Music to our ears. What’s a game without a good score to accompany it? Here are 12 of the best video game soundtracks.
Like the rest of the game, a lot of work and thought went into finding the right music for the 2D-but-really-3D puzzle platformer Fez. Composed by Disasterpeace, the soundtrack is an amalgamation of Vangelis-styled 80s synth with hints of modern electronica, chiptune, retro, and psych. Fez would not have been the game it is without Disasterpeace’s invaluable addition that bleeds nostalgia and emotion.
2. Metal Gear Solid
One of the most memorable soundtracks complements Hideo Kojima’s timeless masterpiece. Ask anyone who was a kid or a teenager in the nineties, and they can vividly remember certain passages, to the extent of humming them back note for note. The orchestral, yet synthetically suspenseful melodies and choir parts did so much to add to the immersion of infiltrating a secret base. The game’s ending credits are embellished by the fabulous ”The Best is Yet To Come” which still hits me in the feels to this day.
3. Red Dead Redemption
One of the best games ever made has one of the best video game soundtracks. Go figure. Fitting, yet not overbearing and incredibly emotive of the last breath of the final frontier, the soundtrack probably peaks with the unexpected inclusion of a touching Jose Gonzalez track as Marston enters Mexico for the first time.
4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
A Primus song as part of its soundtrack. That alone is enough to warrant inclusion in this list. Otherwise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was one of the first games to incorporate pre-existing music from renowned performers and bands into a game to great effect, paving the way for what we’ve grown accustomed to in games like Grand Theft Auto and Watch_Dogs 2.
5. Super Mario Bros.
An absolute, unadulterated classic that is so ubiquitous with everyone regardless of their age. The main theme of Super Mario Bros. is known and loved with such good reason. It’s Japanese video game composition at it’s very best and is fitting for one of the most seminal games ever made.
6. No Man’s Sky
For all the criticism that’s been thrown Hello Games’ way in the wake of No Man’s Sky’s tumultuous release, the soundtrack performed by British post-rock alchemists 65daysofstatic is suitably awe-inspiring and conveys perfectly the immensity of the universe on offer. The way retro-futuristic sounds swell to incredibly emotive crescendos, then die down to illustrate the isolation of space is done with class.
7. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
8. Final Fantasy VII
It makes sense that an atmospheric game has a score to match, and Journey is somewhat of a masterclass in how it’s done. Composed by Austin Wintory, the music works dynamically with gameplay responding to player actions and environmental triggers, giving a sense that the sounds are evolving as players get further and further entrenched in the story. The music revolves around one central theme with the player represented musically as the cello, a recurring sound throughout the game, which is intermittently joined by a full orchestra and complementary electronic additions. The soundtrack found considerable commercial success following the release of the game, to the extent that it landed a Grammy nomination. I’m warning you now; this is emotional stuff.
In a way very similar to how evocative the Super Mario Bros.’ theme is, Tetris is another tune that most people can hum with ease. The heavily Russian-inspired rhythms and notes are perfect for a game that is both difficult to master, yet incredibly easy to enjoy. A fitting sonic accompaniment to a gaming institution.
11. PaRappa The Rapper
Suitably strange, the soundtrack to PaRappa The Rapper fits perfectly with the concept of the game. A lyrically gifted hound charms us with his delightful rhythms. They don’t make them like this anymore.
12. Katamari Damacy
PlayStation 2’s weirdest games, Katamari Damacy, sports one the most unique soundtracks to bless our splendid medium. It’s canned happiness and euphoric charm boxed into a congruent cacophony. The blend of varied genres just works and brings to life that ever-tumbling ball of debris.