Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Videogame Songs Ever

So, I am an avid viewer of the content over at Screwattack.com. Recently, they had a top 10 list for the best Genesis games of all time. After it though, they prompted fans to chime in on their next top 10 list, something near and dear to my heart: video game sonsg. As some of you know, my first radio show (The Temple of Sephiroth) revolved around videogame music. So, I spent the whole morning writing my response. The rule was, 1 fucking song per franchise. That made it hard, but, here is my list:

10. The Chrono Trigger Theme - Chrono Trigger: Much like the theme to The Legend Of Zelda, this song prepares you for an awe-inspiring adventure that you will remember on your death bed. This piece of music made you want to pick up your sword along with your best frog buddy, jump into a time portal, and hack and slash you way to becoming the Hero of Time. Anything short of this song, and the adventure would have fallen flat on its face.


9. Lost Painting - Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night: Many people will pick "Bloody Tears" or "Vampire Killer". While those are great choices, the Castlevania vote should go to "Lost Painting". This haunting and stunningly beautiful track highlighted this game, which was already full of memorable songs. It almost brings you into a gothic world of mysticism and wonder, which is perfect for a game like Symphony of the Night.


8. The Max Payne Theme - Max Payne: This song is overlooked far too much. This track is absolutely iconic. It perfectly brings you into the dark, seedy under realm that is the world of Max Payne. When you first hear it as the game kicks up, you know exactly what's in store for you. The piece has a kind of power and darkness to it that is unmatched, and unrivaled in shooting games. One can oly hope that it will be featured in the Mark Wahlberg movie.


7. Techno Syndrome - Mortal Kombat: This song was EVERYWHERE in the mid-90's. It's also the only song for a videogame that this writer has ever heard on commercial radio! While I'm not sure if this can be included as it actually wasn't featured in the game, it should be at least honorably mentioned for its impact on gamer culture. It helped a generation of gamers get into techno music, and was the theme song for millions of fighting game fans throughout the country. When you heard this song, one thing went through your mind: It's time to tear shit up!


6. Still Alive - Portal: This song is a hit. Not doubting that. No debating that. Its hilarious lyrics and addicting guitar licks have helped one of the best and most original puzzle games ever become one of the biggest nonsensical fads ever in gaming culture. Not to mention playing this song on Rock Band at a party full of nerds will inspire one of the best sing-a-longs you'll ever have.


5. The Legend Of Zelda Theme - The Legend Of Zelda: The best videogame songs induce a feeling upon you. They immerse you in the experience of the game and capture a feel that goes beyond the gameplay. And no other song gets you ready for adventure more than the Legend of Zelda Theme. As soon as you hear that song, you are ready to do nothing less than save the world! This was the beginning of videogame music being moved into a more cinematic direction, and STILL remains as one of the most epic themes of all time.


4. 47 Makes A Decision - Hitman 2: Silent Assassin: This soundtrack established Jesper Kyd as one of the forerunners in videogame music composure. Every single track is a sweeping orchestral powerhouse that induces goosebumps to the listener. The best track however, is the masterpiece "47 Makes A Decision". When you first here this, you know you are about to embark on a quest for revenge that will leave nothing but bodies and blood in its wake. This song makes you, more than any other song in game history, ready to kick major ass.


3. The Super Mario Brothers Theme - Super Mario Brothers: I am not a fan of Mario, but even I have to admit that this song is catchy. Hell, almost everyone in the WORLD knows it, and I know of no there videogame song that can hold that distinction. Admit it, you're playing it in your head right now aren't you?


2. The Doomsday Zone - Sonic & Knuckles: Sonic The Hedgehog 3: For the 4th and final (real) time on the Genesis, you engage in a game-ending battle with Robotnick. However this time, you truly know the fate of the world hangs in the balance. You just destroyed the Death Egg once and for all, but now Robotnick is making off with the Master Emerald. In an effort to stop them, you harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds and take pursuit. What follows is the most adrenaline inducing track ever. The Doomsday Zone's musical track brought me back to replay that stage time and time again in youth, because the music itself was just so amazing. It was the perfect track for your final fight with Robotnick, and gets your heart racing with its high tempo, amazing riffs, and furious use of 16-bit music galore!


1. One Winged Angel - Final Fantasy VII: Final Fantasy VII is one of the most celebrated games of all time. In many instances, the series as a whole is the videogame world's Star Wars. And just like Star Wars, the music is half of the experience. Nobuo Uematsu took videogame composure to a new level and re-established the precedent for what to expect from a videogame soundtrack. While almost every track is memorable, one track completely stole the show. It is the end of the game, the world has been plummeted into chaos and is on the brink of destruction. You and your motley crew of heroes battle your way to the center of the planet in an attempt to save it. At the end, you are met with screeching violins inspired by the legendary Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and come face to face with the greatest videogame villain of all time. The build up crashes into an absolute fury of orchestral thunder and the cries of a choir chanting the very name of your ultimate adversary. There has never been another piece of music in all of videogames that have epitomized the word "epic" as has "One Winged Angel".


Honorable mention. The Sons Of Liberty - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty: I'm really sorry there could only be 10, but Still Alive had to be included for its impact on gaming culture, and the Mario theme for its impact on WORLD culture. Unfortunately this track had to be edged out... but it really shouldn't be. It's awe inspiring, literally. With its mix of electronic elements, heroic orchestral anthems, and chilling choirs, its seriously an all around perfect videogame theme. It just got edged out because I already had so many heroic anthems on here, and because I was disappointed that it was not featured in MGS3, though it was alluded to at the end (I don't know if its in MGS4, but I refuse to buy a PS4 so it may be a looooong time before I find out for myself). However, this is a song to be remembered, and is definitely at least worth a mention.


Now I'm wondering, what's your top 10?