Chrono Trigger Original Sound VersionTake away "Frog's Theme" and a few other standouts ("Guardia Millenial Fair", "The Trial" and "Delightful Spekkio" being my own picks) and this becomes more a good soundtrack than a great one, but there's something to be said for having one of the greatest VGM themes of all time, and nostalgia still works very much in the album's favor.
Orchestral Game Music Concert 4: Live Best CollectionThe appeal of this classic album has faded slightly as the novelty of its two most famous arrangements (Super Mario Brothers and the FFVI opera) has worn off, but the Super Metroid medley remains the premier orchestral arrangement of its series and an excellent sci-fi work in general, while the Albert Odyssey arrangement is an Arabian-inspired adventure classic.
Dragon Quest VI Symphonic Suite (London Philharmonic)Though lacking the charm and accessibility of DQIV, it boasts the same (if not greater) classical artistry, an intensely dedicated thematic focus and tremendous drama. It may take a few listens to appreciate but the rewards are well worth it.
Viva Pinata Original SoundtrackEasily one of the most beautiful soundtracks I've heard. It boasts the same gorgeous orchestrations and performances of Kameo, but with a naturalistic thematic focus and a familiar, accessible classical sound.
Konami Shooting Battle Perfect SelectionApplies almost the same hard rock mastery to Konami's classic shooter lineup as Dracula Battle does to Castlevania. The epic album closer "Battles of Battleship" is beyond compare.
Ecco: Songs of TimeIt may sound exactly like you'd expect of a New Age soundtrack about a dolphin, but I doubt anybody would have expected it to be this good. Relaxing at many times and surprisingly emotional at others, it's a nice alternative to the orchestral, rock, and high-energy synth soundtracks that tend to dominate VGM.
Nights: Journey of Dreams Original SoundtrackShows the same optimistic energy and creativity as its classic predecessor but without the slight limits of the Saturn sound system or the deficiencies of those album releases (and includes many of their classic themes as a bonus).
Any selections above that you'd like to give an additional thumbs-up to? Or omissions you'd like to recommend? Hit the answer poll button below to share your own favorites.