Welcome to the fourth part of a brand new CelJaded Top 100 for Best Video Game Music. This post features entries #70 to #61.
Be sure to read the introduction post first as it contains all the house rules that this list follows along with a few other musings that you might find interesting.
If you’re looking for another post in this same series then also consider visiting the associated index which includes a readout of all currently published entries and the posts in which they appear.
As always, please remember that I do not own any of the music samples you see embedded below; they are the property of their respective copyright owners.
#70 – Never Say Die …For Under Defeat HD
Principal Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 | Composers: Shinji Hosoe | Year: 2012
Here’s a track that’s so obscure I had to upload it to YouTube myself!
Under Defeat HD has been featured on CelJaded before and here it is again with an arranged final level theme that soars above that of the rather bland-sounding Dreamcast original.
What’s cool about this one is the ‘blocked hearing’ intro. All in-game sound effects (including the ubiquitous stream of bullets coming from your chopper) go completely silent for the first few seconds during this and the resulting silence – as enemy aircraft continue to explode under your onslaught – is just tense.
It’s so wonderfully fitting for a final (very hard) level and it manages to instil a real sense of impending dread before the furious Japanese synth tunes back in with a vengeance!
It’s quite subtle compared to the standards of most shoot ’em ups, anyway and I like it!
#69 – Oldies But Happies …For Jet Set Radio Future
Principal Platforms: Xbox | Composers: Hideki Naganuma | Year: 2002
The soundtrack to Jet Set Radio Future is just as eclectic and irrepressible as the original and it’s a facet that’s all too evident in this bizarre but catchy little number featuring all manner of weird and wonderful samples.
#68 – Mice on Venus …For Minecraft
Principal Platforms: PC, a few others… | Composers: C418 | Year: 2011
You might have heard the name Minecraft before. Popular game it turns out!
Whilst this block-busting online sandbox isn’t suited to my own gaming tastes, I can certainly recognize the appeal.
Likewise is the experimental soundtrack by German musician Daniel Rosenfeld AKA “C418”, which makes for the perfect ambient accompaniment to all those hard hours of toil under the cubes.
#67 – Main Theme …For Road Rash II
Principal Platforms: Mega Drive | Composers: Rob Hubbard, Don Veca | Year: 1993
The Mega Drive’s sound chip is blessed with many rocking compositions and this here title theme to one of its most famous exclusives has always been a favourite of mine.
#66 – Track 4 …For Extreme-G
Principal Platforms: Nintendo 64 | Composers: Stephen Root, Simon Robertson | Year: 1997
Nintendo 64 ROM cartridges could never hope to compete with CD-ROMs when it came to outputting crystal clear audio, but this restriction wouldn’t stop musicians from composing many fine tracks for all manner of N64 games.
Extreme-G is one of the few good franchises that publisher Acclaim didn’t quite manage to run into the ground and it’s also notable for its heavy techno soundtrack!
Even though I can’t find their specific track names anywhere, these pulsing beats are blessed with a very recognisable quality and sound well beyond what their limited storage medium usually allowed for.
#65 – Ground Theme …For Super Mario Bros.
Principal Platforms: NES | Composers: Koji Kondo | Year: 1985
I think this one speaks for itself.
#64 – Can Can …For Lemmings (Mega Drive Version)
Principal Platforms: Mega Drive | Composers: Hirohiko Takayama | Year: 1992
Fear of copyright infringement was a rapidly growing concern in 1991 and it was this pressure that pressured Lemmings’ developer DMA Design into using classical tunes for the game’s background music.
Somehow though, this choice only adds to the game’s palpable sense of identity and depending on your version of choice, levels play out to arranged melodies composed by Tchaikovsky or Mozart and sometimes to a medley of nursery rhymes or even original numbers that give the title a very unique overall sound.
Japanese developer Sunsoft were veritable legends where video game music is concerned and so it comes as no surprise to learn that their Mega Drive port of Lemmings is loaded with the best-sounding versions of these popular tunes out of all the versions I’ve played.
#63 – Ryu’s Theme …For Street Fighter II
Principal Platforms: Arcade, many others… | Composers: Yoko Shimomura | Year: 1991
Yoko Shimomura’s soundtrack to Street Fighter II is perhaps just as legendary as the game itself!
Her theme to Guile’s stage may be more instantly recognizable, but I’ve always found Ryu’s Theme to be my biggest favourite over the years.
#62 – Chateau DuClare …For Deus Ex
Principal Platforms: PC, PlayStation 2 | Composers: Alexander Brandon, Dan Gardopee, Michiel van den Bos, Reeves Gabrels | Year: 2000
The incredible music in Deus Ex is notable for its dynamic quality. The tempo and musical style seamlessly changes to suit the actions taken by the player and you get a satisfying blend of musical styles as a result.
Chateau Duclare is something of an exploratory downtime; a section that some players love and others hate in equal measure.
What can’t be argued with though is the backing music which gives the level in question a rather beautiful aura of mystery and intrigue.
#61 – Item Box …For Resident Evil 5
Principal Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 | Composers: Kota Suzuki, Akihiko Narita, Wataru Hokoyama | Year: 2009
I’ll be honest: not all of the music in Resident Evil 5 hits the mark for me, but this short track from the game’s item management screen (yep, it’s another menu theme!) is about as desirably ominous as anything I’ve heard in the franchise to date.