So I put the word out to the GOA crew on their top songs from video games, and needless to say, there were some surprising ones and a few that are most people’s favourites.
Now in no particular order:
Royce “Zulu” Wilson (the GOA Editor In Chief, who can be found on Twitter @RoyceWilsonAU)
Act On Instinct – Command & Conquer (1995)
The early Command & Conquer games were famous for their soundtrack – a techno-industrial soundscape provided by Frank Klepacki – and the song Act of Instinct has always been one of my favourites; perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of the game in a great song that still holds up today in its own right.
Hell March – Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
The industrial-rock theme to 1996’s Command & Conquer: Red Alert, also composed by Klepacki, isn’t so much as a mere banger so much as “goes off with the full force of an atomic bomb”. Beginning with the ominous sound of marching soldiers as a build-up before unleashing a full-on hard-rocking experience, the song goes on for nearly six and a half glorious minutes, joining Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia in the “awesome long songs” club and perfectly setting the atmosphere for a video game about blowing stuff up on a huge scale.
Original Soundtrack – Evil Genius (2004)
The entire soundtrack (composed by James Hannigan) for 2004’s Evil Genius is straight out of a 1960s Spy-Fi movie and absolutely nails the aesthetic and vibe of the genre. Running the gamut from the sort of music you’d expect for a spy film’s opening titles to cool cocktail jazz numbers to period-perfect ambient music, the whole thing (but especially the main menu music) was so good I’d sometimes leave it on the background to feel extra suave while working on something else. It’s still fantastic even today and holds up as a great example of groovy spy-fi music in its own right.
Main Theme – Saints Row The Third (2011)
The main theme to Saints Row The Third is great electro-rock-pop piece which just screams “Let’s get ready to do some awesome and wacky stuff, and be super cool while doing it”. It’s also great music to play while cruising in your car, doing the housework, or any time you want to feel like whatever you’re doing needs a coolness boost.
Jäger’s choices definitely range from meditating to a smooth jazz style of music. Below are his song choices and a few words about them.
Ryu’s Stage ~KOBU – Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Wandering Flame – Final Fantasy X
A very meditative and calm song, with a twinge of sadness. A very evocative song. Final Fantasy X is a sad yet very reflective game, and I think this song captures that.
Unfinished Business – Xenoblade Chronicles
This song only plays once in Xenoblade Chronicles, but it instantly makes an impression. Aggressive and epic in tone, everybody who has played the game can quote the dialogue from the scene this plays during. It’s instantly iconic and memorable.
Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There – Persona 5
The acid jazz-inspired introduction to persona 5 sets the tone perfectly for a modern classic. Angry but funky at the same time.
Quartz Quadrant – Sonic CD
Sonic CD is known for its creative and innovative soundtrack, and this song emphasises why. It emphasises speed without losing the jazzier sounds Sonic used to be known for.
Next up is one of our co-hosts of Nuts & Bolts, NattyWW (@NattyWW):
Baba Yetu – Civilisation IV
Natty had this to say: This is what EPIC sounds like!
Busy Earnin’ – Tales of the Borderlands Episode 1
This perfectly set the scene to introduce two of the main characters in Tales to the Borderlands, and a song that I have on my favourite playlists today.
Your Reality – Doki Doki Literature Club!
This song caps the end of the most unexpected and unique gaming experience of my life, that I will never forget.
Theme of Grandia – Grandia
Tell me you don’t want to go on a grand adventure after listening to this.
Mushroom BGM – Yoshi
This song lives rent-free in my brain after playing this for hundreds of hours as a kid.
Natty also had a few honourable mentions:
The next few were tracks provided by the GOA crew without any additional comments – but nonetheless, they are all bangers.
Mikeey “TheXboxCowboy” Barrow (@TheXboxCowboy)
A Besieger City – Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Embrace What You’ve Become – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
M4 Part II – Mass Effect
Trouble In Town – Assassin’s Creed 3
Devil Trigger – Devil May Cry 5
Halo Theme – Halo
Marine’s Hymn – Fallout 3
Jingle Jangle Jingle – Fallout New Vegas
Full (Dovahkiin Song) – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Day – Terraria
Gerudo Valley – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Rainbow Road – Mario Kart 64
Monkey Rap – Donkey Kong 64
Don’t Be Afraid – Final Fantasy VIII
Title Theme – Mega Man 2
Last but not least, my own choices.
Devils Never Cry – Devil May Cry 3
Though I’ve never really gotten into the Devil May Cry games (aside for DMC: Devil May Cry [Don’t hate!] and Devil May Cry 5), the series has always had some of the best music to me.
Crazy Chocobo – Final Fantasy XIII-2
Anyone who knows Final Fantasy knows Chocobo themes. This was a hard pick as my other choice is a more traditional Chocobo theme, Mods de Chocobo from Final Fantasy VIII. Still, I have a selection from Final Fantasy VII already, and this track makes my inner metal head happy.
Yell ”Dead Cell” – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid 2 is one of my most played MGS games in my teens, and this song always stuck with me; playing as Raidan and fighting Vamp in the Plant right before you have to do the daunting escort mission with Emma (E.E).
The Man With The Machine Gun – Final Fantasy VIII
I feel this song kind of needs no explanations. There are three songs that always stick with you if you have ever played Final Fantasy VIII. The Man With the Machine Gun, Eyes On Me & Liberi Fatali (Opening Song). So this was a tough choice, especially as the game is so dear to me.
Grind – Togainu no Chi
So this is the opening theme from a very brutal visual novel game made by a Japanese developer called Nitro+chiral, that at the time of my exposure (2005) to the game, was not in English besides through barely working fan translated mods. This song never got old, even after hearing it so many times. All because I selected the wrong option due to my non-existent ability to read Japanese resulting in Akira (the main character) being gruesomely tortured to death.
And that’s our list, with all the nostalgia hit old and young.