Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Smeg Jul 10, 2012

The list isn't too terribly surprising. The Guilty Gear series is surprisingly absent, and while I think Baten Kaitos is great, I always had the impression that Valkyrie Profile was Sakuraba's most popular work.

GoldfishX Jul 11, 2012

Seiken Densetsu 3 is 3 discs of Kikuta in his prime, showing why the old Squaresoft sound team was the unstoppable force that it was at the time. I got the soundtrack as part of a bundle many, many years ago (we're talking 1999) and it just hooked me from the get go. Serious, but not too serious, moody, but still melodic and just totally unique all around. Oddly, while I like Seiken 2, I've never been able to muster up the same enthusiasm for it (never played Secret of Mana). And I've always found Soukaigi to be a little overrated.

Good list. When I remember to put my picks in, hopefully will skew it a bit. tongue

Judgment Day Jul 11, 2012

Smeg wrote:

The list isn't too terribly surprising. The Guilty Gear series is surprisingly absent, and while I think Baten Kaitos is great, I always had the impression that Valkyrie Profile was Sakuraba's most popular work.

Guilty Gear was always a good musical series, though I haven't looked or bought anything past Isuka. I think their best was around Guilty Gear X and shortly after. In a world where most soundtracks have a few hit or miss track selections, Guilty Gear X had almost no misses. They upgraded that soundtrack in their sequel (minus Character Selections and what not) which eventually became GGXX...that's generally the most coveted one, but I prefer GGX. Kinda like comparing Hell Frozen Over (which I like better) vs I Won't Do What You Tell Me if anyone's into wrestling. The original Guilty Gear should never be overlooked either.

GoldfishX Jul 11, 2012

The only thing you're missing past Isuka is the Korean Guilty Gear XX#Reload soundtrack, which is way different from the regular series, but still really good (and easily the best produced GG album...tbh, it's one of the best metal albums I've come across, in terms of production).

The original GG soundtrack is still my favorite. It has some minor issues that make it sound thin (no doubt it's using compressed music that fit on the game disc), but the best performance overall of Ishiwatari's melodies. Both GGX Heavy Rock Tracks and the XX Soundtrack have nasty production issues, enough that I didn't vote for either of them in this poll. XX is a loudness war victim and is clipped pretty nastily. It's loud, but it's missing impact (and that main synth is annoying as hell). X is mixed really poorly with everything squashed into the midrange, the rhythm guitars absolutely crushed by the lead. The actual performance is better than XX, but...yeah.

There is BlazBlue music, which is the spiritual successor to Guilty, but I swear there's no low end to any of it and it just gives me a headache whenever I attempt to listen to it.

Smeg Jul 12, 2012

#Reload Korean is amazing. I prefer GGXX to GGX for the live drums, but some of the older arrangements are still better. Isuka and BlazBlue both failed to make any impression upon me at all.

Judgment Day Jul 12, 2012 (edited Jul 12, 2012)

I actually have Guilty Gear XX#Reload; I'm assuming that came out before Isuka. Meanwhile, yeah, those Heavy Rock Tracks and GGXX in general are a little on the loud side, and unnecessarily so.

The thing I didn't like about GGXX OST compared to GGX OST was that Arc System really should've made original tracks since GGXX was more of a true sequel versus the 8000 upgrades it received after its initial success. Plus, I think they abandoned a lot of variety tracks from X OST and basically rocked out on all of it, which in my opinion was a downgrade from the GGX incarnations of themes like Potemkin and Faust. And I get that Guilty has a ton of rock references, but I don't think they needed to go that route full blast.

Funny thing about GGXX is that it first arrived in the US market in an arcade format over at the old UCLA X-Cape Arcade in a well known Video Fighting Game Tournament called Evolution literally almost 10 years ago. Me and a friend saw the installation and played the game to test after everything was set up. So technically were the among the first to play that game in the US. My sparring partner got WAY better than me over time though.

GoldfishX Jul 12, 2012

Judgement, I've been following Evo forever. I almost wanted to go to the one last week, but I didn't have any seeding points for Marvel, so I didn't want to travel cross-coast to end up in a pool with a killer. They need to bring back Guilty Gear to Evo. Hopefully with the upcoming version for Live/PSN, the game will get another shot (BlazBlue scene is mostly dead, I can't say I think that's a bad thing). Accent Core was such a great step up for the series.

And yes, I agree...I think what you're trying to say is earlier Guilty Gear is more dynamic (louder and quieter parts), while XX music was full blast all the time. One reason I never liked the XX version of Dizzy or Testament's themes. Like I said, it rocks hard, but it clips, so it is loud all over the place, which makes it more fatiguing than energetic (as compared to a more contained loud...if that makes sense).

In general, I used to love fighting game music, but while I've been playing the games more recently, I haven't found the soundtracks anything worth writing home about. Street Fighter X Tekken...heh, they didn't even TRY with that one.

vert1 Aug 22, 2012 (edited Aug 26, 2012)

I don't understand how Silent Hill 4 is on the list but no Silent Hill 2. How did that happen?

It's weird to see so many JRPGs listed and not see Super Mario RPG, Tenchi Sozo, and Breath of Fire. I also am surprised that no Donkey Kong Country soundtrack made the cut. And I don't get the love affair with Pink Sweets soundtrack. You figure people who are into the techno on that would at least have gotten Streets of Rage 2 into this list. That's one genre we can see clearly from the list that is not highly ranked by people here. It looks like it's pretty much all snes sound chip music, choir/strings/orchestral, or rock music. Why no one ranks Ibara's soundtrack or a Phantasy Star Collection: Sound Collection for you rockers? Why no Wander and the Colossus Original Soundtrack: Roar of the Earth for you orchestral music aficionados? o_o!?

edit: I don't mean to sound negative here. I take the list and people's submissions as ways of finding good soundtracks I haven't listened to than some absolute order. Writeups for soundtracks like what Jodo Kast did are very helpful for me (I just bought Snatcher Zoom Tracks off yahoo japan auction) and should be done by everyone (including myself). I just am a bit confused with the how things ended.

jayavictory Nov 25, 2013

1. Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
2. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
3. Final Fantasy IV Original Sound Version
4. Secret of Mana
5. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo
6. Drammatica ~The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura~
7. Dragon Quest IV Symphonic Suite
8. Motoi Sakuraba Live Concert Album
9. Ys IV ~The Dawn of Ys~ Perfect Collection Vol. 1
10. Dragon Quest VI Symphonic Suite
11. Azel ~Panzer Dragoon RPG~ Memorial Album
12. Dracula Battle Perfect Selection
13. Ogre - Grand Repeat
14. Brandish Piano Collection
15. Uncharted Waters II Special Edition
16. Capcom Music Generation Rockman 1~6
17. Nier Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack
18. Nights into Dreams Perfect Album
19. Final Fantasy U.S.A. ~Mystic Quest~ Sound Collections
20. Vagrant Story Original Soundtrack
21. Dracula X ~Nocturne in the Moonlight~ Original Game Soundtrack
22. Killer7 Original Soundtrack
23. Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack
24. Echochrome Original Soundtrack
25. Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections
26. Symphony Ys
27. Symphonic Shades - Huelsbeck in Concert
28. Vielen Dank
29. Synphonic Suite from Actraiser
30. Legend of Zelda ~Ocarina of Time~ Original Soundtrack

Adam Corn Nov 27, 2013

Nice to see some new picks added!  Everybody remember you can add or update your picks at any time.

I am gonna have to give this Brandish Piano Collection a listen.  Would not have expected a piano collection for such a relatively unknown series to rank so highly (13th overall).

It's too bad the votes for Symphonic Fantasies and Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo get counted separately. sad

Jodo Kast Nov 27, 2013

Jodo Kast wrote:
vert1 wrote:

Wait a second. We all forgot about Axelay. REDO!!

I still have never owned that album. Opportunities are abundant, as it's listed frequently on YJA, but it always hovers around 7,000-10,000 yen. Its stability is remarkable.

FuryofFrog Aug 26, 2014

1. Akumajo Dracula Best 2

2. Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version

3. The King of Fighters '96 Arrange Sound Trax

4. Dragon Quest IV Symphonic Suite

5. F-ZERO GX/AX Original Soundtracks

6. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Original Soundtrack

7. Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack

8. Jet Set Radio Future Original Sound Tracks

9. The Lost Vikings (SNES game rip)


11. Real Bout Garou Densetsu SPECIAL Arrange Sound Trax

12. Nier Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack


14. Donkey Kong Country2: Diddy's Kong Quest The Original Donkey Kong Country2 Soundtrack

15. Ryuuko no Ken 2 Image Album

16. Advance Wars Days of Ruin (DS game rip)

17. DIGITAL DEVIL SAGA ~Avatar Tuner~ 1 & 2 Original Sound Track: Integral

18. Sekaiju no MeiQ⁴ *denshou no kyoshin* Original Soundtrack

19. Demon's Crest (SNES game rip)

20. Monster Hunter 5th Anniversary Orchestral Concert

21. Rayman Origins

22. Guilty Gear XX Original Soundtrack





27. Panzer Dragoon Orta Original Soundtrack

28. Gradius ReBirth

29. Soul Calibur V Original Soundtrack

30. Borderlands 2 Original Soundtrack

Jodo Kast Aug 31, 2014

FuryofFrog wrote:

15. Ryuuko no Ken 2 Image Album

I have been giving that one some considerable playtime lately. I'm not sure what led to my low opinion of it back in the early 2000s, but now it's something I feel that deservedly belongs in a top 30.

FuryofFrog Sep 2, 2014

Jodo Kast wrote:
FuryofFrog wrote:

15. Ryuuko no Ken 2 Image Album

I have been giving that one some considerable playtime lately. I'm not sure what led to my low opinion of it back in the early 2000s, but now it's something I feel that deservedly belongs in a top 30.

I'm glad someone else feels that way. Art of Fighting 2 has a phenomenal soundtrack only made leagues better by the Image Album. Just enough amount of rock and jazz with a smattering of classic Japanese sounds. Probably my favorites off of this one are Swing the House, The Old Chinese Man, and Diet. Its always fun coming back to an album you haven't listened to for a while.

GoldfishX Sep 3, 2014

It's a solid little album, I just tend to prefer the more aggressive Garou Densetsu Special Image albums from around the same timeframe. I definitely gravitate towards the more rockier tracks on it (John and Jack's themes) and any 80's fan can appreciate Diet. smile

It's been an on/off staple for me for over a decade.

jayavictory Apr 16, 2015

1. Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version

2. Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack

3. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version

4. Creid: Yasunori Mitsuda & Millennial Fair (Xenogears)

5. Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo

6. Dragon Quest IV Symphonic Suite

7. Pokemon Red/Green/Blue

8. Motoi Sakuraba Live Concert Album

9. Music from Ys

10. Final Fantasy IV Original Sound Version

11. Secret of Mana

12. Star Ocean: The Second Story Original Soundtrack

13. Final Symphony: Music From Final Fantasy VI, VII and X

14. Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura

15. Xenogears Original Soundtrack

16. Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack

17. Echochrome Original Soundtrack

18. Capcom Music Generation Rockman 1~6

19. Ys IV ~The Dawn of Ys~ Perfect Collection Vol. 1

20. Vagrant Story Original Soundtrack

21. Nier Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack

22. Napple Tale Original Soundtrack I

23. Super Mario Yoshi's Island Original Sound Version

24. Dragon Quest VIII Symphonic Suite

25. The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight

26. The Madness: Battle Garegga Perfect Soundtrack

27. Uncharted Waters II Special Edition

28. Final Fantasy VIII Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec

29. Soukaigi Original Soundtrack

30. Seiken Densetsu Sound Collections

GoldfishX Mar 9, 2018

This is pretty much where I stand on the albums I currently own (my Falcom albums and various game related vocal albums are in another folder). I've really made it a point to put all the albums I own through critical listening, track by track, in my current setup.

Ones marked "HQP" (short for High Quality Problem...a joke meaning there are usually too many good tracks to pick from) are my favorites, ones marked "4" are excellent, "5" is okay and "g" means I wasn't feeling the album.

Jon Turner Jan 10, 2022 (edited Jan 10, 2022)

1. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version - Not only is this my favorite game of all time, it's my favorite game soundtrack of all time.  Period.  Nobuo Uematsu outdid himself with this score, and honestly it's been hard to dethrone.  It is, in my honest opinion, his masterpiece.  The character themes, opera sequence, thunderously powerful "Dancing Mad" and equally epic Ending Theme all amount to three discs of pure musical perfection.

2. Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version - "Chrono Trigger" is my second favorite game of all-time, and also a great debut score for Yasunori Mitsuda.  Bursting with energy and liveliness, the score exudes beautiful melodies, pounding battle themes, and dramatic work.  Fantastic work all around.

3. Actraiser - Although this game was released back in 1991, this is one that I hold close to my heart.  It was the game that caused me to take a new look at videogame music with a new eye.  I became a fan of Yuzo Koshiro ever since.  Whoever would have thought that a cartridge-based game could produce such rich symphonic sounds?  For my money, it remains a classic to this day.

4. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Original Soundtrack - With the exception of the final battle, this is a very worthy follow-up to the original "Xenoblade", and in many ways it surpasses it.  It helps to have the participation of Yasunori Mitsuda for most of the work, as well as returnees ACE+ and Manami Kiyota.  The production values are even greater for this score, and the variety of compositions and orchestrations are fantastic.  The hauntingly melancholy opening theme "Where We Used To Be" sets the tone for the score, and many others rival their previous counterparts.  The ending song, "One Last You" is every bit the equivalent of XB1's "Beyond the Sky."  A modern masterpiece.

5. Xenoblade Original Soundtrack - A staggering achievement of a score for an equally outstanding game.  Veteran Yoko Shimomura turns in fine work, but the real bulk of the score is by ACE+, and their compositions really define the score as a whole.  The decision to weave night and day variations of the locations make for a nice touch as well.  The ending song is hauntingly beautiful as well.

6. The Legend of Zelda:  Skyward Sword Original Soundtrack - Why it took this one to be released on CD at all is a mystery, but that wait was worth it. Predecessor "Twilight Princess", although notable for its melancholy tone, only used one track with a full orchestra.  "Skyward Sword" is truly the first ZELDA soundtrack to take advantage of a full orchestra, and is all the richer because of it.  Particularly amazing cues are the epic "Sky" theme, Ghirahim's Spanish-flavored battle theme, a booming Polka-style mini-boss battle, and the breathtakingly beautiful seven minute finale.

7. Seiken Densetsu 3 Original Sound Version - Hiroki Kikuta's "Secret of Mana" comes close, but ultimately this is the richer and more balanced work.  A beautiful continuation of the musical style Kikuta provided us with his predecessor, "Trials of Mana" offers superior sound samples (which is saying a lot) and a rich library of compositions.  It's a great companion piece to have with its 1993 counterpart.

8. Seiken Densetsu 2 Original Sound Version - Up until I heard "Final Fantasy VI", I was convinced that this was some of the best videogame music of all time.  Today it still holds up, the compositions are as memorable and crisp as ever, and the sound quality holds up as well.  This is another keeper.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Soundtrack - With "Ocarina of Time", Koji Kondo created one of his most massive, at the time, scores yet.  Despite the somewhat lacking sound samples of the N64 (a problem that would be rectified with other soundtracks), the score as a whole still holds up.  Particularly outstanding tracks include "Temple of Time", "Last Battle", and "Gerudo Valley."  Pony Canyon's album treatment of the score disappointingly cuts short some of the songs' lengths (including the great "Fire Temple", which is unfortunately chopped to 42 seconds), but the score is still highly recommended.

10. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Original Soundtrack - Although edged out by "Ocarina of Time", "Majora's Mask" still has its charms.  Adopting a darker, Chinese-flavored style for its basis with a jaunty, nearly Celtic "Clock Town" theme, this soundtrack matches the mood of the game's warped, darker world very well.  The return of the Overworld theme (whose omission was a sour disappointment for the otherwise superb Ocarina of Time) is a major plus as well.  The sound samples are still not that different from Ocarina, but for what it does, "Majora's Mask" handles itself well.

11. Dragon Quest VI Symphonic Suite (London Philharmonic) - I truly like all the Dragon Quest scores, really, I do.  But for some reason, the sixth entry stands out as being one of the strongest thus far.  Its battle themes, in particular, are among the series' best.  "Beating Shimmering Heart" is also very spooky and esoteric in its own way, and the compositions are very solid.  Capping off the package is the magnificent, Stravinsky-flavored "Eternal Lullaby", one of DQ's finest ending themes.

12. Symphony Ys '95 - Soothingly beautiful and epic simultaneously, this terrific "synth-phonic" treatment of Yuzo Koshiro's now iconic score for "Ys" is nothing short of an unbridled delight.  Tamiya Terashima does an outstanding job of translating the score to this format, without it ever losing its essence.

13. Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite

14. Wonder Project J 2 Original Soundtrack - This was composer Akihiko Mori's last score before his death.  Although somewhat hindered by a limited sound drive (a problem that plagued a lot of the N64 soundtracks), the composer still manages to create a gorgeous score that stretches across the emotional spectrum, touching the listener's heart.  It's a shame that this soundtrack has been forgotten over the years; even if you're not familiar with the composer or the game its based on, this is an album still worth considering.

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