The traditional console versions of Ghouls 'n' Ghosts has one of the most iconic and fun soundtracks of the era (anyone not merrily humming the opening graveyard tune right now, take a long hard look at yourself), but the music written for the Amiga port is on a whole other level. Composed by Tim Follin (there's that man again), it's a vastly more experimental and complex work that makes use of dark atmospherics, traditional folky sounds and all-out noise to create something far more interesting and totally unexpected. Check it all out here.
Gremlins 2 (NES)
There was just something about the synth sound and echo effect that came from the NES sound chip that meant that it did fun and creepy music fantastically well. Few licenses inspired fun and creepy like Gremlins, and so the resulting game sounded brilliant.
Jet Grind Radio/Jet Grind Radio Future (Dreamcast/PS2/Xbox)
Yeah, we know that the JGR games and their soundtracks are cultishly revered by all who've played them, but that's the problem. They're cultishly revered, rather than universally lauded, as any titles which produced original game music at least as good as their licensed 'proper' tunes should be. Here's the dangerously fun "Everybody Jump Around", by industry supremo Richard Jaques.
Follin time again, folks. This time it's a co-production from Tim and his brother Geoff. Software Creations' Plok was one of the finest western-developed platformers on the SNES. It was brilliantly fun, quirky blue-sky gaming of the highest order, and its soundtrack is a perfect fit.
Secret of Mana (SNES)
Okay, Mana's music is rightfully exhalted by those in the know as some of the best ever written for a console. And as a result it comprises some of the most remixed pieces produced by the online game music community. But the fact is that when most people think of Square Enix music, they think of Nobuo Uematsu and Final Fantasy, not Hiroki Kikuta and Secret of Mana. So it deserves its place on this list as well as any. Simply stunning stuff.
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