It always shocks me to see people playing video games with headphones or some other kinds of music playing in the background. Growing up, the games I played had such memorable soundtracks that I still keep the music to them with me on my iPod to this day. I've decided to compile a list of my top 10 favorite video game series based on their music. If you have not played these while listening to their music, I beg you to please go back and do so.
10. Castlevania Series (Favorite - Castlevania 3)
Castlevania has always been famous for its haunting atmosphere and creepy explorable castles with monster movie themed enemies. Beyond these features also lies an amazing wealth in great soundtrack music. Even before the days of Symphony of the Night, Vampire Killer exists as one of the most memorable tracks in video gaming. You have to love that first time you stick in Castlevania 3 and see Trevor Belmont praying and get to heat that awesome little song with lightning crashing in the background, or the first time you hear Bloody Tears in Castlevania 2, knowing you are in for an amazing gaming experience.
In more recent times, Castlevania games that are referred to lovingly to as Metroidvania, although majorly diverging from the older Castlevania formula, still keep up with the theme of amazing music. Pretty much the entire soundtrack for Symphony of the Night is classic and the GBA/ DS games are not slackers either in that department.
9. Pokémon (Favorite - Pokémon Red & Blue)
If you grew up in the 90's and did not live in a cave somewhere, you probably know what pokémon is. Chances are as a child, you were humming the route 1 music while walking to school every day and wondering when the time will come that you will get to go to your local professor’s office to pick up your new deadly pokémon friend. I do not know about you, but every time I walk into the doctor’s office the pokémon center theme starts instantly playing in my head. Do not get me started on going to the gym. I have yet to encounter a pokémon title with bad music.
8. Mana Series (Favorite - Secret of Mana)
Secret of Mana or Seiken Densetsu was more than one game in Japan: it was several. We received Seiken Densetsu 2. This series had some rather majestic and fantastical video game themes that really set the mood for a young boy's adventure or the particular character you may be playing in Seiken Densetsu 3. Some memorable tracks are Angel's Fear, which is the main theme of the series and a theme called Banished, which plays in the rather sad beginning to Secret of Mana. The boss theme for Secret of Mana is also rather funky and memorable as it super intense for a theme on the Super Nintendo.
7. Mega Man Series (Favorite - Megaman 2)
The Mega Man series in Japan is known as Rockman, and ever since the first Rockman debuted on the Famicom in 1987, gamers have been rocking out to the awesome tracks. In the NES days of Mega Man, there were some super memorable tracks like Snake Man’s theme in Mega Man 3 and the siege of Wily’s castle in Mega Man 2 that will be endlessly remixed forever. Also, who does not know the Mega Man stage select interlude?
6. Metroid Series (Favorite - Super Metroid)
Metroid has had great music since day one. Since the first game, Metroid’s music has evolved to be even greater and is now some of the best mood music in the gaming industry. I would say the pinnacle of Metroid music was Super Metroid which contained some really haunting and creepy melodies that just kept you wondering what may be around the next corner. Some of the more memorable tracks for me were the save theme, Brinstar Depths, and the caution music that was played while you were escaping imminent explosions.
Metroid Prime also had some really good music which is why Other M’s soundscapes instead of strong, mood-setting, music tracks really disappointed me. The game – aside from several key moments that were emphasized for effect - lacked any music at all. I hope the next Metroid has some good memorable music to remedy this.