I’m a huge fan of music. Naturally, when I play videogames with good soundtracks, I usually obtain them shortly after beating the game. Same can apply for movies and TV shows. It’s worth noting that I rarely get soundtracks prior to finishing things, because they can hold spoilers.
When a piece of media has fitting and well-chosen/well-made music, it only helps make the experience stronger. I distinctly remember things like the Matrix Lobby Sequence purely because the way the song “Spybreak” heightens the action and keeps it in sync. Another example is the church scene in Cowboy Bebop, where you hear several songs play through it, giving it drama and a medley of emotion.
Now, I mentioned I have a large collection of soundtracks. This is sometimes a problem, because when I hear certain songs, it’s like I’m being begged to go back to its source by the small, adorable child in my head.
Full list after the jump.
Here’s a list of songs I can’t not think of their progenitor when I hear them.
Castlevania: Symphony of the night had a diverse and well-orchestrated soundtrack by any stretch of the imagination. But two songs in particular resonate with my nostalgia bone.
The first one, anybody who’s played the game knows. It is the hard-rock song that plays during the prologue (Prior to one of my favorite misquotes in videogame history). Listen in all it’s hardcore glory.
The second song occurs much later in the game, and a lot of people might not even hear it, considering the twist that occurs. It’s a calm song that kind of throws you off when you’re stressed out over climbing that damn upside-down tower. But it’s probably there to relax you. So relaaaaxing….
In fact, that very song was the reason I purchased the Dracula X remake, knowing it would include an update of SotN. While we’re on the subject, I love the original’s opening level theme, as well as the feature song of the sequel. WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT TO HAVE A CURSE.
Another classic tune from the nineties isn’t as classic as some of the other music by its source material, but this song makes me fondly recall a giant chain chomp, or flying through the air in a cannon, giggling wildly with my brother next to me as we messed around endlessly. Tune in, turn on, drop out. Bob-omb.
As far as jaunty tunes go, this one’s pretty good, and sums up my N64 living pretty well, around the age of seven or so.
Coming in soon after Mario is always Legend of Zelda. Personally, I like the Overworld theme, but it’s not the “best videogame music evarrrrr” for me. I won’t name any particular game here (Well, I will one, but only because it’s a special case), but three songs in particular hold gravity for me here. The first one is from the SNES era Zelda, and has carried on since in various forms. Here it is in its original form, and here it is in N64 (Young Link version. The old link sounds like the SNES one), and here is an orchestrated version for your ear pleasure.
Next on the Zelda platter is a song I really only think was done well on the N64. Lon Lon Ranch is such a fun place to be, apparently. It holds up well in the N64 sound-era, as well as in orchestrated form.
The third and final song has made one appearance to date (If you exclude an abandoned remake for Brawl), and is pretty much the saddest. If you’ve played all the way through this entry in the series, there’s pretty much no way you’d forget this song. Or it’s alternate version. Seriously. In fact, go play Link’s Awakening now, if you can.
Coming up after Zelda is a freebie indie title by the name of Iji. If you’ve read my previous post about it, you may have heard me gushing over the game. Really, I can’t pick one song from it that specifically drags me over to alien-infested hell, but I certainly imagine an epic confrontation when I hear TOR. Gotta love that hardcore beat, and it’s certainly a fitting title for a final boss.
Coming back to the N64 is another title, one that I feel is underrated. Legend of the Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon!!! has already appeared here, but I am going to tell you to go play it. Why? Because you play a pipe-wielding thief, a lovable, fat hammer-wielding nincompoop, a lovely, green-haired secret-agent, and a bomb-tossing ninja-robot. And then about an hour in, you GET TO PILOT A GIANT ROBOT WITH THIS THEME SONG. And you’re not just running around like you were before, no. You control this giant mofo from the cockpit, first-person. And if you need any MORE reason to go play this game, then the giant-robot-appear music video he gets should be more than enough.
One more game on this list before I succumb to nostalgia and dig up an old nintendo console.
Now, the Megaman series in its own right has laid down some tasty beats, but I think the X series didn’t do as well. However, they had a pretty good concentration in the first game, so let’s focus on that.
I love EVERYTHING about the first stage, musically. You start out running along a busted highway (Later referenced in ZX, I might add) to this heavy metal tune. Then you see a big ship and get a feeling of “Oh shi-” when the music changes to something a little more… horrorish. Then Vile jumps down and proceeds to kick your ass to this song. Oh no! It seems our gallant hero is about to meet his end at the hands of…what’s that sound? It’s a Zero! And he’s being a big. Damn. Hero. Suck it,
Seriously, though. That whole stage is pretty much the highlight of the game’s music. With the exception of Storm Eagle.
Oh, and I was a fan of getting the Hadoken, so I can never. NEVER. Hear Armored Armadillo’s theme without going a little crazy on the inside.
So that’s all for the mainline titles. I’ll include a few notable runners-up here for good measure.
- San Andreas Theme song
- Metal Gear Solid Battle theme (Still makes me jump)
- The power rangers theme (This one’s a given for anything related to the original american airing)
- Ryu’s theme, even though I always played as him and thus never heard it.
- This breakdown of Donkey Kong’s theme from DKC (I still get a chuckle when cranky blows him up)
- This stage,That stage, and of course the iconic music of a certain hedgehog. And the super version.
- And of course who could forget Pilotwings 64’s JETPACK.
Enjoy your music, kiddies, and remember: It’s ten times harder to create a song that sticks now than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Just look at the maybe…3 or so songs from videogames that have truly stuck with us in the last decade.
So I guess music nowadays just isn’t as iconic.
Enough of this ranting about music. Go find some soundtracks. That’s your homework.