Friday, February 15, 2013

The Soudtracks of Our Gaming Lives

Music is one of the most powerful forms of media in the world.  It can brighten your day, make you get up and dance, make you depressed, make you hate men, hell, even make you cry.  In movies, music can, in most cases, convey the emotion behind a certain scene.  Nowadays, music, if good or in some cases terrible, can become viral.  Everybody wants to listen to it or watch the video just because of word of mouth.  But what about in video games?  For gamers, music can have about as much impact as the story or actual gameplay in a game.

For the current generation many gamers have a lot of go-to's when it comes to their favorite songs or OST's. From Never Forget from Halo, the opening music to Skyrim, the Mass Effect 3 them, to more old school like Green Hill Zone from Sonic, the theme from any Zelda game, the Duke Nukem theme, to good ole' Mario; good video game music can have a lifelong impact and span generations. 

I was chatting with a few friends over Xbox live (shoutout to Ash and Joe; thanks for your faves) about some of our favorite music from video games (both song and favorite OST).  Some I've never even heard of or played, some were favorites that everyone can agree with. So for this post I've decided to give a small list of video game music (recommended to me, some all time faves of everyone and my own personal favorites. 

Halo Reborn - Halo 3, Marty O'Donnel

If there is one thing any gamer can agree on, Halo fan or not, its that Marty O'Donnel is a musical genius.  Pick any game from the Halo trilogy, then pick any song from said game and you know that you are getting greatness.  While the Halo 4 soundtrack was great in itself, fans always go to back to the original trilogy for Marty's flawless score.  So from Halo 3 we get Halo Reborn courtesy of Ash.

Simple Sight - Castle Crashers, RealFaction

I personally have never played Castle Crashers, but from what I read and see online its a great multiplayer game that's worth a look.  But I was made aware of this track by my friend Joe. And for a boss fight track, and for me not ever playing the game, I was definitely intrigued by the solid guitar work.

Encounter - Metal Gear Solid, KCE Sound Team Japan

Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!  Fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise who weren't that good at sneaking know this track all to well.  When that exclamation mark pops up from an enemy soldiers head, the alarms sound off, and this track came on you knew it was time to get in a corner and hide in a box.  Classic.

Leaving Earth - Mass Effect 3, Clint Mansell
When you saw the little boy get on a ship only to have said ship get shot down less than 30 seconds later, you wanted to shed a tear then go off and rip the reapers a new one.  Clint Mansell does a great job of giving one of the most epic moments in the franchise a sound.  Damn reapers.

Evil Destroyer - Thunder Force IV, Toshiharu Yamanishi, Takeshi  Yoshida, Tomomi Ootani

The Sega Genesis had its limits.  You had to impress consumers (and the Nintendo fanboys) with a good gameplay, graphics (for its time), and good music all on a 16-bit cartridge.  Thunder Force IV was one of the first sidescrolling shooters I had ever played and I fell in love with it.  Was ridiculously difficult, stages visually outsanding, but what made me rent this game SEVERAL times was this track, and its only boss numero uno.  Believe me it gets better.  If you get the chance look up the track Metal Squad from this very same game.  Friggin awesome.

Ageha - Shinobi(PS2), Wave Master

I was always in love with Shinobi.  From early Sega Genesis and Game Gear Entries to its brief stint on the PS2, the Shinobi franchise has always had a cult following.  But the one thing that all games had in common was that they all had some damn good tracks.  This one is no exception, and my favorite from the franchise.  Having to do battle with one of your childhood ninja friends, Ageha's track was a good one to fight to, even though it left me sorta sad when it ended (the song and the fight, for obvious reasons).

Intro (SOR Super Mix) - Streets of Rage 2, Yuzo Koshiro

Beat em' ups where everywhere in the early 90's.  Final Fight was indeed my, and most other gamers, favorite in the genre.  But the Streets of Rage franchise was indeed a very close 2nd.  You and a friend getting together on a weekend sleepover and beating up everyone who came your way on the road to Mr. X.  Yuzo Koshiro was known for some of the greatest music from Sega's lineup but this was one of the alltime greats.  And this is just an intro! (and final stage!)

Shenmue Main Theme - Shenmue, Jia Peng Feng, Toshiyuki Watanabe, Yuzo Koshiro

Sega is coming up a lot in this list huh?  Well that comes to show how seriously good the music from the Sega era was.  Shenmue was my pick as the Dreamcast's best game.  The story of a young man losing his father and undertaking a journey to find his killer, this game had everything; rpg elements, fighting, kung fu, mini games!  Once I played through the game I implored my dad to get me this soundtrack.  You know a game's music is damn good when you want the soundtrack.  And for this one I'm also including the orchestral version but its just as good.  Job well done.

Oda's Army Attacks~ Opening - Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, Taro Iwasho
Samurai are awesome.  Ever since watching the Seven Samurai, reading the Tale of Genji, Taiko, and other Japanese historical novels my interest was piqued to say the least.  So Onimusha comes out, and I loved it.  Onimusha 2 is released a few years later and I pop in the disc only to be treated to this gem.  A combination of orchestra and Japanese feel this track made me ready to go fight a war.  Now that I hear this track again, I wanna play Total War Shogun.  Hmm.....

Mr. Adam - Armored Core 4, Kota Hoshino

Daddy loves the giant robots.  The Armored Core franchise was indeed one of my favorites, and the soundtracks were great (I've bought 3 of them so far so that should tell you something.)  But when I got Armored Core 4 and this was playing during a mission my hype level went over 9000.  I was blowing up everything; I was that damn hype.  Silent Line, Monkey Likes Daddy, and In My Heart were some of the franchises best tracks, but after hearing this I was hooked.  Damn you Kota Hoshino.

For this last one I need to give you a bit of imagery because this is my all time fave.  I would tell you to close your eyes but you wouldn't be able to read.  Picture this: you're on a Hawaiian beach at dusk; the horizon is pinkish orange and the only noise in the background you hear are the waves crashing against the sand.  2nd picture:you're playing this awesome driving game and you're against the clock.  You get to the end only to have the clock run out as you're inches away from the finish line.  Immediately you are greeted by this.....

 Last Wave - Outrun,  Hiroshi Kawaguchi

Losing doesn't sound so bad after hearing this does it?  The Outrun franchise soundtracks are indeed my favorite of all time, not because there are so many, but because of the quality.  Magical Sound Shower, Splash Wave, and Passing Breeze are daily plays on my mp3 player.  But hearing the soft sounds of Last Wave just relaxes me in any situation.  I can just imagine myself on a beach with a beer listening to this song every twilight of my life until I die.  Its that damn good. In 1990 when SST had a live concert they did another version of this song which is just as amazing, so I included it as the final song as well.  And its a good one to sign off to (if I ever start podcasting, this is gonna be the sign off song!).  Until next time gamers.

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