Music in games can be absolutely amazing. If a soundtrack is done well, it can turn a mediocre game into a fantastic one or turn an awesome game into an epic one. However, there are usually one or two songs that really stand out, even in wonderful soundtracks.
So, I wanted to take some time and talk about my favourite video game music from my gaming “career”. Let’s take a look, shall we?
One More Soul To The Call – Silent Hill: Homecoming
We’ll start this off with the first of two tracks with actual vocals in it; One More Soul To The Call from the first PS3 Silent Hill game. Whilst Silent Hill: Homecoming certainly isn’t the best in the series by any means, this particular song is phenomenal.
The haunting music and delightful vocals work together in near-perfect harmony to create an outstanding piece of audio euphoria. Both of these aspects manage to capture the emotion of the song and the in-game material it references.
Arni – Chrono Cross
Next up, we jump back into the PS1 era and a game that is rather divided when it comes to people’s opinion of it. Now, I love Chrono Cross! I even appeared as a guest on MageCast talking about it (you can listen to that here). But that’s not what we are here for today, is it? The first town you visit (or rather, wake up in) when you play Chrono Cross is called Arni.
The music in this village is phenomenal. The use of guitar is exquisite, with the recording allowing you to hear every strum and note. The fact that they didn’t use midi-based versions of the music and actually recorded the guitar just makes it even more beautiful to listen to!
Theme of Laura – Silent Hill 2
Moving back into the horror side of my genre love, we are going to look at the most popular Silent Hill game to date; Silent Hill 2. Specifically, I wanted to talk about Theme of Laura, which (as the name suggests) is the theme music for the character of Laura.
Just as with Arni from Chrono Cross, Theme of Laura is predominantly a guitar-based piece of music. It takes acoustic guitar and mixes it with other instruments to make a strangely relaxing and soothing sound. That actually makes sense though, since it is the theme of a young and innocent girl.
Prelude – Final Fantasy Series
Okay, so this is the first of three pieces of music from the Final Fantasy series that are going to appear on this list. It is also a piece of music that appears in every mainline Final Fantasy game; Prelude is the main Final Fantasy theme. You hear it on title screens or pre-title credit screens and it acts as a way to draw you into the games. As such, it had to be a delight for the senses.
To this date, whenever I hear this song, I get chills. Yes, part of that is due to nostalgia and remembering the adventures you go on in the games… But at the same time, it is just a brilliantly composed track that comes together just right.
Eyes On Me – Final Fantasy VIII
Sticking with Final Fantasy now, but specifically with Final Fantasy VIII, we have another vocal song; Eyes On Me. This song, in the story of the game, is sung by the character of Julia. It details the events of her meeting with Laguna in a truly heartbreaking manner. The lyrics fit the story of these two characters perfectly.
However, that’s not the best thing about this song. The actual singer, Faye Wong, has an outstanding voice that is able to fill the song with a real sense of emotion. Add to this the mix of soft guitar, violin and piano, and you get one of the most heart-wrenchingly evocative songs I have ever heard. To this day, it is able to bring a tear to my eye through the lyrics and musical score.
Opening Theme – Koudelka
You probably knew this game was going to appear on the list, right? But, I mean, the music (and the game) was directed by Hiroki Kikuta, the composer for Secret of Mana. So you know that the music is going to be on point. I adore the soundtrack as a whole, but there is one particular piece that takes the cake!
The vocal track, using operatic sounds almost entirely, has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. It fits the gothic tones of the game whilst also capturing a sense of haunting beauty. In essence, it defines Koudelka both in terms of the game and the character herself.
Liberi Fatali – Final Fantasy VIII
Now we get to my favourite piece of video game that I have experienced so far. This is, once again, an operatic piece with haunting vocals. The difference between Liberi Fatali and the opening for Koudelka is that Liberi Fatali uses latin operatic singing to create a powerful and epic sound. It fills you with a sense of energy, ready for the adventure ahead.
The backing drum beat sounds like a heartbeat that is slowly building up as the adrenaline of the song increases. The piano and string instruments all pile on top of one another to create a sense of strength whilst the pounding vocals pierce your ears. As you reach the crescendo, a sense of exhilaration overcomes you, with your mind now ready to take on any challenge. Or at least, that’s the effect it has on me…
And That’s All Folks
Well, there you have it. Those were my favourite pieces of video game music to date. There’s quite a mix in there, from acoustic guitar pieces to operatic latin, but that just showcases my varied taste in music anyway.
What are some of your favourite pieces of video game music? Let me know in the comments below!