Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best of Western VGM Poll Pt. 1

We've got another video game music poll going on, this time specifically for Western music, since they were largely skimmed over in the all-encompassing poll. Based on the number of votes so far, it probably won't reach anywhere near 1000 like the last one, but more votes would definitely be appreciated!

At any rate, here is the first group of cool songs I've picked out from the ones voted on so far, as well as others that deserve some attention:

Unreal Title Theme

I really like the unique sound of the Unreal music engine. It's technically just another tracker format like MOD and S3M, but like the SNES SPC sound chip, it's quite distinctive.

Turrican 2 - The Wall

This poll should be largely dominated by Chris Huelsbeck and Turrican music, because it's some of his best work. I picked this one in particular just because I hadn't heard it before, but the soundtracks to all three games (and even their Genesis and SNES counterparts, Mega Turrican and Super Turrican) are really damn good.

Acid Tetris - Tearing Up Spacetime

I think this game had to change its name to "Acid Brick Breaker" or something to avoid the name infringement. But I remember it being a cool freeware game back in the mid-90s with support for tracker formats. This pre-loaded song is really excellent.

Barkley Shut Up & Jam Gaiden - jonathan taylor thomas

This song got a lot of love in the last poll. Like the game itself, it encapsulates the cliches of RPG battle themes while at the same time being really damned awesome.

Sleepwalker - Zoo

The only thing I know about this game is that it apparently obtained the Eek the Cat! license when it came to the SNES. Issues like that interest me, but in the meantime you'll have to make do with the rad music.

Starcraft - Terran 3

I only ever played the Terrans in Starcraft because their music was awesome.

Jets n Guns - Death from Above

If you like the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack, this is well worth checking out, as it combines Commodore 64 music with heavy metal.

Shadow of the Beast - Welcome

Dig the flutes on this whole soundtrack, really.

One Man and His Droid - Theme

This is another song which I'm embarassed to admit I've never heard before, but is amazing. It's hard to pinpoint the exact point where it becomes awesome because it happens at least four times.


  1. The "Unreal" sound is more due to the tracker artists and the samples they used, and these were frequently shared. The engine itself just wrapped a couple of tracker formats popular at the time (XM and IT in particular).

    Some C64 tunes:

    Tetris by Wally Beben (all 26 minutes of it) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ylojCv9_k)
    Stormlord title tune by Johannes Bjerregaard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mty5pPOCrL0)
    Stormlord in-game tune, also by Johannes Bjerregaard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u2E8OG1aLo)
    Zoids by Rob Hubbard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtKyHqqXB8g)
    Nemesis the Warlock by Rob Hubbard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdzfOXkZrY0)

    Then there's the whole Last Ninja 2 sountrack by Matt Gray, but I think my favourite from that is the Central Park level tune (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoGFV_xxR64)

  2. Good luck, but great music is a lost art in modern gaming thanks to the switch from the prominence of Japanese developers (who appreciated catchy and properly thematic music) to Western developers (who prefer either silent "ambiance" or generic Hollywood movie style soundtracks).

    Just recently, to drive this point home, I played Xenoblade and realized it had the best game music I've heard in years. And then I remembered why.

  3. The only western game music I like are remixed tracks from the eighties and nineties. It's pretty sad.

  4. Wow, you'll probably love Sleepwalker. I remember playing that on DOS with a neighbour in 93 or 94. It's a platformer where you star as a dog whose master is sleepwalking and you're not allowed to wake him up. You have to guide him through obstacles such as traffic lights where cars run him over or falling water which wakes him up. It's a clever little game in a similar vein to The Lost Vikings, though more frustrating and probably not as good in retrospect.