Ever since the technology first made including music in video games a possibility, music has been an integral part of games. Whether you’re talking about the iconic chip tunes of the ’80s and ’90s or the grand orchestral soundtracks of today, there has been tons of amazing music across the history of video games. With the sheer amount of fantastic music that exists in games, it would be impossible for anyone to create a definitive list of the best video game soundtracks of all time; so I decided to simply count down my ten favorite video games soundtracks with auditory evidence to support each of my picks. This list will be limited to one entry per series, but remember these aren’t meant to represent the best games or my favorite installments in a given series, just the games with the best soundtrack. So, here are my ten favorite video game soundtracks of all time.
10. God of War (2005)
The soundtrack to God of War just perfectly captures the grand and epic feeling of the game. The game is all about intense action on a huge scale, and the music helps set this tone. The soundtrack for God of War is very much like that of a film score, but it works well with the games story and style. The entire trilogy has excellent music, but I chose the original simply because all three games have very similar soundtracks, so I went with the first one.
9. Sonic and Knuckles (1994)
I usually consider Sonic and 3 Knuckles one game because of the lock on feature and the single story, but in terms of music, they each have their own unique feel; and I vastly prefer Sonic and Knuckles. Don’t get me wrong, Sonic 3 certainly has some great music, especially the tracks that Michael Jackson worked on, but Sonic and Knuckles captures more of the that Sonic vibe. Sonic and Knuckles has got some of my absolute favorite level tracks from the series, with standouts being Lava Reef and Flying Battery.
8. Super Mario Galaxy (2007)
The Mario series is full of iconic music, but Super Mario Galaxy moves beyond simple nostalgia with an amazing fully orchestrated soundtrack. The soundtrack consists of both entirely original sweeping orchestrated tracks as well some remixes of classic Mario music. The NES games may have more iconic music, but Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel have great music regardless of your personal attachment to the series, which puts it a step up from most Mario titles.
7. Chrono Trigger (1995)
If you’ve read my “Top 10 Super Nintendo Games” list, you already know that Chrono Trigger is my favorite game for that system, but is also has some of the best music you’ll hear on the SNES. Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu once again showed that he was one of the best when it came to creating a memorable score despite the limitations of pre-CD consoles.
6. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (2006)
Both Persona 3 and Persona 4 are fantastic games and they are very similar to each other in many ways, which has sparked a recurring debate among fans as to which game is best. Each game has aspects that it does better than the other, and in my opinion the soundtrack for Persona 3 is just a hair better than Persona 4. I still can’t decide which game is better, but I feel confident saying that the Persona 3 soundtrack is slightly better.