23 amazing game soundtracks you don't remember

Doom 64 (Nintendo 64)

Although not considered a canon entry, Midway's cranked up reworking of Doom is one of the best games to sport the title, not least because of its approach to sound. Dropping the musical approach and taking a line more similar to the ambient industrial of Trent Reznor's Quake score, the game has unearthly coldness which nearly broke the mind of one Radar editor when he first played it many years ago, alone and jetlagged after a transatlantic flight. Dave H still trembles at the word "Pinky" to this day.

Earthworm Jim (SNES/Mega Drive/Mega-CD/PC)

Everyone loves Earthworm Jim for its slick platforming and Python-esque lunacy, but Tommy Tallarico's confidently eclectic set of music is just as important an element of the game's greatness. Whether upbeat, atmospheric, mellow or just plain stupid, there's a slick and original depth that made EWJ sound unlike any other platformer from the 16-bit era. The music was reworked in higher fidelity for the Mega-CD version, but we can't help preferring the original arrangements overall.

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future (Dreamcast/PS2)

Tim Follin is a legend of games music. For two decades, pretty much everything he touched turned to sonic gold, and there are few finer examples of his talent than his ambient score to last generation's Ecco game. Words are pointless in summing it up. It's just sublime. Listen to it. Now.

F-Zero GX (Gamecube)

We've been over this before, but we'll say it again. Nintendo and Sega's co-produced Wipeout beater has a staggering soundtrack. Gamey without being cheesey and downright listenable in its own right, it's an essential playlist from an under-rated game on an under-rated machine.

Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)

Noob-friendly black sheep of the FF family Mystic Quest might be almost universally derided by hardcore fans, but one thing it does have going for it is its music. Composed by Ryuji Sasai and Yasuhiro Kawakami rather than series regular Nobuo Uematsu, it's a noticeably more bright and brash affair, and the strident, balls-out rock of the battle themes is frankly just badass.

Freedom Fighters (PS2/Gamecube/Xbox)

Jesper Kyd’s ‘Battle for Freedom’ piece is the perfect accompaniment to all the Ruskie face shooting in IO’s excellent squad shoot ‘em up. Mixing powerful electronic beats with a soothing but bass-filled choir, it blends industrial and natural tones to brilliant effect. Stirring and evocative, it shows Kyd can score more than Hitman’s slaphead-sponsored cheese-wirings.


  • 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 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.

  • 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:
  • 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?
  • 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

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000