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GR Retrospective: A Look Back At Some Of The Best Music In Video Games

Posted on Monday, July 23 @ 14:05:16 PST by Alex_Osborn
I love music and I guess those of you reading this article do too. I mean, really... who doesn't? Music has the ability to stir up all sorts of emotions, from joy to fear, sadness to excitement. And while music alone can generate a response from the listener like no other form of expression, when used to accompany something else, it can elevate an experience to new heights. Obviously we're going to be talking about its incorporation with video games, seeing as how that's what we tend to talk about here at GameRevolution. Go figure. So without further ado, let's get right into it.

I don't know about you, but Nobuo Uematsu is basically the god of video game music. Having worked on a number of Final Fantasy games, this legendary video game composer is responsible for some of the most iconic music in the business. He's responsible for my favorite soundtrack of all time, Final Fantasy VI, which manages to give me goosebumps virtually every time I listen to it. If you listened to last week's episode of GameRevolution Radio, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Sit back, relax, and listen to the greatness that is Tera's Theme.

In an effort to avoid discussing Uematsu for the length of this entire feature, I have to move on. But it would be a crime to not give a shout out to the music of Chrono Trigger and virtually everything from Final Fantasy VII-X.

Unlike the deep and emotional compositions of Uematsu, much of the music that has been embedded within Nintendo's franchises is lighter and fun. There aren't many out there who wouldn't instantly recognize the classic Super Mario Bros. theme, and I must admit, the bongo-heavy soundtrack of Donkey Kong Country always has me tapping my feet.

However, that isn't to say that Nintendo games are completely void of rich, carefully composed tunes as well. I know I'll never forget the enchanting music that accompanied The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and the simple, yet beautiful, five-note tunes that Link would play as gamers tapped the 'A' and 'C' buttons. 

And then there's the Metroid franchise, which sports some of the most harrowing music among Nintendo's library of games. From the original Metroid to Super Metroid and beyond, the music in these games enhanced the atmosphere tenfold.

Here's a selection from the first Metroid Prime, titled Phendrana Drifts.


Two other franchises instantly come to mind when I reminisce about the greatest music gaming has to offer, the first of which is Halo. Now before you go dismissing the series' heavy monk-chanting soundtrack, just think of how iconic and memorable it is. Admit it, the minute you hear those etherial voices, you're immediately transported to that first time you booted up Halo: Combat Evolved, am I right? Part of the reason why Halo stands head and shoulders above the other first-person shooters on the market for me is because of the game's fantastic atmosphere, which is obviously heavily influenced by the music.

The other series is... you guessed it, Metal Gear Solid. If you've read any of my work here on GR, it should be readily apparent by now that I love Kojima's story-heavy series. The MGS franchise is often criticized for its blatant attempts at offering a cinema-like experience, and those of us that enjoy the game's long cutscenes wouldn't have it any other way. If it weren't for the music that accompanies these moments, there's no doubt that these games wouldn't be nearly as engrossing. Heck, the first game's title screen music alone still sends chills down my spine. 

Enjoy Metal Gear Saga, a selection from Metal Gear Solid 4.

What are some of your favorite video game soundtracks? Let us know in the comments below.

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