3.25.2010

The Top Ten Best Video Game Soundtracks of All Time: Number 10!

Welcome to the focus of my blog for the next ten days! That's right! For the next ten days I'll be giving a one a day countdown of the top ten Video Game Soundtracks of all time. Of course, it's all according to me, but I had some ground rules to guide me, as well as some handy stats on hand.

The whole thing got started on a forum, where people were posting their favorite game soundtracks, and I decided to once and for all (as of March 2010) figure out what I saw as the 10 best game soundtracks ever made. So now, after three weeks of making certain I was comfortable with my decisions and double thinking myself, I have reached my conclusion. Now, before I give you the #10 spot, let me give you the basis of my decisions.

First of all, did I enjoy listening to it both in and out of the game? Could I listen to it without picturing the game, ie, did the music have a life beyond the game itself and the environment therein? Could others listen to the soundtrack and enjoy it equally with no knowledge of the source (I've found this to be an important factor, for some reason people seem to think that despite utilizing symphonies in their creation of music, games music must be no more advanced then three different beep notes)? Effectively, did the music stand alone? Then I had to ask how advanced the music was, in terms of complexity and musical skill. What reaction did it draw from listeners emotionally? Lastly, I checked to see if I had the soundtrack. I'm an avid music fan, and if something strikes me as good, I will get it, and as such I have dozens of game soundtracks (for games I've never played, natch). That I would load a soundtrack onto my MP3 player and listen to it gave an item great weight. Once I had my first list (of 40+ albums) I cross compared until, after 2 weeks, I had the top ten.

So, without much further yammering, I give you:



Number 10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2


The number 10 spot was a hard fought place, and there were several other very good soundtracks that fought for this position, but in the end, Frank Klepacki's absolutely memorable mix of Industrial-rock and funk won the day to win the number ten spot.

For those of you who never played Red Alert 2, it was the sequel to the much loved original, and once again, Westwood Studios brought back Frank Klepacki to create the singularly epic soundtrack to wage war to. After his experiments with smoother and more ambient music in the previous title, Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Klepacki decided to return to the roots of the series with faster, more rapid beats and groovy near dance tracks with a mix of Industrial-rock and industrial funk. One wouldn't think that Industrial-funk would make for a great battlefield symphony, but it just works.

Red Alert 2 earns its spot on the list with some truly epic song mixes, including what was quite possibly the best song of the entire series, Hell March 2, the sequel piece to the first games main theme. What ultimately let Red Alert 2 beat out the other eager hopefuls for the #10 spot however, was the sheer volume of the music it presented. Every song is enjoyable and memorable, and fun to listen to without a knowledge of the game, a feat many of the number 11's just couldn't match. Years after I haven't played the game (not due to dislike, but a lack of support for modern OS's....thanks EA, you suck) I still love mountain biking, working or just plain rocking out to Red Alert 2's epic soundtrack.

Number 10: Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2.

 Tomorrow: Number 9!

Comment's welcome. Agree? Disagree? Tell it!

2 comments:

Time Enforcer Anubis said...

Frank Klepacki does some excellent music, that's for sure. I find that a lot of strategy game music is very good and very memorable, but the RA2 and Tiberian Sun soundtracks are particularly fantastic.

The Game Critic said...

Glad to hear you enjoy his music as much as I do. Given the amount of awards he wins every time he does a game soundtrack, I'm surprised he doesn't do them more often, but he is still doing them, much to the delight of gamers everywhere.