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VGC Top 20 Original Soundtracks in Gaming (20-11) - News

by Karl Koebke , posted on 08 November 2009 / 23,659 Views

Top Twenty Original Soundtracks in Gaming

This was not an easy list to come up with. Indeed, what started off as a top 10 soon mushroomed into a top 20, and could have gone much higher still, but limit ourselves to 20 we have. It was certainly enjoyable though; listening to some of these soundtracks made us want to replay some of these often classic games.

A word of caution – we do not for one moment pretend this list is definitive. It is a list of soundtracks that have most impressed a few of us on the staff. Feel free to come up with your own lists/suggestions in the comments section.




[b][u]20. The Sims[/b][/u]


Yes, we did just pick The Sims. Ok, ok, so it’s like a cross between elevator music and some corny sitcom tv show, but it suits the game so well and it seems to encapsulate the phrase ‘love to hate’ (is that a compliment or an insult?). Sit back, relax and tinker with the lives of your Sims whilst this music plays unashamedly in the background...





[b][u]19. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time[/b][/u]


Zelda is one of the most beloved video game series of all time, so it comes as no surprise that it has produced some equally loved music. Ocarina of Time in particular has some tunes that stick with you even if you haven’t played the game in years. Not every song is a knock out of the park, but there are definitely enough great songs to make it No.19 on our list.

Check out our reviews of [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=4573]Twilight Princess[/url] and [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=6790]Phantom Hourglass[/url]






[b][u]18. Chrono Cross (PS1)[/b][/u]


Chrono Cross may not be quite as loved as its predecessor, but you can’t fault it for music selection. Sure, stylistically it sounds like a lot of other JRPG games, but it does the music so well that it’s the standard that many other JRPGs that attempt this type of music should be held to.





[b][u]17. Ico (PS2)[/b][/u]


Some may find the addition of Ico to be suspect, what with the soundtrack only having two notable songs. However, both of those songs are so fantastic that it helped Ico to just barely make its way onto this list.  Both ‘Castle in the Mist’ and ‘You Were There’ have a haunting sound to them thanks to the strings and vocals respectively; they help to set the mood for one of the most atmospheric games ever created.

Check out our review of [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=7198]ICO.[/url]





[b][u]16. Mirror’s Edge (360, PS3)[/b][/u]


Mirror’s Edge has both a great title track and an excellent overall soundtrack. Composed by Magnus Birgersson, the game’s score consists of a large selection of ambient electronic music tracks. Both the game’s world and the soundtrack itself have extremely minimalist and pure styles; this is one of the most fitting soundtracks in modern gaming. As a bonus you can also access the entire soundtrack from the game’s extras menu. Below we’ve chosen the game’s main menu theme.

Check out of review of [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=21686]Mirror’s Edge.[/url]





[b][u]15. Persona 4 (PS2)[/b][/u]



One of the only issues we had while playing Persona 3 was that the song usage felt repetitive. Persona 4 had no such trouble. Each dungeon has its own theme song with that playful style that Shoji Meguro brings. It is great to hear a JRPG that goes outside of the norms for music in the genre and brings us something truly unique. Here’s one of the best battle songs in the game.

Check out our review of [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=24780]Persona 4.[/url]





[b][u]14. de Blob (Wii)[/b][/u]


We’ve opted for something a little bit different at No.14. Featuring a funky, catchy soundtrack, with music spanning genres from hip-hop to jazz, it’s a soundtrack which perfectly captures the game’s carefree, cheerful and bouncy personality. The music is interactive as well, so that as you apply paint to the surroundings you help shape the music. Here’s our favourite track from de Blob.


 

 

[b][u]13. Earthbound (SNES)[/b][/u]


The Mother series has had a tough time with localization in the West, but that doesn’t stop it from having some of the most beloved music out there. Earthbound especially has some impressive track diversity considering the limitations of hardware at the time. Perhaps it is because I grew up loving the game, but to this day I love the music enough to use the Mr. Saturn song as my ringtone.


 


[b][u]12. Halo Series (360, PC, Xbox)[/b][/u]



OK, so we’re cheating slightly by selecting the whole series, but hear us out. Martin O’Donnell, Bungie’s audio director, has composed the music for all of the games from the main series, and this continuity is clearly reflected in the evolution of the music from one game to the next. Each successive game maintains that distinct Halo sound, often epitomised by a rousing orchestral main theme. And then Halo 3: ODST came along, with its subtle, atmospheric soundtrack which perfectly suits the darkened tone of the game. Beautiful though that soundtrack is, it’s perhaps not the best soundtrack to select a track from, so we’ve opted for Halo 3’s iconic main theme instead.

Check out our reviews of [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=6964]Halo 3[/url], [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=29077]Halo 3: ODST[/url] and [url=http://www.vgchartz.com/games/gamereviewdisp.php?id=7715]Halo Wars.[/url]


 


[b][u]11. Starcraft (PC)[/u][/b]



The greatest RTS game ever made also has one heck of a soundtrack. Anyone else out there linger in the menus before going online just to hear the music build up? Then there are the three races, each of which has its own selection of tracks, brilliantly composed so that they accentuate the differences between the races. The Zerg get a creepy, dark and brooding soundtrack, the Protoss a soothing, mystical one, but we think the Terrans get the best tracks...




[url=http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=5823]Part 2 is here.[/url]

 

 

Top Twenty Original Soundtracks in Gaming

This was not an easy list to come up with. Indeed, what started off as a top 10 soon mushroomed into a top 20, and could have gone much higher still, but limit ourselves to 20 we have. It was certainly enjoyable though; listening to some of these soundtracks made us want to replay some of these often classic games.

A word of caution – we do not for one moment pretend this list is definitive. It is a list of soundtracks that have most impressed a few of us on the staff. Feel free to come up with your own lists/suggestions in the comments section.




20. The Sims


Yes, we did just pick The Sims. Ok, ok, so it’s like a cross between elevator music and some corny sitcom tv show, but it suits the game so well and it seems to encapsulate the phrase ‘love to hate’ (is that a compliment or an insult?). Sit back, relax and tinker with the lives of your Sims whilst this music plays unashamedly in the background...





19. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


Zelda is one of the most beloved video game series of all time, so it comes as no surprise that it has produced some equally loved music. Ocarina of Time in particular has some tunes that stick with you even if you haven’t played the game in years. Not every song is a knock out of the park, but there are definitely enough great songs to make it No.19 on our list.

Check out our reviews of Twilight Princess and Phantom Hourglass






18. Chrono Cross (PS1)


Chrono Cross may not be quite as loved as its predecessor, but you can’t fault it for music selection. Sure, stylistically it sounds like a lot of other JRPG games, but it does the music so well that it’s the standard that many other JRPGs that attempt this type of music should be held to.





17. Ico (PS2)


Some may find the addition of Ico to be suspect, what with the soundtrack only having two notable songs. However, both of those songs are so fantastic that it helped Ico to just barely make its way onto this list.  Both ‘Castle in the Mist’ and ‘You Were There’ have a haunting sound to them thanks to the strings and vocals respectively; they help to set the mood for one of the most atmospheric games ever created.

Check out our review of ICO.





16. Mirror’s Edge (360, PS3)


Mirror’s Edge has both a great title track and an excellent overall soundtrack. Composed by Magnus Birgersson, the game’s score consists of a large selection of ambient electronic music tracks. Both the game’s world and the soundtrack itself have extremely minimalist and pure styles; this is one of the most fitting soundtracks in modern gaming. As a bonus you can also access the entire soundtrack from the game’s extras menu. Below we’ve chosen the game’s main menu theme.

Check out of review of Mirror’s Edge.





15. Persona 4 (PS2)



One of the only issues we had while playing Persona 3 was that the song usage felt repetitive. Persona 4 had no such trouble. Each dungeon has its own theme song with that playful style that Shoji Meguro brings. It is great to hear a JRPG that goes outside of the norms for music in the genre and brings us something truly unique. Here’s one of the best battle songs in the game.

Check out our review of Persona 4.





14. de Blob (Wii)


We’ve opted for something a little bit different at No.14. Featuring a funky, catchy soundtrack, with music spanning genres from hip-hop to jazz, it’s a soundtrack which perfectly captures the game’s carefree, cheerful and bouncy personality. The music is interactive as well, so that as you apply paint to the surroundings you help shape the music. Here’s our favourite track from de Blob.


 

 

13. Earthbound (SNES)


The Mother series has had a tough time with localization in the West, but that doesn’t stop it from having some of the most beloved music out there. Earthbound especially has some impressive track diversity considering the limitations of hardware at the time. Perhaps it is because I grew up loving the game, but to this day I love the music enough to use the Mr. Saturn song as my ringtone.


 


12. Halo Series (360, PC, Xbox)



OK, so we’re cheating slightly by selecting the whole series, but hear us out. Martin O’Donnell, Bungie’s audio director, has composed the music for all of the games from the main series, and this continuity is clearly reflected in the evolution of the music from one game to the next. Each successive game maintains that distinct Halo sound, often epitomised by a rousing orchestral main theme. And then Halo 3: ODST came along, with its subtle, atmospheric soundtrack which perfectly suits the darkened tone of the game. Beautiful though that soundtrack is, it’s perhaps not the best soundtrack to select a track from, so we’ve opted for Halo 3’s iconic main theme instead.

Check out our reviews of Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST and Halo Wars.


 


11. Starcraft (PC)



The greatest RTS game ever made also has one heck of a soundtrack. Anyone else out there linger in the menus before going online just to hear the music build up? Then there are the three races, each of which has its own selection of tracks, brilliantly composed so that they accentuate the differences between the races. The Zerg get a creepy, dark and brooding soundtrack, the Protoss a soothing, mystical one, but we think the Terrans get the best tracks...

 


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91 Comments

pariz (on 13 December 2009)

I agree on what Zeethr said. I guess most of you already know about OCRemix already, but just in case, check it out and you will find amazing remixes of our favourite games soundtracks. http://www.ocremix.org.


Ickalanda (on 17 November 2009)

Yes to StarCraft! World of WarCraft should have been on here though.


Zeethr (on 17 November 2009)

i have not logged in for about 4 months now, but when i saw this i had to give 2 soundtracks that deserve to be here. Donkey Kong Country 2: Bramble Blast, Donkey Kong Country: Aquatic Ambiance.


Sonix45 (on 13 November 2009)

I have to throw my hat in the ring for the old SNES cart Actraiser. Easily one of the best soundtracks of that era...


paulomunir (on 13 November 2009)

I could seriously ignore that "JRPG" term of yours, I mean, japanese Rpgs were the very first to achieve world-wide sucess on vg consoles, why's that naming it differently now?, It's "RPG" when subject is Vg software.


FaRmLaNd (on 11 November 2009)

I'd put starcraft a bit higher and after ODST came out I think you could argue that the halo series could be in the top 10 aswell.


trestres (on 11 November 2009)

Zelda ranked in the 19th place is a total insult. Starcraft should be ranked in the top 10 at least. And the lack of DKC2 and Mario games is worrying.


Soleron (on 11 November 2009)

No Mario? No Metroid? This list is full of quite recent games too, rather than being spread between the 80s, 90s and this decade as you would expect. I realise it's a personal choice, but there could have been rounds of voting like previous VGC articles.


Machina (on 11 November 2009)

Part 2 of the list (10-1) can be found here - http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=5823


Torillian (on 11 November 2009)

And what exactly would you like me to touch on, Tarheel? People disagreeing with the list is basically 90% of the comments and Zelda is the most high profile game on the list so of course people will disagree with its placement. Machina and I made this list and we both agreed on that position for Zelda.


tarheel91 (on 10 November 2009)

I love how Torillian doesn't even touch on OoT in any of his 4 comments. That's the biggest WTF factor for me.


c03n3nj0 (on 10 November 2009)

Hm, hopefully another OoT song will make the list!


Veggie (on 10 November 2009)

OOT at 19 makes zero sense.


appolose (on 10 November 2009)

I wonder what 10 Okami tracks will be picked for the next part. The Sun Rises and White Light Majesty are shoe-ins, of course.


jbee02 (on 10 November 2009)

of course Halo and Zelda had to be on the list, i never played ICO or Chrono Cross but i loved those songs now, Super Smash Bros. Brawl better make it on this list though


YoppaDo (on 10 November 2009)

Soooo many memories from that Sims track, so so many hours spent...


Gintoki (on 10 November 2009)

I thought TLOZ OOT would be ranked higher but it is here...


dravenmanson (on 10 November 2009)

1 : MGS series 2 : FF series


jamesL (on 10 November 2009)

can't believe no one has mentioned the BEST game music ever this is OBVIOUSLY #1 Diablo 1 - Music Of Tristram Village By Matt Uelmen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvvXsreyo30


eviltaker10 (on 09 November 2009)

k i don't give a crap about any game on top except for mirrors and i better see Alone in the dark sound track in the top 10 cause dat was really reall good even though the game wasn't very good


angrypoolman (on 09 November 2009)

Zelda and Metroid for SNES had the best music of any game...


pastro243 (on 09 November 2009)

@Citan: I keep hearing these comments that old nes and snes music is better thanwhat we have been hearing in the last 2 generations, but I still havent heard any strong arguments as to why. The reason I think most of you think this is because you really dont have good ear and remember more simple tunes and thats why you call most modern music generic orchestrated hollywood music. I hope for the sake of this lis Shadow of the colossus is first or at least in the top 3, and no old mario tunes.


vic_viper (on 09 November 2009)

Opa-Opa: Just noticed your comment and I heartily agree. There was more experimentation, range and quality put into the Chrono games than the entire Halo franchise combined.


MANUELF (on 09 November 2009)

If Zexen voted I predict Suikoden 2 in the top 10, I hope at least Pokemon R/G/B are on the top 5 that music is so good and catchy.


Torillian (on 09 November 2009)

@Citan, Dude I'm only a year younger than you and have been gaming since the Atari, quit acting like I'm Soriku


rastari (on 09 November 2009)

Secret of mana should be in the top 10 IMO


Chrizum (on 09 November 2009)

I'm glad to see De Blob in there. Without the awesome sound design, the game wouldn't have nearly been as good as it is.


PDF (on 09 November 2009)

I want the battlefield theme. All of them are good and have the same awesome beat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rbSfCfa2-M


Citan (on 09 November 2009)

You guys are too young too talk about music in video-games. The crappy orchestrated hollywood music they make these days are really bad. On the SNES , they had to create good music because of the graphics. Nowadays they only focus on graphics. IN MY OPINION. Not all games of course... Example: Little King`s Story which actually is not a graphical game.


vlad321 (on 09 November 2009)

Starcraft music should have been somewhat higher, I can't lie I played SC for 3 hours after hearing the terran music


otherZinc (on 09 November 2009)

Another retarded list! There is no way you can fix your lips to say anything other than Halo being #1 & if you combine the entire Halo Musical experience, its definitely #1, period!


djeffers03 (on 09 November 2009)

halo is 1 for me for sure, mirrors edge only really had 2 good pieces which were still alive and the one in the video


pastro243 (on 09 November 2009)

I dont agree with Oot being 19, especially when de Blob is 14. Anyway, I expect to see FF VII or X in the top 10 or MGS, I think Shadow of the colossus should have number 1 but I think they will make a mistake and give to something like Mario.


FlowingIce (on 09 November 2009)

...........Guys, they in no way said this list was definite.


Opa-Opa (on 09 November 2009)

Though I personally wouldn't call Halo's theme song remarkable (top 20 game soundtrack material? seriously?), the things Mitsuda did with Chrono Trigger's and Crono Cross' OST are far more mind blowing than anything I've heard on a game to date. Here's hoping Shenmue will be at least considered for a top ten spot.


Jereel Hunter (on 09 November 2009)

I don't suppose Wing Commander is going to be in the top 10... And since Halo has already landed too low, I'm worried Mass Effect may not make it's way onto the list...


NightAntilli (on 09 November 2009)

Imo Mirror's Edge isbetter than all the others in that list but oh well..


SHMUPGurus (on 09 November 2009)

My list would be A LOT different, but I'll still accept this one. :-P


Batman...WTF? (on 09 November 2009)

Ocarina is only 19th? You better have some damn good ones in 10-1


EL_PATRAS (on 09 November 2009)

DK country and banjo kazooie are the only games i really care to see on this list. BTW, OoT at 19? Really?


JPL78 (on 09 November 2009)

I hope Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and Fable 1 make the list.


Fab_GS (on 09 November 2009)

Oot is too low. and WTF @ de blob the Top 10 should have at least five of those:- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Final Fantasy Final Fantasy VI Final Fantasy VII Final Fantasy X Super Mario Bros. Chrono Trigger


libellule (on 09 November 2009)

where are all the Amiga games ? where is FFVI (supposed to have, not by me, the best game music) ?


elticker (on 09 November 2009)

halo number 12? it should be atleast in the top 10. i would rank it 1. and thats not the best halo song check out the one that comes in the menu the huuuuuuuuhuuuuuuuuuhuhuhuhuhuuuuuuuuu :). this is second best halo song thats in my opinion.


aragod (on 09 November 2009)

Well ICO, Chrono Cross and Zelda are great, rest is quiete rubbish.


Kai Master (on 09 November 2009)

those list are useless, sorry to say that but tastes are broad and gaming xp is so different, nobody play every game ever released, VGC better concentrate at the core of its business/hobby : the charts!!! I don't like the direction VGC is taking, there's plenty of news sites and "top best" sites on the net that do the job better... just look at the views for each article and stop doing articles that don't interest most people (this article : 2k4 views is weak even if it was released recently). Just my opinion...


Simulacrum (on 09 November 2009)

Amazing Halo theme...Even tho I don't care for series.


darthdevidem01 (on 09 November 2009)

Final Fantasy 6 BETTER be number 1 lol!!!!!! Nice list so far!


ChichiriMuyo (on 09 November 2009)

An absurdly bad list. I won't even both reading the next part knowing how badly worng you've gotten it.


Simulacrum (on 09 November 2009)

Number 1:Zone of the enders 2.


Colonel-Killzone (on 09 November 2009)

kingdom hearts shouldve been on this list also mgs4


novasonic (on 09 November 2009)

I want Madworld to make this list, that was like the most kickass ost ever!


Rath (on 09 November 2009)

For about the fiftieth time. What the hell is OoT doing at 19? Otherwise it's pretty good, really do like the halo music =P


Jin_Shihouin (on 09 November 2009)

Would be nice to see Suikoden (I or II) and Shenmue in the top 10, although I doubt it. If Chrono Cross is 18th, surely Chrono Trigger must be in the Top 10, no? Expect FFVI for the throne or the series as a whole. Castlevania: SotN should make the Top 10. Would it be okay to include MGS with the plagiarism accusations? Konami can't use the main theme for MGS anymore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XblPR_O9lxU&feature=related


Falcon095 (on 09 November 2009)

Please don't post the "related games"! They're just annoying spoilers.


outlawauron (on 09 November 2009)

@ Machina If at least two Final Fantasy and one MGS game are not on the list, there'll be some serious backlash.


Kenryoku_Maxis (on 08 November 2009)

A list such as this is going to be completely pointless. Because it is going to list the standard 'popular' stuff that is tied to popular games such as Final Fantasy, StarCraft, Shadow of the Colossus and Halo. While it doesn't even touch on the actual games which 'influenced' those OSTs such as Dragon Quest, Castlevania, Mario, Doom, etc. So anyway, yeah. Another 'Top whatever' list that doesn't touch on what it says it does.


NightDragon83 (on 08 November 2009)

With a topic like this, no one is going to agree with the list chosen... that being said all are good choices for me so far except for The Sims... maybe top 50 material, but definitely not top 20


1337 Gamer (on 08 November 2009)

Halo is only #12? Talk about underrated


TheThunder (on 08 November 2009)

I'M CALLING IT NOW Shadow of The Colossus or Mega Man 2 is #1.


Bman54 (on 08 November 2009)

Good list except for Ocarina of Time. 19th? Are you kidding me!?


deathcape (on 08 November 2009)

Oot should be top ten this list is BS already 19th? wtf.. hold on OoT should be within the top 5


MasterZack (on 08 November 2009)

Zelda OoT in 19th place? Is this a joke?


Mirson (on 08 November 2009)

Hope that a Silent Hill game makes the top 10 and Digital Devil Saga too (don't see that one happening though). Nice list so far. I would've chosen a j-pop song for P4 since Persona is known for its catchy tunes or The Almighty (best track in P4, imo)


zzyoshiman (on 08 November 2009)

#1 land of the dead road to fiddler's green. JK that game doesn't have any good music


Sapphire (on 08 November 2009)

OoT should higher hope to see Galaxy, Fire Emblem (Fire Emblem theme), Dragon Quest (theme), and TWETY :)


zexen_lowe (on 08 November 2009)

The Sims, P4, CC, Ico...all excellent choices...let's see what else awaits Though, I think I know who'll be no.1


Conner52 (on 08 November 2009)

My favorite music in games include: SMG, SimCity 4, YuGioh: Forbidden Memories, World of Goo, and many others.


lightbleeder (on 08 November 2009)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night must be number one...


Smeags (on 08 November 2009)

Hrm... I sure hope a Sonic game made the list. The first 3 plus Knuckles have killer soundtracks, one and all. Also... Super Mario Galaxy. Now there's a soundtrack (don't say a word Soriku). Simply incredible.


Soriku (on 08 November 2009)

Oh yeah, and TWEWY.


Soriku (on 08 November 2009)

I hope FF and KH make it. Also, I'd add Baten Kaitos but I don't know if you've played that. I'd have chosen The Almighty, Heaven, or Castle over I'll Face Myself for P4, btw (only because they sound less generic, but I'll Face Myself is one of the best songs in the game).


Machina (on 08 November 2009)

@Aidman - What makes you so sure MGS or FF are even on the list? O_o


Machina (on 08 November 2009)

@PullusPardus - It came up in a Google search.


postofficebuddy (on 08 November 2009)

Liking the list so far although Persona 4 and OoT should have been higher. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for FFX (my personal favorite in the series) and Xenogears.


Aidman (on 08 November 2009)

so FF and MGS Franchises will have the respect they deserve but not The Legend of Zelda. Well to everyone who seems okay with this list " You don't have any taste in music and you really don't know what music is ".


lestatdark (on 08 November 2009)

This list is very good so far, except maybe for De Blob being in a top 20 OST list and OoT being so low, correction, so damn low. I just have to add, Grandia, Sonic 2, FF6 and Xenogears better make the top 10, or this list is moot :P


PullusPardus (on 08 November 2009)

where did you get that Earthbound picture?


griffinA (on 08 November 2009)

I agree with the others. Oot is too low.


Wickedshyn (on 08 November 2009)

Sonic 2, Mario 3, and Grandia better make the list.


Badassbab (on 08 November 2009)

I really hope Grandia and Shenmue make the list


forest-spirit (on 08 November 2009)

I'm happy to see Chrono Cross make the list. I'll look forward to the Top 10.


c0rd (on 08 November 2009)

Ignoring what Zelda got beat by... The Terran themes freggin rock. Hoping another Blizz game makes it on the top 10 (WC2 has a killer soundtrack). Also, reminds me I still need to give Mirror's Edge a rent.


Torillian (on 08 November 2009)

@Super I'll bet you a year of avatar power that Uncharted is not no. 1


Machina (on 08 November 2009)

Starcraft should've been higher mind you :P


Supercoop (on 08 November 2009)

uncharted's gonna be no1, bet ya,


Machina (on 08 November 2009)

*cough* Great list Tor ;)


Blacksaber (on 08 November 2009)

Very good list! I like the inclusion of De Blob....^_^


Pretendo (on 08 November 2009)

Zelda is surprisingly low but, oh well


ps3-sales! (on 08 November 2009)

Odd order. Zelda has a much more impressive soundtrack than most of the games on here. But nonetheless, good list.


ph4nt (on 08 November 2009)

De Blob > OoT? If you say so.