkhope)
Banjo_Kazooie_Soundtrack PD_Ost DK64Ost

Grant Kirkhope was quite an iconic composer for Rareware back on the N64 days with his unique techniques of reusing some music and sound loops in the music and somehow made those tracks work and easily unforgettable. Since I grew up in the N64 days when I was a kid, it was difficult to choose one game soundtrack done by this composer, so I choose three soundtracks by Kirkhope from Rareware, which are Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Perfect Dark.

I had to choose these three just for nostalgic reasons, including the quality of these tracks feeling much more layered than any N64 game that I’ve experienced. Banjo-Kazooie’s bouncy ambiance in its tunes really captured the cartoony vibe of the game’s world. Donkey Kong 64 may had tracks that sounded too identical, but had a great consistent soundtrack that fitted DK in 3D. And Perfect Dark had a upbeat tune that made players want to feel like quick, fast and a total bad ass. There got to be game tracks that you’ll easily remember from your younger days and it’s certainly these three games that thinks of my childhood days.

Favourite Tracks From Banjo-Kazooie

Main Title (Intro)

Gruntilda’s Lair

Treasure Trove Cove

Freezeezy Peak

Rusty Bucket Bay

Rusty Bucket Bay (Inside the Warehouse)

Final Battle

Favourite Tracks From Donkey Kong 64

DK Isle

Snide’s HQ

Angry Aztec

Gloomy Galleon

Mermaid Palace

Fungi Forest (Daytime)

Creepy Castle (Dungeon 3)

Favourite Tracks From Perfect Dark

Datadyne Central Defection

Chicago Stealth

Area 51 Infiltration

Pelagic II Exploration

Airbase Espionage

 Carrington Institute

Dark Combat

3. Donkey Kong Country 2

(David Wise)

DKC2OST

Though Grant Kirkhope and Robert Beanland were great composers to Rareware back in their Nintendo days, but David Wise sure was one of the game composers for the company at the time made Rareware shine on the SNES era with the Donkey Kong Country games. The music in the Donkey Kong Country games were all amazing, but his composing for Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest remains as my favourite today.

I guess the darker tone and pirate feel that Wise composed for Donkey Kong Country 2 really intrigued me immediately. Not to mention that he had other tracks that were outside the Pirate vibe with levels that weren’t set on Pirate ships and locations, such as in bees nests, windy forest and roller coaster rides. Fans of his works always thinks of his tracks in Donkey Kong Country 1 and will remember those tracks from that game more. The music in Donkey Kong Country 1 is great to listen to, but the music in Donkey Kong Country 2 just were composed nicely and had much variety in results. Even using iconic tracks like Stickbrush Symphony as a juxtapose for tough levels.

Favourite Tracks from Donkey Kong Country 2

Lockjaw’s Saga

Mining Melancholy

Disco Train

Flight of the Zingers

Stickerbush Symphony

In a Snow Bound Land

Krook’s March

2. Kingdom Hearts

(Yoko Shimomura)

Kingdom+Hearts+Soundtrack+disc+1+Kingdom+Hearts+Soundtrack

You may think I might be a hardcore Kingdom Hearts fan or just insane to choose this soundtrack on the list. As a matter of fact, Kingdom Hearts 1 is the only game I like from the series, despite its stiff controls. Listening to its soundtrack back in high school got me to appreciate video game music even more. Not only this soundtrack holds such great nostalgia value in my life, but now that Square lost all the assets to the first Kingdom Hearts on the PS2, the original soundtrack holds a much special place in my heart.

I am aware that Square remade Kingdom Hearts 1 in HD on Kindom Hearts 1.5 Final Mix, but hearing the remade tracks from the first game, isn’t really the same as the original for the PS2. Destiny Island in the remake doesn’t sound as tropical enough as in the original! But besides the original soundtrack being lost now, Shimomura’s composing for Kingdom Hearts 1 left amounts of inspiration and excitement every time I played Kingdom Hearts. The only reason why I didn’t put it at number one is the J-pop tracks with Utaha Hikaru. I’m not against the singer at all. It’s just the J-Pop hits in the game feels a bit off for me now than when I heard them back in high school.

Favourite Tracks from Kingdom Hearts

Destati 

Destiny Island

Traverse Town

Destiny’s Force

Hallow Bastion

Forze de Male

End of the World

1. Grim Fandango and Broken Age

(Peter McConnell)

GrimSoundtrackBrokenAgeSoundtrack

It’s a Tie!!!

Oh McConnell, why are you so awesome!?! But jokes aside, Peter McConnell has a great resume of games that he has composed for like Psychonauts, the Sly Cooper games and the Monkey Island franchise. Though there is not only one, but two game soundtracks done by this game composer that really struck my attention right away! Those game soundtracks goes to no other than Grim Fandango and Broken Age.

I can understand why many people love the soundtrack to Grim Fandango so much. The tracks combine a Spanish flair and jazzy 1940s Film Noir vibe which easily got myself bopping my head with joy, or even diving deeper to the game’s expressive side. The tracks in Grim Fandango really captured the game’s Day of the Dead festive art direction and just used the right instruments like saxophones, trumpets and violins to this cult classic game.

The music in Broken Age overall is just simply charming. Its beautifully orchestrated, using many instruments and other sounds to capture Broken Age’s innocent and deep thoughts feel. There were tracks that felt cunning, some that felt intense and other tracks that makes you smile with sincere, whether gamers were playing in Shay’s sci-fi world or Vella’s odd fantasy world.

I can see why McConnell is like the top and recognizable game composers out there who had worked on such iconic and memorable games. It simply shows in both Grim Fandango and Broken Age that he was truly proud in being part of making these games.

Favourite Tracks from Grim Fandango

Casino Calavera

Swanky Maximino

Hi-Tone Fandango

Gambling Glottis

Coaxing Meche

Temple Gate

Companeros

Favourite Tracks from Broken Age Act 1

(Due to having difficulties finding videos of the tracks separately, you’ll have to look through them by clicking here.)

Broken Age Theme & Vella Wakes

Face the Cupcakes

Hero

Time to Get Up, Little Spaceman

In the Situation Room

 Battle at Shellmound

New Worlds

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And that’s all for my Top 10 Favourite Video Game Soundtracks! Did you agree with my list? Or do you believe there are other game soundtracks that deserve to be up there? Feel free to mention your favourite game soundtracks by leaving a comment here or at the forums at itstailtime! Thanks for reading!

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2 Comments on “T-McBee’s Top 10 Video Game Soundtracks”

  1. Cory Woodrum Says:

    Good list, though I think that Donkey Kong 64 should be disqualified for subjecting the world to the DK Rap!

    F-Zero has an underrated soundtrack, one of my favorites of the 16-bit era.

  2. thehande Says:

    Excellent list as always, T-McBee! =D I listened to the tunes while reading and concluded that I really need to play The Wolf Among Us and Perfect Dark one of these days. Even the music from games I haven’t played sounded pretty dang awesome.

    I gotta say, Earthbound’s soundtrack really is something else. The whole game is so trippy and I feel the music perfectly complements it. I also love the Spanish song from Beyond Good and Evil. Easily my favourite track off that soundtrack. =D

    I made this exact same last year if you care to go through it (though I regret not linking to samples the way you did): http://thehande.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/my-top-10-video-game-soundtracks/

    Also, I listed my favourite “songs” from video-games earlier this year (this one has video embedded and an honourable mention at the end): http://thehande.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/top-10-songs-from-video-games/


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