Top 25 Soundtracks 2011: Number 21

Number 21: Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is one of those few games that is almost universally known, but at the same time rarely played. I'll admit, even I've never played it. But what little I've seen, watched and heard, Shadow of the Colossus is an incredible experience. Its rare that a game is made entirely of boss fights. Its even more rare to make a game where those boss fights feel distinct and coherent. But to do that with an introspective story and bring each of those bosses to life, to the point that each one is a living thing you feel guilt upon slaying, well. That's something special.

Shadow of the Colossus is a special game, and it's soundtrack is one of the few soundtracks out there that perfectly captures the haunting journey of the player. Its soft, serene, hinting of mysteries and wonders just beyond the players view. In a lot of ways, it sounds like what Zelda's music could be. It sounds just right.

It is a very polar however. Since Shadow of the Colossus is devoted to boss battles, there are plenty of powerful and dramatic tunes to compliment the colossal endeavor of taking them down. These songs are exactly what you would expect. Grand, epic sweeping orchestral arrangements that convey a sense of urgency and challenge. What's truly great is that none of them feels too similar to another. Each carries its own melody and style, while still capturing the scope of the emotion in a way that makes each feel, well, real.

So now the other half, the rest of the music. Here's where Shadow of the Colossus earns it's second gold standard. The calm after the battle, the unease of victory, is captured perfectly by Shadow's composer. Even better captured is melancholy feel of the hero. Where the battle songs are anxious and triumphant, the rest of the games music is carefully soft, sometimes regretful, sometimes hopeful, but always with the feel of more just over the horizon. With a soundtrack like this, I would hope that another title like this could be forthcoming, because Shadow of the Colossus is moving, touching, victorious, haunting and sad all at the same time.

Well done Kow Otani. Well done indeed.

Shadow of the Colossus
Enjoyment: 3.5
Stand Alone Quality: 3.75
Composition: 3.5
Emotional Reaction: 3.5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 0
TOTAL: 3.81

Number 21--Shadow of the Colossus by Kow Otani
Number 22--Chrono Cross by Yasunori Mitsuda.
Number 23--Sonic CD US by Spencer Nilsen.
Number 24--Megaman II by Manami Matsumae, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, and Takashi Tateishi
Number 25--Dawn of War II by Doyle W. Donehoo

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