Game: Dark Wizard
Song: Armer IX's theme
Composer: Jun Senoue
Above: Armer IX's theme from Dark Wizard
Even though you've likely never heard of Dark Wizard, there's a damn good chance you know its composer. Jun Senoue brought us Sonic 3, Sonic Adventure and is currently working on Sonic 4, but beforehe devoted himself to Sonic he whipped up a remarkably strong classical score for this long-forgotten Sega CD title.
Dark Wizard was a hex-based strategy game with four playable characters. Each had his or her own theme music that would play endlessly as you moved your units around, so by the time you finished the campaign you had that song burned into your brain. While I mostly played Krystal (the girl above), Armer IX's theme stuck out the most.It was also unique at the time to have orchestral sounds in a game instead of the usual bleeps - and while I love my bleeps, a change is always welcome. Especially here, as it made the Lord of the Rings-esque battles feel all the more important.
Above: The villains all had their own themes as well. Give 'em a listen!
Above: The cutscenes, however, are usual early-'90s fare. Watch for a good laugh and be thankful for how far we've come
Dark Wizard is still a well-made SRPG and has tons of side stuff to do in between the hours-long battles, but the hurdles before you are great. You'd have to find a Sega CD, plus a copy of the game, plus have enough space for save data, plus tons of time to really do the game justice. Oh, I HEAR there are easier ways to play old games like this but heavens me, I just don't know how you'd go about it!
Seriously though, if you love Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, anything like that, Dark Wizard is a valid (though old-school in the potentially negative sense) option.
Perhaps the most epic title screen of all time, from Tim Follin
Bouncy background tunes from Shoji, Tomita and Osumi
Professor Layton's theme by Tomohito Nishiura