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Old 10-19-2012, 01:41 PM   #1
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Default Game Soundtracks

Hello,

I'm writing an article on amazing game soundtracks, and as a part of research I'd like to ask for your contributions.

If the games you pick aren't that known (widely played) you may also include a brief description of why you picked them, if it's not too much effort.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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Krazy Ivan was a mech first-person shooter released for PC, Sega Saturn and PlayStation in 1996 by Psygnosis. Sountrack Artist: CoLD StoRAGE. The intro song (Rough Scwharz) as you navigate to the different parts of the world is awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlkKK...ure=plpp_video

Also - Sonic CD soundtrack. The video intro for the game, "Sonic Boom" has always been a favorite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPC8W672mXc
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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so, do you mean soundtracks that I like because i really like the music, or soundtracks I like because it really adds to the game experience? because I think those are two separate things.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:57 PM   #4
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Hard to say really. Are you looking for tracks that helped set the mood of a game or sections/moments or a game soundtrack that changed the whole feel of the game. DR i think he's looking for the second reason you mentioned.

For first a good examples of the top of my head:

For one that helps the game further establish the mood that it's going for i would say Witcher 2. It incorporates beautiful melodies to further set the tranquil or harsh moods based of locations, state you're in(combat or out of it) and help the story drive along

For a game that incorporates soundtrack that is totally out of it's genre yet works perfectly in shifting a mood to darker places and set the tone for an entire game as much as visuals i would have to go with Homeworld 2.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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Ones that come to mind:

Bastion - It's highly distinctive and practically sets the tone for the entire game.

BlazBlue - Of note is that almost every battle theme is also their character's leitmotif, complete with special versus themes for character rivalries, and special themes for "Unlimited" versions of those characters.

Touhou - Considering it's programmed, drawn, and composed entirely by one man, the fact that every stage and character has their own theme is made that much more impressive. And then you get into the hundreds (thousands?) of covers that have been made of those songs...
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:19 PM   #6
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I second Bastion and everything djiz said. It's just beautiful music, a nice mix of a blues-y and electronic elements.

Also, Jet Grind Radio, and Jet Set Radio Future.
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Old 10-21-2012, 01:59 AM   #7
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I'm glad you guys picked Bastion just shows to be a good choice.

Darkreaver, it doesn't matter. If something is months of preparations and days in the studio with a symphonic orchestra it's gonna most probably be awesome. On the other hand a game with no music that creates just the right kind of atmosphere is a success too.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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well, that's kind of what I mean...the music could have been beautifully orchestrated, and may sound great on its own, but maybe it adds nothing to the game as a whole, or worse yet, conflicts with the rest of the feel of the game, resulting in a worse experience than with different music, or no music.

I will talk about the latter of my conditions, because I think that's a more interesting question. Game music is different again from even things like movie scores, it does not just accompany, but also holds the possibility for sonic interactivity, just like how the visuals and game world may change in response to player input. The obvious one is when different music is played for different areas, as with the witcher 2 mentioned by RO, or for different character themes, like blazblue mentioned by djizomdjinn. There's a lot more that has been/can be done that can really add to the game experience, as well as be really awesome music. now if you will forgive me, i'm about to be really pretentious:

donkey kong country 2: depending on the sound design, one thing that game music needs to deal with is the ability for the music to loop. This isn't just about whether the end of the piece blends seamlessly into the front, but also about if the song is tolerable after hearing it loop a million times. DKC2 is a difficult platformer (especially when I played it as a kid), the punishing difficulty was made palatable with the constant awesome, non rage inducing music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73n7HTcmb5g

tetris attack: in this game, each opponent has it's own theme, but when you're about to die, the music shifts to a pressured version of the theme. I remember playing this game for the first time, when it goes from happy and relaxed to OMG i'm going to die, it really adds to the panic.

normal theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzbM_...40E8EDD FD1FC
pressured theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVyYu...40E8EDD FD1FC

FTL: here, the music design is treated similarly, but instead of just switching tracks, the two tracks are the same length and tempo, allowing for shifting seamlessly between the tracks at the same location in the song.

explore theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOE-D...qrr 1cTggXoWX
battle theme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_9gz...5nqrr1cTggXoWX

rez: this game does two things that contributes to the music: first, the music is layered, such that additional voices are layered on top every time you level up, making the music increasingly richer as you level. The second, the sound effects from targeting and destroying enemies were designed to fit tonally into the background music, introducing a chaotic element, making each experience unique and irreproducible. now THAT's what I call awesome game music <3

the soundtrack:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uew4oWG3_8o
in game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwWWkgx2Stc
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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Regarding music adding to the game experience: I have two touchstones that have really impressed me. They are both quite listenable on their own (which is nice), but they've been carefully designed as soundtracks and the way they are integrated truly makes their respective games:


Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future were built on top of a rocking mix of electronic, indie, and low-fi rock tracks. The conceit is that the music you hear in the game is being spun from an in-game pirate radio station, rub by a a DJ who sends occasional shout-outs to your characters as the story progresses (an idea appropriated later by Fallout 3 for a very different effect). The result is a nonstop barrage of high-volume style and eclectivity (electicity? eclecticality? ...eclecticalness). Which pretty much establishes the mood of the game. It confirms that you're energetic punks, with an edgy irreverent style and regular bursts of SPEED. There isn't a moment that the game doesn't feel fast and fun.

On the other hand...



The majority of Shadow of the Colossus doesn't. have. music.



It's a still and empty wilderness, where the only ambient sounds are wind rustling the grass or water burbling in a nearby brook.

I've never seen a sunny cold morning captured so convincingly- as audio.

Most of what you hear is you, as you move about.


And that's what you experience, for miles. And miles.


It's the only game that has made me feel alone.


You just explore an unpopulated world in what amounts to silence- riding, climbing, and swimming through beautiful empty landscapes, searching for silent stone gods.



UNTIL YOU FIND THEM!


When a battle begins, the world is transformed and the full might of Kow Otani scoring the Warsaw Philharmonic kicks in. After so much stillness, the effect is enough to make you drop bricks. And it's not just background music- there are often several tracks tailored to each fight (there are 16 collosi in the game). Each arrangement amounts to an epic description of whatever quality makes this particular colossus unique (some are slow and stately, others are raw and aggressive, some fly, some swim, all are amazing). If you run too far away, the music fades out. But somehow that that just makes it more scary when the music fades back IN. And as you finally climb onto each giant to try and turn the tables, the orchestra switches to a triumphantly exhilarating theme I like to call NOW IS YOUR CHANCE DON'T BLOW IT GO GO GO. When you triumph and the stone crumbles into ruin, the screen letter boxes and the soundtrack shifts to a regretful near-religious experience. I kid you not- after all that, you feel sad. It drives home that what you've effectively done is murder the last of an endangered species, a dignified thing of beauty who was not an aggressor. In short, the whole thing is solid mood. I've never encountered a game with a soundtrack so effective at playing its players.

When a fight is over, there is a brief and calming interlude. You then start back at the beginning, ready to wander out into the cold quiet stillness again.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:20 PM   #10
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haha when I saw darkreaver mention that game, I immediately thought of the Bramble level, too. Oh GOD THE BRAMBLES. WHY AREN'T THERE MORE SAVE POINTS
I also really liked the factory in the first game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v18pEFQb3EM

And I also agree with X Chris up there for Shadow of the Colossus. One of the truly most epic soundtracks I've ever heard. Really great atmosphere, emotion...it just feels momentous. Like was mentioned, I felt the music really captured the sound of the colossi really well.

Another one of my all time favorites is Chrono Trigger. This is an OST I often go back to...Yasunori Mitsuda's really good at expressing moods, and a wide range of times/places. The game goes through different time periods (and I guess cultures) and it's cool that the music reflects that accordingly. Well, maybe it's more that each piece is crafted and layered so well, I can still discover new sound design bits to these songs.
(Schala's theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJtwEpQe6w0,
Corridors of Time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg513...feature=relmfu)

Journey also came to mind, because it captures emotions really well. I also hear the music changes depending on whether the game is played alone or alongside someone else, through various stages of the game...anyway beautiful music "I was Born for This" at the end was especially poignant.

Super Mario RPG I love mainly for the nostalgia value. Quirky, upbeat, also sometimes a bit jazz-y. I don't have much idea about this one from a sound design vp, but can I just say the music is really catchy and definitely made me enjoy the game that much more?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkailb3xcTI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...Ah3QIZP7o&NR=1

Also, I assume everyone's played FF6 already. 'nuff said.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:18 AM   #11
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Guys, you are awesome! It seems that some of you put real effort into explaining yourselves. It's so much appreciated! I'm starting to get multiple suggestions of the same games from different sources, thus I may actually be able to pick the right ones. I just loved how Fallout 3 contrasts with the game itself. Also glad you mentioned Donkey Kong Country Darkreaver (and tetris).
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:49 PM   #12
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Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura - for me, a masterpiece of melancholic atmosphere, which suited the game perfectly. It's almost entirely for string quartet, and suits the game's Victorian-esque world, but also stands on its own well as a work of classical music. Reminds me in some ways of the work of Erik Satie for the collection of short.

The Main Theme is an especial favourite of mine.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:48 AM   #13
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Nier should bear a special mention. It's a strange, depressing moody game, and yet it's soundtrack is uplifting and just plain beautiful.

And some of the battle tracks really get the pulse thumping.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:32 AM   #14
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I wish I had more time to spend on your recommendations (I don' even know some of the games you mentioned – which is brilliant)
This is a (uncomplete) list of what I've come up with so far. There will be 10 in total. Bear in mind that I'm browsing through your suggestions as I write so if you don't see your suggestion it may very well be that Ihaven' even listened to it yet (and of yourse you need to do a bit of research too to judge the atmosphere of the game and such).

BASTION
FALLOUT 3
CASTLEVANIA
DRAGON QUEST (+SYMPHONIC)
RED ALERT 2
DEAR ESTHER

Stuff I get recommended often: Mass Effect 2/3, Donkey Kong Country (2), Final Fantasy (if I ask to narrow it down, they usually pick 6), Neverhood. Not sure if it is due to the games' popularity or realy value though (some of them definitely belong into the list – I just want every entry to have something unique).
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:40 AM   #15
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neverhood and grim fandango, earthworm jim 2 on the saturn and virtua fighter 2. thinking about them now just takes me back. sorry bout the bump, but how'd the article go?
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:02 PM   #16
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Hah, that's great. This could very well become a regular thread.

I'm surrently obsessed with Castle Crashers OST

The article can be found here
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:45 AM   #17
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cool article!

i forgot to mention the classic shadowman! the bastion track from your article reminded me.

i didn't like the evil twin game all that much but the little that i did play of it, i enjoyed the score.
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