By Neon941 12 Comments
Alas winter is cruel, aside from the freezing cold temperatures I've come down with the flu, the flu at Christmas, that's just cruel! Anyway my last music blog certainly went some lengths towards making my day better last time so here's the second part, some more recent examples of musical excellence in games. My personal definitions of New School and Old School are a tad shaky so bear with me if you think some of these don't exactly fall under the 'New School' category.
Tales of Phantasia - The Dream Will not End
This is the SNES version if you're curious what it sounded like back then.
Garou Mark of the Wolves - Spread the Wings
Rock Howard's theme from Garou Mark of the Wolves, hoo boy! This ranks right up there with Ken's theme and Terry Bogard's Big Shot theme. It starts off kind of slow and then builds up to an exciting rythm and it's just like Rock himself, fast and unpredictable. It's always important to me that music in fighting games be fun to actually fight to and this song is just perfect, it makes ever fight feel epic whether you're winning or losing.
The arranged version is actually even better, I suggest you have a look at that aswell.
Honourable mention goes to Hotaru Futuba's theme ' Fullmoon: Heartful' which is just a damn pretty song.
Persona 4 - SMILE
Let's be basic here and assume that since you're on Giant Bomb you probably have at least a fair knowledge of Persona 4. I'll not bore you in that case going on and on about how Persona 4 has possibly the best soundtrack known to mankind and simply draw your attention to one of my favorite probably lesser known songs. SMILE is the song that mostly plays upon the completion of a social link and it's a song that truly lives up to it's name, if this song doesn't make you smile you must be a very depressed person, I know I am and it makes even me smile. There's just so little to say other than it's an incredibly pretty and moving piece of music and that's saying something when it's in a game that's just full of that.
Shadow of the Colossus - The opened way
Daaaayum, this is an epic piece of music worthy of such an epic game. I challenge you to listen to this piece and not picture an epic struggle taking place. If you played Shadow of the Colossus and remember the feeling of excitement, clinging for your life to a gigantic monster that would stomp you flat should you actually survive falling off it, I swear a huge portion of that was thanks to music like this. It's truly an amazing track that gets the blood pumping without even the need for crazy electric guitar music or anything.
The Eminence Orchestra version of this piece is particularly good.
Alone in the Dark - Who Am I?
This game does not deserve such an awesome soundtrack, it's poorly written, unfinished and really not that scary and worst of all I actually bought it, lucky I got the soundtrack CD with it and that my friends was worth the price of admission. Most people will recognise this as the track from the trailers from the game, funny how a mindblowing trailer can get you to buy garbage. This particular song is just so excellent though and you barely ever see game soundtracks done in this style, this song would be so great if it were just paired up with something like Silent Hill or Resident Evil.
Metal Gear Solid 3 - Snake Eater
As a young British chap who likes a nice cup of tea (real tea, not like you americans drink) and a nice crumpet with that tea, I'm also a big fan of James Bond. This song and the opening that goes along with it is just the perfect homage to the old James Bond movies and even surpasses some of them in it's sheer awesomeness. Yes it's supposed to be ripping off James Bond, even the final chords sound pretty much identical to the James Bond theme and the ones who cry foul over that are missing the point. The game even makes some hilarious references to James Bond in the radio conversations, it's really all tastefully and respectively done. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you like James Bond, go play MGS3... that is what I was trying to say right?
Skies of Arcadia - Airship battle
Let's face it, all of the battle music in Skies of Arcadia is absolutely amazing and there's rather a lot of it to take it, but this particular piece is one of my all time favorites. There's nothing like watching a couple of airships swoop and dive to this piece of music, made all the sweeter by the fact that you're there desperately trying to think of your next orders. There's not much to say since it's a short piece but I like that fact that it's a battle theme that doesn't go for all out adrenalin and instead adds a majestic note to the experience.
Valkyria Chronicles - Desperate Fight
I have to give a lot of credit to a piece of music when it essentially manages to sell me on the entire rest of the game. Similar with the last piece I love how this music doesn't go for all out adrenalin rush but instead has a certain epic majesty to it. The entire soundtrack of Valkyria Chronicles is worth listening to, but I suppose the only piece that might be better than this is the main theme. In fact just go buy the game, everything about it is perfect, then you can hear this excellent soundtrack for yourself.
(Is it too late to change my answer? The main theme is actually probably the best piece in the soundtrack)
Final Fantasy IX - You are not Alone!
Because I oh so enjoy ending on a positive note. You Are Not Alone is probably one of the very best tracks I can think of in recent memory aside from maybe the theme of Aerith's death, which is by the same person so it's a moot point really. This song is just wonderful, it's got so many layers, so many messages and the fact that it only plays once during a very emotional sequence makes it all the more powerful. This song is so excellent it demands to be listened to in better quality so here's the orchestrated version and while we're at it, let's listen to the fan vocal version which is just stunning in every way.
So there you have it, your recent examples of musical greatness and videogame music only has the potential to get even better as time goes on. Truly I think that a lot of the time, the music in videogames manages to surpass most movie soundtracks, perhaps it's because of the interactive medium allowing for more emotional connection to the music, but either way it's a good sign. Music is personal to us all and this is my personal list, I encourage anyone who reads this to share their own personal moments of videogame music greatness.