In-game soundtracks

After reinstalling Rome Total War again, I started playing through the campaign and realized that I was humming along with some of the music that was playing, which felt really atmospheric. One of my favorites (that I actually have as a separate music file despite how short it is) is the Divinitus recording by Jeff van Dyck (don’t know if it was he who composed the entire soundtrack, but this one is exceptionally good).

Rome has a really memorable soundtrack. Others may have forgettable ones, but they can be really appropriate in the situation and really give ambience. Like in Half-life 2, there was a moment in the game when you were driving the speedboat (or whatever it’s called) and you start getting pursued by a Combine helicopter. Close to the start of the chase you have to use this makeshift bridge to jump over an obstacle IIRC, and this soundtrack kicks in that just made that moment infinitely more awesome.

I also used the Warcraft III editor to rip some of the music in the game, specifically the night elf themes which were quite lovely and were composed by a Tracy Bush. Given their history, their wonderful World of Warcraft soundtrack was taken for granted.

Any sountracks that you find very memorable or really enhance the game?

Star Control 2. Call me the ubergeek but I have most of those songs on my Ipod.

A friend of mine is a musician in NYC and he’s doing a tribute to SC2 music, writing pieces inspired by the various races.

  • Gothic 2
  • KotOR
  • VtM: Bloodlines
  • Baldurs Gate 1 & 2
  • Arcanum


Anything squaresoft (excluding post-FFVII Nobuo Uematsu work, he really lost it somewhere).

MGS2/3 soundtracks as done by Harry Gregson Williams.

Splinter Cell Chaos Theory as done by Amon Tobin.

Michael Giacchino is well known for his soundtracks: first came the Lost World game, after that was the bulk of the Medal of Honor series (yes Underground is still the best one of 'em all), followed by Secret Weapons Over Normandy, Call of Duty, Mercenaries, etc. Not to mention it allowed him to stretch his feet in the TV industry (Alias and Lost) and then on to movies (The Incredibles and now Mission Impossible 3).

Always liked Jeremy Soule’s Total Annihilation soundtrack.

Ultima III
Ultima IV
International Karate Championship
Unreal Tournament
World of Warcraft

Rome’s soundtrack was a little disappointing and rushed (the demo still used the music from Medieval: Total War) compared the the composer’s earlier efforts for Medieval and Shogun. Medieval, especially, had awe-inspiring music, though it was not as melodic.

The first level of Nemesis/Gradius. That needs to be disco. And the music from Cybernoid II on the Amstrad CPC.

I had never actually played Shogun or Medieval (/duck). Interesting to know it’s the same composer. Any way to directly buy/download them from CA (the music not the games)?


Ultima 7. I bought the music CD for it when it first came out, glad I did. World of Warcraft and Guild Wars has good music also. There’s a concert series that was touring last year that was playing game music.


also, Thief: Deadly Shadows

You talking about Play: A Videogame Symphony?

I have tickets to their september performance in Toronto.

Word indeed.


Total Annihilation
Interstate '76
Emperor of the Fading Suns
Fantasy General
Rocket Jockey
Civ IV
Galciv II (a new one, I’m loving the music)
Mechwarrior II

Probably a lot more I can’t think of. I love game soundtracks.

SSX - the original, not all the top 40 stuff that followed
Lumines - never felt much for the game though I dug the tunes
Katamari Damacy
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
PaRappa the Rappa - because Instructor Mooselini’s tune is my ringtone
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure - I don’t care about the scorn this got; I liked the idea of a game in the form of a musical. Pity about the easy as pie game but I don’t regret buying it for a second.

A good net-buddy of mine, Dan Nicholson a.k.a. Maelcum, did the bulk of the work for SC2.

I have to agree with Katamari Damacy (all of it), Total Annihilation (Tracks 6 and 8 especially!) and SC2.

Two greats not yet mentioned, both of which I listen to regularly:

Dune I had the LAPC-1 for Dune and it had a ton of custom patches – bloody marvelous work by Stephane Picq. I finally was able to digitally rip the tracks as played by the LAPC-1 for my own personal enjoyment, and then found a web page where you can get the “remixed” CD, Exxos: A Spice Opera, as MP3s.

Quake II Just thinking about the song “Quad Machine” makes me want to listen to it. Bloody marvelous industrial garbage.

The Metroid games, to me, have always had some of the most atmospheric and memorable music in any of the games I’ve played. I’ve played tons of games with really great soundtracks, but none stand out in my mind like these, particularly Super Metroid.

I know it’s not original stuff, but Amped 3 has done a really great job of gathering tons of indie rock for your listening pleasure as you stoke the rubes. I keep waiting for one song I particularly liked to reappear, but it’s been hours . . .

Icewind Dale - Also done by Jeremy Soule

The music from the first level in Tyrian.
I can hum it and to many people I know can hum it whenever asked. Simply fantastic. The rest of the music there is excellent as well.

But Star Control 2 simply takes the prize here. The new remixes form UQM are nice and I can see some of them going on an Ipod.

Music rarely excite nowdays, when I come to think of it, mostly because unlike older games the musics today are made to come and go with the atmosphere, making them much more of a background track and less as a standalone song.

Too bad, last game that got me excited was Katamry Damacy, which did it the old way.


A few that come to mind:
Deus Ex
Monkey Island 2
Seiken Densetsu / Final Fantasy Adventure / Mystic Quest
The Lost Vikings
Duck Tales
Katamari Damacy
Chrono Trigger

And a few lifetime-achievement awards for the Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania, Gradius, Final Fantasy games. Hm… and I’ll throw in Koji Kondo and Hip Tanaka while I’m at it.