GodisaGeek’s Top 5 Game Soundtracks

by on November 8, 2010

Music is a huge part of my life and being a musician myself, it’s something I like to pay close attention to when playing a game.  For my first GodisaGeek.com “Top 5” feature (something that is going to be a regular Monday morning thing), I’d like to tell you about my favourite game soundtracks.

I’ll provide links to buy the soundtracks and clips or full versions of specific songs if they are available. I’m also going to be sticking to more modern games, with full orchestration and instrumentation. Though I don’t want to bad mouth older classic games, I just want to talk about the more modern soundtracks!

5) Red Dead Redemption

The moment I hit Mexico and Jose Gonzales’ “Far Away” started playing, that was the moment I fell in love with Red Dead Redemption. Sure, I was enjoying it beforehand, but that moment in the game is a very specific moment, where the games goes from being “good” to “special”. The sparsity of the landscape, the dust blowing coupled with the simple acoustic picking and Jose’s vocals…lonely, full of reverb growing to a vocal crescendo of sorts, almost distorted. Amazing.

Another moment that I’ll never forget is when Ashtar Commands “Deadman’s Gun” starts up in the credits. Good Lord, the emotion that song conveys, it hits home hard. I don’t want to spoil the story of Red Dead Redemption, but it’s worth playing through to get to the moment that song plays. You can listen to an alternative live (and simply stunning) performance here.

It’s another example of the importance of the music in a game. Whilst the music that was composed specifically for Red Dead Redemption is great too (and I wouldn’t ever want to belittle the superb work done by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson on creating an incredibly believable Wild West), picking the right music for the right moment is absolutely vital and this is a perfect example of how to do exactly that.

4) Shatter

I’m not really into “dance music” per se, but something about the Shatter soundtrack just hits the spot. Square pegs into square holes, the music just fits, but more than that, it’s just cool and, at times, has an outrageous groove to it!

Taking over a year to compose and record, written with the games changing visuals in mind, this is a labour of love and is hypnotic at times. Again, not normally my cup of tea, but this is a definite buy and sounds fantastic in the car when driving at night.

I really love the bass guitar playing on the entire soundtrack and hitting a boss, the music is suitably urgent and booming, but my favourite track is “Kinectic Harvest“.

3) Super Meat Boy

Some might argue that this is perhaps a little too recent, but the stellar work by Danny Baranowski adds to the game. If it weren’t there, it wouldn’t be the same. Danny did everything for the soundtrack on his own aside from some guitar work from Logan Antelman and Peter Trentacoste.

I particularly love the opening theme “Super Meat Boy! (Main Theme)” and “Forest Funk (Ch 1 Light World)” . I’d strongly urge people to support Danny by buying it the soundtrack, available digitally here.

Another reason I love this soundtrack so much is for what it represents.  Super Meat Boy is to all intents and purposes, an indie game. It reinforces my belief that if you love something and pour your heart into it, it will show and the results speak for themselves.

2) Final Fantasy VII

I’ll never forget some of the scenes within Final Fantasy VII and, in part, this is due to the incredible work for the music throughout the game. Hearing the “battle theme” in Final Fantasy VII was one of the first times a lot of people I knew got to experience it and from then on it was burnt into the mind forevermore.

Hearing the “Reunion” soundtrack CD on import was mind blowing, listening to full-blown orchestral versions of tracks that touched me and in some way it was the first time I ever realised that a soundtrack was vital to a the overall quality of a game.

Hearing “Aeriths Theme” with a full orchestra needs to be seen to be believed, but beyond that, the way some fans have been inspired to do covers is amazing, even after all these years.

1) The Beatles: Rock Band

I know this is a cop out and if you want, you can ignore this and make it a top 4, but I can’t think of a band more worthy of a dedicated game than The Beatles.

The artistic treatment adds to the game of course, but the music is obviously the star, as is the history behind the music. The moment “The End” plays is a moment of pure gaming magic and the treatment given to the music in general is genius.

It’s a testament to The Beatles that even now, they star in a game that is as vital as ever and playing along to the soundtrack is something I’ll never tire of.

You can read our review of Red Dead Redemption here and the review of Super Meat Boy here.

You can also join the discussion relating to this article on our forum here.

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