Top Six: Mitch’s Favorite Video Game Theme Songs

Music is an inextricable part of gaming, as much as it is for every other visual medium. Music can pull us into the moment, bring up the appropriate feelings and make something unforgettable. Throughout our hobby’s long history, we’ve had a great many composers gift us with some incredible songs, all the way from the NES era (and before) to today. Anthony did something similar a while back with his weekly music posts, but I thought I’d collect my favorite songs in one handy dandy top six list. Why six, you ask? Because six sells.

Far Away (Red Dead Redemption)

Did anyone honestly not see this coming? If you’re a regular listener of The GamerSushi Show, then you’ll know I bring up this little ditty every opportunity I get. Until I reached Mexico, I thought Red Dead Redemption was a really good game, and a sterling addition to Rockstar’s already great legacy, but it didn’t quite top Mass Effect 2. When I rode over that dusty hill and the first notes of the guitar came through my speakers, I knew I was playing one of gaming’s greatest moments and that alone rocketed it to my Game of the Year.

Overworld (The Legend of Zelda)

Nintendo has its share of memorable themes (they get two spaces on my list), but one of my all-time faves has to be the Overworld song from the first Legend of Zelda. The embed below is from the Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack, but it’s such a treat to hear this song be updated for modern systems. This song is so iconic that whenever I hear even a hint of the notes, I instantly get a smile on my face.

Halo (Halo: Combat Evolved)

Is there any other theme song from last gen more widely known than the opening song of Halo: Combat Evolved? This theme is so mysterious, other-worldly and awe-inspiring and it fits perfectly with the opening image of the seemingly docile ring hanging in space. Once the pounding drums kick in, though, you’ll know why this masterpiece got our hearts pumping as we mowed down Flood and Covenant alike.

Pokemon Theme (Pokemon Red & Blue)

Laugh if you must, but Pokemon has some of the best, most recognizable songs in gaming. This series has changed over time, but the opening song, along with the Gym and Pokemon Center themes, have remained the same, and always serve as a great reminder of the first time you picked up Pokemon Red or Blue and popped them into your system.

Snake Eater (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)

When I played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater for the first time, I really didn’t anticipate hearing this James Bond inspired tune during the opening credits, but as the intro went on, I grew to love it. The other times that this song pops up during the game (the ladder climb, the fight with The Boss) are really memorable moments that serve to enhance the impact of this theme. It even makes an appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 when you’re fighting Liquid Ocelot and it makes that battle even more kick ass.

Battlefield Theme (Battlefield 1942)

The Battlefield theme song, is, hands-down, the cream of the crop. When I first played 1942, I was instructed to let the opening video play, and I was rewarded with the crashing symphony that accompanied the rendered scenes of World War 2 battles. Sure, it’s fairly simplistic compared to some other songs, but it’s powerful, imposing, and fits the atmosphere perfectly. Every Battlefield game has had its own take on this song, but for me, you just can’t beat the classic. Battlefield 1943 has had the best remake of this, so I’ve embedded that below.

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Alright, folks, those are my top six video game theme songs. There are a few notable omissions (like the one from Mario), but I feel like I covered all my bases pretty well. What do you guys think of my picks? Got any favorites of your own?

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

14 thoughts on “Top Six: Mitch’s Favorite Video Game Theme Songs”

  1. I think I have said it before but this one “takes the cake”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI

    Mass Effect 1&2 both have a ton of good music, but there is nothing quite like the first time playing ME1 knowing nothing about the game and hearing this theme.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVm_ljDSdwA

    The Witcher theme.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJh9YF94Rro

    And finally the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. theme music for the bandit camp,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYpSg4n6lGo 😀 😀

  2. Nice list Mitch (and I did see RDR coming lol).

    My top six would be as follows (in no particular order, just wherever they appeared oniTunes):

    1. RE5: Manjini IX – In Flames
    2. Dragon Age 2: Main Theme
    3. Freedom Fighters: March of the Empire
    4. CoD:MW2: Retreat and Reveille
    5. FFX: Zanarkand
    6. Uncharted 2: Reunion

    Honourable mentions go to: “Snake Eater” (I just didn’t want to repeat any from your list), “Crossing Over” from BFBC1 (I may have gotten the name wrong), the Dragon Age Origins Theme and “Apocalypse” from Hitman: Blood Money (wanted to avoid repeating series/composers).

  3. I don’t have the time to compile a top six list but i think one that should have been on there is the original Medal of Honor theme song, i just find it so fantastic.

  4. Not in any kind of order:

    Two have been mentioned earlier. Legend of Zelda most definitely. I liked Ocarina of Time less because of it’s absence. I kept waiting for it, even a hint, but nada. Luckily, it made its triumphant return in Majora’s Mask. So there’s that and Gadfly Jim’s first link. I couldn’t believe no one had mentioned it yet, then I saw those quote marks 🙂

    And now on to original picks.

    Definitely need to mention Morrowind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWuNf4gxwuM), and it’s variation in the opening screen in Oblivion and the chills inducing chorus version in the Skyrim trailer.

    Then the Final Fantasy save music. The clip is from 6, but it shows up in a lot games (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8Ki9RyzX0c&feature=related). Honorable mention to the chocobo music 🙂

    Then I’d go with Diablo’s Tristram theme. Love the guitar here. This was one of the first songs I ever downloaded way back when. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2evIg-aYw8)

    And finally, the intro music for the original Fable. So heroic! I used to turn the game on just to listen to this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u2ebGuaq8o)

  5. I’m mostly a lover of the more retro stuff, so on my list I’ve got:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n67XIOuqHgs
    Really any song from Rocket Knight Adventures would do, but given that we’re mostly doing themes here, I think that the first level theme would be my number 1. It’s one my favorite games of all time so I’m somewhat biased, though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yUvMuple5I
    The theme of Deus Ex is still, to me, one of the most badass themes for such a great game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiYKIoOkmhA
    Ultimate Ghosts n Goblins perfectly ressurected the original Haunted Graveyard theme for me. So this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tifv7qh_hmY
    The first level of Contra had music that made me feel like a badass and still brings back fond memories.

    These are my favorites.

  6. Gerudo Valley theme from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Brilliant.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy0aEj85ifY

    Ravenholm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cOOhzWslGE&feature=related

    And on the topic of creepy, the entire Bioshock original score (best paired with Rainymood):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq2MtuWaMU4 (Cohen’s Masterpiece)

    And one more for you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuO-ocJRe-U&feature=related
    Mute City

    Oh fine, you want another, take another:

  7. Deus Ex Theme is definitely one that always gives me shivers. I’ll never forget when it kicked in during the Dues Ex 3 trailer.

    The original MGS / MGS 2 Theme is one of the best video game songs ever.

    Portal’s End Credit song is absolutely iconic of course. It’s a Geekgasm wrapped in musical happiness.

    Good call on the Battlefield theme. Gave me intense flashbacks from years ago, trading turns at 3 deaths with my cousin.

    Good list.

  8. I don’t think I can keep it to six…

    Mass Effect – Vigil – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmlkXMC2rE0 – One of the saddest pieces I’ve ever heard in a game

    Mass Effect 2 – Suicide Mission – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTsD2FjmLsw – One of the most epic pieces I’ve heard in a game

    Nier – Temple of Drifting Sands – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUn-kezLzeY – Sure, the lyrics might be a ficticious language, but that stop it from sounding amazing

    Chrono Trigger – To Far Away Times – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn5K-NNmgTM – I really could have chosen anything from this game and people would agree, right?

    Banjo Kazooie – Click Clock Woods (Spring) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXoaTcf_3vo – Always makes me feel better when I’m feeling a bit down

    Kirby’s Dreamland – Green Greens – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdbbFb281UA – Another too-happy-for-its-own-good piece of music

    Honourable mentions to
    Nier – Emil Sacrifice, Hills of Radiant Winds, Song of the Ancients
    Chrono Trigger – Main Theme, Frog’s Theme, Battle with Magus, End of Time
    Metal Gear Solid – Encounter
    Halo – Main Theme
    Final Fantasy VII – One Winged Angel
    Final Fantasy VI – Terra’s Theme
    Final Fantasy IX – The Landing
    Dragon Quest IX – The Observatory (Angelic Land)

    Really, I could go on forever….

  9. That’s a nice list you got there.

    I add “Earth” from Assassin’s Creed 2. It incorperated the best of the entire series, imao; even Brotherhood can’t top it.

    Also, TF2 theme song is my ringtone, text message notification, and the Heavy yells at me for my alarm. Yet it no make list? Psh. Obvious spy here. ;3

    I agree with the comments for Portal (Still Alive) and Oblivion slash Morrowind (Entire mofo soundtrack). Good catch on MGS3. I feel like because the game was somewhat flat, people tend to overlook that iconic song.

    For reals, this list is the ish.

  10. I love this list (BF 1942 is essential), and I’m loving all the responses.

    I’m thinking about posting a few of my favs, but it’s hard to narrow it down.

  11. I agree with Nick, it’s super cool that everyone started posting their choices. You guys always manage to surprise me.

    Also, thanks for not making fun of the Pokemon pick.

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