Here is a list of our favourite video game soundtracks because everyone else has one and why the fuck not m8?
Proving that he is one of the best game soundtrack composers in the world, Austin Wintory released the best work of his career when he scored the PS3 exclusive game Journey in 2012 and became the first game composer ever to achieve a Grammy nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. In what was one of the most original and stunning games ever created, Journey had an uncanny serene beauty fuelled by all aspects of the production – the graphics, the story, the gameplay and of course, the music. Wintory’s soundtrack is utterly flawless, if you can listen to it not feel something, you should probably make sure you’re not a robot.
Some games are adored for their soundtrack: Earthbound is one of them. The SNES cult classic is an extremely wacky portrayal of American culture through the eyes of Japanese RPG developers. Everything in the game reeks of quirky and the music is no exception. From the bluesy jams of the in game band The Runaway Five to the eerie sci-fi tones during boss battles, there’s never a dull musical moment in Earthbound. There’s even cool music for when you fight a pile of vomit! Earthbound without its soundtrack is like Star Wars without lightsabers: it’s just not the same.
Shadow of the Colossus
Few games manage to rival the grandiosity of Shadow of the Colossus. A crowning achievement in terms of gameplay and narrative design, Studio Japan’s masterpiece is one of the most poignant and beautiful experiences in video games. The music is very much a part of what makes the overall package so brilliant, aping the emotive beats and towering grandeur of the mysterious world’s magnificent colossi. It’s a game all about polishing the moments that matter, with those glorious strings making damn sure you remember every goddamn moment long after playing.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
“What a thrill. With darkness and silence through the night. What a thrill. I’m searching and I’ll melt into you. What a fear in my heart. But you’re so supreme!” It would be easy to mistake these lyrics for ones that would accompany an extremely forgettable and lame theatre melody, however it is in actual fact the awe inspiring beginning to Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
The dramatic opening theme set a style that can be described as nothing other than ‘James Bond swag’. The spy theme was so engrossing you were compelled to play the game in complete stealth mode, yet with a stylistic panache that Bond himself would be envious of.
Spyro 2: Gateway To Glimmer
Spyro 2: Gateway To Glimmer is a beloved old game that many, many young adults will forever hold close to their hearts thanks to its unforgettable characters, perfect humour and the vivid world of Avalar it sucks you up into. One of the game’s strongest features however is its colourful soundtrack, masterminded by Stewart Copeland of The Police – a mere second clip of which can incite nostalgic swooning amongst fans.
From the shuffling pulse and nimble guitars of Idol Springs to the robotic march of Hurricos each level has its own individual music that is so fantastically intertwined with the world you are playing in that it becomes more than mere silence-filling sound.
Final Fantasy VIII
While FFVIII often (criminally) loses out to VII and IX in the debate of best Final Fantasy game, it undoubtedly has the best soundtrack of the three. FF veteran composer Nobuo Uematsu’s ability to craft imagined worlds through music is second to none, almost to the point where it would be entirely plausible that the FFVIII world was inspired by the soundtrack. Uematsu is the king of setting the mood too – walking around Balamb Garden is accompanied by a preposterously relaxing tune that makes you wonder how the SeeDs manage to accomplish anything.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved was an amazing game for so many reasons, not least its soundtrack, built from the ground up from that iconic melody. The orchestral pomp which accompanied the game’s equally cinematic set pieces sent chills down your spine as you charged across the battlefield for space America whilst the claustrophobic war-techno that accompanied the tension of the game’s dimly little sci-fi corridors, was the perfect accompaniment to the games synthesis of old and new. Whilst Halo Combat Evolved has not entirely aged gracefully, the soundtracks power and dynamism has aged like fine wine.