GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Game Soundtrack?

final fantasy vii

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of game music, mainly Square Enix games, naturally. I’ve shared my favorite moments in game music with you several times, but I’ve never asked you, dear reader, what game music moves you. The reason for my asking is Eddy and I have both been on a game soundtrack kick, but we didn’t realize the other was doing it also until yesterday.

Eddy has been uber-productive at work while listening to the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack, no doubt rocking to One-Winged Angel and Jenova, if he has any sense. Meanwhile, across the country, I’ve been jamming with the Chrono Cross soundtrack, drifting away on memories of a game played 10 years ago. Which is why we think game soundtracks are so awesome to listen to. In a way, it allows you to replay and revisit those awesome moments in your head. Frankly, there’s nothing like it.

So, that being said, what game soundtracks do you like to listen to when you want to set a certain mood, such a nice stroll down memory lane or something to pump you up before a night out on the town? Are there any hidden gems we need to listen to? Speak now!

Written by

Age: 34 PSN ID: Starkiller81. I've played games since before I can remember, starting with my dad's Atari and I haven't stopped yet. Keep them coming and I will keep playing them.

16 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Favorite Game Soundtrack?”

  1. Anything from the MGS, the theme is especially awesome from #2. Fallout 3 has some great classics, obviously. I’m definitely more of a film soundtrack guy though.

  2. I’m a big game soundtrack listener, and I’ve been listening to them more than usual lately. My favorites are WoW, Halo, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Ocarina of Time, and lately Heavy Rain.

  3. My Ipod is full of game music, from all generations and game types. But to name a few that are less commonly recognized…
    Mass Effect
    Wild Arms
    Persona 3 and 4

    Along with the usual suspects like Mario, Zelda, Halo, Final Fantasy, Sonic, Megaman etc etc

    1. @supernovaforce

      It’s funny that you mentioned Nier, because I’ve been looking into that game recently. How is it?

      And damn you Anthony, now I’ve just gone and bought the FFIX soundtrack on iTunes. Can’t wait to listen to this at work tomorrow. Going to have to add Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and FFVI (once I get done playing it).

  4. Legend of Zelda for sure. the Corneria theme from Starfox and “Pokey Means Business” from Earthbound. My personal top three are the soundtrack from Bioshock, Akira Yamaoka’s work in Silent Hill and finally….Kirby 64. I can remember every tune. the music to each cutscene got across the message without ant dialog. It also set the mood of each level from the ridiculously upbeat first level of Pop Star to the creepy haunted Ripple Star. Also it’s boss theme is incredibly catchy!

  5. I love the Chrono Trigger soundtrack like nothing else. Robo’s theme never ceases to make me happy when i hear it.

  6. No idea sorry Eddy, I haven’t played it. I just came across some of the music on youtube and fell in love. Especially the song “Temple of Drifting Sands” – I could play that song forever. If I had an xbox or ps3 I’d pick it up though. Apparently the gameplay is good, the story average and the graphics terrible, but that’s just from things I’ve read, no first hand experience unfortunately.

  7. Braid had some cool music as well as Machinarium. I just read on ign that Clint Mansell will be composing the music for Mass Effect 3! I am so stoked for this!

  8. Super Meat Boy.

    Every single track is eargasm material.

    I’m hoping to get the two-disc version for my birthday. 🙂

  9. I love me some Jesper Kyd. Assassin’s Creed, Hitman and Freedom fighters are fantastically scored.
    Having now completed Mass Effect 2 I am comtemplating loading up iTunes ASAP.
    There are a few others that many people like (MGS, Dragon Age, Bioshock, the Call of Dutys esp. MW2 imo, etc) but the Uncharted games have some of my fave compositions (Reunion being my overall fave).
    *Almost forgot* Resi 5 has some great ones too. The ‘Manjini’ ones are excellent with Manjini IX – In Flames being my favourite composition in this generation of games. I used to play chapter 6-3 just to hear it. Now that I bought the soundtrack I can listen to it whenever I want!
    So my favourite overall is Uncharted 2 just so you know.

  10. I honestly haven’t spent much time listening to straight-up game soundtracks outside of in-game context. Mostly listened to remixes/arranged versions, my personal favorite being The Brink of Time: Chrono Trigger Arranged Version. The Final Fantasy piano collections are pretty good too.

    Dang though, so many great soundtracks in this thread…definitely going to have to grab a few.

  11. I’m surprised Halo hasn’t been mentioned more i personally love the score in every Halo game. I’m not a Call of Duty guy but i think that series has some good music too.

  12. FINALLY you ask this question! GAAH! Soundtrack is one of the most important yet underrated aspects of video games. Without soundtrack, the game is boring and half the immersion connection is lost!

    Now, here’s a top 10 that I’ve been itching to splurge. It’ll be from #10 to #1, with the title of the game in brackets and the track that I listened to while writing in quotations right after the brackets.

    [10. Fallout 1, 2] “Necropolis”, “Modoc”
    No other game has turned its soundtrack into a psychological weapon and remained exciting to listen to. Eerie is not a strong enough term to describe even the calm pieces. Every sound fills with anxiety, paranoia, and a lurking dread for the desolate wastes and inevitable trials of the irradiated world. Even your home vault, Vault 13, in Fallout 1 is set to a tense, dark piece. Don’t play “Wasteland” or “Necropolis” when you’re about to go to bed, either. The alien sounds and unnerving composition are an outstanding achievement for soundtrack in general, let alone a 90’s computer game. Fallout 2 adds some more pieces in a similar vein of Fallout 1’s desolation, and even a serenely peaceful piece that feels out of place yet still tranquil, and both of the original Fallouts capture the tension and hopelessness of the world with its disturbing music more effectively than any other soundtrack.

    [9. Assassin’s Creed 2] “Tour of Venice”
    Renaissance Italy is a land of wealth and culture, and corrupt and killing. Assassin’s Creed 2’s soundtrack captures the extravagance and emotion of the cities and events with lively beats in some tracks, dark, tense rhythms in others, and graceful notes in others. AC2 captures the various atmospheres of the game while always sounding consistent, which really is no simple task.

    [8. Red Dead Redemption] “Far Away”
    Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite games, and its soundtrack is partly why. It captures the spirit of the West very well, and its consistent steady pace, whether quiet or loud, keeps the music interesting and the action on-screen engaging. Plus, “Far Away” by Jose Gonzalez is an excellent song and fits in perfectly with the game to deliver a few memorable minutes of profound connection with John Marston.

    [7. Medal of Honor: Afghanistan] “Streets of Gardez”
    While MoH:A might have been a lackluster game, but its soundtrack, just like the rest of the Medal of Honor series, is outstanding. From calm, graceful pieces like “From Here” to exhilarating action pieces like “Streets of Gardez” to a phenomenal use of Epic English in “Falling Away”, MoH:A combines both forte and piano to deliver a 20-track experience with pretty much every piece having something memorable or even moving. The journey from rest to combat reflects how war is not constant action, and shows the intensity and fatigue of soldiers. Having a balance between quiet and loud is necessary for any soundtrack to stand out as an experience and a journey just as much the game, and that’s how the best soundtracks are made.

    [6. Golden Sun 1, 2, 3] “Venus Lighthouse”
    The Golden Sun series is the best RPG for the Gameboy Advance, even including ported classics of the NES era. I will fight to death for that statement; Golden Sun is a masterpiece. A huge reason for this is the music, composed by the skilled Sakuraba Moroi. All of the battle themes, especially Felix’s, are worthy of being full boss themes, all of the towns and landmarks have great pieces, especially the Venus Lighthouse, and all of the music for the events come together to create a powerful connection between the player/listener and the world of Golden Sun, Weyard. The soundtrack is beautiful, moving, and memorable, and it’s all delivered for a handheld game.

    [5. Modern Warfare 2] “Of Their Own Accord”
    You guys probably know how much I rage about how terribly broken MW2’s multiplayer is, but you guys should know that I did enjoy the Campaign, titled ‘For The Record’, and the soundtrack. Thanks to Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe being the composers for MW2, the soundtrack is excellent. The pieces are either fast-paced and energetic or loud and badass, with a few of the pieces being genuinely moving. “No Russian” does an excellent job of being disturbing, and adds to the sickening terror of that level. “Of Their Own Accord” is probably my favorite piece because it begins quiet, then becomes almost like a cry as you run across the lawn, reflects the bloody-face struggle through the streets and buildings of DC for most of the piece, and finishes with vengeful, ferocity during the helicopter run. The whole piece reflects the fatigue of this massive, destructive battle, and fits well with the red sky and grueling firefights This is truly the most moving, terrifying, enraged, epic pieces of Modern Warfare 2 and perhaps of all soundtracks.

    [4. Shadow of the Colossus] Track 2 (I think it’s called “The Ritual”)
    Shadow of the Colossus is one of the greatest classics in the video game panpaichnidia, and a major factor in its greatness is its soundtrack. Thanks to the moving, somber pieces in between battles, and the epic, driving pieces of the battles themselves, as well as the surprising final boss theme, it’s easier for SotC to convey its emotions with the player and immerse them in the moment and the environment. The final battle in particular would have simply been a boring wall scale if not for the dramatic music that enhanced Wander’s anticipation of the final kill and the daunting task that lay ahead, now that Wander was sickly and near death. SotC’s music augments the emotion and significance of the event during which it plays, since the time spent traveling to the next colossus has no music.

    [3. Halo 2] “Heavy Price Paid”
    Halo’s music is known pretty much everywhere, and thanks to Marty O’Donnell’s genius, all of the Halos have one thing in common: an incredible soundtrack. Halo 2’s music embodies the journey of that game, and more than the other Halos, Halo 2 had the most extravagant story with many locations and moving scenes. Ah, I just have to sit back and reminisce about the era of Halo 2, when so many people were in tune with the epic story and glitchy yet fun multiplayer of the Halo series. It’s just not the same as Call of Duty; Halo captivated the world, had an epic story, and had much more of a community spirit. Alas, this is not the time for memories. Or is it?! Any time I listen to the Halo 2 soundtrack, I remember the story, the multiplayer, and the atmosphere of Halo in its golden age, and it’s delivered on two discs of a phenomenal experience.

    [2. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask] “Forest Temple”, “The Eleventh Hour”
    The Legend of Zelda is, like pretty much every other gamer, my favorite video game series. In fact, I think it’s pretty fair to say that to be considered a real gamer, you have enjoy the Legend of Zelda series. I’m joking…well no I’m not, but you can see how much Zelda has impacted gamer culture. LoZOoT was my brother’s and my first N64 game, and thanks to the grand adventure of LoZOoT, I became a legit gamer and understood that video games could be seriously amazing and unique works of art, and not just some silly guy running around in elf clothes. Ahem, and now the music. LoZOoT has many themes that are ingrained into the collective consciousness of the gamer community, and when you go back and listen to them and try to taste the music without your nostalgic biases, you realize that the music really is spectacularly composed and arranged. Each piece reflects a strong meaning, whether its the enigmatic eeriness of the Forest Temple, the oppressive heat of the Fire Temple, the epic decisive battle with Ganon, or any of the other fantastic dungeon, boss, event, and landmark themes. Majora’s Mask has many memorable pieces as well, though many of them are more disturbing. It’s shocking to see how much more eerie Majora’s Mask is that LoZOoT even though it’s for kids (whether or not they’re 20 years old). There’s not much more I can say without regurgitating every childhood memory of crawling through dungeons and slashing chickens.

    [1. Halo ODST] “Skyline”
    For as much ire as ODST drew for being an over-priced expansion pack, there’s no doubt that Halo ODST’s soundtrack is the best in the Halo series and one of the best soundtrack of all time. Like I said before, the journey of the game needs to be expressed with its soundtrack, and that’s what Halo ODST does perfectly. It sets up the tone of the game with a humble, almost mournful main theme, then drops into action with a harried overture that ends in solace, reflecting our hero walking into the night in search of his squadmates. Once we get to the series of battles, the battles have fast-paced and exciting themes and are well-paced, and then afterwards a quiet theme fits perfectly into the story, as the Rookie continues his search for his comrades after piecing together the prior battle and the player/listener gets a chance to rest after the combat music. “Skyline” is certainly the best action music in ODST and is right up there with the original Halo theme in terms of pure, untainted, high-quality awesomeness. Every piece is memorable and reflects the world of beseiged New Mombasa perfectly, and everytime I set aside about two hours to enjoy it all, I recall when I played through the entire Campaign in one sitting and how I enjoyed fighting all of the battles and feeling fatigued but still ready for war even to the last mission. Thanks to the music, the atmosphere of ODST and the desperation of the battle came across perfectly and connected with me, since I had experienced the effect of the long night personally. The Halo ODST soundtrack is a complete experience in and of itself, and despite what anyone might say about the story, the music stands out as a masterpiece.

    Some games had a few pieces that stood out as masterpieces that rival the caliber of these Top 10 soundtracks, but I felt that the entire soundtracks of these games deserved to be in the #20-11 range and thus I just didn’t include their entire soundtracks. The exception is Deus Ex Human Revolution, which has only released “Icarus” and not the full soundtrack, so it’d be silly to pull an IGN and include a game that hasn’t come out on a Top 10 list; although, that’s not to say that Deus Ex HR won’t probably be in the Top 10…

    Honorable Mentions:
    – Deus Ex Human Revolution: “Icarus”
    Before seeing the Deus Ex Human Revolution trailer, I had never heard of Michael McCann (a.k.a. “Behavior”), but now, he’s one of my favorite composers. His other works are electronic and ambient and sound similar to “Icarus”, but they’re still all wonderful. “Icarus” is the best trailer music I’ve ever heard and McCann’s work is one of the main reason’s why I psyched for DXHR. It combines the electronic sounds of this futuristic world, the human emotion via the moving vocals, and is all delivered in a powerful, fast-paced, grandiose piece that captures the epic scale of DXHR’s story.

    – Chrono Cross: “Radical Dreamers”
    I only recently got Chrono Cross, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, but it’s the credits song, with vocals by Mitose Noriko, called “Radical Dreamers” that really stands out. It’s a beautiful piece thanks to Noriko’s angelic voice, the steady melody giving the song a graceful feel, and the quiet, dreamlike composition of the song that make it a wonderful joy to listen to and a fantastic piece in the Chrono Cross soundtrack.

    – CoD Black Ops: “Rooftops” and “Beheaded”
    While half of the tracks of the Black Ops soundtrack range from lifeless to decent to pretty good, “Rooftops” and “Beheaded”, as well as a few others that still aren’t quite as awesome as these two, stand out as truly incredible pieces in the Black Ops soundtrack. “Rooftops” is the epitome of badass, adrenaline-pumping, high-intensity pieces, and is the full version of Op40’s friggin awesome multiplayer spawn theme. It captivates the player/listener in a teeth-clenching, head-banging, explosion-anticipating trance of awesome, all the while having a nice Asian lady…”aa-aaah” occasionally. “Beheaded” is another piece that isn’t as prominent as “Rooftops” but is perhaps better. It’s not fast-paced chase music, but it does have a pretty surprising sound to it compared to what you expect from a military shooter. It sounds…different, and has some excellent vocals, even if it is a fairly short piece. “Beheaded” is memorable and just as engaging as “Rooftops” but for a different reason, with it being more mysterious yet still having a power behind it.

    – Call of Duty 4: “Game Over” and “Crew Expendable”
    I know guys, but I really like CoD’s music. I’ll keep this short. “Game Over” is the best car chase music I’ve ever heard, and has a fast, tense, violin-lovin’ rhythm that matches the speed and intensity of the final mission of Call of Duty 4. “Crew Expendable” has such a unique and awesome feel to it, particularly at the beginning. It rouses you from your post-training mission stupor with a determined sound to the music. The radar pings and percussion make the music feel nautical and epic. “Crew Expendable” is an awesome-sounding introduction into one of, if not the, greatest modern war shooter of all time.

    – CoD World at War: “Eviction”
    Like the Black Ops soundtrack (both of which were composed by Sean Murray), half of the tracks aren’t anything worthy of a Top 10 nomination, but the other half are fantastic pieces that bring the player/listener into the brutal intensity of the battles. The ultimate piece that does this is “Eviction”, which is the level where the Russians viciously clear out large buildings and a metro station of the Germans hopelessly occupying them. The majority of the music for this level is a low undertone of dark vibrating sounds, shrill electronic-instrument wails, and eerie vocals, and it builds the tension in such a way that it sounds like some evil, creeping shadow of hatred has slithered its way into your mind and the minds of the other Russians (except for Chernov) as they mercilessly exact revenge upon the soldiers whose army previously rampaged through the Russian lands. The hatred is released once the Russians reach the street, and tanks blast through walls and infantry, and the bloody execution that’s called a skirmish continues. It’s loud, it’s terrifying, and it’s relentless, and it perfectly embodies the tirelessness of rage.

    – Medal of Honor Frontline: “Arnhem Knights”
    The Medal of Honor series is both loved and ridiculed for its sweeping, dramatic scores, and at the end of the day, a beautiful soundtrack is a good thing, even if it supposedly glamorizes the “Greatest Generation” propaganda instead of maintaining the gruesome atmosphere of war. Either way, one must simple sit back and be invaded by the power of “Arnhem Knights” and other pieces.

    Yeah, I like soundtracks.

  13. I’m gonna beat you guys over the head with a list, with star-based ratings:

    Animal Crossing ****
    DayHard (Half-Life 2 Mod) ***
    Descent 2 **
    Morrowind ****
    Fallout 3 (Score) ****
    Fallout 3 (Galaxy News Radio) *****
    Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls *****
    Final Fantasy IV (only one song; last battle) *****
    Halo 3 ****
    Gears of War *
    Half-Life *****
    Half-Life 2 *****
    Half-Life 2 Episode One *****
    Half-Life 2 Episode 2 *****
    Halo 2 ****
    Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker ***
    Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time ****
    Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask ****
    Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess ****
    Mario Kart 64 (Banshee Boardwalk) *****
    Metroid Prime ****
    Metroid Prime 2 *****
    Metroid Prime 3 ***
    Metroid Prime Hunters ****
    MINERVA: Metastasis (Half-Life 2 Mod) *****
    Oblivion *****
    Paper Mario ****
    Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door *****
    Pikmin *****
    Pikmin 2 *****
    Pokemon Red/Blue ****
    Portal *****
    Portal: Prelude (Portal Mod) *****
    Resident Evil 4 *****
    Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 ****
    The Simpsons: Hit and Run *****
    The Sims ****
    The Sims 2 *****
    Sonic Adventure *****
    Sonic CD (Japanese Version) *****
    Sonic CD (American Version) *****
    Sonic the Hedgehog *****
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ***
    Sonic 3 and Knuckles *****
    Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory *****
    Star Fox: Assault *****
    Super Mario 64 *****
    Super Mario Galaxy 2 ****
    Super Monkey Ball 2 *****
    Super Paper Mario ***
    Super Smash Bros. Melee *****
    Team Fortress 2 ***
    Vectorman *****
    Viewtiful Joe 2 *****
    Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble *****

    And that’s it. I looooove video game music.

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