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Obscurities in Video Game Music

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Lock the thread if there's one like this already or if it isn't allowed. I don't want to step on anyone's toes.


We've had various songs in video games over the years. Some, however, are less well-known than others.


This is where the thread comes in. Whether it be great songs in otherwise terrible video games, or the games themselves aren't well-known, or it simply doesn't get cited as others in the work, these are songs that, for one reason or another, haven't been as well known as others.


Take these, for example.


The game itself is said to be bad, but the music sure is nice. Kinda makes me think of some more well-known greats there, with these three songs doing a good job at making you think you might play something good just listening.


Anything you want to discuss here?

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I often find that pinball music is very much an unknown entity. People are often too pre-occupied with keeping the ball alive to really notice any kind of music that may be playing in the game.


Some of the tunes from those games can be utterly fantastic, for example, the 'main' track from my personal favorite table Cirqus Voltaire fits perfectly with the game's theme (an electric, high-voltage circus) and generally is an awesome track to listen to.



And finally, a bit of a guilty pleasure this one: Brian Schmidt (who composed the theme and soundtrack to Desert Strike and Jungle Strike) composed this kick ass (if insanely 80s/90s) bit of music:


In action:


For a game as fast and furious as Black Knight 2000, it's definitely fitting, and kick ass to play to.

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Gonna bring up the Zelda games on the CDi particularly Link: The Faces of Evil, because, as infamous as they are, many neglect the, actually rather superb, soundtrack. Yeah, it's not the usual Zelda fare, but it's genuinely very good.


I mean, the bassline in the 'Hermit Flats' track here...




Is just so damn catchy, make me tap my foot whenever I hear it. Good enough to be worth noticing.


The main theme from Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon is pretty great too, I love the...sorta trance beat it has. It sounds like a dance remix of something you'd probably be more likely to find in a Nintendo Zelda game.




I'd recommend you give the OST's of these games a listen, as while the games themselves are really pretty awful, the music on offer is brilliant.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2's soundtrack always stuck with me over the years, for how dark and ambient it is compared to other Star Wars OST's. The game may be seen as missed potential due to its amount of content that got cut, and while it's been forgotten over the years, it's still my favorite Star Wars game+soundtrack of all time.




I'm especially fond of the Telos Jedi Academy theme that plays. Like I said, ambient to a tee, and it captures the mystery of Atris' base perfectly.


And then of course there's the rebuilt Jedi Enclave music. I can't describe it, just give this sorrowful yet beautiful track a listen.



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Verytex was a Japanese exclusive shmup that was released on the Mega Drive in 1991. I wouldn't say it was a "bad" game as such, but it doesn't do anything out of the ordinary and it's not very exciting... but the soundtrack it amazing. It's one of those soundtracks that makes you want to play the game more despite it not having much else going for it, and it would have been quite a forgettable and generic shooter if it hadn't been for the music.




Another Mega Drive shmup, although this one is also an awesome game and is one of my absolute favorites.


Truxton (also known as Tatsujin) was one of Toaplan's earlier games and I believe it's a more obscure one as it's not a game I hear a lot of people talking about. It's also one of the more difficult shmups out there, but it was so worth it when you managed to clear a stage and get to the next level, and one of the main reasons for that was that it meant you got to hear more of the soundtrack. Where Verytex's soundtrack managed to make a bland game somewhat more enjoyable, Truxton's made an already awesome game all the more incredible.


There's also a lesser known sequel that was arcade exclusive, and it had quite a cool soundtrack too. Not anywhere near as good as the original, but still a fair few tracks that are worth a listen.




And just so I have something that isn't a shmup in this post...


Chiki Chiki Boys was one of those games I picked up in a bargain bin as a kid and I'd never heard of it at all beforehand, and it turned out to be quite a cool game in general. The entire soundtrack is awesome and I would recommend that anyone check it out, but the intro is one of my all-time favourite pieces of BGM. I remember I loved it so much when I was younger that I would just leave the game on the title screen for a while so I could listen to it.


There's a fair few others coming to mind, but I'll probably post them later as I don't want to cram too many into this post.

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The New Tetris (N64):



Composed by Neil D. Voss, this soundtrack is a great mix of Jungle/Drum 'n' Bass, Big Beat, and various ethnic genres from around the world. Also of note is its brilliant use of sampling. The soundtrack takes sampled chords, melodies, vocals, and breakbeats and blends them all into something that can stand up to the likes of The Avalanches' Since I Left You or Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique. All this on a Nintendo 64 cartridge too. Sadly, this OST seemed to have almost completely slipped under the radar, as next to one seems to ever talk about its greatness.


A few more examples:





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While Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus itself isn't the most obscure thing in the world, I feel this song doesn't get enough love. Understandable, since it's only in the Japanese version for some reason.

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I'm going to be honest: Tron 2.0 is one the best games I've ever played. Very underrated game. Everyone needs to try this game at least once, even if you don't like the Tron movies. Yeah, it has flaws, but it's still pretty good.


It also has one of the best sound tracks I've ever heard. There's something about the music that's mysterious and kind of creepy. In fact, the whole game is pretty creepy. Not much information on where Kevin Flynn is, other than an email about him wanting to chat with Alan sometime.

Lora was killed in a digitizing accident, and what Alan could save of her was (possibly) transferred to Ma3a, a computer program dealing with digitizing objects.

And the creepiness is why I love the game!


Let's start off with this:



This is the music played over the main menu of the game. It's got a certain mystery about it that's really hard to describe. It's kind of quiet. It starts out slow, gets faster as it goes along, and then suddenly slows down again towards the end. It kind of makes you a bit curious of what will happen in the game.


There are also tracks like this:



This music helps with giving the deserted feel of the level (the level takes place on an old computer, hence the title "Antiquated"). You might even say the music is a bit haunting, with the "ah"s and the organ-like music playing, and all those electronic beeps.

But you find out the computer isn't entirely empty. For when you're least expecting it, you're hit by an enemy program and something like this starts playing:



And you panic! The sudden change in tempo. The crashing of the electronic sounds. Who or what hit you? Where are they? Darn this first person camera! Can't see anything! Then you really start to worry. Do you have enough health? Guess not! Derezzed! Back to the last save point. Wait, what do you mean my last save point was on the previous level...? D:


And finally, I want to mention this track:



I love the electronic sound. It's so cool.


(Hope this isn't too long and rambly, but I had a lot of fun writing it!)

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