Soundtrack Central The best classic game music and more

Adam Corn Feb 11, 2012 (edited Mar 9, 2012)

Time finally to get around to the main event of the polls section - the top soundtracks of each member's VGM collection.  Any game soundtrack is eligible, including OSTs, official arranged albums and fan arranged albums in any media format.  For OSTs please list the soundtrack album release where possible.  Otherwise designate the system and format in parentheses - for example "(SNES game rip)" or "(PC Engine redbook)".

As for box sets, let's avoid including them unless it's for exclusive content that rates among your top vgm.  Otherwise list the standout individual albums within for your picks.

This will be a permanently running poll so you can update your picks at any time and the results will be re-tallied regularly.  As always be sure to use the "Answer poll" link and not just reply to the forum thread, and to use the poll's auto-complete feature when available so the results will be accurate.  There's room for up to 30 picks but it isn't required to submit the full 30.

Results will be tallied March 11, 2012.

Amazingu Feb 11, 2012

Didn't someone already do this a while back, only spread across different music sites?
The No.1 was FF6 back then, and I'd be surprised if that's any different now wink

TerraEpon Feb 11, 2012

Yeah, someone tried to get as much of the net as they could to do a huge ranking of everything.

Adam Corn Feb 11, 2012 (edited Mar 17, 2012)

That was almost four years ago.  I have several new picks in my top 30 since then as well as a slightly different perspective on some of the old ones, and I think it'll be interesting to see how people's favorites have changed even if the top results don't. Not to mention new members (of which we do have a few) can participate and have their votes included.

As mentioned the poll is automated so tallying it won't be an issue.

GoldfishX Feb 11, 2012 (edited Feb 11, 2012)

TerraEpon wrote:

Yeah, someone tried to get as much of the net as they could to do a huge ranking of everything.

That was me, then Crash finished the project because I lost interest (and didn't appreciate the attitude I was getting from some of the other places I posted it).

Only reason I responded to Jodo's original post is because I wanted to stop and think what were my top 10 right now. Most albums don't change, but I wouldn't have had Dragon Quest anything or Mario RPG in there 3-4 years ago. If I had to choose all time favorites, of course I'd pick Chrono Trigger over Mario RPG, but Mario RPG has been a strong recent favorite. And I can't quite explain it, but Final Fantasy VI sounds better and more pleasing to the ear than it did even a couple years ago. I would have gladly replaced it or moved it down in my list if I felt there was anything stronger.

Original post///

Why the hell not...

1. Final Fantasy VI OSV - No, really...It actually sounds better now than it did 15 years ago.

2. Megaman 2 - Ditto. IMO, my definitive chiptune soundtrack.

3. Phantasy Star Sound Collection 1 - Could have used more Phantasy Star 1 and 2 Arranges and a little less of 3, but what's there is exactly how I like my VGM arranged.

4. Ys IV Perfect Collection (set) - Not going to break these up individually, as I've been listening to them as a unit for years now. A bit lazy on a couple arranges, but the peak of the Falcom sound overall. Edit: For poll purposes, I'll use Vol. 1. It's strongest at the moment.

5. Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2 - It had to happen and I'm glad it did. Mostly here for Sonic 2, but both soundtracks define everything I love about fun, exciting and classic VGM. Edit: Here for Sonic 2.

6. Dracula Battle Perfect Selection 1 - I have a couple nitpicks in regards to sound quality (could use a better soundstage and more low end), but the arrangements themselves are perfect. Even better, I heard this long before I heard the Rondo soundtrack (which I love),

7. Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite Box - It's rare that I enjoy most orchestral VGM (especially arranges), but I've grown to love these discs. The town themes and field themes are the highlights. Just so much fresh material to take in, especially since I've only heard a couple tracks from these suites before and I have plenty of nostalgia for the original soundtracks to several of these. I'm going through sort of an exploration phase with classical and baroque music, so these kind of helped me ease my way into it. IF I had to pick one overall soundtrack here from what's included, my favorite would be DQ 3, closely followed by 4. Edit: For poll purposes, I'll use the London Phil version of DQIII. Unless I can use the disc from this set with the town themes on it. smile

8. Super Mario RPG Original Soundtrack - I've become really attached to this one recently (enough for this to bump Chrono Trigger out of my top 10 for the moment). Really the only Shimomura work I visit nowadays, it seems to have gotten better with age (and better headphones...I love the samples used throughout the album). I regret selling my real copy awhile back.

9. Guilty Gear Original Sound Collection - Not as much of a frequent listen as in past years, it's still pretty essential. An uncompressed version would be divine.

10. Game Music Graffiti - Classic NES and Gameboy themes arranged in fun, 80's style synth. Other than a couple lousy arranges for Kid Icarus and Metroid, what's not to like.

So yeah, my non-surprising top 10 at the moment.

Yotsuya Feb 12, 2012 (edited Feb 12, 2012)

A disclaimer, I only have about 30 cds, so being a third of my collection may explain some otherwise unusual picks. On to the top ten:

1. Touch! Generations sound track - Easy listening, puts me in a good mood. My favorite track: The Scent of Color… ~Bimoji Training Title~ (DS Bimoji Training)

2. Sonic CD - I prefer techno soundtracks, and this fits the bill to a "T."

3. Nights into dreams Perfect album - Probably my very favorite tracks are on this album, the extended ones, but many skippable tracks also.

4. Tekken Strike Fighting vol. 1 - Another fantastic techno style-album. I don't have vol. 2, but I guess you could lump them together.

5. Super Mario World - Cool smooth-jazz arranges and classic soundtracks, esp. Mario 3 and  obviously Mario World

6. Nintendo Super Famicom Game Music - Several glimpses into yet unpublished classic soundtracks plus cool arrange section

7. Soldam - Found this one through a common composer from 'Tail of the Sun' which I am looking for. Fun, bright and retro. I'd like to hear more like this.

8. FF6 - The big one, one of the first soundtracks I picked up, but I don't play it too often because it is a little somber. My favorite track is probably Relm's theme followed by the searching for friends then Terra's theme, and I could go on... smile

9. FF4 - Troian beauty!

10. Chrono Trigger - Not my very first game music soundtrack (that would be Seiken Densetsu 3), but the one that got me back into game music.

Yuvraj Feb 12, 2012

Adam, are you really fixed on the 'no redbook'? I mean, you are taking down a lot of classics here and what good is it? Oh and what about albums like Dracula X, Metroid Prime/Fusion, Suikoden II and the Ys IV PCs?

Adam Corn Feb 12, 2012

Yuvraj wrote:

Adam, are you really fixed on the 'no redbook'? I mean, you are taking down a lot of classics here and what good is it?

No I'm not 100% against it.  I would kind of like to see redbook included as well but then it's hard then not to include game rips and unreleased OSTs, and when you include all those I think the selection's going to be so scattered it'll be hard to get a consensus on many albums.

One option would be to have a separate "best OSTs" or "best unreleased vgm" topic but I dunno.

Oh and what about albums like Dracula X, Metroid Prime/Fusion, Suikoden II and the Ys IV PCs?

Dracula X because of the two-disc re-release?  I can lump them together in the results.  Metroid Prime/Fusion is a single album so no problem.  The Suikoden II OSTs I would lump together (they were at one time released that way), the Ys IV PCs I'd say separate.  Not too many tricky albums like that so case by case works I think.

GoldfishX Feb 12, 2012 (edited Feb 12, 2012)

Adam Corn wrote:

Not too many tricky albums like that so case by case works I think.

Careful, I assumed that before I started the other project. People found plenty of them. sad

Okay, let me knock out 11-20. In general, I'm intentionally leaving out series revisits (I already have Megaman 2, so leaving out rest of the classic series, I already gave DQ and Final Fantasy its due, etc). Also in general, I'm tending not to favor VGM rock arranges as much as I have previously, due to the poor production on a lot of it and the fact that I have more mainstream rock/metal on my player overall, so the need for them is somewhat diminished.

11. Chrono Trigger OSV - Moved down just because I know it a little TOO well. Still Mitsuda's best work, IMO, and I've always been a fan of Uematsu's contributions to this.

12. Ys Perfect Collection - Pretty much a glimpse into what the Ys IV Perfect Collections would become, it's full of the same type of arranges and arguably better synth. Always worth a quick listen, the knocks I have against it are the brevity and about 2/3's of the second disc. Far and away, the best version of the Ys I soundtrack.

13. Genso Suikoden - Same boat as Chrono Trigger. Amazing soundtrack that I don't feel the need to remove any tracks from. Just moved down because of overexposure. On a good listening day, could easily be top 5 for me.

14. Grandia I Original Soundtracks (first volume only, with a scattering of tracks from the second volume) - Iwadare not only arranged these from what was used ingame, I believe he used full-sounding versions that did not suffer from compression to fit the game discs. One of the best production jobs on any game soundtrack I can think of and I love the light-hearted adventure feel in this. Iwadare's best overall work, by far.

15. Tokimeki Memorial Sound Collection 2 - Fun, bouncy and well produced. One of the best arrangement jobs I can think of, considering most of the themes on here are not that great in their original forms. I think they got every ounce of quality they could possibly find out of these tracks.

16. Xenogears Original Soundtrack - Other than a couple tracks at the end of the soundtrack from the final encounters, I can't find anything I want to cut out of this one. A well-deserved classic that I probably should revisit more often.

17. Sorcerian Forever Vol. 1 - I don't really know what the sound setup here is, but it fits the Sorcerian formula perfectly. More pleasant that either the JDK Specials or the Renewal albums, it's mostly high-quality chiptune-like rock from start to finish.

18. Nights Perfect Sound Collection - Not something I'd usually toss up this high, but AT THE MOMENT, it's a heavy hitter.

19. Lufia II Original Soundtrack - As stated before, a booming production job on the Estpolis Biography soundtrack, representing how most instrumental VGM should sound. Kind of hard not to like this soundtrack, outside of some filler towards the middle and end.

20. PPPPPP - Two words: "Positive Force". Best new VGM soundtrack from the past 10 years, easily and without a doubt. Souleye is nothing short of an amazing talent. I had mixed feelings on the "new" chiptune style that was developing before hearing this, I have nothing but love for this whole soundtrack.

Zane Feb 13, 2012

My list has changed pretty dramatically since last time, but here's what I got based on what's in my library (and what I ranked them several years ago). I'm including a couple of fan arranges, since arrange albums were included on the last list:

1) Final Fantasy VII OST (N/A)
2) Final Fantasy VI OSV (1)
3) Silent Hill 2 (24)
4) Final Fantasy VIII OST (N/A)
5) Final Fantasy Tactics OST (N/A)
6) Silent Hill OST (6)
7) Metroid Metal - Varia Suite (N/A)
8) Metroid Metal - Expansion Pack (N/A)
9) Silent Hill 3 (29)
10) STREET FIGHTER II Alph Lyra with Yuji Toriyama (9)
11) Voodoo Vince original Xbox game music by Steve Kirk (30)
12) Alpha Squad Soundtrack (N/A)
13) Final Fantasy Vocal Collections I -Pray- (N/A)
14) Final Fantasy Vocal Collections II "Love Will Grow" (N/A)

It looks like I've been banking on Squaresoft nostalgia in my old age. I've pretty much bottomed out on new VGM and haven't been interested in a lot of albums I used to listen to. The spark just ain't there anymore. I blame Between the Buried and Me and Cloudkicker.

GoldfishX Feb 14, 2012

Yuvraj wrote:

The Ys IV PCs I'd have to agree on (so Goldfish you may start with editing your post:)).

Already did. I decided to use Volume 1 to represent the trilogy, instead of using up three spots out of 30. I've never really been able to pick a favorite of the three, but I think Puroma Rock and Battle #58 give Vol. 1 the edge overall.

And...let's finish off the top 30.

21. Double Dragon II Arrange - I had to find a place for this one somewhere in here. Nothing fancy, just a rockin good time with one of the best NES action scores out there. Worth it for the final boss battle arrangement alone.

22. Marvel vs Capcom Original Soundtrack - It's Mahvel, baby! More valuable as something that sprinkles a handful of fun tracks into my library than a full out soundtrack nowadays, I think this is probably the most inspired Capcom fighting soundtrack out there. There's good arranges of past tunes to go along with some kickass originals all throughout the disc. In fact, I remember the samples of the Rockman Theme music being my main motivation for looking into this. Talk about a "died and gone to heaven" moment.

23. Seiken Densetsu 3 Original Sound Version - Still my favorite Kikuta album overall, it sounds like it's not taking itself too seriously when it really is. Further proof that the 16 bit era (especially the late 16 bit era) is when we saw Square's best music.

24. King of Fighters 98 Original Soundtrack - I admit I didn't quite know what I was getting when I bought this soundtrack. It's basically an anthology of great SNK themes (just as in the same way KOF 98 was an all star game of sorts for the company) with killer arranges and damn good sound quality for an original Neo Geo soundtrack. I overdosed on this soundtrack back in the day, so it gets limited playtime nowadays, but I pretty much wore the silver parts off these discs.

25. Rockman 2 The Power Fighters - One of my first 3 original soundtracks, I can say the exact same thing as I did about the Marvel vs Capcom OST above. Except this one just foregoes anything original and goes straight for the Rockman nostalgia from start to finish. I love when my player on "Random All" draws something from this album. Even though it's "just" a soundtrack to the arcade game, it's far more satisfying than pretty much all of the dedicated Rockman arranges that have crept up the past couple years.

26. Star Ocean Second Story Original Soundtrack - I used to rag on Sakuraba pretty hard for just about everything he's done since Star Ocean 3. I blame this very soundtrack for being the source of my disappointment: I just want another score like this one. If all his music sounded exactly like this soundtrack (or Valkyrie Profile...and I tend to prefer Star Ocean Second Story for being more balanced), he'd be my favorite composer.

27. Megami Tensei I and II - Probably Yonemitsu's most overall inspired arrange attempt (Ys Perfect Collection and the Ys IV Perfect Collections had their share of remakes, whereas all the stuff on the arranged disc here is fresh). Not an album I reach for all the time, but I can't say I ever walk away from it feeling disappointed.

28. Mystic Ark Original Soundtrack - As if I didn't have enough SNES RPG soundtracks cluttering up my list, I can't quite leave this one out. I sold this thing for $18 a few years ago and I definitely feel like I gave it away. Great score. Classic, but unique at the same time (okay, not Seiken Densetsu unique, but not your typical RPG score either). Those battle themes are pretty balls out rockin!

29. Rockman Dash Original Soundtrack - Another of those growers that has snuck up on me recently. Get away from the labyrinth themes the game is known for (as stated in the review here) and there's much to like about this quirky score.

30. Dragon Slayer Legend of Heroes Perfect Collection - There's something incredibly generic about this score and at the same time, an inescapable charm. Yonemitsu's arrangement job is merely decent (I have better versions of most of these tracks on other individual albums), but as a whole it comes together (with the noted exception of Neargead Castle).

Conspicuously absent: Ys III Turbo Duo Redbook. Decided to leave it off because we're still up in the air about redbooks. Oh well, it's godlike enough that it doesn't need a spot in my top 30 to feel worthy. One less spot I have to worry about.

Adam Corn Feb 14, 2012 (edited Feb 22, 2012)

After giving it some more thought I've decided to allow all game soundtracks for inclusion, including unreleased ones both redbook and not.

As mentioned in the revised guidelines, please do list the soundtrack album release whenever there is one applicable (including multi-title albums like Dracula Best and Metroid Prime/Fusion).

For soundtracks that have no applicable album release, simply list the game title followed by "(unreleased)", "(redbook)" or the like.  No need to include the system name unless there are multiple game releases with music drastically different from each other.

If anyone sees any potential problems with this system let me know.

Yuvraj Feb 16, 2012 (edited Mar 11, 2012)

I made my list (phew, took a while actually). I didn't fixate on a number but I came out on a top 20:

1. Ys III (PC Engine Redbook)
Well this is my top game soundtrack of all time and I don't think anything can ever better it. It has been about eight years since I first heard this soundtrack and it hasn't lost a tiny bit of its power. A majestic thunder that stands on the top of the mountain and smiles proudly at the rest of the list.

2. Xenogears
Mitsuda's somophore score remains my favorite. The nostalgia from the game has worn off and the synth on some tracks sounds a little outdated but the soundtrack still stands very strong on its own.

3. Ys IV Perfect Collection vol. 1
All three volumes are amazing in their own right but when it comes down to the best 'album' I have to give it to vol.1 because of it's great flow and overall funky flavour. One minus point is the Ys I rearranges on the beginning of the album which I always skip because I prefer those on the original Perfect Collection Ys.

4. Panzer Dragoon Orta
A wonderfull adventurous score which seems to get hardly any attention. Saori Kobayashi's unique panzer sound is the driving force here but the contributions from Yutaka Minobe blend in beautifully.

5. Gungage
I love Sota Fujimori's 'neo cyber gamemusic' style. Yamane's tracks are a bit weaker but they hardly tear down the quality of the album.

6. Ys IV Perfect Collection vol. 3
Volume three rocks the hardest. I mean, this is Ys at it's most brutal. But it also the most epic tracks like 'Temple of the Sun' and 'Bronze District' as well as two fantastic ending themes. Ryo's swan song in vgm (till Wild Arms years and years later).

7. Chrono Trigger The Brink of Time
An inspiring take on Mitsuda's debut soundtrack. I really wanted to list Chrono Trigger but I hardly listen to it apart from the occasional moments of nostalgia. I still consider it one of the very best RPG scores though.

8. Ys IV Perfect Collection vol. 2
This one is more dark and somber compared to the rocking vol.3 and funky vol.1 but the arrangements are fantastic.

9. Final Fantasy XII
I never got into Sakimoto but after I played the game for a while I warmed up and I started appreciating his style more and more. I only wish I could have enjoyed the game more because I really loved the whole world of FFXII and the music really added to the feel of it. Even when listening to some of the tracks I tend to 'dream away' into the various locations.

10. Ys Perfect Collection
A landmark arrange album that I love to death and would never ever sell off, it's such a classic. The first disc is absolutely flawless. The whole thing just flows like water. The second disc is a mixed bag but it has 'Endless History', nuff said.

11. Magic Knight Rayearth
A quirky little rpg score from the Saturn. I think it's underrated but you have to like the sound I guess (it was done in part by the same man behind Panzer Dragoon Zwei).

12. Dirge of Cerberus -Final fantasy VII-
I never ever imagined this would become a favorite since I didn't care for it at all when I first heard. Only a few years when I looked deeper I found some of Hamauzu's best work here, in both the orchestral and electronic tracks.

13. Ys Book I & II (Redbook)
Ys I' arrangement on the Perfect Collection is superior but for Ys II this is the place to be. Tracks like 'Subterranean Canal' are timeless and I never tire of them.

14. Dracula Battle II
The best Battle album, period. It doesn't have the classic tunes from DBI but the powerfull arrangements blow the first one out of the water (yeah I said it).

15. Dracula X
Two classic Dracula scores on one album. The Genesis OST has more character in it's sound (I always found the PC Engine OST a bit too bright) but overall I like both equally.

16. Last Bible III soundtrack
An underground megaten gem that suprisingly saw an album release recently. I love it and it's the only SNES score I listen to nowadays.

17. Aquales
I don't even know who the composer is but who cares. This is oldschool gamemusic to the max.

18. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Perhaps a bit too dark for general listening but man, there is nothing like it in vgm.

19. Saga Frontier II
Couldn't leave Hamauzu's classic out.

20. Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT
Ok, I had to list atleast something from the good old NES. Actually this disc really does deserve a spot. Sunsoft made the best music for the NES and this disc collects all the classics. But never mind that, Batman alone is reason enough to list this disc, well to be more precise: stage 1 of Batman. That's right 0:57 of playtime warrants the purchase of this album. ^_^

EDIT: I changed the rankings a bit (FFXII especially was a bit too high).

vert1 Feb 18, 2012 (edited Feb 18, 2012)

How do you want to list Breath of Fire 1 which was only released in a boxset!?

Adam Corn Feb 18, 2012

I would list it as "Breath of Fire (Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box)".  Or if you just wanted to list the entire box itself that'd be fine really, there's quite a bit of exclusive content on it.

Crash Feb 20, 2012 (edited Feb 20, 2012)

1. Falcom Special Box '94
Still the champ, in my opinion.  Ys IV + Legend of Xanadu + Popful Mail, all arranged beautifully.

2. Ys I & II Chronicles Original Sound Track
I wasn't entirely sold on this when I first listened, but I now view it as the definitive Ys I & II soundtrack.

3. PinkSweets Original Sound Track
The best Cave album I've heard, and the best album with all new material from the last 10 years, in my opinion.  It is very treble-heavy, but I really enjoy it.

4. The Legend of Dragon Slayers
Arrangements from Dragon Slayer, Xanadu, Romancia, Legacy of the Wizard, and Sorcerian, in that early game music style I like so much.

5. Guilty Gear X Heavy Rock Tracks ~ The Original Soundtrack of Dreamcast
The recording quality is sub-par, but the melodies are dynamite.  If they ever did an audiophile-quality remastering of this album,  this could shoot up to #1 on my list.

6. Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Original Sound Track
Listening to older Ys III albums (apart from the redbook) is just not as palatable after this release.

7. Tokimeki Memorial Piano Collection
The ultimate soothing piano music.  A very simple arrangement style is used, which lets the melodies shine through.

8. Perfect Collection Ys IV The Dawn of Ys Vol. 1
The best of the Ys IV PCs IMO.  The first eight tracks are spectacular, and while the rest of the album cools down a little after that, it's still very well done.

9. Game Music Graffiti
Three classic Nintendo albums combined into one (excluding the original music on Game Boy Graffiti).  If I were to pick one album that showcases Nintendo music from the '80s, this is it.

10. Insector X
This has perhaps the best recording quality of any VGM album I have heard.  When I am testing out speakers, I use a track from this album to test the bass.

11. All Over Xanadu
Another classic Falcom arrangement.  Very similar to The Legend of Dragon Slayers.

12. Perfect Collection Sorcerian
The best Sorcerian album ever made (and there were a lot of them).  The first disc is probably the strongest of any of the two-disc Falcom Perfect Collections (except Perfect Collection Ys), while the second disc surpasses most of the others as well.

13. Musics from Super Star Soldier
This has both original and arranged game music on it, and both are superb.  Classic shooter sounds from the TurboGrafx era.

This album is what got me interested in the Shin Megami Tensei series.  Awesome stuff.

15. MIDI Power Pro 6 ~Akumajo Dracula X Gekka no Nocturne~
We all know the source material on this album is great, and the arrangements on this album are pretty fantastic, too.  The Long Library medley alone makes the album.

16. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Hyrule Symphony
I am a sucker for string ensembles, and this album does great work with one.

17. Falcom jdk Band 2008 Spring
A worthy follow-up to the earlier Falcom JDK Band albums.

18. Perfect Selection Konami Shooting Battle II
My favorite of the Konami Battle albums. To me, it has the cleanest sound and fewer losers than the other albums in the series.

19. Devil Crash / Alien Crush
Another classic TurboGrafx score brought to life.  Yes, there is pretty much only one song in the game, but it is infectious.

20. Ys vs Sora no Kiseki Alternative Saga Collective Music Files
A rocking arrangement of Ys and Sora no Kiseki tunes, plus a whole other disc of the best Falcom music ever made?  I don't see how I can turn this down.

21. Symphony Ys '95
At times soothing, at times moving, always entertaining.

It's hard to not like the bouncy music on this one.

23. Soukaigi Original Soundtrack
A very well-rounded album overall.  Lots of musical styles present, and everything is pulled off admirably.

24. V'BALL
The O'Bits project albums are something special, and this one is my favorite of them all.  Maybe it's for sentimental reasons, as I played Super Spike V'Ball on the NES for hours and hours.

25. Super Mario Bros. 3 Akihabara Electric Circus
Another good representation of the old-time Nintendo sound.

26. Cyber Core
Another TurboGrafx era shooter.

27. DOUBLE DRAGON II The Revenge
28. Ninja Ryukenden II - Ankoku no Jashin Ken
Two more O'Bits albums.  It's hard for me to choose between them, so I put them both on.

29. Hoshi no Kirby: Yume no Izumi no Monogatari
The original music is OK, but the arrangements are top-shelf.

30. Rom Cassette Disc In SUNSOFT

I regret not putting any Bemani artist albums on the list, as I really enjoy the songs on them.  Ryu's Starmine album would probably be in the top 10 otherwise, and dj TAKA's Milestone would also make the top 30.  I haven't spent enough time with Tatsh's Material yet to decide if it would belong, and I expect that wac's Ongaku and Y&Co's new albums could also merit consideration.  I felt like they were not in keeping with the spirit of the list.

Ashley Winchester Feb 27, 2012

1. Xenogears Original Soundtrack
- excellent soundtrack; very little filler
2. Wild Arms Original Soundtrack
- Naruke's work was obviously a big reason why the game was a bit hit with me; I'd love to nominate 2nd Ignition but it has far too many problems
3. Tomb Raider (PSX Redbook Audio)
- it may be short but Tomb Raider's music is a big part of what the game brings to the table
4. Biohazard 2 Original Soundtrack
- while some will disagree I see this (and the game) as an improvement over the original
5. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Original Soundtrack
- the original game may have had an orchestra but I think it was the second game that really cultivated the Dragoon sound
6. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (NES: Unreleased)
- The music for the first NES game is great as well but this is one hell of a sequel; battle pieces could be better but the score is insanely verstile
7. Super Metroid - Sound in Action
- actually, love the music but I hate Sound in Action
8. Mega Man X4
- sorry, there is no way in hell I can even nominate Mega Man 2. It's played out...
9. Seiken Densetsu ~Legend of Mana~ Original Soundtrack
- again an excellent soundtrack with very little filler
10. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
- anyone surprised?
11. Doom (SNES: Unreleased)
- power up Prince's tunes with the SPC700? Yes please! Too bad two tracks had to be cut due to memory limitations
12. Super Castlevania IV (Part of Dracula Best II)
- I know this misconstrues the term but I love how SC4's music is prog-like

PerfectZer0 Mar 2, 2012 (edited Mar 3, 2012)

1. Shutokou Battle Original Sound Track (ABCA-17)
3. Fuujin Ryouiki Eretzvaju Original Soundtrack (AZCA-10018)
4. Assault Suits Valken (TOCT-6861)
7. Lords of Thunder (Sega CD Redbook)
8. The Terminator (Sega CD Redbook)
9. Android Assault ~ The Revenge of Bari-Arm (Sega CD Redbook)
10. Critical Depth (PSX Redbook)
11. Falcom Special Box '94 (KICA-9020~2)
12. Jet Moto (PSX Redbook)
13. Ys ~The Oath in Felghana~ Original Soundtrack (NW10102660-1~2)
14. Lost Child Original Sound Track from S.S.H Side-B (HBMC-009)
15. Lost Technology + Plus (FNAG-0009)
16. NiGHTS into dreams... PERFECT ALBUM (WM-0601~3)
17. Technosoft GAME MUSIC COLLECTION VOL.7 ~ Reincarnation (TCS-0007)
18. Mushihimesama Futari Original Soundtrack (CVST-0006)
19. ESPGALUDA II Original Sound Track (CVST-0004)
21. Shin Contra Original Soundtrack (KOLA-016)
22. Wild Arms Music the Best -rocking heart- (KICA-1416)
23. Chaos Legion Original Soundtrack (CPCA-1072)
24. SOULCALIBUR II original soundtrack (SSCX-10086~7)
25. Ys VI The Ark of Napishtim Original Sound Track (YS6OST-1~2)
26. Dead or Alive 4 Original Sound Trax (KWCD-1009)
27. Gungage Original Soundtrack (KMCA-19)
28. Omega Boost Original Soundtrack (SVWC-7032)
29. Tobi Tsukihime Soundtrack (ODZR-0001)
30. Mushihimesama Double Arrange Album (CVAS-003)

I don't like to think this as in any order as my favorites.  It's just a top 30 awesome soundtracks.  Damn I forgot to add Airforce Delta (Dreamcast)...oh well! 

To be honest the first pick is true.  It is my fav. Well, kind of a tie with Airforce Delta.

Crap, I should have included Elder Gate OST....this is why I hate top lists because I think of stuff after the fact.

vert1 Mar 4, 2012 (edited Oct 11, 2018)

1. GötzenDiener Original Game Music
2. Beyond the Beyond Original Game Soundtrack
3. Baroque Original Soundtrack
4. Ys III (PC Engine redbook)
5. Fuujin Ryouiki Eretzvaju Original Soundtrack
6. Ibara Original Sound Track
7. the lunatic: Ibara Remix Tracks
8. Bare Knuckle 2
9. Neo Contra Original Soundtrack
10. Brandish Piano Collection

2018 edit
No. 5 could be replaced by Baten Kaitos. No. 7 was a pick due to the last track. Should be replaced by Eternal Arcadia Original Soundtrack.

Axelay should be in there. Not satisfied with this list.

Crash Mar 6, 2012

Here are the albums that had been on my top 30, but which got replaced this time:

Gradius Arcade Soundtracks - I still love the Gradius soundtrack, but it is a little on the short side.
Perfect Collection Ys - For a very long time, this was probably my favorite VGM album.  I just think that the Ys I & II Chronicles OST does a better job with the material.  In addition, there are a few songs on Chronicles that aren't on PC Ys (the most noteworthy being "Tension").
Eternal Arcadia OST - There are some themes that still really move me, but there is a lot of ambient music that's just so-so.
BeForU - Still a fun album to listen to, but I need to be in the right mood for it now.
Falcom Neo-Classic - I may be the only person who prefers the second disc from this album.  It's still very good; I just don't see myself reaching for it very often.
Rockman II - The Power Fighters - A few years ago, this clearly outclassed every Mega Man album out there.  Now, there is some heady competition.
Katamari Damashii Fortissimo - The good songs are great, but the bad songs are awful.
Zwei!! Super Arrange Version - I don't find myself liking this nearly as much as I used to.
Perfect Selection Twinbee - Half the songs are dynamite, but when I'm listening to the other half, I get really anxious.  I don't like that feeling.
All Sounds of Sorcerian - Really, this was mainly on there for the first and last songs, which are really fun to listen to.
Star Ocean: The Second Story Fantasy Megamix - I still like this one a lot, but others have taken its place.
JDK Band - I think I've just overdosed on this one.

the_miker Mar 7, 2012 (edited Mar 7, 2012)

Akumajo Dracula Best
Biohazard 3 Last Escape Original Soundtrack
Capcom Music Generation Rockman X1~6
CREID Yasunori Mitsuda & Millennial Fair
FINAL FANTASY VII Original Sound Track
FINAL FANTASY VIII Original Soundtrack
Jet Set Radio Original Sound Tracks
Perfect Selection Dracula ~NEW CLASSIC~
Policenauts F/N
Seiken Densetsu 3 Original Sound Version
Seiken Densetsu / Legend of Mana Original Soundtrack
Shin Contra Original Soundtrack
SONIC ADVENTURE "Digi-LOG Conversation" Original Sound Track
Sonic R
VAGRANTSTORY Original Soundtrack

This was not easy to do!  Just an unofficial list in alphabetical order for now.  Will actually answer the poll after I rank them.  Only factored in albums that I currently own and left out solo works like Akira Yamaoka's iFUTURELIST and Kukeiha Club's HOPE.

Amazingu Mar 7, 2012

Wow, no Sonic Colors or Sonic Generations, Mikey? wink

the_miker Mar 9, 2012

Amazingu wrote:

Wow, no Sonic Colors or Sonic Generations, Mikey? wink

Haha I can't stress the This was not easy to do! part enough.  I didn't wanna saturate my list with certain series (Sonic, Silent Hill, Final Fantasy) so I chose a few from each.  Sonic Gens was on my list at one point but it got bumped out for some reason.  Tried to keep my top 30 as diverse as I could.

Zorbfish Mar 9, 2012

Not much of a regular (more of a lurker) but here we go.

1. Kirby Super Star (SNES Game Rip)
2. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
3. SaGa Frontier Original Soundtrack
4. Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Original Soundtrack
5. Seiken Densetsu 2 Original Sound Version
6. Earthbound (SNES Game Rip)
7. Breath of Fire III (Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box)
8. CLANNAD Original Soundtrack
9. Unlimited Saga Original Soundtrack
10. Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
11. Persona 3 Original Soundtrack
13. Romancing SaGa 3 Original Sound Version
14. Seiken Densetsu ~Legend of Mana~ Original Soundtrack
15. Breath of Fire V Dragon Quarter Original Soundtrack
16. Atelier Iris GRAND FANTASM Original Soundtrack
17. Soukaigi Original Soundtrack
18. Kud Wafter Original Soundtrack
19. AIR Original Soundtrack
21. Persona 4 Original Soundtrack
22. Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version
23. Gyakuten Saiban 3 Original Soundtrack
24. Fate/stay night Original Soundtrack
25. Shizuku • Kizuato Original Soundtracks
26. Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack
27. WILD ARMS Complete Tracks
28. Dousei & MOON. Original Soundtracks
29. Phantom Brave ~Original sound track~
30. WILD ARMS the Vth Vanguard Original Score Vol.2

That,... was tough. Still not happy about the order. Mostly based it off my current listening habits and not my overall collection. Left off original and fanmade stuff because I know no one cares about that here.

Boco Mar 10, 2012 (edited Mar 25, 2012)

Putting together this list was tough! And then deciding on an order for them was even worse. Still frustrated with where some of these ended up on my list, but I doubt I can do any better. There were also a lot of great soundtracks that didn't quite make the cut. I'd definitely be feeling more at ease if this was a top 50 list. Anyway, lots of obvious choices and a couple controversial ones as well. This list is pretty much me!

1. Chrono Cross (SSCX-10040)
2. Final Fantasy VII (SSCX-10004)
3. Mushihimesama Double Arrange Album (CVAS-003)
4. Ace Attorney (CPCA-10124)
5. Secret of Mana (PSCN-5030)
6. Air (KSLA-0004~5)
7. Mega Man X (CPCA-1076~80)
8. Super Metroid (SNES game rip)
9. Perfect Selection Konami Battle the Best (KICA-1189)
10. Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack Premium Box*
11. Mega Man 2 (CPCA-1064~6)
12. Halo 2 original soundtrack volume two*
13. Ace Attorney: Investigations (CPCA-10204~5)
14. Star Ocean: The Second Story (FSCA-10063)
15. Eternal Sonata (KICA-1445~8)
16. Persona 3 (SVWC-7380~1)
17. Pink Sweets (CVST-0005)
18. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Story (PSCN-5040)
19. Pokemon Red/Green/Blue (TGCS-384)
20. Final Fantasy Tactics (SSCX-10008)
21. Final Fantasy IX (SSCX-10043~6)
22. Star Ocean -The Last Hope- (SQEX-10139~42)
23. Super Mario RPG (PSCN-5047~8)
24. Area 88 (CPCA-10161)
25. Metroid Metal - Varia Suite (SUR-006)
26. Star Fox (TECD-25275)
27. Xenogears (SQEX-10043~4)
28. Super Contra (KICA-2307)
29. Wild Arms (KICA-1389~90)
30. Perfect Dark Dual CD Soundtrack (N/A)

* Technically all of the music has been released for these, but it's spread out across two or more separate releases. Picking an individual, incomplete release doesn't sit well with me. Consider them to be complete game rips from the PC versions or fictional complete soundtracks that contain all the music. Either one works!

And now, the soundtracks that didn't quite make the cut:
Ace Attorney 3
Atelier Iris ETERNAL MANA 2 Arranged Tracks RED LUCIFER RISING
CADENZA -Gyakuten Saiban 1-
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Ecco the Dolphin
Etrian Odyssey
Etrian Odyssey 2
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VIII
Kingdom Hearts II
Mega Man 3
Super Mario World
Super Castlevania IV
Ys ~The Oath in Felghana~

Qui-Gon Joe Mar 10, 2012 (edited Mar 10, 2012)

1. Xenogears Original Soundtrack
2. Seiken Densetsu ~Legend of Mana~ Original Soundtrack
3. Super Mario Galaxy Original Sound Track
4. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
5. Ys ~The Oath in Felghana~ Original Soundtrack
6. Baten Kaitos Original Soundtrack
7. Azel ~Panzer Dragoon RPG~ Complete Album
8. Eternal Arcadia Original Sound Track
9. Donkey Kong Country Trilogy: Greatest Hit Soundtracks
10. Super Mario RPG Original Sound Version
11. Conker's Bad Fur Day Soundtrack
12. Nier Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack
13. Super Mario Galaxy 2 Original Sound Track
14. Estpolis Biography 2
15. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Original Soundtrack
16. Ys SEVEN Original Sound Track
17. The Dig Soundtrack
18. Kameo ~Elements of Power~ Original Soundtrack
19. Legend of Zelda Sound & Drama
20. Shadow Hearts Original Soundtracks plus1
21. Tengai Makyou II Manji Maru Original Soundtrack
22. Wanda and the Colossus ~Roar of the Earth~ Original Soundtrack
23. Shatter Official Videogame Soundtrack
24. Shenmue Orchestra Version
25. Katamari Damacy Soundtrack "Katamari Fortissimo Damacy"
26. Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec: Final Fantasy VIII
27. Live A Live Original Sound Version
28. Prince of Persia The Sands of Time Original Sound Track
29. Okami Original Soundtrack
30. Gyakuten Saiban Orchestra Album ~Gyakuten Meets Orchestra~

I'm SURE that I accidentally forgot to put something on this list...

Edit: Yep, sure did.  Chrono Cross deserves to be somewhere on there, though in the bottom half...

Pellasos Mar 12, 2012 (edited Mar 14, 2012)

2. Shenmue Orchestra Version
3. Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles Original Soundtrack
4. The Best of Grandia
5. FINAL FANTASY TACTICS Original Sound Track
7. Symphonic Fantasies
8. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition
9. The King of Fighters '96 Arrange Sound Trax
10. The King of Fighters '99 Arrange Sound Trax
11. Shining Force II Symphonic Suite ~Ancient Sealing~
13. Ys -The Oath in Felghana- Original Sound Track
14. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
15. Metal Gear Solid Original Game Soundtrack
16. Brandish Piano Collection
17. Soukaigi Original Soundtrack
18. F-Zero X Guitar Arrange Edition
19. DOUBLE DRAGON II The Revenge
20. Ryu ga Gotoku 3 Original Soundtrack
21. Snatcher/Policenauts Music Compilation/Black Arrange Disc
22. GötzenDiener Original Game Music
23. CADENZA -Gyakuten Saiban 1-
25. DIGITAL DEVIL SAGA ~Avatar Tuner~ 1 & 2 Original Sound Track: Integral
26. Uncharted Waters II Special Edition
27. PERFECT SELECTION Sound Racing History
28. Perfect Selection Dracula ~NEW CLASSIC~
29. Legend of Zelda ~Ocarina of Time~ Hyrule Symphony
30. Dodonpachi Dai-ou-jou [arrange album]

i rearranged my vote a little bit.

Ashley Winchester Mar 19, 2012 (edited Mar 19, 2012)

1. Xenogears Original Soundtrack
2. Wild Arms Complete Tracks
3. Tomb Raider (PSX redbook)
4. Biohazard 2 Original Soundtrack
5. Panzer Dragoon II Zwei Original Soundtrack
6. Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (NES game rip)
7. Super Metroid (SNES game rip)
8. Mega Man X4 (from Capcom Music Generation Rockman X1~6)
9. Seiken Densetsu ~Legend of Mana~ Original Soundtrack
10. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version
11. Doom (SNES game rip)
12. Super Castlevania IV (from Demon Castle Dracula Best 2)

Edit: I fixed a few things in here, like noting that Super Castlevania IV was the soundtrack I was picking from Dracula Best II, taking the Gamerip of Super Metroid over Sound in Action and replacing the OGS for Wild Arms with Complete Tracks.

Adam Corn Mar 19, 2012

In preparation for tallying the poll I've made tweaks to certain entries:

-For the box sets and compilation albums selected I went with only the album name.  For example one person's pick for "Mega Man X (Capcom Music Generation Rockman X1~6)" and another's for "Mega Man X4 (Capcom Music Generation Rockman X1~6)" have both been listed as just "Capcom Music Generation Rockman X1~6" so the album will be tallied together.  Everyone can specify which exact title in the forum comments as they have already.

-Boco, for your picks for "Final Fantasy XI (complete soundtrack)" and "Halo 2 (complete soundtrack)" I listed the volume one album for each as their "representative".  You can select a different album as such or enter multiple albums as multiple entries if you like.

-Joe, your selection of "Azel ~Panzer Dragoon RPG~ Complete Album" I listed as the Memorial Album so it will be tallied with the other picks and since they're essentially the same album.

Also please don't include the catalog numbers in your picks and once again please use the drop-down auto-complete list.  When a couple people use different text for the same albums it totally throws those albums' tallies out of whack (i.e. makes them lower).

Qui-Gon Joe Mar 20, 2012

Adam Corn wrote:

-Joe, your selection of "Azel ~Panzer Dragoon RPG~ Complete Album" I listed as the Memorial Album so it will be tallied with the other picks and since they're essentially the same album.

BAH.  Fine.  I just don't like the remixes they added for that version (even though it's the version I have)!

Adam Corn Mar 20, 2012

I don't like the two remixes either. smile  Again it doesn't matter to me either way but I'm guessing Memorial Album is more available on the market than Complete Album is?

Adam Corn Mar 20, 2012

Give a good plus or minus five spaces for most of these depending on what qualities I'm looking for or simply my mood at the time (the top 5 in particular are interchangeable as they're all just about perfect for what they are).

1. Dracula Battle Perfect Selection

Still the most perfect rock arrangements of VGM I can imagine.  The gothic overtones of the Castlevania series give it that extra something unique and the track mix of relentless near-metal, rolling hard rock, and soulful ballads is just right, with hardly an average track on the album.

2. Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks

The four-disc OST has some issues and even this single-disc virtual best selection suffers from a few mediocre tracks, but for a great part it shows Uematsu's music at its most inspired - melodically captivating, dramatic, and completely unique to almost anything else out there.  The sci-fi theme helps the sometimes spotty sound system (more noticeable in the full OST) stand the test of time a bit better than the similarly amazing FFVI OST, while the three orchestral arrangements and particularly the one for "Main Theme of FFVII" make the release even better.

3. Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version

As the years since my impressionable youth when the game first blew me away have increased so my time spent listening to the SNES OST has dropped, but still every time I give a good listen to this three-disc set I'm impressed by what Uematsu accomplished.  Still perhaps the most memorable arrays of character themes (and their ingenious reprises) of any soundtrack period, along with openings and endings unrivaled for their time and some unforgettable musical moments along the way.  It's a shame it still hasn't received a suite of arrangements to do the soundtrack justice but even for someone like myself who prefers live orchestration, the SNES sound system in place has a charm of its own.

4. Symphonic Fantasies - Music from Square Enix

The Kingdom Hearts and Chrono suites in this are amazing and the Mana suite is honestly a musical work that any human being with any appreciation for orchestral music should experience.  If the album version of the Final Fantasy suite was the quality of the improved arrangement I recently heard at Symphonic Fantasies Tokyo I may have ranked it even higher.  A spectacular classically-inspired soundtrack.

5. Symphony Ys '95

Just as Dracula Battle is a perfect rock arranged album I consider this a perfect orchestral arranged one.  Tamiya Terashima takes Ys 1 themes that would never be considered orchestral pieces in their early incarnations and makes them *imminently* orchestral while still faithful to the original melodies.  The progression from theme to theme is as smooth as you will hear in an orchestral medley and even themes that I tend to skip in other renditions are a pleasant listen here.  Of course the only thing lacking is the actual orchestra but the sequenced orchestra Terashima assembled is extremely impressive for its time and as with FFVI has a certain quality of its own.

6. Panzer Dragoon Original Sound Track

As an early adopter of the underdog Saturn I'll always have a soft spot for the Panzer Dragoon series and this is the title that started it.  Though the sequel Zwei originated the Panzer Dragoon sound as we know it today and Azel in many ways perfected it, the more electronic rock sound of this original is exceptional in its own right and combined with that unforgettable, sweeping orchestral opening and its poignant closing reprise offer the most musical and enjoyable album experience of the series. 

7. Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite Live Best

My infatuation with this best compilation / concert album has faded a bit as I've become familiar with the individual DQ symphonic suites, but if choosing a single release from this must-experience series I still think this is its premier album.  Were it not for the overemphasis on DQV it could have been even better as some excellent selections from earlier installments (DQIV in particular) didn't make the cut.  But what's here is excellent and orchestral adventure music simply doesn't get any better than the trio of "Fighting Spirits", "Into the Legend" and "Comrades".

8. Game Music Concert 5 ~Live Best Collection~

Though the earlier "Orchestral Game Concert" albums boast a more impressive selection of classic titles I'd give the edge to this last installment as my favorite.  The Seiken Densetsu 3, Donkey Kong Country and Renasu II arrangements all offer classic orchestral soundtrack experiences in differing styles while the Kirby medley is fantastic in all the ways you'd never expect.

9. Azel ~Panzer Dragoon RPG~ Memorial Album

Takes the utterly unique Panzer Dragoon sound established in Zwei and puts it in a more consistent and organic listening experience.  An atmospheric, memorable musical journey topped by a dramatic Panzerese vocals-meet-orchestra ending theme unlike anything before it.

10. Genso Suikoden Original Game Soundtrack

With its high production values and heavy world music influence this was unlike anything in its time and holds up well to this day.  Easily one of the most charmingly eccentric soundtracks I've heard and a far more consistent listen than its four-disc sequel.

11. Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack

Though I completely prefer Reunion Tracks as an album experience, for those who like their complete OSTs this is certainly not one to miss.  There are a few excellent tracks only available here, most notably the unforgettably atmospheric "Anxious Heart" and the exhilarating main theme reprise "Highwind Takes to the Skies".

12. Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack

As a mix of fairly hard electronica with upbeat game music this is just about perfect, with the world music elements adding an extra bit of spice to the mix. Unlike many of my orchestral and gamier albums this one I can listen to just about anytime.

13. Kameo ~Elements of Power~ Original Soundtrack

The best half of this album is as good as you will hear in an orchestral fantasy adventure soundtrack.  The quieter tracks are gorgeously orchestrated and heart-stoppingly beautiful and the action themes present are excellent as well, though a few more of them and a stronger ending would have made for a more complete listening experience.

14. Game Music Concert 4 ~Live Best Collection~

The two most famous arrangements (Super Mario Brothers and the FFVI opera) from this classic album have lost some of their appeal as their novelty as faded, but the Super Metroid medley remains the premier orchestral arrangement from a renowned series and an excellent sci-fi work in general, while the more obscure Albert Odyssey is an Arabian-inspired adventure classic.

15. Ys I & II (PC Engine redbook)

The soundtrack that for myself (and many others) instantly put the Ys series in the VGM elite.  A great combination of catchy melodies and energetic, distinctive synth that out-perfects the Perfect Collections and offers still the best collection of Ys II arrangements to date.

16. Afrika Original Soundtrack

Captivating naturalistic themes served by beautiful orchestrations.  A bit too clearly inspired by Jurassic Park but if you can consider it a tribute to Williams then it's a fantastic one.

17. Distant Worlds II: More Music from Final Fantasy

The best orchestral arrangements from the FF series are scattered among various albums but even with its modern focus I'd say this one has the best selection of any.  The arrangements for "FFVII Main Theme" and "Zanarkand" are essential and the remaining highlights overshadow a few awkward missteps.

18. Dragon Quest IV Symphonic Suite

Dragon Quest symphonic suites feel like their own category in VGM so it's hard deciding where to place them, but as the best of the lot DQIV Symphonic Suite is right up there.  The themes themselves might not be quite as endearing on their own as some other classic RPGs but the fantasy-styled, classically inspired arrangements take them to that next level.

19. Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack

Take the best disc or so from this and you have a sci-fi fantasy score second-to-none, from the action themes to the otherworldly environment pieces to some beautiful quieter moments.  In its full four discs the soundtrack can drag - something some live instrumentation might have remedied - but still it's not to be missed.

20. Dragon Quest VI Symphonic Suite

Lacks the charm and accessibility of DQIV but in their place come perhaps an even greater classical artistry and an intensely dedicated thematic focus.  Not exactly light listening but possibly the most dramatic game soundtrack of my collection.

21. SQ Chips

A newie and goodie.  Even as someone who normally wouldn't care for an album full of chip tunes, the theme selection, clever sound programming (with a bit of helpful cheating) and delightfully energetic arrangements make for a winner.

22. Viva Pinata Original Soundtrack

Easily one of the most beautiful soundtracks I've heard.  Boasts the same gorgeous orchestrations and performance of Kameo, but with a dedicated naturalistic thematic focus and a familiar, accessible classical sound.

23. Ecco - Songs of Time

It may sound exactly like a New Age soundtrack about a dolphin would be expected but I doubt anybody would have expected it to be this good.  Relaxing at many times and surprisingly emotional at others; a nice alternative to the orchestral, rock, and high-energy synth soundtracks that tend to dominate VGM.

25. Konami Shooting Battle Perfect Selection

Applies almost the same hard rock mastery to Konami's shooter series lineup as Dracula Battle does to Castlevania.  Remove that "almost" for the feisty, rollicking "A-jax" and the epic album closer "Battles of Battleship".

26. Nights ~Journey of Dreams~ Original Soundtrack

Shows 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 those albums' classic themes as a bonus).

26. Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version

Take away "Frog's Theme" and a couple other standouts ("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 in the album's favor.

There are several albums I could have filled the last four spaces with but these 26 I think stand on a tier above the rest.

Jodo Kast May 20, 2012

The hardest part of making this list was deciding how to make it. I couldn’t possibly just draw from what has been released without following some sort of guideline. There is too much to comprehend; enough has been produced to reasonably justify subdividing game music into separate realms, each intrinsically vast. So I have reasonably devised a realm from which I shall select my top albums.
    I have often read in interviews of the frustrations that early game music composers experienced resulting from the limitations of the system hardware. Since the early game systems couldn’t reproduce the music as the composer intended (or imagined), then video game music is merely an approximation. Therefore, only arrange albums are really video game music, since they are not hindered by the limitations of the hardware. But this sort of reasoning leads to a deeper problem. Arrange albums can’t possibly be video game music because they don’t contain any music that was used in the game. So we have a problem where video game music is not video game music.
    With a paradox like this, one must take a side. I have decided to side with the arrange albums. I find my first line of reasoning to be more amenable, that is, arranged albums are video game music and original music is an approximation. The paradox lingers in the back of my mind, naturally. If it comes to the front of my mind, then I will be continuously changing sides. I can’t have a list full of original albums mixed with arrange albums because they are not the same things. I find this very aesthetically pleasing and it solves most of the issues I used to have in devising my favorite album lists.
    There is another issue left unresolved, which I shall handle in this paragraph. I have sometimes seen top movie lists in which any films made within the past 10 years are ineligible. I like that restriction and I have decided to invoke a similar restriction upon my selections. Thus, I will only consider arrange albums made before 2001 and after 1985. I can’t think of any remarkable arrange albums made before 1986, so that is how I selected that year. I arbitrarily selected 2000 as the final year. I also want to point out that I am forbidden from looking at what I have or at VGMdb for any assistance. If I can’t think of it off the top of my head, then either there is something wrong with my head or I wasn’t impressed with it.
    My list is Konami-biased, due to the heavy exposure of Konami games throughout the years.

I.    Perfect Selection Dracula Battle
II.    Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II
III.    Perfect Selection Shooting Battle
IV.    Perfect Selection Shooting Battle II
V.    Perfect Selection Snatcher Battle
It was essential that I included the Konami Battle albums, only with the exclusion of “Battle the Best”. These have survived more than a decade of repeated exposure and I do not tire of them.

VI. MIDI Power Pro5 ~Salamander~ [KICA-7837]
This CD is good enough to replace my entire game music collection. Lifeforce was “the game” when I was a child. These songs are deeply established in my memories.

VII. MIDI Power Pro2 ~Twinbee Yahoo! & Salamander 2~ [KICA-7708]
The arrangements are perfect, ferociously addictive.

VIII. Snatcher Zoom Tracks [KICA-7906]
When I bought my headphone system in 2008, this was the first CD I listened to.

IX. Kukeiha Club pro-fusion ~SALAMANDER~ [KICA-7702]
I remember being intrigued when I first heard this CD, due to the unfamiliarity of the style. It is a huge improvement over Twinbee Yahoo! Pro Fusion, as well.

X. Konami All Stars ~The 1000-Ryo Chest Heisei 4th Year Edition~ [KICA-1053~5]
I love listening to concerts and Konami concerts don’t come very often. Furthermore, there is a disc with arrangements from rarely arranged games.

XI. Game Music Graffiti [COCA-6969~70]
This is “The Nintendo” album. There are a few notable exclusions, but the fact that this was made is something all game music fans should be thankful for.

XII. This is NAMCO! [APCG-4006]
I first heard this album in 2011. It is extraordinarily quiet, about the same as Sound Fantasy Romancia in volume level. The arrangements are among the most professional in all of game music. I thought the Pac-Man song was completely made up, because I didn’t think Pac-Man had music (I have vague memories of playing it in the arcades). Sure enough, Pac-Man has a few jingles. The Galaga ’88 and Rolling Thunder arrangements are my favorites, while the Xevious “solo” is sweetly subtle.

XIII. Symphony Ys
XIV. Symphony Sorcerian
These two are perfectly acceptable for tricking people. You could play these in a public setting and no one would ever guess the music was video game related. I know this because I tried it once.

XV. Music From Jesus ~ The Fearful Bio Monster [276A-7701]
I like the arrangements on this more than his (Sugiyama’s) Dragon Quest music. It’s my favorite Sugiyama album.

XVI. Sword Maniac [TOCT-8253]
This is ridiculous. It is like a damned infection in my ears. It’s like nothing else in this top 30 list and is something of an anachronism. It doesn’t sound like it’s from the 1990s. I would expect to hear something like this RIGHT NOW.

XVII.    Madara Special [KICA-7504]
XVIII. Lagrange Point [KICA-1028]
Along with Snatcher, the music from these games is proof of Konami’s talent beyond what I played. Although Lagrange Point is not a full arrange album, the few arranged tracks are among Konami’s best.

XIX. Twinbee Paradise Sound Fantasia [KICA-7677]
It’s unfortunate that many more of these “Sound Fantasia” albums weren’t made. Madara 2 got one, but that was it (and it wasn’t as good as this one). Gradius got a "Fantasia" album, but not "Sound Fantasia".

XX. J.D.K. Band [KICA-1019]
I was obsessed with this CD when I first heard it. For several years. I think I still am.

XXI. Double Dragon II [MECG-28001]
This is one of my so-called “holy grails”. There really isn’t that much music in this game, but the arrangements are cool indeed. I am particularly interested in this album because Double Dragon II was a hugely popular game in my neighborhood when it came out.

XXII.    Insector X [COCA-6648]
The fact that this was made and made so well still leaves me in a state of wonder. This game was like, nothing. Not big by any means. Yet it gets a first-class arrange album.

XXIII. Sweet Home [PCCB-00016]
I got this at the same time as Insector X. Interestingly, they both fit together on one CD. Although unrelated, I think of these together, because I got them at the same time and they squeeze on one disc. Sweet Home is very short and not happy, cheery music as the name implies. I’ll take this any day over the unmelodic music from Resident Evil.

XXIV. The Legend of Heroes IV Electric Orchestra [KICA-1188]
This is my favorite of the “electric orchestra” albums by Falcom. They made several, although they were not always named precisely.

XXV.    Zuntata Live 1998 [ZTTL-0031]
I remember being blown away the first time I heard this. Some of these arrangements make the “originals” sound quite pitiful.

XXVI. S.S.T. Band Live! [PCCB-00042]
As far as I know, this is the first live performance of the S.S.T. Band. All of the music was completely unfamiliar to me the first time I heard it, due to the fact I didn’t touch Sega games as a child. This is a great introduction to Sega for the uninitiated.

XXVII. The King of Fighters ’95 Arrange Sound Trax
I still prefer this one to the other KoF albums.

XXVIII. Chikudenya Toubei: Hiroku Kubikiri Yakata [CA-4549]
I found this completely by accident while browsing YJA one day in early 2011. I was looking for something else, but I recognized the cover art as one of those obscure albums on my wish list at VGMdb. I didn’t know anything about it other than the fact no one else had it. I’m sure there are a few more of these outside of Japan, but the owners are being very quiet. The high “unknown factor” led me to bid on the 7000 yen starting price (no one bid against me), which came to $120 after shipping and fees. I paid $120 for this CD. Sometimes that’s what it takes. I feel very fortunate that I found this because it is a true “ultra-rare” album. The music is wildly varied and the last song sounds like it came straight from Final Fantasy VIII with a sprinkling of Final Fantasy V. I recognized the guitarist right away, as he similarly arranged Galactic Storm on G.S.M. Taito 7.

XXIX. Tokyo Dungeon [SRCL-3447]
This CD disappointed me the first time I heard it. It is incredibly quiet and didn’t seem as interesting as Panzer Dragoon. However, it is better. This is mesmerizing music and takes one away like a dose of morphine. (I had lung surgery, so I know all about morphine.) It is an auditory trip inducing album. You will see things when you listen to this: an amorphous darkness pulsating geometries unknown in the manifolds of the mind.

XXX.    Brandish Piano Collection [KICA-1153]
I didn’t add this because I just wanted to have a piano collection in my list. This is an important CD. The Brandish series has some of the best compositions in all of game music, yet it seems to get very little attention. Sorrow is the main theme in this music and it is arranged with aplomb.

Here are some that I unfortunately could not include (there are many more I considered):

Rockman X (with Toshiaki Otsubo)
Street Fighter II (with Yuji Toriyama)
Phantasy Star Collection
Ys Perfect Collection I, II, IV (vol. 1-3)
All Over Xanadu
Sound Fantasy Romancia
Metroid / Kid Icarus
Super Mario World
The Legend of Zelda Sound & Drama
Shining the Holy Ark
Gradius Perfect Selection vol. 1-2
Dracula New Classic
Twinbee Perfect Selection
Sound Racing History Perfect Selection
Xexex Perfect Selection
Konami GM Hits Factory II
Samurai Spirits II, III, IV, V, VI Arrange Sound Trax

FuryofFrog May 22, 2012 (edited May 22, 2012)

1. Super CastleVania 4
2. Chrono Trigger
3. The King of Fighters '96 AST
4. Dragon Quest 4
5. F-Zero GX/AX
6. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
7. Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
8. Jet Set Radio Future
9. The Lost Vikings (SNES Game Rip)
10. Trine Original Soundtrack (Digital)
11. Real Bout Garou Densetsu Special AST
12. Nier Gestalt & Replicant Original Soundtrack
13. Super Street Fighter 4 (PS3/360 Game Rip)
14. Donkey Kong Country 2
15. Art of Fighting 2 AST
16. Gradius ReBirth
17. Advance Wars Days of Ruin (DS Game Rip)
18. Demon's Crest (SNES Game Rip)
19. Monster Hunter 5th Anniversary Orchestra Concert ~Hunting Music Festival~
20. Rayman Origins (Digital)
21. Guilty Gear XX: The Midnight Carnival
22. Rockman Zero 4 Physis
23. Contra the Shattered Soldier
24. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
25. The King of Fighters '00 AST
26. Panzer Dragoon Orta Original Soundtrack
27. Bionic Commando Rearmed (Digital)
28. Soul Calibur V
29. CastleVania Bloodlines
30. Tekken 6

I'll add some notes later. God this was difficult to do!

Jodo Kast May 22, 2012

8. The Cyber Punk Adventure Snatcher -Zoom Tracks- [KICA-7906]
9. KUKEIHA CLUB pro-fusion ~SALAMANDER~ [KICA-7702]
10. Konami All Stars ~The 1000-Ryo Chest Heisei 4th Year Edition~ [KICA-1053~5]
11. Game Music Graffiti [COCA-6969~70]
12. This is NAMCO! [APCG-4006]
13. Symphony Ys [K32X-7710]
14. Symphony Sorcerian [276A-7707]
15. Music From Jesus ~ The Fearful Bio Monster [276A-7701]
16. Sword Maniac [TOCT-8253]
17. Mouryou Senki Madara Special [KICA-7504]
18. Lagrange Point [KICA-1028]
19. Twinbee Paradise Sound Fantasia [KICA-7677]
20. Falcom J.D.K. BAND 1 [KICA-1019]
21. DOUBLE DRAGON II The Revenge [MECG-28001]
22. Insector X [COCA-6648]
23. Sweet Home [PCCB-00016]
24. The Legend of Heroes IV Electric Orchestra [KICA-1188]
25. ZUNTATA LIVE 1998 "güten Talk" from the earth ~AUDIO FILE~ [ZTTL-0031]
26. S.S.T. Band Live! -G.S.M. SEGA- [PCCB-00042]
27. The King of Fighters '95 Arrange Sound Trax [PCCB-00189]
28. Chikudenya Toubei: Hiroku Kubikiri Yakata [CA-4549]
29. Tokyo Dungeon [SRCL-3447]
30. Brandish Piano Collection [KICA-1153]

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