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23 amazing game soundtracks you don't remember

We're pretty damn passionate about our game music here at Radar, so we find it frustrating that some of our favourite sounds often fall by the wayside when it comes to widespread recognition. Certain games and composers are (deservedly) lauded on a consistent basis, but other, equally good, music never seems to be mentioned. Sometimes the game was too obscure, sometimes the music was too leftfield, and sometimes the tunes were just overshadowed by rival works, or even better-celebrated elements of their very own games.

So we decided to put that right. Over the next few pages you'll find 23 of our favourite overlooked soundtracks, with the reasons they deserve your attention and the reasons they perhaps haven't grabbed it yet. So take some time out, sit back, open your ears up and enjoy.

Atelier Iris (PS2)

Where many JRPG scores grab the attention with a sweeping, brooding, overblown sound, Gust's 2004 role-player has a fresh-faced gem of a soundtrack. Light, airy, and more than a bit folky, there's a sparkly cleanness to its compositions, proving that you don't have to be heavy to be atmospheric.


Bionic Commando Rearmed (XBLA/PSN/PC)

The original NES soundtrack is unremittingly badass, but the tunes that come with the HD remake are some of the best you will ever hear in any game anywhere. Aside from being club-worthy in their composition and modernity, they're the perfect aural accompaniment to the game's ecstatic celebration of 8-bit gaming. Go get it at iTunes and improve your quality of life by 78%.


Bioshock (360/PC/PS3)

There's so much to love in Bioshock that the soundtrack is often overlooked in discussions of the game. And that's just a crime, because 2K Boston's masterpiece has one of the most unique, striking and affecting scores of the last couple of console generations. Mournful, terrifying, exhilarating and occasionally close to heart-breaking, it makes one of the most complete game/music packages we can think of. And that's before you even get to the classic '30's, '40s and '50s licensed tunes, which are an absolute gift.


Blast Corps (Nintendo 64)

The soundstrack to Blast Corps is classic Graeme Norgate. While not as recognised as widely as the great man's work on Timesplitters or Goldeneye, it's got everything that makes his scores great. He squeezes in bouncily energetic club tracks, silly countrified banjo tunes and as many cheeky goth/industrial tinges as he can plausibly get, making this one of the most fun and jubilant soundtracks on the N64. The level replay tune is below, but we'd also recommend Tempest City and Sleek Streets if you want something (a lot) heavier.


Call of Duty (PC/Mac)

COD’s soundtrack is solid and well written throughout. But it not’s until you reach the Russian campaign that the score truly resonates. Charged with a seemingly suicidal mission – to charge German artillery entrenched in Red Square with just an ammo clip – the music reaches a swelling crescendo.

Powerful, uplifting and disquieting, it perfectly sums up the futility of war and the power of patriotism. Granted, Infinity Ward might have nicked the melody from James Lowell’s 'Once to Every Man and Nation'. But a bit of creative pilfering is a small price to pay for such a memorable eardrum massage.


Die Hard Trilogy (PS1/Saturn/PC)

This is nothing like what people expected from the music to a Die Hard game. Ignoring cinematic bombast in favour of soaring synths and moody electronic work, DHT's soundtrack is an utterly unique stand-out selection. Check it all out through the links at the end of the video, particularly the cybergoth-tastic Tunnel and Construction themes.

92 comments

  • Gameover333 - December 6, 2010 11:14 p.m.

    Atelier iris music and the game itself is something i recommend highly to any of my friends who are looking for a fun light hearted Rpg. Awesome on showcasing its really cool soundtrack
  • Slayer11496 - December 3, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    it is really awesome to mix these by watching them all at the same time.
  • wiigamer024 - July 8, 2009 5:14 p.m.

    heh, I like the Jet Grind Radio music, but how come I know that game as Jet Set Radio? What the hell, did they change it, or did Sega screw up again...
  • TyeTheCzar - March 27, 2009 6:40 p.m.

    Uguu~ As obscure and unreleased as it is here in the U.S.(the creator is a Japanese doujin/indie dev, of course), ZUN - one man member of Team Shanghai Alice - is the creator of the long(really, really long)-standing 'Touhou' shmup series(Embodiment Of Scarlet Devil, Highly Responsive To Prayers, Perfect Cherry Blossom, Shoot The Bullet, etc). Not only does he do all the elements of each game(yearly!), he also happens to make the music himself - which is so GODLIKE - that you can find lot's of lyrical remixes of his music on youtube. But I digress; I'm just shocked at how nobody here even thought of including this music. But I still forgive y'all of not being as in to the Indie Gaming Scene as you are(Though Touhou is pretty obscure even indie-wise to me, mostly you can find fans on 4chan) For information: go to wikia.org and search for 'Touhou'. Second: Gamesradar would have recieved uber-indie credit for including World Of Goo's and Big Bang Mini's OSTs and they're out there on the internets for free!
  • stuzimuzipuzi - March 25, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    ant played jet grind radio in ages lol
  • Conman93 - March 24, 2009 6:58 p.m.

    U SHOULD HAVE INCLUDED KINGDOM HEARTS AN SMASH BROS. THEIR SOUNTRACKS ARE BRILL
  • waynski1457 - March 22, 2009 2:56 p.m.

    I can't help myself. I have been coming back to this article again and again to listen to the great music here for about 3 days now. Key standouts for me have to be Bioshock, BC:R, DH:T, FFMQ, and Silver Surfer. Now would you kindly do another of these amazing articles? I request Y's get featured. It may be known for its amazing music, but then again, so are Secret of Mana and JGR to those who've played them.
  • AyJay - March 22, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    no earthbound?
  • Danomeon - March 21, 2009 11:30 p.m.

    I love music in video games. Sometimes I find myself humming starcraft tunes in my head.
  • big rudy - March 21, 2009 11:17 p.m.

    why isn't burnout 3 on this list?
  • VermithraxDagon - March 21, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    Great article as per the usual
  • codeman38 - March 21, 2009 8:46 p.m.

    One of my favorite underrated soundtracks would have to be Super Adventure Island. When I rented the cartridge, I expected the sort of cutesy music found in the NES games from that series. I did *not* expect this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5nVYcfylzc
  • gdubbs359 - March 21, 2009 2:33 p.m.

    mana is a def. silver surfer, couldnt get far enough in to hear the music. freedom fighters though, forget the music, the whole game was great yet forgotten.
  • splynncryth - March 21, 2009 3:30 a.m.

    There are a lot of games with great music, but I don't think this list is supposed to be a rundown for that stuff. Instead, these are games where the soundtrack is either overshadowed, or fits in a sublime way and escapes notice. Since Earthwork Jim gets a mention, what about the special edition CD version? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKwbsQjJ9lA
  • sheas93 - March 21, 2009 2:04 a.m.

    katamari damaci isnt number 1 because....?
  • The_Zanger - March 21, 2009 12:27 a.m.

    I loved the bioshock. I really wish i could play that game, its sounds fantastic. theres supposed to be a movie coming out for it. should have put in some Okami, that game is amazing and the music is so incredibly. I have it stuck in my head all day
  • Morning Ninja - March 20, 2009 10:49 p.m.

    Wheres the BLACK OST? It was one of the best vg music I've heard
  • Gsindahouse - March 20, 2009 8:45 p.m.

    You know, if you ever play Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean or Baten Kaitos Origins, that's some tight music! not to mention Sonic Adventure 2 or Mario Party 7 and take my word for it, Super Princess Peach (DS)
  • Usgo - March 20, 2009 7:11 p.m.

    jet set radiooooooooo
  • GR_DavidHoughton - March 20, 2009 6:01 p.m.

    scbyfn4evr: Yeah, you never forget the one that really turned you on to what game music can do. With me it was the Secret of Mana opening theme on Christmas morning 1994. Joe: Yeah, isn't it just? That big fat kick in at 0:55 makes me want to learn to DJ just so that I can drop it on an unsuspecting crowd. They'd have no choice but to love it.

Showing 1-20 of 92 comments

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