Top 10 Retro Video Game Soundtracks

We'll never forget the bleeps and bloops of these classic soundtracks. Remember we're ranking entire game soundtracks, not just one or two songs. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Retro Video Game Soundtracks. Special Thanks to our users "Jack Morris" "aldqbigsquare" "Chandi55" "dosmaniac007" for suggesting this topic on our Website WatchMojo.comsuggest
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript

Top 10 Retro Video Game Soundtracks


We’ll never forget playing these games—or listening to them. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Retro Video Game Soundtracks.

For our list, we limited ourselves to one game per series. We ranked titles from the 5th generation of consoles and earlier—that means that PS1 and N64 games are in, and games for PS2 and Xbox onward are for Top 10 Modern Video Game Soundtrack. Most importantly, we’re focusing on whole soundtracks rather than singular themes, as we already have lists for that.

#10: “Final Fantasy VI” (1994)


This classic RPG series has always been known for its music, but this title stands out. The soundtrack, consisting of music composed by Nobuo Uematsu, complimented the game’s shift towards deeper characters and story through its powerfully cinematic synthesizer melodies. In addition to the instrumental pieces, Uematsu added vocal tracks that enhanced the game’s operatic feel. We’ll always remember fighting in the game’s final battle while “Dancing Mad” blared away.

#9: “Quake 2” (1997)


We thought that no one could match the ambient music Trent Reznor wrote for this game’s predecessor, but the rock band Sonic Mayhem proved us wrong. They took a completely different approach to scoring the sequel, favoring a heavy metal sound with lots of repetition, but they ended up creating the perfect mood for the title’s intense combat. Who would have thought that violent imagery and heavy metal would mix well?

#8: “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” (1994)


Michael Jackson was originally supposed to be the composer of the soundtrack for this game. Though the credits didn’t include his name, the Sonic Team still ended up with amazing music for their title. STI director Roger Hector insists to this day that the King of Pop had nothing to do with the soundtrack that ended up in the game, but the similarity between its ending music and Jackson’s song “Stranger in Moscow” suggests otherwise.

#7: “Donkey Kong Country 2” (1995)


Lots of games have a few types of sounds for their music, but Country 2’s sheer variety makes it special. Composer David Wise’s score ranges from the funk influences heard on the bass line to “Funky the Main Monkey” to the calm ambience of “Stickerbrush Symphony.” Our quest to save Donkey is unforgettable, and the range of music we listen to along the way helps cement it in our minds.

#6: “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” (1997)


Before we heard Michiru Yamane’s score to “Symphony of the Night,” we never would have thought that thrash metal and jazz could be combined, but the composer proved us wrong. Her soundtrack helped to create the moods for the game’s areas that became so memorable. More so than any prior Castlevania game, As amazing as those tracks were to begin with.

#5: “Chrono Trigger” (1995)


As we already said, we loved Nobuo Uematsu’s work on “Final Fantasy VI,” but he saved his best for this game. He teamed up with fellow composer Yasunori Mitsuda to create a powerful score that meshed perfectly with the time-traveling gameplay. Mitsuda said that he wanted to write music for the title that wouldn’t fit in any genre, and the abstract sounds he came up with created a unique experience.

#4: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time” (1992)


While some game composers go out of their way to make their pieces sound orchestral and cinematic, others are totally happy to fit within the established conventions of video game music. The soundtrack for “Turtles in Time” falls into the latter category, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The game consists of non-stop beat ‘em up action, and the music helps create its frenetic pace, and its made all the sweeter, when remixed with that classic Ninja Turtles theme.

#3: “Streets of Rage 2” (1992)


Nintendo Power called Yuzo Koshiro, the man behind this game’s soundtrack, “arguably the greatest game-music composer of the 16-bit age,” and it’s hard to disagree especially seeing as his best work came from a Genesis game. He used an outdated computer to create the techno sounds that make up its exciting score. They go well with Rage’s side-scrolling fights, but they wouldn’t be out of place in a nightclub, either.

#2: “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998)


This title is widely considered to be one of the greatest games ever made, and its music is a big reason why it’s so legendary. Composer Koji Kondo created a wide array of sweeping themes for the game that go with different characters and locations in Hyrule. In addition to the background music, the gameplay requires players to play and perform tunes on an ocarina in order to go through time and space.

Before we get to our number one, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions:

#1: “Mega Man 2” (1988)


Did you know that Megaman is known as Rockman in Japan? That’s right, in reference to Rock ‘n Roll. From its beginnings, series creator Kenji Inafume wanted the franchise’s music to stand out, and Composer Tatashi Takeishi delivered in the 2nd game with his masterpiece “Doctor Wily Stage Theme,” but the greatness of the game’s music doesn’t stop there. In every single stage of the 2nd game, Takeishi’s score is integral to maintaining the title’s high level of energy and excitement.


Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite retro video game soundtrack? For more musical top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More Top 10