video game soundtracks

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.