Yep, that's about it. It seems DToid has come over all musical all of a sudden, a bandwagon I feel in no way bad for jumping on and I'll happily use it as an excuse to rabbit on a little about some of my favourite music from video games and some music paying tribute to those games and their creators. This is a short list of some of the soundtracks that I've taken away from gaming, the stuff that lives on my phone for those boring train rides and the stuff that gets belted through my headphones during a long night working infront of a glaring monitor in a dimly lit room. So with the pleasantries out of the way, on to the tunes!
That Metroid is appearing in a post about kickass video game music should be of no surprise to anyone. Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka's iconic soundtrack was central to the game, with the discordant and alien tones contributing greatly to the profound sense of tense isolation that the game preyed on keeping the player on edge. The two tracks I'm going to link here for your listening pleasure aren't even from the game, they're fan created pieces that celebrate the series' music as a whole. The tracks are from the fan albums 2011's "Harmony of a Hunter" and 2012's follow up "Harmony of a Hunter 101% Run", they're both completely free albums to download and I thoroughly recommend them. The two tracks here are both by Derris-Kharlan and while titled simply Metroid Medley and Metroid Medley 2, these two epic fan made pieces, created solely to celebrate a game and it's score 25 years on, are genuinely the most fitting way I can think of to begin a post about video game music.
Bobby Prince's seminal soundtracks for Doom and Doom II were nothing short of groundbreaking for their time. Going way out of his comfort zone (as id themselves were with Doom) and composing his own midi metal symphony turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to what would go on to be one of the most influential video games ever made. When I first heard Doom, I didn't think a computer could sound like that, let alone a game running on one. Calling Doom's music iconic would be a radical understatment, it started a relationship between the action FPS and rock and metal that still sends out reverberations now more than twenty years on. Doom's powerful soundtrack has inspired several fan made albums, the two tracks here are both attributed to the same artist 'Evil Horde' and are from 2005's "The Dark Side of Phobos" celebrating the original Doom's music and 2008's "Doom II: Delta-Q-Delta" focusing on the music of Doom II.
Ah Quake II. Since playing Quake II Sonic Mayhem's explosive soundtrack has never been far from my side. Complete with a much more grungy and dirty sound, Quake II's soundtrack is certainly one of a kind. While obviously drawing on the rocky background id had already established, not only with Doom & Doom II but also Quake and Trent Reznor's eerie soundtrack, and Quake's expansions more rocky feel from Jeehun Hwang, Quake II's soundtrack wastes absolutely no time in making itself known. At times it feels like the soundtrack is the centrepiece and the game is just an elaborate delivery method, completely overpowering the action on screen as you wander around some lonely space corridors, but when the Strogg scum show up the high powered riffs perfectly punctuate the shotgun blasts and go a long way to making the game feel much more frantic. Sadly, I've heard if you're playing the game as it comes on Steam, it has been stripped of it's amazing soundtrack. If that's how you've experienced Quake II, I highly recommend hunting for one of the patches to return it to it's former glory. Honestly, narrowing down the tracks to post here is the hardest part, so here's four of my favourite tracks from Quake II's blood pumping soundtrack, two from the base game and two from it's expansions.
The Unreal series' trippy brand of electronica that transported gamers to the alien world of Na Pali and beyond is largely the work of Alexander Brandon and Michel van den Bos who would also go on to work on the Deus Ex soundtrack. The eclectic beats in Unreal and Unreal Tournament really stood to diferentiate the games from their contemporaries (basically id), and differentiate it did. Whether you were roaming Na Pali in Unreal or mowing down bots & online gamers in Unreal Tournament, you hadn't heard scores quite like this before. Here's a few of my favourite tracks from both Unreal and Unreal Tournament.
An over looked game Deus Ex isn't, there's not an awful lot more to say about Deus Ex, it's a masterpiece of game design and that quality and thought extends through the games electronic soundtrack. Like Unreal and Unreal Tournament the soundtrack is largely the work of Michiel van den Bos and Alexander Brandon. So much so infact that Unreal's "Flightcastle" sounds suspiciously like an early demo version of Deus Ex's main title theme. Here's a few of my favourite tracks from it's outstanding soundtrack.
That's some of the music from games (and some created by fans) that I take away into the other parts of my life. The great thing about it is it's a list that's also largely representative of the games I love, not just the music I like best. There are many more I could list but these are by far the most important ones to me, maybe I'll do another post in the future of some more. But in the mean time, wrap your ears around some of that and I'll look forward to some more musical postings to the c-blogs. Maybe?