Forgot username or password? Click here.
Latest Babe
I enjoy all sorts of colors and there are some nice colors here.

AT's Hottest Video Game Soundtracks Ever (Part 1)

What makes a good game tick? Well, a lot of things actually - a good premise, decent story, unique art style, a solid gameplay concept and, of course, the music. The soundtrack is an essential layer that's added to every gaming experience. Just look at games like Halo, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Final Fantasy XIII, all of which have iconic soundtracks composed and performed by some of the most talented people in the industry. Of course, these were all massive big-budget projects and that's not how things used to work in the days of old-school gaming. Conversely, there's something mysteriously compelling about the simplistic 4-bit or 8-bit tunes that emerged out of old systems such as the Atari, Commodore 64, NES, GameBoy, Amiga and old PCs. Oddly enough, memorable tunes from gaming classics still sound better than what we can hear in a majority of current console and PC games. Do not misunderstand; there are a lot of games today that have absolutely magnificent soundtracks. Some composers working in the industry today are, thankfully, allowed to think and work out of the box. The indie gaming scene, for instance, is currently thriving with some terrific examples of in-game sound and music.

Now, looking back to my own gaming past, there's simply way too much ground to cover. So, without overdoing it, we'll have five of the best soundtracks for each of the following platforms: NES (and SNES), Commodore 64, Amiga, Sega Genesis (Sega Mega Drive), PC and current-gen consoles. Just to make things clear, this is the first part (the second part of the feature is going to cover Sega, PC and current-gen consoles). Once again, we won't be able to mention every soundtrack that deserves it. If you feel we've missed something out, then, by all means, offer your own examples of kick-ass video game music.

Best of NES (SNES)
Publisher: Konami

We did not go for the obvious choice here, which, as many of you might acknowledge, is Super Mario. But as we all know, music is an art form and as such is subject to individual opinion and interpretation. Castlevania somehow sparks all that special feeling of nostalgia that strikes the heart of every gamer once in a while. Selecting this tune was what most of us agreed on. Humming the melody makes us think of vampires and whips and the good old days of top-notch side-scrolling platformers. These delightful and memorable melodies were composed by two talented young women -- Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima in 1987. Kinuyo continued to write music and a lot of her compositions was included in a variety of popular titles.

Here's a bit more music from Kinuyo Yamashita.

Worthy Contenders:
  1. Super Mario Music
  2. Mega Man 3 Music
  3. Bionic Commando Music
  4. Battletoads Music

Best of C64
Publisher: Apex Computer Productions

I'm almost convinced that a lot of you don't even know this game existed. It was one of the most popular titles for the Commodore 64, an old computer system that appeared on the European market during the era of the ZX Spectrum (at the same time, Atari 8-bit 400 and 800, and the Apple II, were dominant Stateside). At any rate, out of all the game tracks we can remember from those days, Creatures and Creatures II stand out as the best. Two brothers, John Rowlands and Steve Rowlands were responsible for bringing the lively little buggers to virtual life. John worked on the game code, while Steve composed a wide range of charming tunes, which blended perfectly with platform-style action.

Here's a bit more music from Steve Rowlands.

Worthy Contenders:
  1. The Last Ninja Music
  2. Batman The Caped Crusader Music
  3. Ghosts'n Goblins Music
  4. Outrun Music

Best of Amiga
Publisher: Psygnosis / Art & Magic

We'd probably declare this as one of the ultimate champion in the world of video game music. It's certainly one of the best tunes we've ever heard in a video game. It was an absolute melodic marvel in those days. The 2D side-scrolling wonder defined the Amiga as the top platform in terms of audio, sound design and music. The creator of this particular soundtrack, Tim Wright, created an iconic piano instrumental that was later adapted by the keyboardist of Dimmu Borgir in the song 'Sorgens Kammer' without crediting its true author (the band was supposedly unaware of this). Legal ramblings aside, Agony was a tremendous success, as well as the brilliant music that was skillfully woven into the game.

Here's a bit more music from Tim Wright.

Worthy Contenders:
  1. Zool 2 Music
  2. Shadow of the Beast III Music (also by Tim Wright)
  3. Project X Music
  4. Cannon Fodder Music

AT's Hottest Video Game Soundtracks Ever (Part 2)


submit to reddit

11 post(s)
Reader Comments
Nameinuse Feb 01 2012, 07:25 am EST
Don't forget to mention the Unreal Tournament and Red alert 2 soundtracks in later installments.
Reaper Feb 01 2012, 08:33 am EST
Heresy!!! Heresey I say!!! on C64 - Commando & Duotris should've been there.

On Amiga the list is rather good but would've rather seen IK+ instead of Cannon Fodder and Turrican II instead of Shadow of the Beast III. Then again, I liked the original music of SOTB I better.

Edit - Adding the link of Duotris and Commando.

The lists should've been top 10 to include Lotus II and Jaguar XJ 200 on Amiga...
  EricHalfBee: me too but it's a good list
Neil Feb 01 2012, 11:34 am EST
What? - No Gods or Xenon for the Amiga?
EricHalfBee Feb 01 2012, 11:37 am EST
+1 for Gods on the Amiga. The whole SotB series had fantasticly atmospheric music. Personally I liked SotB 1:​feature=related

and 2 more:​feature=related
EricHalfBee Feb 01 2012, 11:39 am EST
To think that one small software house made Gods, Speedball II and the Chaos Engine.
Vader [STAFF] Feb 02 2012, 01:19 am EST
Right on. The Chaos Engine intro music kicks plenty of assage!
Vodoo Feb 02 2012, 10:25 am EST
video-game music became better through technology, something that can't be said about today's bands and singers.
C64, NES, Amiga ? if you're aiming for nostalgia points, high score ! ....but nothing more.

i know the article is going from old games to new but still, the old music is just there to tickle your memory bone.
Darkthor Feb 02 2012, 12:36 pm EST
someone forgot Jesper Kydd's Hitman Music.
  Vader: Yeah, we'll be covering modern-day platforms later on…
oldone Feb 12 2012, 02:01 pm EST
The greatest soundtrack must be the Total Annihilation one oh man its still greatest after all this time.
__nox__ Feb 15 2012, 05:49 pm EST
Atomsk1 May 17 2013, 11:03 am EDT
No Super Metroid, list invalidated


Easily fill in your friends' emails to send them this page.

Where would you like to see more of ActionTrip?

» view results
» view poll archives
Deus Ex: Human RevolutionStarCraft II: Legacy of the VoidFar Cry 4Sunset Overdrive
Merry But Not VeryThe Asshole InquisitorElfroot: The Great Hunt

monitoring_string = "eff2d707bb70db01fa83ebd63e0c5947"