Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 5:04 p.m.
In honor of Music Editor Martin Cizmar's look at video game-inspired music this week, we've taken the time to assemble this list of video games you should be listening to. That's right, listening. Play them all you want, but we're betting that your memories of laying waste to the final boss will fade over time while the melodies from these adventures will keep playing in your head forever.
10: Super Smash Bros. Brawl
How many composers does it take to create a fighting game soundtrack? When you're talking about Nintendo's premier fighter, the answer is how many have you got?
Featuring just about every video game music you can think of including Mr. Final Fantasy himself Nobuo Uematsu, the Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack keeps the hits coming with reworked versions of classic gaming tracks. Every stage has multiple soundtracks as well giving players the ability to choose their own battle music. Laying the smack down never sounded so good.
3: Katamari Damacy
Pretty colors and cartoony graphics had us pushing our apocalyptic magnet of death all over the world when we first sat down with Katamari Damacy on PlayStation 2. And when we weren't rolling things up and turning them into stars, we were listening to this game's soundtrack almost non-stop.
Yeah, we know all the songs are about katamari (Japanese for clump) but the sheer variety in styles of music made the fact that warbling Japanese lounge singers on the soundtrack were talking about the same thing over and over again irrelevant.
Every iteration of Katamari Damacy has a great soundtrack, but we prefer to pick up the original. If you haven't heard it yet, get rolling.
1: Castlevania (series)
It was the late '90s when for one of the first times most gamers remember, we put a copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night into an ordinary cd player and heard the game's protagonist Alucard talking to us. "As you can see, this is a Playstation black disc. Cut number one contains computer data, so please don't play it. But you probably won't listen to me, will you?" What came next was a hidden music track stored directly on the game's disc. It was one of the biggest secrets in gaming industry and just icing on the cake that was an amazing soundtrack.
Castlevania has always had an impressive musical backing even on the original days on NES. Pulse-pounding music with harpsichords (or at least halfway decent midi imitations of harpsichords) kept us up all night brandishing our flame whips at Dracula's unstoppable hoard of monsters despite the series sometimes stiff controls and impossible fetch quests.
As the series has continued to be upgraded to take advantage of higher resolution graphics and new forms of game play, so to has the music. Songs like "Vampire Killer" have made the jump from early iterations to fully orchestrated pieces giving a nod to the long time fans while invigorating the newest adventure. Search YouTube for "Castlevania Music" and we guarantee you will find countless pages of epic ballads perfect for hunting vampires.