Number 5--Top Ten Game Soundtracks

Number 5:  Halo 3: ODST

Just like that, Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori become the first on this top ten list to have more then one work featured, and what a work it is. Those of you reading this now may wonder exactly what has changed from their previous work to ODST, and the answer is: quite a bit.

ODST was created for a spin-off of the Halo series that was released not too long ago and as such is one of the newest soundtracks on this list. However, the fact that it was a spin-off gave O' Donnell the freedom to take it in a very different direction, and so much like the number 9 shown previously on our list, ODST ends up being very different from it's predecessor. The closest similarity to be found in this soundtrack to O' Donnell and Salvatori's earlier works is the heavy percussion, something that serves as an underlying movement to much of ODST. This gives it the recognizable traits of music composed by O' Donnell, but only in the way that an attuned ear recognized music composed by John Williams. There's a flair, a calling card that tells you it's his work, even if its a very different sound.

So what about that sound? One thing that sets it apart is that the whole soundtrack is actually a sort of homage to a very old genre of movie: Film Noir. The soundtrack is moody, atmospheric, sometimes blending the sound of thunder and rain with slow jazz, and a reoccurring, haunting saxophone that slides in and out of the various compositions. ODST is both a skillfully and artfully composed soundtrack that in some skillful way, is arranged so that it both demands your attention and slides by without any passage of time. This is a soundtrack that you can listen to in a variety of settings (and definitely at night) that will fly by. Before you realize it, the entire soundtrack has reached its grand end, and for a moment you will feel disrupted by the silence before you simply restart the whole soundtrack once more.

ODST does offer some unique takes on its own genre as well. When was the last time a slow, drawn out electric guitar was featured in film Noir jazz? Probably never. ODST not only pays homage to a long lost genre, it experiments with and builds upon it, creating a unique blend of modern and classic styles.

ODST is quite clearly not going to be for everyone. Unlike some of the other soundtracks offered on this list, it's presentation of a "hard-boiled" film Noir and slow jazz genre will not be to everyone's taste. But for those of you who do find it to your liking, you can't go wrong with this incredible showcase of talent. Halo 3: ODST, despite its recent release, earns a solid, solid place in the top 5 at Number 5.

As an interesting side note, while researching ODST's phenomenal soundtrack (don't fret, I'd already placed it at #5), I learned that it did not go unnoticed upon it's release, and won the Video Game Awards Best Soundtrack of 2009. Well earned I say, well earned.

Number 5: Halo 3: ODST by Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Number 6: Halo 2 by Martin O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Number 7: Planetary Pieces: Sonic World Adventure by Various Composers
Number 8: Super Mario Galaxy by Mahito Yokota and Mahito Yokota
Number 9: Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles by Kumi Tanioka
Number 10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 by Frank Klepacki

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