Although I mostly download music nowadays and don't really care what is officially released or not, the recent news on the Phantasy Star 1 - 4 soundtrack collection reminded me that I still have an obsessed VGM collector trapped somewhere deep inside, struggling to get to the surface. Just the fact that Phantasy Star IV's phenomenal soundtrack finally gets an official release 15 years after the game's release is enough to create a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I always wondered why such a successful and popular game never got a soundtrack release, especially considered the fact that the first three games in the series did (well, sort of... ).
So, this got me thinking, what other great game soundtracks are still out there, unreleased? Obviously an easy question for the seasoned VGM fan: far too many to mention. But if we're still to try to answer it, we can ask which are the *very best* unreleased soundtracks. The point of the poll is to think of the top 3/5/whatever unreleased soundtracks you'd like to see released officially.
Personally, the first that comes to mind is Legacy of Kain - Soul Reaver. Soul Reaver was one of the best classic 3D adventure games from the PS1 era, and had a soundtrack by Kurt Harland (from the US synthpop-band Information Society). The soundtrack was an awesome mix of atmospheric ambient and bombastic orchestral that fit the game like a glove and truly created a unique atmosphere: dark and decaying, and epic and grand at the same time (reminded me a lot of dark ambient/industrial act In Slaughter Natives, actually). Especially the main theme "Ozar Midrashim" is noteworthy, surely one of the best tracks ever featured in a game. There were three tracks released on the rare Soul Reaver 2 Promotional Soundtrack, but that's hardly more than a little taste. The rest of the Kain series had good music too, especially the first Blood Omen soundtrack (which was done by Steve Henifin of Eternal Darkness fame, and very much has the same feel as the ED OST), but, except for the SR2 Promo CD, none of it is officially released. A shame, that is!
My next pick would have to be Sota Fujimori's soundtrack to Neo Contra for the PS2. When one ponders the fact that most Konami soundtracks get releases, one has to wonder what the f--- was wrong with the confused individual who decided that Neo Contra was one of the few games that somehow didn't deserve this honour. It isn't as powerfully awesome as the Shin Contra OST (due to the absence of Akira Yamaoka's guitar), but for me it's a close second in the series. IMO the best trance VGM soundtrack ever - as good as Wangan Midnight 2 & 3 and ESPGaluda 1 & 2 are, this totally levels them in both hardcore intensity and melodic power. Both this soundtrack and Mr. Fujimori needs more respect.
Another series sadly neglected is Natsume's KikiKaiKai (known as "Pocky And Rocky" in the West). These super-cute shoot-em-ups based on Japanese mythology were great, not least in the audio department. The music mixed traditional Japanese instruments/harmonies with infectiously catchy old-school VGM melodies. The SNES games were the best, and really should have had their soundtracks released. My favourite is the first one for the SNES (composed by Hiroyuki Iwatsuki), and the second is great as well (composed by Hiroyuki Iwatsuki, Kinuyo Yamashita, Haruo Ohashi & A. Yamao). That these beauties remain unreleased is a crime, but thankfully the SPC soundtracks can be downloaded here and here. Do yourself a huge favour and check out the first one. It's better than Okami, I swear.
Other than these obvious ones, it'd be really cool to see some sort of compilation of Sunsoft's classical NES soundtracks (Journey To Silius, Batman, Gimmick, etc.), and the Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic The Hedgehog soundtracks.
So, how about yours?