Top Five Video Game Songs

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything‚Ķ from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

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This week, Video Games! Because we know you don’t want us to stop talking about them! This week, a fan asked us to rank our favorite video game songs, which is kind of hard when you think about it. Nonetheless, we succeed in delivering our lists to you, our dear, dear, dear, dear, dear listeners.

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30 Comments

  1. ray
    February 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm — Reply

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbccrQwH4bg

    Some Things Never Change by Devo for the 1988 game Neuromancer.

  2. SmilinBandit
    February 28, 2012 at 7:47 am — Reply
  3. JambaTheHutt
    February 28, 2012 at 8:59 am — Reply

    Alright….here is my blind list. I wish I hadn’t snyched my pod so damn early yesterday….

    5. Super Mario Bros. – It’s classic and catchy and it always ends up in my head.

    4. The Ledgend of Zelda- Another classic melody. Plus System of a Down did a killer version of it with lyrics and everything. Just epic.

    3. The victory music from any Final Fantasy- It just feels good to hear that riff when you destroy a huge baddie or a meaningless imp. Also the animation of the celebration in the early incarnations is just cute.

    2. Mega Man series- They all had pretty kick ass tunes. Got your blood pumping for killing off evil robots and stealing their powers. Although, if I’m not mistaken, I think the muisc in Mega Man 2 was regurgitated like 3 times on other games. I guess stealling is the sincerest form of flatery.

    1. The pause screen on BATTLETOADS- The music in that games was sweet and definatley helped make that one of my favorite all time NES titles, but when dinner was called and you hit start to pause the game, it was impossible not to walk to the table doing your best Randal Bezerker strut and shimmy.

    The best of the rest….or 6-10 (no order):
    Kid Icarus (strange game good tunes, in fact one of the few things I really recall from the game was the music). Grand Theft Auto:Vice City (felt like a cheat, but c’mon it’s freakin’ awesome). Sonic the Hedgehog (not nearly as epic as Mario, but it has it’s moments). Castlevania (the original had a nice blend of spooky and exciting music). Portal-Still Alive( Hearing the evil Glados sing to me after I beat that game was the icing on the aforementioned cake. No lie).

  4. February 28, 2012 at 9:46 am — Reply

    The theme that Matthew can’t remember is from the video game Vanguard:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXQ0vB0Lp-U

    It was a pretty fun shooter, I had this for the 2600.
    To me video game music pretty much means the 8-bit stuff from the 80s/90s

    5. All the Metroid music from the original NES game. The music was perfect for setting the mood in every level. http://youtu.be/T-2sE0Napg0

    4. NES Double Dragon – Totally sounds like the music from a crappy Van Damme movie. http://youtu.be/ie5w31DtIw8

    3. Castlevania II on NES. Always got me pumped up, and I always thought it sounded pretty metal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKWJkiWGS8M

    2. Legend of Zelda – the theme is so iconic, and it always reminds me of sitting in a basement playing that original game.

    1. The Cutman level from the original Mega Man. I had this song as my ringtone for several years.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWvnbd9wcPg

    • February 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm — Reply

      THANK YOU!

    • Jimmy
      February 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm — Reply

      Agree 100% on everything from original Metroid. I was trying to narrow it down to just one and couldn’t, and I didn’t want my personal list to be all Metroid songs…

      Also my first Mega Man was 4, so I have a partiality to songs from that game myself.

  5. February 28, 2012 at 10:26 am — Reply

    Here is my blind list:
    5. Super Mario Bros.
    4. World of Warcraft Theme
    3. Halo theme
    2. Shard from Mirrors Edge
    1. Mass Effect Theme

  6. Grey
    February 28, 2012 at 3:06 pm — Reply

    5 Donkey Kong Country
    4 Secret of Mana
    3 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    2 Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
    1 Chrono Cross: Scars of Time

  7. Gammafighter
    February 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm — Reply

    5. “Air Man Stage” – Megaman 2
    4. “Snake Man Stage” – Megaman 3
    3. “Needle Man Stage” – Megaman 3
    2. “Spark Man Stage” – Megaman 3
    1. “Magnet Man Stage” – Megaman 3

    I uh… I played a lot of megaman growing up.

  8. Galactoss
    February 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm — Reply

    You guys are pushing all my buttons today. I had as much fun picking these as I did reading other people’s answers and listening to the podcast.

    5. GNR Radio – Fallout 3 on PC, Xbox360, PS3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSa1lJh6zRc (excerpts)
    I’ve only put it fifth because it’s a complete cheat, but the radio in Fallout 3 makes a decent game amazing. Three Dog’s banter and the wonderfully ironic old music choices are what make wandering the Wasteland an utterly immersive experience. There’s a mod to increase the number of songs to 100, in case you get bored, but I could honestly listen to Civilization on repeat forever.

    4. In-game music – Treasure Island Dizzy on Spectrum
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu3z8oywpzQ
    A lot of Speccy music was single-channel BEEPy classical pieces, hardware-limited recreations of arcade tunes or only on the title screen. Treasure Island Dizzy’s is catchy without being repetitive and perfectly matches the rolling kineticism of the character. It always made replaying screenfuls of fetch-and-carry if you dropped the snorkel underwater bearable.

    3. Bubble Bobble theme – Bubble Bobble on every platform ever
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inAAItNuFaE
    Torn between picking this and New Zealand Story, but the Bubble Bobble tune is the epitome of bouncy, hummable, remixable arcade goodness and everyone who has ever heard it knows it.

    2. Aeris’s Theme – Final Fantasy VII on PS1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaTGdFum8Q4 (gameplay)
    I can’t pick 99% of FF music ever, so I’m passing up Triple Triad and One Winged Angel for this. I can never hear it without recalling that scene when the Sephiroth hits the fan and you’re thrown into a meaningless battle against JENOVA, underscored by the fact that instead of the Battle Music kicking in Aeris’s Theme continues throughout.

    1. Chop Chop Master Onion’s song – Parappa The Rapper on PS1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDYN9LuT1lQ
    Singable, quotable, memorable and it’s never lost it’s original charm. To this day the words “Kick Punnnch, it’s all in the mind!” serve as a motivational quote amongst my friends on a par with “Eye of the Tiger”. An honorable mention to his performance on the queuing level too. Hatatatatah!

  9. February 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm — Reply

    1 Overworld original Legend of Zelda, because I am old and I played so much that it is lodged into my brain. Whenever I take a walk there is a 50/50 chance that this will start up.

    2 Final Fantasy 3/6 battle theme. Great upbeat that makes doing boring work more fun.

    3 Whenever they add a calypso beat to any Mario Brother’s game theme. Especially in Super Mario World.

    Dang, I only have three so far, this is hard . . .

  10. Xian
    February 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm — Reply

    Too many to pick, but off the top of my head:

    Soul Edge Opening Intro – “To Shine”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TargcAbQTqg
    Wonderful energy and range of styles that gives you the feeling of the varied period warriors while still being contemporary upbeat J-pop.

    Wild Arms Opening – “Into The Wilderness”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVOFibwVMw0
    Why is it that foreign composers seem to capture the spirit of Western themes so well? The lonely whistler is joined by a folksy guitar that swells into a full orchestra. Again, a great mix of classical, contemporary, and themed music.

    King of Fighters ’95 Soundtrack – “Arashi no Saxophone”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grF7-3NL8jY
    From the cartoon list, you might remember Gunsmith Cats and Cowboy Bebop topping my list… the entire KOF ’95 soundtrack is filled with jazz, funk, and soul… saxophones and electric organs, mmmm.

    Metal Gear Solid Theme – “MGS Main Theme”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_Neb-S2-PI
    An epic action score that captures an entire Michael Bay movie into a few stanzas, the theme really brought the solemnity and soul to what could have easily been (and really is) a wacky and laughable series. From the opening theme you feel like you’re getting a premium cinematic experience rather than the rambling fan wankings of crazy game director. ;)

    Ducktales- heck all the Disney NES games- needs a shout out. Street Fighter, of course. Star Control II. Freddy Pharkas. On and on the lists can go…

    Anything selected for Video Games Live is also a right answer.

    • Xian
      March 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm — Reply

      Interstate ’76 is groovy.

  11. Phil Neilsen
    February 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm — Reply

    1. Fallout 3. It has perfect sound to post Nuclear attack. Songs like “I don’t want to set the world on fire”, and “Butcher Pete.”
    2. The Beatles: Rock Band. Come on its the Beatles.
    3.Fable 1,2,3. The opening is done by Danny Elfman.
    4. Twisted Metal: Black. Paint it Black by Rollin Stones help set tone. I know this end credit.
    5 Halo theme. Such haunting song.

  12. Aspiring Spambot
    February 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm — Reply

    5. Castlevania series: The Sinking Old Sactuary – This haunting, hypnotic waltz is one of the few songs that can actually instill a sense of tranquility in me. The way it feels reminds me of that sense I get when I hear the theme song for Star Trek: Voyager and I suddenly feel very small, lost amidst a vast ocean.

    4. Dungeons and Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun: Town music – Simple MIDI blips and beeps become a full orchestra for this piece, roaring in triumph and despair to foreshadow the journeys your heroes face ahead of them.

    3. Comix Zone: In general – A few years of clever blip-wrangling later, and the Sega Genesis is emulating an angsty college rock group. The entire soundtrack to Comix Zone is unapologetically nineties.

    2. Battle for Wesnoth: opening theme – The community that put Battle for Wesnoth together takes a lot of pride in their work, and it shows. From the moment the loading screen gives way to the main menu, this potent piece sounds the drums and horns of war, drawing you into the mantle of a general huddled with your trusted officers over a war-room map. Also notable for being the only song on my list with no ties to Sega.

    1. Sonic & Knuckles: Final Boss Music – Dun-dun DUNN! Whether you’re careening through scape trying to catch Robotnik’s egg ship or battling the newly emerald-empowered Metal Sonic, this song sets the tone as it goes from ominous to frantic as the battle heats up. A flawless example of how music can set the scene.

  13. masterdomick
    February 29, 2012 at 9:13 am — Reply

    Dave’s top 5.
    Music has to put me into a place mentally for it to be at its most effective
    1: The Theme for Everquest…..This is the only piece that I searched out and purchased. After 120 logged days I realized I had to make a choice between EQ and the wife, so I cancelled my contrat and bought the cd. ANytime I would get the twitches for the game Id pop in the eq music and live in Norrath in my mind.
    2. Mortal Kombat: This probably comes from my youth in the arcade and it would scream mortal kombat at me and I would Immediately be comfused on whether to dive for the stick…or stop drop and roll.
    3: Act Raiser: I was young when this released and I was totally unaware about the flip from God mode to Action mode and it always put me on edge THe Choice of music and style is what gave me this feeling.
    4: LOTRO THeme: I enjoy the balance of the Orchestral opening. The way that the lighter instruments are used to counter the brass gives the feeling of the different races approaching each other…..or maybe im a geek
    5: Civ 5(or 4): THe use of Music gives you an immediate since of place, wither its the tribal drums in the ancient levels, or the classical music in the middle periods. It is very well thought out

  14. Scott
    February 29, 2012 at 9:49 am — Reply

    THANK YOU!! I have been dying to hear this episode! Props to Rodrigo for mentioning the Skyrim main theme, because it truly is epic, but I felt guilty including it in my list because of how new it is. Truly, the scope of this topic boggles the mind.

    5. Final Fantasy X – Yunalesca’s Hymn: This “hymn” is a theme repeated throughout the game, in sanctuaries where you got new summons for a character. Every time, the hymn is sung by a different voice – a baritone, a soprano, a tenor, etc. But when you get to Yunalesca’s sanctuary, this hymn is sung in a minor modal key. It’s chilling and haunting, and even the characters comment on the hymn of that particular place “sound sick”. It’s a hint of things to come.

    4. Donkey Kong Country – Aquatic Ambience: I actually died a little bit inside trying to find just one song to declare as the best, because the whole series (or at least 1 & 2, I never played 3 or the N64 version) was filled with amazing music. This music was calming and ethereal and just plain awesome. I used to turn my TV and SNES on and select a water level just so I could listen to this music while I studied.

    3. Final Fantasy 3/6 – Terra’s Theme: You could easily make an argument for a list with nothing but Final Fantasy songs on it. But for me, this was the start of my love affair with video game RPGs. Watching the opening scene of mechs walking towards a snowy little mountain town while this music played, I was absolutely captivated. Of course, the whole game had great music, but this one song still encapsulates my warm fuzzy feelings for the game.

    2. Chrono Trigger – Crono’s Theme: Same as my last one, really. With the opening cinematic comes this sweepingly epic song, promising hours upon of hours more of great music and fun gameplay. I don’t think anyone who ever owned a Super Nintendo isn’t a little in love with this game!

    1. Mega Man 2 – All of it: Okay, so “all of it” is a bit of a cop-out, but if you played MM2 as a kid, you know what I’m talking about. So many fun, uptempo songs, an each one had a different flavor to it to really help you realize the uniqueness of each stage. The boss fight music and the boss select music are both classic. My favorites are Flash Man, Quick Man, Air Man, Bubble Man, Dr Wily level 1, and of course METAL MAN!!

    Also rans: Earthbound, for the quirky battle music. Most Castlevania games. And not to disparage Rodrigo’s choice of Ninja Gaiden 2’s opening theme, but I think the original game’s opening was cooler.

    A few more things: If you guys out there love Final Fantasy music, you should check out a band called the Black Mages. They put out several albums and pretty much only did rock remixes of FF games. It was fronted by Nobuo Uematsu himself! And if you just love game music in general, check out “ocremix.org”, where there are hundreds of remixed songs from all sorts of video games!

  15. Eothr
    February 29, 2012 at 11:59 am — Reply

    First off, shame on you Matthew and Stephen for not being video game guys :P

    For myself, I really, really, REALLY love these songs

    5. “Together We Ride” from Fire Emblem (GBA). A fun and enjoyable tune that sounds surprisingly like a Spanish bolero, this theme triggers whenever you obtain a new ally for your growing army, meaning new strategies to try and new relationships to unlock. Very enjoyable as a ringtone jingle. ^-^

    4. “Elemental Stars” from Golden Sun (GBA). Hauntingly beautiful, the impact of what magicks you were dealing with is amazingly poignant through the little hand-held’s 32-bit engine. Defines the Golden Sun experienc, even moreso than the intro song.

    3. “The Normandy Reborn” from Mass Effect 2. Absolutely uplifting music, especially during the cut-scene in-game, where Commander Shepard lays eyes upon the remade and upgraded starship that had served him so faithfully in his previous campaign. Thrilling and empowering, I restart ME2 regularly JUST to see this sequence.

    2. “Dovahkiin: The Song of the Dragonborn” from Skyrim. Totally agree with Rodrigo on all points except his ranking. This song is AMAZING!

    1. “Song of Time” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. A timeless (pun intended) song that truly marks the beginning of Link’s rise to Hero. Whether played on it’s namesake Ocarina, or sung by the choir of the Temple of Time, this piece truly captures the Legend of a young boy in a green tunic overcoming evil to bring peace to his home.

    • Eothr
      February 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm — Reply

      Also, just as a suggestion, keep the video game talk going (with Rob)! Next time: Top 5 Worst Video Game Representatives of the Female Populace.

      Other suggestions:

      Top 5 Video Game Heroes
      Top 5 Video Game Villains
      Top 5 Video Game Sidekicks (see a theme :P)

    • February 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm — Reply

      Matthew and I are old… Our lives are filled with minors, delinquents, jobs, mortgages, jobs, wives, jobs, bills, jobs, and the occasional poopy diaper (sometimes our child’s sometimes it is just Matthew’s), not to mention delivering podcasts, reviews, and Spoilery Goodness to you on a regular basis… :D Where’s that free time to play video games? ;)

      Honestly, if I had the free time, I would play more video games, but sadly as life is right now, it’s not quite possible for me to get to everything I need to get through in one day, let alone the things I want to get through in a single day.

      • Jim Bowes
        February 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm — Reply

        Oh, excuses excuses. Kidding, nice work gents.

      • Eothr
        March 2, 2012 at 11:29 pm — Reply

        Believe me guys, I’m grateful for everything you do for us fans. Good luck, :)

  16. Bill the Seeker
    March 1, 2012 at 11:45 pm — Reply

    Nice ‘cast there guys. Good choices. 1 have three choices that could be counted as many more because instead of a specific theme I want to give props (contact!) to most of the music used in 3 games: Fallout 3, Outlaws, and Bloodlines.

    I liked Rodrigo’s choice of the Skyrim theme though I have not played yet. and I echo the votes for the music from Fallout 3. Outlaws also had some very inspired western themes in it. Perfect for the levels in the game and I even used a couple as background music for non western games I have run.

    For my fifth choice is a game called, “Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines” that had some music I enjoyed very much. Like skyrim and Fallout it was a game where the setting was very important. Any club you walked into had a real live song playing as background (and as in a real club they were rather loud compared to much of the background noise) but all the songs they used that way were excellent. I ended up buying MP3’s of them and I still have them on my main playlist.

    As an aside the radio station all radios in the game were tuned to was awesome as well. It was a late night DJ that talked, took phone calls and played commercials but it was still definitely worth a listen for the jokes and parodies they had in there as well as a lot of in game references. All the callers seem to be people you can meet in the course of the game. I think Rodrigo would enjoy the game though I warn him it was shipped broken so to play it through you have to download a fan made patch. To me, Worth it.

  17. slimeknight
    March 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm — Reply

    5. Sanctuary from Kingdom Hearts 2 – Great song by Utada Hikaru that fits well into the game.
    4. Hyrule field theme from Ocarina of Time – works really well as an adventuring tune.
    3. Liberi Fatali from Final fantasy 8 – This was the first final fantasy game I played and was wowed by the choir and the orchestra together and the cinematic after being a nintendo boy before that.
    2. Skyrim main theme – Every time I hear the song I get pumped to go kill some dragons and save Skyrim as the Dovakhin.
    1. Setting Sail, Coming Home from Bastion – This song combines the two songs “Mother I’m Here” and “Build That Wall” from the best downloadable title of last year in a way that makes both songs better.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDflVhOpS4E

    Other great video game music
    Any of the music from final fantasy by Nobuo Uematsu
    The world of goo soundtrack
    “I am the one” from Dragon Age

  18. Steven Larson
    March 4, 2012 at 4:14 am — Reply

    Top 5 Video Game soundtracks- i.e. games where all/most songs are awesome.

    1. Maniac Mansion-NES
    2. Sonic 2-music inspired/co-written by (possibly) by the late king of pop
    3. Guilty Gear XX- PS2/X-box fighting game inspired by 80’s rock n roll
    4. Final Fanatsy IX- all characters have their own theme, which matches their personality
    5. Castlelvania Symphony of the Night.

  19. Ben
    April 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Totally agree on the Megaman themes.
    Previous poster is correct about Matthew thinking of the Vanguard theme, though I was thinking of the SpaceQuest one: http://youtu.be/OsBk6w7bMCI

    Also along with the Portal song I wanted to add the entire soundtrack (but especially the last song) from Plants Vs Zombies! Gotta love “There’s a Zombie on My Lawn”
    http://youtu.be/0N1_0SUGlDQ

    -Ben

  20. Andante
    August 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm — Reply

    Surprised this hasn’t been brought: the London Philharmonic have compiled their own list!

    http://www.lpo.org.uk/heroes/

    Some behind the scenes available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HdEySg0-A0 I’m sure you could google for more.

  21. Kim
    September 14, 2012 at 12:43 am — Reply

    5. Chrono Trigger: Outskirts of Time
    – The story of Chrono Trigger has a group of people running around time trying to save the world from a great evil. This song is the perfect end theme for the heroes of the story and reminds us all that they will never forget their time together, or their destinies apart.
    4. Mass Effect 2: End Run
    – A suicide mission you’re don’t expect to come back from. That’s okay, though. To save the galaxy from the Reapers, you’ll do it. This song possesses power, strength, and courage beyond measure for those who don’t know if they’ll live to see another day.
    3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Song of the Dragonborn (Sons of Skyrim)
    – Ancient words sung in an ancient tongue, It tells of the return of the evil dragon Alduin and the rise of the Dovakiin, the Dragonborn, to the world. It also tells the world that the Dovakiin is the only hope mortals have.
    2. Mega Man 2 – Dr. Wily Stage 1
    – It’s a midi, but that’s part of its power. When you’re Mega Man and you’ve finally gotten into Dr. Wily’s fortress and this comes on, you know you’ve got a huge firefight coming up with this amazing and rockin’ tune.
    1. Final Fantasy IX – You Are Not Alone
    – This song plays at one of the most heart wrenching moments in the entire game. One of the characters has lost hope and meaning because they were designed to be nothing more than a doll, Their friends bring him back from the brink to remind him that he has friends who care about him, and that he is so much more than a doll and this song is absolutely perfect while this is all going on.

  22. July 11, 2013 at 12:35 am — Reply

    Very interesting that nobody has actually put one-winged angel on their list, and only one FF7 entry… I thought the FF7 music would have been all over the place…

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