Video Game Soundtracks

The best video game soundtracks of all time (part 3)

8. Machinarium

Tomáš Dvořák

(PC, 2010)

Monkey Island, Grim Fandango – a number of history’s greatest point ‘n’ click games believe their dialogue for his or her character, but not Machinarium. Instead, it is lovingly rendered scenarios and an enthralling soundtrack by Tomáš Dvořák – producer Floex – that sweep the game along.

9. Ikaruga

Hiroshi Iuchi

(Dreamcast, 2001)

If you forget the music from Ikaruga, it might be because you were too busy getting killed. This brilliant color-swapping shoot-em-up from Treasure had potent, sweeping trance gems for days, provided you’ll hear them long enough before your ship exploded once more.

10. Super Mario 64

Koji Kondo

(N64, 1996)

Even with a drill ’n’ bass remix of the first Mario theme, Super Mario 64’s OST hasn’t aged that well. There’s too many trumpets, too many hoedowns, and an excessive amount of of the type of rinky-dinky playground music that tires even quicker than the Wing Cap’s controls, but it deserves inclusion for a couple of spectacular moments – namely the brilliant ‘Inside the Castle Walls’, and therefore the water theme used on Dire, Dire Docks, black flag Bay and therefore the Secret Aquarium, a.k.a. Nintendo’s greatest ever New Age record.

11. Dragon Quest VIII

Koichi Sugiyama

(PS2, 2004)

Much like the game itself, there’s nothing quite as memorable because the stand-out themes of ultimate Fantasy, Chrono Trigger et al on this OST, but by god when it’s good it’s about as high-grade and delightful as this whole damn world gets.

12. Psychonauts

Peter McConnell

(Xbox, 2005)

Instead of sticking with one blend of tones, Psychonauts found director Tim Schafer and therefore the Double Fine crew shifting from one to a different as his psychic hero Raz explored different minds. The result’s a genre hopping carnival ride and one among Peter McConnell’s wildest scores. Whatever fractured mind you enter McConnell finds how to form the music stick. The way to write music for a conspiracy-filled 1950s world, a town of terrified lungfish running from your Kaiju-sized hero, and a black velvet bull fighting world must be hard enough. Tying it all into one game may be a job only McConnell could have accomplished.

The best video game soundtracks of all time (part 2)

4. McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure

Katsuhiko Suzuki

(Genesis, 1993)

Even when Treasure was doing embarrassing shit like this for money in their youth which didn’t stop the legendary developer from bringing their all. This strange gem was Suzuki’s masterpiece before getting into a directorial role because the head of Treasure’s sound team, heralding even greater things to return.

5. Ecco: The Tides of your time

Attila Dobos, András Magyari, Andy Armer

(Genesis, 1994)

The Ecco: The Dolphin series is perhaps tons weirder than you remember. What appeared like a cute kid game a few dolphin quickly became a really difficult, very trippy adventure that involves aliens, time travel, and therefore the lost city of Atlantis. Ed Annunziata played Pink Floyd for his sound team, and for the Sega CD release of the Tides of your time hired Spencer Nilson to make a good denser new age score. Choose either one, because the Ecco games structure a number of the spaciest music of the age.

6. Twinworld

Haiko Ruttmann

(Amiga, 1999)

Twinworld Game

A lesser-known gem of the Amiga era, Twinworld is, on the surface, merely an unusual low-budget fantasy platformer. because of a stunning , textured score from German composer Haiko Ruttmann (who is best known for his work on the more fondly-remembered The Settlers) however, Twinworld punches way above its weight, even now.

7. System Shock 2

Eric Brosius, Ramin Djawadi, Josh Randall

(PC, 1999)

System Shock 2’s blend of shooting and role-playing elements made it a game years before its time, but it had been the sensation that there might be untold horrors lurking around every corner of its starship setting that basically elevated the sport above the Quake clones of the time. Though it had been a game crammed with alien terrors signalled by nerve-shredding moments of musical tension, the sport was the maximum amount about the fear of technology, and therefore the foreboding digital textures and futuristic techno created by Eric Brosius, Ramin Djawadi and Josh Randall made it one among the simplest cyberpunk-inspired scores in any medium.

The best video game soundtracks of all time (part 1)

Video games and music have always had a tight connection. From classic Nintendo 8 to modern masterpieces like The Last Of Us and Red Dead Redemption, here’s our guide to the best ever video game soundtracks of all time.

1. Shovel Knight

Jake Kaufman

(PC/3DS, 2014)

Every good 8-bit game needs a good 8-bit soundtrack, and in putting together their NES-era homage Shovel Knight, developers Yacht Club Games knew they had to make sure there was as much attention paid to the sound as there was the rest of the game’s presentation. Thankfully videogame music nerd Jake Kaufman – who cut his teeth making music for the Game Boy Color in the early ‘00s – does a bang-up job of bringing to mind the golden era of chiptunes.

2. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Harry Gregson-Williams and Norihiko Hibino

(PS2, 2001)

One of the only Playstation stealth soundtracks that don’t feel horribly dated (we see you hiding at the back, Syphon Filter), a.k.a. the start of your favorite Burial song.

3. Secret of Evermore

Jeremy Soule and Julian Soule

(SNES, 1995)

Secret of Evermore is the only game ever designed by Square in North America. Word upon release was that it was a Western spin-off of Secret of Mana when Square hadn’t ported the superior Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana’s actual sequel) from Japan. That’s been denied by Square, but it didn’t save the game from receiving unfair backlash: Evermore is a flawed but good RPG with some genuinely unique elements, one of which is its soundtrack.

Nothing like other RPG OSTs of the time, it’s the first video game project of Jeremy Soule, who went on to become a titan of the genre, composing the Elder Scrolls series and more. Where the likes of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy favored strong, memorable melodies, Evermore’s OST combines long periods of ambiance (track titles include ‘Podunk, 1965’ and ‘Ambience – Jungle 2’) with spindly melodies that often feel like they’re held together by Elastoplast. Even some boss battles were simply drummed loops and pads. Unfairly maligned, but Soule’s approach to ‘90s RPG music was one of a kind.