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Added by Ashley Winchester on 3 Aug 2013 03:42
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Video Game Music: Lessons We Can Learn

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People who added this item 1234 Average listal rating (1186 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Final Fantasy VII - PlayStation

Track Title: Aeris (Aerith's) Theme
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Lesson: Play the track you want people to remember during a pivotal moment - a.k.a. when someone dies.

...and we start the list of with an insanely obvious one. Also if I spoiled the end of disc one of Final Fantasy VII for you, well... that one is on you. Anyway, I don't know anyone who's played the game that doesn't remember this track, but personally I think it's been kind of over-exposed like One-Winged Angel. Anyway, I don't need to explain how effective connecting this track to that event really was (e.g. brilliant) but Aeris' death kind of triggered a bunch of games that tried to use this scheme in their own story lines (I'm looking at you Legend of Dragoon) but couldn't back it up with a piece of music like this. Screw you Lavitz... I liked Albert better.

Just a heads up, if your expecting to see One-Winged Angel used as an example later on, no, I didn't use it.
People who added this item 712 Average listal rating (700 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - Super famicom and SNES

Track Title: Anger of the Guardians
Composer: Koji Kondo
Lesson: Sometimes the best tracks are mindbogglingly short with NO development WHAT-SO-EVER.

My god I love this track. Anger of the Guardians is a very awesome boss track... but there is like NOTHING to it! It boggles my mind how the rest of the score is so rich and nuanced - but this, if it wasn't so fitting this would be considered lazy. Damn it Koji, you know to make things work despite their deficiencies!
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (52 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 0
Mega Man Legends - PlayStation

Track Title: The Apple Market
Composer: Makoto Tomozawa
Lesson: Sometimes game reviewers don't know what that &^%$ they're talking about.

When it comes to video game music, I think one of the most erroneous and infuriating things I've ever read was when GamePro said the music in Mega Man Legends consisted mostly of "schmaltzy elevator tunes." Okay, I guess I can see how The Apple Market could come off like that... but the reviewer completely missed that the track fits it's location in the game like a glove. Also, while I don't have the space to really give an example, there are other "kinds" of music present in the Mega Man Legends soundtrack... the entire score isn't in the same vein as this track alone.

Track Title: At a Place Nobody Knows
Composer: Makoto Tomozawa
Lesson The track is already awesome... the name it goes by just makes it cooler.

This is easily one of my favorite pieces in Mega Man Legends, playing in an underground sub city full of reaverbots where no human has set foot for decades. I just love the chill and utter lack of warmth it in. Tacking a name like "At a Place Nobody Knows" on top of it? Well, that's just the icing on the damn cake my friend... and not that crappy icing that sucks, the GOOD icing that you know is purely made of sugar! Yeah, that kind of icing.
People who added this item 166 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Wild Arms 3 - PlayStation 2

Track Title: Blood, Tears, and the Dried-up Wasteland
Composer: Michiko Naruke
Lesson: If at first you don't succeed, try again. If you completely screw that up, try a third time as it is a charm.

As the "lesson" above explains, you really need to hear the two previous themes to understand this one. Here are the boss themes from Wild Arms and Wild Arms 2:

Track Title: Battle M-Boss
Composer: Michiko Naruke

Yeah, it's decent enough, but it's hardly inspiring.... unfortunately things get worse:

Track Title: Battle vs Mid Boss
Composer: Michiko Naruke

I could go on and on about how terrible this track is, and how "creations" like this gave the Wild Arms 2 Soundtrack a bad name, but I think anyone will agree the boss theme from Wild Arms 3 is a vast improvement. As it stands THIS track has NO redeeming value.
People who added this item 464 Average listal rating (314 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 0
Super Metroid - Super famicom and SNES

Track Title: Brinstar Red Soil Swampy Area
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto
Lesson: Everybody loves a good remix... even it if slightly changes the subtext of the original.

The track that was infamously cut off before it's real conclusion on the out-of-print, outrageously priced and severely overrated Super Metroid soundtrack Sound in Action, Kenji Yamamoto revisited a few classic tunes in the Metroid Prime games. Here he adds a little bit more sadness to the already semi-remorseful Brinstar Red Soil Swampy Area:

Track Title: Torvus Bog Submerged Temple (unofficial name)
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto

Personally I was really surprised when this one popped up when playing the game. A good take on the theme; it's not too demanding and is a respectful homage.

Now, we tackle the opposite scenario:

Track Title: Norfair Ancient Ruins Area
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto
Lesson: Sometimes you should just can the reprise and remix as it just comes off as pathetic pandering.

I think most people had a blast listening to this track as they blazed a path towards Ridley's hideout in Super Metroid. Unfortunately, while it took me a decade to get around to the first Metroid Prime I loved the hell out of it... but I had to put up with this:

Track Title: Lava Caves
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto

Kenji kind of screws this one up with the thickness of the instruments. Yeah, I liked the original but this version just sounds rather tired. I really would have liked to have heard an original piece of music for the Magmoor Caverns - especially considering how often you travel through there since it's the central hub of Tallon IV.

Finally we arrive at...

Track Title: Crateria - The Space Pirates Appear
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto
Lesson: Creating a remix/reprise with the same kind of tone and purpose as the original but making it feel completely different.

Because you hear this one so early in Super Metroid, it becomes rather iconic right away. Head on it usually looses out to some of the other pieces in the game, but it does personify the Space Pirates rather well. Still, I think Mr. Yamamoto did a better job of that in Metroid Prime.. but he had a lot of help from Retro Studios in how they brought the grunts of the Space Pirates to life in those games.

Track Title: Space Pirate Homeworld (unofficial name)
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto

The beginning of this track is very misleading... yet the core of the track - and it's vibe - is mainly the same while still feeling like it's own entity.
People who added this item 106 Average listal rating (63 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Chaosium Sword
Composer: Ryuichi Nitta
Lesson: When you've created a piece that makes one forget they're playing a video game, you've got something special on your hands.

For this one I've linked to a video displaying the actual opening of Ninja Gaiden II on the NES. Yes... seeing this in full context is just that important. For the life of me I cannot get over how well Chaosium Sword goes with this opening... it almost seems like the opening of a movie to me or even a really bitchin' trailer. Personally I get shivers from this piece, and I love how it sounds like it's going to wrap up at about the 1:15 mark but doesn't stop there. Anyway, I have to salute Ryuichi Nitta for not only writing this piece but for being a significant reason why I love the living hell out of The Dark Sword of Chaos.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - PlayStation 3

Track Title: Crazy Chocobo
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
Arrangement: Shootie HG
Lesson: Sometimes an idea is so stupid, so inanely ridiculous that it's simply brilliant.

I know some people really hate Crazy Chocobo as it serves as a reminder of how bastardized Final Fantasy has become ever since Square merged with Enix (a valid opinion) but come on... this track is just so bad that it's just hysterical. It was never meant to be taken seriously but some people call sacrilege over it. I guess to each their own but I though this was so crazy and stupid that it actually worked.
People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei - Sega Saturn

Track Title: Destiny Begins
Composer: Yayoi Wachi
Lesson: Sometimes a track is so good at telling a story through sound that it's scary.

When it comes to video game music this game and track are very near and dear to my heart. This composition by Yayoi Wachi manages to capture all the chaos within the burned out village of Elpis as the ancient ship known as Shellcoof hovers overhead. Actually, it's just a lot easier to see it in context so here's some video of the opening level of the game:

Damn, I just LOVE how that piece goes with all the action in that level. That's just damn fine planning... and yes, if you're wondering, the stage is of fixed length so it's as long as the actual song is.
People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (246 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Mega Man 2 - Famicom and NES

Track Title: Dr. Wily Stage 1
Composer: Takashi Tateishi
Lesson: Absolutely &^%$ing nailing it and making it very hard for anyone else to follow up your piece.

By this point I think anyone that's ever been near an NES has heard this track. I mean it's one of THE most widely known Mega Man tracks in existence. However, it's because of that I'm really hesitant to place it on the list. Yes, this is a damn fine track... but I think it has entered the realm of overrated works. Of course there are other good fortress themes in series but then there are the ones that desperately TRY to dethrone this track which is probably impossible. Let's listen as someone tries to accomplish this:

Track Title: Dr. Wily Stage 1 ~ Flash in the Dark
Composer: Ryo Kawakami

Pretty good, but I'm sorry Ryo Kawakami, the mere FACT that you're obviously trying to dethrone Takashi Tateishi's Mega Man 2 theme pretty much makes this not as good on principal alone. Note to future composers: if Kawakami can't do it it can't be done.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 309 Average listal rating (139 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Fighting KOS-MOS
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Lesson: Ultimately misleading the listener as to what purpose a track serves in the game.

Oh Xenosaga... why is it I am filled with ever conflicting feelings when ever a game's title starts with those very four letters? Personally, Xenosaga can tell one hell of a story, but in my opinion the gameplay can't really back it up. While that is a shame, I'm not really too fond of the game's soundtrack... unless we're talking about two VERY specific tracks. For this one we are going to focus on Fighting KOS-MOS, which I was sure as hell thought was a battle theme the first time I heard it outside the game. Then I played the game and found out this was a scene theme? Crazy. This track really seems like it would highlight a boss battle or something - which actually would have been nice seeing the game doesn't have a dedicated theme for boss battles outside the final boss. Anyway, I thank you Yasunori Mitsuda for screwing with my head on this one.
People who added this item 39 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Fire Man Stage (unofficial name)
Composer: ??? (Not even Capcom knows!!!)
Lesson: If you compose music for a game, make sure you get credited... people like to know this stuff.

Capcom, Capcom, Capcom. You've done some things that have really annoyed me over the years. The dismal fate of the Mega Man X series comes to mind, oh and the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. But you know what I think is a little bit sadder? Even you have no clue who worked on the handheld versions the various Mega Man games! Would have it been THAT hard to, oh, I don't know, whip up and save a document on that for later reference? If you had done this, I might know who to thank for this awesome track. Seriously, who ever wrote Fire Man's theme on the GameBoy please stand up because you are awesome.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0
Star Gladiator - PlayStation

Track Title: Fourth Empire's Scouting Ship (unofficial name)
Composer: Yuko Takehara, Isao Abe
Arrangement: ???
Lesson: If you're porting a game and you have to chance to significantly upgrade the audio, do it!

After scolding Capcom in the last entry, I'm going to pat them on the head here. Unlike most games today, Star Gladiator was like many older fighting games where the game was initially released in arcades. The thing is, the sound on the ZN-1 arcade board the game used was severely under powered. So when the game was ported to the PS1 (which was relatively easy to do given how similar the ZN-1 and the PSX's hardware was) Capcom took advantage of the PlayStation's audio capabilities and redid the soundtrack. The difference was simply amazing and allowed tracks like the one above to really flourish. Unfortunately, I CANNOT find any of the arcade audio posted anywhere... so I can't really put the comparison in front of those reading. But trust me, excellent move on the part of Capcom.
People who added this item 397 Average listal rating (205 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
Xenogears - PlayStation

Track Title: Fuse
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Lesson: When the quote unquote "danger track" in a role-playing game is good, you know you're dealing with a very good score.

Crap... another Xenogame. Well, it's okay, I'm here to talk about the music and damn does Xenogears have good music. Anyway, I know some people are going to question me in my praise for Fuse when it's far from the soundtrack's main event, but Mitsuda's work with this track is impressive because unlike many "danger" tracks this one doesn't really become grating. Well, I'm sure it would if you heard it non-stop for an hour, but then I can remember some SNES danger tracks I couldn't stand for fifteen seconds. So, again, my hat is off again to you Mr. Mitsuda... bravo.
People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 0
Mega Man X: Command Mission - PlayStation 2

Track Title: Maverick Hunt II
Composer: Shinya Okada (no, I'm not listing his stupid nickname)
Lesson: Man, this track is kind of annoying... but I kind of like it....

It's kind of ironic we're talking about annoying things with this entry because prior to playing and listening to the music in Mega Man X Command Mission I was pretty annoyed with Shinya Okada who - despite everything the series music previously stood for - tried his darnedest to cram techno flavored pieces into Mega Man X7 and X8 where they didn't belong. Anyway, Mr. Okada got his big break when he was commissioned to be the lead composer for Mega Man X Command Mission because, unlike an action based Mega Man title, I had no preconceptions about what I was going to hear in a Mega Man RPG. So yeah, the guy got a blank check with this one and, quite honestly, I kind of like it. Anyway, some of Okada's tracks are really good but somewhat annoying with Maverick Hunt II being my top pick in that department.
People who added this item 369 Average listal rating (243 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Metroid - Famicom and NES

Track Title: Mini Boss Room (I) ~ Kraid
Composer: Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka
Lesson: When you need a good idea, take a page from some classical music.

This is kind of a hard one to explain as the story behind it was all based on coincidence... but I think it's kind of interesting how the chips fell. Anyway, when I was in the seventh grade I met my old friend Steve who had a copy of the original Metroid. Prior to this point I had only played the following two game in the series: Metroid II and Super Metroid. Anyway, about the same time as I was playing through Metroid my music class was doing a lesson on classical music and the subject was Bach. The track my teacher would play was "Fugue in G minor, BWV 578 ~ Little G minor" which can be heard down below:

I know it's not the same song per say, but running into both tracks at the same time really made me believe that Hirokazu Tanaka was inspired by music like this when he wrote the music for Kraid's lair. Additionally, about two years later in 1999/2000 I would hear this Bach piece again when it was used by Makoto Tomozawa in the original Mega Man Legends. Crazy how things come full circle, isn't it?
People who added this item 452 Average listal rating (343 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Mining Melancholy
Composer: David Wise
Lesson: When releasing a soundtrack for a game, don't omit the best track in the game.

This one is rather short but kind of funny in a sickening kind of way. Back in the 90's Nintendo released the soundtracks to the immensely popular DKC games on compact disc. These albums have become really rare over the years (seriously, if you want some sticker shock look it up on eBay) and are now essentially collector's items, but a massive mistake was made on the DKC2 soundtrack. The track above, the wonderful "Mining Melancholy" was left out... and well, people took notice. Of course, you CAN get Mining Melancholy on a disc... if you find the soundtrack release that has ALL THREE scores - but your wallet's going to be crying if you're that devoted to obtaining the track. Personally, I love video game music but that's too rich for my blood.
People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Cave Story 3D - Nintendo 3DS

Track Title: Mischievous Robot (Egg Corridor)
Composer: Daisuke Amaya
Lesson: Sometimes the name says it all... well, outside the "Egg Corridor" part.

First of all, I loved Cave Story. It's downright crazy how a game that started as a indie title swooped right into my lap and made me realize what gamers are missing out on as the mainsteram games become more and more complex. Shameless plugging aside, sometimes the titles for game music pieces leave a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to franchises like Mega Man where almost every track is like so-and-so's stage. When looking at names that personify the music they represent - and the game itself - I almost always end up thinking of Mischievous Robot. Hell, Mischievous Robot isn't even the game's main theme but since it's used at the end of the game's credit sequence it sure feels like it should be. Anyway, let's all get down and do the "Mischievous Robot."

Okay, I apologize for that last part, that was really bad....
People who added this item 153 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Mega Man X2 - Super famicom and SNES

Track Title: Morph Moth Stage
Composer: Yuki Iwai
Lesson: Sometimes you don't really realize how good a certain track is until many, many years later.

Ah, Mega Man X2... that game I shelled out a massive seventy bones for when in the sixth grade. Yeah, the game's not quite as special as it once was now knowing it's just part of a rather brainless pattern, but there are elements of Mega Man X2 that prove there are things to discover in games we think we know forwards and backwards - and one of those things happens to be X2's soundtrack. Written by Yuki Iwai, Mega Man X2's score is a very unique creature. Some of the ideas are a little more "off-kilter" than they are in the previous game, and it took me a while to see how befitting some of them really are to their environments in the game. The one that deserves the most attention here is Morph Moth Stage which took me nothing short of a decade and a half to really appreciate. So, here's a nod to those tracks that lie under the radar for far too long.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 56 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0
Twisted Metal 4 - PlayStation

Track Title: Times Running Out
Composer: Aaron Carter and Stephen James Barry
Lesson: If you're in a band and are going to have a song featured in a game that makes use of licensed music, make ABSOLUTELY sure that song is representative of what your band really has to offer. Also, be sure to release the lyrics to that song.

Like the Metroid entry above, this one is kind of complicated. When it comes to video games, I'm typically not a fan of when a game forgoes using an original score and opts for licenced music. This isn't to say licensed music doesn't have it place - I mean it worked for the Tony Hawk series - but I feel too many western games use it as a crutch much like orchestration. As most already know, in the late 1990's the Twisted Metal series was handed off to 989 Studios after the first two installments which also marked the point were the games opted for licensed music. For the most part this worked, but there was one track in Twisted Metal 4 that really grabbed my attention and that was Times Running Out by Cirrus which was used in the Neon City level. For years I had a thing for this piece, so eventually I was curious as to what the rest the band's music was like. Obviously I wanted more music that sounded like Times Running Out... but that's not what I got when I spent five dollars and fifty cents on the album this track comes from. The rest of the music on Back on a Mission literally had no relation to this one track which meant it was cherry-picked for the game because it was definitely more appealing - and infinitely more appropriate - for use in Twisted Metal 4. In a certain sense such misdirection is kind of like false advertising, but the thing that annoyed me even more was the lyrics for this song have never been released and were not included with the album. I was kind of curious as to what the hell they were singing about... so, yeah, this one track is really cool but in my opinion 989 and Cirrus can kind of go to hell over this one.
People who added this item 331 Average listal rating (169 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Parasite Eve - PlayStation

Track Title: The Omission of the World
Composer: Yoko Shimomura
Lesson: People who criticize a piece of music for being "too repetitive" need to shut up, especially when that piece is part of a genre that generally relies on repetition.

As you can probably tell from the how I phrased the lesson above, this one really gets under my skin. Now I will admit repetition can be a bad thing but given the right circumstances repetition can be one of a composers greatest tools. This is especially true when tinkering about with a genre like Techno which is - let's be honest - essentially built upon it. What isn't cool is when someone just hates on a track despite such an obvious relationship. Yeah, I guess The Omission of the World IS a little repetitive but that doesn't mean a damn thing when it fits the area it plays in the game like a glove. Context 1, Over-thinking it 0.
People who added this item 540 Average listal rating (291 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Chrono Cross - PlayStation

Track Title: On the Shores of a Dream ~ Another World
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
Lesson: I may dislike the game but the soundtrack is definitely a winner.

Wow, another Yasunori Mitsuda track... he is definitely popular. Semantics aside, those who know me know that aside from it's graphical splendor and high-quality soundtrack I don't really have a charitable bone in my body when it comes to Chrono Cross. When it comes to being a sequel to anything the game straight-up fails yet I can almost kind of forget that when listening to certain pieces of music from the game. Of course, this is just me making the best of a bad situation but I can always stop to admire a good soundtrack when I stumble upon one. Chrono Cross easily fulfills that requirement even though I do wish it accompanied a better game.
People who added this item 116 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Wild Arms 4 - PlayStation 2

Track Title: over the wind
Composer: Masato Koda
Lesson: Being completely fooled into thinking someone else composed a given track.

Much like the Final Fantasy series (well all the way up to Final Fantasy XI I think) the Wild Arms franchise had a dedicated composer, Michiko Naruke, who has composed the soundtracks for the various titles. Well, almost. During the production of Wild Arms 4 Naruke fell ill (to this day I have no clue WHAT her illness was) so the reigns were mainly handed off to Masato Koda who was accompanied by three other people. Koda's participation was of great importance because, for the lack of a better explanation, he was damn good making me think certain key tracks were composed by Naruke when in fact he composed them. At the top of that list is "over the wind" which really seemed like hook, line and sinker like something Naruke would have penned... but no, that was Koda who has my respect for being one tricky son of a bitch.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 796 Average listal rating (495 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Metroid Prime - GameCube

Track Title: Phazon Mines
Composer: Kenji Yamamoto and/or Kouichi Kyuma
Lesson: Hey, maybe I do like ambient music after all....

I wasn't that long ago that I had played Metroid Prime for the first time (last winter) but I'm still surprised by my fondness for this particular track. Like most ambient or/and atmospheric tracks there really isn't an underlying melody to "Phazon Mines" but as most know sometimes you don't really need melody in a piece of music to depict a given location. Kenji Yamamoto and/or Kouichi Kyuma do a great job with this as Phazon Mines lacks any remorse and is brutally efficient giving one a musical picture of a mining operation... but there is the somewhat unfortunate fact that the track is a bit too short for it's own good. This isn't much of a factor in the game as it just loops and loops in the background without you noticing but once you listen to it outside the confines of the game it does become a slight issue.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 128 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Wild Arms 2 - PlayStation

Track Title: Atomic ARMS (Disc 1 Ending)
Composer: Michiko Naruke
Lesson: Creating a quote unquote "vocal piece" that transcends language barriers.

Even as a fan of Wild Arms 2 I have to admit that Michiko Naruke botched a rather large subsection of the Wild Arms 2 soundtrack. Some of her ideas just didn't work, and as you've already know some of the pieces like the boss theme are just damn ugly. However, Naruke did create some rather imaginative tracks for the game, and for the most part they tend to fly under almost everybody's radar. One of the most unique tracks is easily the theme that plays in the ending FMV of disc one, Atomic Arms. Atomic Arms is notable because it's a vocal theme that doesn't really have lyrics. What? Well, it's easier to view the ending video above than explain it, but it's an interesting track that cleverly dodges the barrier of language.
People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Wild Arms Alter Code: F - PlayStation 2

Track Title: Power Fighter
Composer: Michiko Naruke
Lesson: Taking a piece from the original game that created an extraordinary since of unity and utterly throwing it to the wolves in the mostly crap-tastic remake a little less than a decade later.

I'm sure your wondering what is up with posting a piece of music from the original game when this entry is listed under Alter code:F, but rest assured there is a method to my madness. Anyway, the piece of music above, "Power Fighter" is used when fighting a member of the Metal Demons - the main antagonists in the original Wild Arms. At first glance this track doesn't seem to be too special, I think it is better than the main boss theme, but the track IS special when you consider how it personifies how the Metal Demons are a single, unified threat despite the fact they usually attack one at a time. Because of that, "Power Fighter" is a pretty big track for me since I just love the Metal Demons when it comes to video game antagonists. Still, I wonder what Naruke had it store for this piece in Alter code:F...

Track Title: Ka Dingel
Composer: Michiko Naruke

Why Naruke, why? Why would you take one of my favorite tracks from the original game and just utterly trash the thing out? The first mistake is this is no longer a battle theme - which is downright unexcusable - and is now a psychotically forgettable dungeon theme and second, the individual tracks you composed for the battles with the members of the Metal Demons are no where near as good! Why did you destroy that awesome since of unity that Power Fighter originally provided? It's a damn sacrilege, that what this is... well, that could actually describe like 85% of Wild Arms Alter code:f as a whole. It's crap like this that doesn't make me sad that the series was discontinued.
People who added this item 473 Average listal rating (324 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Requiem of the Gods
Composer: Michiru Yamane
Lesson: Maybe I don't hate choirs and orchestration as much as I think I do....

I know some will say that HATE is a strong word, but in general I do hate it when choirs and orchestration are used in video game music. I think a BIG part of it is that western game designers simply overuse them because they think for some stupid reason people are going to forget they're playing a video a game and think they're watching a movie. I'm sure someone could make a convincing argument about the truth or untruth of that statement... but when faced with that question I always reflect back on games that should have been movies in the first place like Xenosaga. Second, a lot of the time I see orchestration as the easy way out since it makes anything SEEM epic, even if it isn't. However, from time to time there are pieces that do change and challenge my views on this, and "Requiem of the Gods" is one of them.
People who added this item 414 Average listal rating (255 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Tomb Raider - PlayStation

Track Title: Ruins of a Lost Civilization (unofficial name)
Composer: Nathan McCree
Lesson: Using music to counteract and balance out the importance of silence.

This may sound rather blunt, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people misunderstand relationship between music and silence in the Tomb Raider games. I guess I should mention there really ISN'T a moment of silence in Tomb Raider as there is always an ambient track playing in the background - usually at a very low volume - but even with that most people honestly believe nothing is going on musically. Then to top that off, they always feel something more musical SHOULD be going on and that the that "real" pieces of music are too sparse. No, just no. The "silence' is there so the sound effects like Lara's guns just pierce it, which enhances the sound. Additionally, if the music played all the time, hearing one of Nathan McCree's pieces wouldn't be the treat it is when they do crop up at key points. So I write this entry is not only show respect for McCree's music, but the game's usage of silence and how it only enhances the action.
Ashley Winchester's rating:
People who added this item 353 Average listal rating (183 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0

Track Title: Scenery of Amber Fields
Composer: Michiru Yamane
Lesson: Hey, I really like this track... but you're telling me it isn't even in the game? WTF?

This is another tricky one. There have been countless times where I've heard a game's soundtrack prior to playing the game itself. As you'd expect, this can be good and bad. On the bad side you miss out on the context of a given track yet on the positive side you're only basing your judgment on the quality of the composition itself. Well, Dawn of Sorrow was a game where I heard the music well in advance to playing the game and I was kind of stunned to find my favorite track "Scenery of Amber Fields" was nowhere in the game itself. It turns out this was a bonus track that Michiru Yamane added for shits and giggles. So yeah, a piece of video game music that isn't quite a piece of video game music... well, whatever! I'm just glad she had it included on the soundtrack.
People who added this item 596 Average listal rating (504 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
GoldenEye 007 - Nintendo 64

Track Title: Severnaya Installation (Day)
Composer: Graeme Norgate
Lesson: The right amount of talent can easily overcome a console having a lackluster sound processor.

I could have easily placed something, literally anything from the Sega Genesis Sonic titles here and had this one still make complete and utter sense, but I wanted to put the focus on Nintendo consoles because up until the SNES Nintendo systems had REALLY good sound processors. That really changed with the N64 and the GBA, systems where it took a good sound programmer to make me forget what system I was playing from an audio stand point. As you can probably gather, Goldeneye had a great soundtrack and it easily makes me forget about what that the N64 lacked in this area. Again, I probably would have listed a Genesis game here, but when it comes to most Genesis games most sound programmers didn't even bother trying to make the music sound good so there aren't that many good examples.
People who added this item 53 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Einhänder - PlayStation

Track Title: [Shudder] -Against a Large Enemy Type 1-
Composer: Kenichiro Fukui
Lesson: The song's already pretty cool... but once you hit that vocal part the awesome factor climbs up to about a million.

Ah ha! I bet some people were just expecting me to use "One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII here, right? Well, like I said, I didn't use that track because flat out I feel it is INSANELY overrated. Seriously people, there are other battle themes, even within the realm of FF music, that deserve those props. Anyway, I went with this track from Einhander because the vocal sample it uses (at about 1:09) just takes the track to a whole new level. Additionally, I feel Einhander deserves a nod for various other reasons since I didn't play the game until a few years ago and found out what I was missing. Like so many others I was too busy playing RPGs for something like Einhander to attract my attention back then... which is definitely a shame.
People who added this item 30 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Street Fighter Alpha 2 - Super famicom and SNES

Track Title: Charlie Stage (unofficial name)
Composer: Syun Nishigaki, Setsuo Yamamoto or Tatsuro-Suzuki (individual composer unknown)
Lesson: Why do I like the rendition of this song that plays on outdated console more than the arcade original?

Back in 1996 I couldn't get a PlayStation for Christmas (damn Santa!) but I could get an overpriced and slightly watered down port of Street Fighter Alpha 2. Yeah, that doesn't make a WHOLE lot of sense, but I ended up loving the living hell out of Alpha 2 anyway and, for some dumb reason, I actually prefer the slow-as-molasses SNES port these days. The icing on the Alpha 2 cake however was the fact the SNES port make the damn game's audio bearable because when I heard the original arcade audio years later I thought it was ABSOLUTELY terrible. Here's Charile's theme:

Man, does the sound on Capcom's arcade boards suck or what? And you know what, Capcom actually somewhat admitted to this because when Alpha 2 was ported to the PSX and Saturn they redid the music. Regardless I'll stick with the SNES renditions, especially when it comes to this piece cause I just love that isolated feeling of solace the SNES adds to the piece.
People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0
Lost Child - PC Games

Track Title: Dead Alas
Composer: Saitama Seishuu Heiki (S.S.H)
Lesson: I'm never going to ever play the game this track comes from but the music is damn fine.

If your wondering as to why I cannot play Lost Child, it's because it's a Japanese-only PC game that is very text heavy and I do not know Japanese. Personally I would LOVE to know how to read Japanese but when I'm honest with myself I know I don't have the drive or dedication to learn a second language... some of my "adventures" in high school pretty much proving that to me. Anyways, I don't think I really need to play Lost Child to really appreciate these tracks, especially Dead Alas. I was pretty much sucked in at the beginning hook, line and sinker when I first heard the albums. If you like what you hear I'd definitely suggest checking them out.

Track Title: Tengu Man Stage (Saturn)
Composer: Shusaku Uchiyama
Lesson: You didn't include Tengu Man's Saturn theme on the first soundtrack, but I can get it if I pay $250+ dollars for the big, expensive music collection? Thanks Capcom... thanks.... unfortunately you know I am a gigantic SUCKER.

The lesson really says it all here. In 2007 Capcom licensed Team Entertainment to release a standalone soundtrack for Mega Man 8. As to why Capcom couldn't do this themselves I am unsure... but many of those who ordered it where kind of pissed off that the three tracks that where exclusive to the Sega Saturn version of the game were left out. Then in 2012 on Mega Man 25th Annivsary, Capcom came to the rescue with the "Rockcan Sound E Can" which actually included the missing tracks (along with some other stuff) if you were willing to pony up like 200+ dollars. Yeah, thanks for that one Capcom... who's willing to bet you're going to do something that inane for the X series when it's time for the 30th anniversary. Maybe release a huge soundtrack box with the Saturn version of the Mega Man X4 score? Actually, I should probably shut up... don't want to give them any "ideas" to which they can rape my wallet.
People who added this item 110 Average listal rating (46 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
SaGa Frontier 2 - PlayStation

Track Title: Theme
Composer: Masashi Hamauzu
Lesson: You know your listening to a good piece of music when it makes you take notice of the (in-game) scene and composer even though you're not a big fan of said composer OR game.

To be perfectly honest, I am not a big fan of Masashi Hamauzu OR SaGa Frontier II, BUT when it comes to the video above - just check out the first minute and a half of it - well, I got to give them credit. THAT is a well crafted scene. With Hamauzu's music in the background as Gustave gets slapped by his mother for doubting his self-worth, well, I get goose bumps. Definitely a great example where the on-screen action and music come together and capture the moment.
People who added this item 363 Average listal rating (222 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Metroid Fusion - Game Boy Advance

Track Title: VS. Ishtar, Gedu
Composer: Minako Hamano and/or Akira Fujiwara
Lesson: Climax? Who said a piece of music needs a CLIMAX???

And we end the list with one I like but am not too crazy for. Actually, I could have put some of Junya Nakano's work from Threads of Fate here because most of the music on that soundtrack is basically built around the concept of having pieces of music that lack concrete climaxes but I wanted to make this simple. As you listen to this track from Metroid Fusion above, it's pretty obvious that it is crafted to follow on and on through repeat through repeat without the listener being none the wiser. Personally, I like it more when tracks have an obvious beginning, middle and end but sometimes doing the opposite proves effective. However, in the context of the game it's really an non issue.

A list of video game tunes that teach us (and me!) some important lessons about how we interpret game music or music in general.

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