23 amazing game soundtracks you don't remember

Shadow of the Beast (Amiga and PC Engine)

If ever there was a game for beardy prog-rockers, it was Psygnosis' Shadow of the Beast. If being draped in surreal mystical imagery and featuring box art by the guy who did Yes' album covers wasn't enough, the densely atmospheric new-age score by David Whittaker sealed the deal. The original Amiga version is a powerfully evocative and often bleak classic of game music, but in some ways the PC Engine rework is even better. Try both out and see what you think.


PC Engine

Shenmue (Dreamcast)

Just another thing to love about Yu Suzuki’s epic series of obsession and revenge, Shenmue’s score is an orchestral powerhouse. It should be, mind, as Sega almost crippled its wallet making the game. Those Yen were well spent though, and they lured esteemed composer Takenobu Mitsuyoshi – of Virtua Fighter and Sega Rally fame – to write a score on a par with anything Hollywood could produce.

Silver Surfer (NES)

The last Tim Follin entry, we promise. But seriously, just listen to this one and think about it. It's a throwaway comic book licence on the NES. It's not the sort of game that anyone involved would give two sh*ts about today. In fact today it would be Iron Man. Yet it sounds like this. That's how good this guy was.

Sonic Xtreme (Saturn, cancelled)

If you want the full story on why we mourn Sonic Xtreme's still-birth to this day, click here. But aside from how different the game could have made the future of the franchise, one of the things we're most sad about is the fact that we never got to hear more of its soundtrack. Chris Senn's work is a radical departure from traditional Sonic tunes, actually being quite reminiscent of the more mellow parts of Die Hard Trilogy, but it had a lush sound, a thick atmosphere, and would have made SX even more of a joy to play through than it already looked to be.

Wizards and Warriors III (NES)

How a soundtrack as varied as David Wise's for Rare's Wizards and Warriors III holds together, we don't know. But it does. Brilliantly. Taking in medieval sounds, classical conventions, thumping techno and things we can't even define, it's historical but modern; atmospheric but resolutely upbeat and fresh. It's one of the most fun soundtracks on the NES, and if you need any further proof of that after watching the video below, check out the joyously bonkers Gold Knights' Guild theme too. Consider it a little bonus because we really like you.

NOW! That's what GR calls crap music
The worst videogame music you've ever heard

NES: King of the dance floor
Meet the musicians using old-school gaming kit to make very cool new sounds

Soundclash! The Best Custom Soundtrack Mash-ups Ever
Cinematic, atmospheric, or completely subversive. These tracks will make your games new again


  • 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.

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