ClassicRadar: 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 the game it comes from. It's a throwaway comic book licence on the NES. It's not the sort of game that anyone involved in would give two sh*ts about today. In fact today it would be Sega's 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.

Bonus Batman!

Not included in the original version of this article, this is the soundtrack to the Mega Drive version of The Adventures of Batman and Robin. A totally different game to the SNES version, it also had a totally different soundtrack, composed by a young, pre-Hitman Jesper Kyd. With no respect for the inferiority of the MD's sound chip, he pumped out a game full of brutal, abrasive Techno dark enough to put the sun in shadow. The game's sound effects took a hit in order to process it all, but frankly you're a fool if you complain about that in the face of all of this.

 NOW! That's what GR calls crap music
The worst video game 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

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  • FanofSaiyan - May 3, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    Wild Arms had an incredible soundtrack. The opening theme was beautiful.
  • Nintygameplayerperson - May 3, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    Panzer Dragoon?
  • InternetHobo - May 3, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    I am so glad that Plok and Gremlins made it on this list. I really love Plok.
  • Spybreak8 - May 2, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    Nice, my fav soundtracks have to be; Forza 3, Gears of War 2, Command & Conquer, C&C Red Alert, Mass Effect 1&2, Bioshock 1&2, Unreal Tournament 3, all the Doom games, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Super Meat Boy, Company of Heroes, GTAIV and the trident of Mario, Zelda and Metroid.
  • The_Tingler - May 2, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    Shadow of the Beast has always contained some of my favourite music. Also see Hero Quest on the Amiga.
  • suicidali - May 2, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    Wow, I feel like grabbing my Die Hard Trilogy game disk and copying all the music off of it... Also, Ridge Racer Type 4's soundtrack is pretty damn underrated
  • QWERTYCommander - May 2, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Snowboard Kids 1 and 2 for the N64. It's a shame that barely anyone knows these games. The soundtracks are amazing.
  • fireworks - May 2, 2011 3:40 p.m.

    shadow of the beast....YES
  • Seabread - May 2, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    Great to see Blast Corps getting some love. I miss that game. But where the fuck are Duck Tales and Batman (NES) ? For shame GR.
  • einhazard - May 2, 2011 2:32 p.m.

    I feel like 'The World Ends With You' should be on here.
  • celticwhisper - May 2, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    I really love that the Doom 64 video is 7:06 in length.
  • philipshaw - May 2, 2011 1:55 p.m.

    I remember most of these but I really care about game music
  • Martfish - May 2, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    Turrican 2 baby!!!
  • Y2Ken - May 2, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Solid article Dave, personally I've always been a big fan of Earthworm Jim's soundtrack. Gotta love Bioshock, Secret of Mana and Shenmue too.
  • reaperman22 - May 2, 2011 6:16 a.m.

    My favourite soundtracks would have to be all the god of war games, but if we are including licensed music then it would be brutal legend and gta vice city
  • Yaro - May 2, 2011 6:12 a.m.

    Yeah the Jesper Kyd ost to the batman is really amazing. I remember being blown away by that with my bro when we were little. The TV was always so fucking loud we had to yell at each other....not that we wouldn't yell at each other normally....
  • Flashinthepan - May 2, 2011 4:56 a.m.

    I'd still take Sasha's Xpander over the F-Zero GX music, but it was a nice try.
  • Fuzunga - May 2, 2011 4:51 a.m.

    F-Zero GX is one of the best games on the Gamecube.
  • juliocruz - May 2, 2011 4:11 a.m.

    Bet nobody's even heard of this one. Still better than at least 5 of these
  • dragonblade1214 - May 2, 2011 3:48 a.m.

    On this list, I've only played Blast Corps and F-Zero GX and they both bring back great memories. Though unfortunately, I only faintly remember Blast Corps. Also, I'm sad to say I only played Atelier Iris 2, not the first. But I loved the soundtrack in 2. :)