Katamari's always spot on with their music. It coincides so much with the aesthetic. There's no doubt that the main variable in the series IS the music, rather than the actual gameplay.
You know music has its place in video games when the game becomes thoroughly less visceral and engulfing (not to mention enjoyable) when the music is removed.
Hard to pick just one, but here are some that are really memorable:
I was 6 years old when I finally beat this game and it had taken me longer than I can remember to get to Bowser. This was really my first video game and after having beaten everything I could find to completion, I went ahead and entered the last stage with Bowser. It was July 4th and I was the only kid I knew who was indoors, playing a video game. As I beat Bowser and the fireworks started going up in-game, fireworks were also going on right outside my window.
All of a sudden, it was like the world was celebrating the fact that I had just defeated Bowser. I was so excited and I remember humming along with the Ending melody. It was probably the most fun I've ever had with a game as a kid and it wasn't until Orcarina of Time that I was able to get that same feeling again.
Prior to ever knowing about Zelda, I wanted a Nintendo 64 for Christmas (much like the Nintendo 64 kid), but mostly because it had the new Mario game. I was so apeshit for Mario 64 that I totally disregarded all other games at the time. So when we actually went to Wal-Mart to get the game, Zelda 64 was being demoed. The kid who was playing was doing the fishing thing. The game looked amazing and as soon as I got a chance, I hopped on, leaving the fishing area and immediately exploring Lake Hylia and Hyrule field.
I forgot about Mario 64 and knew I had to have the game. Once I started playing I was hooked. It took 1 month to beat the first 3 dungeons. Being a kid, and not having ever played a Zelda before, I expected the game to be over. So I rejoiced when I gathered all 3 Spirit Stones because I had beaten such an incredible game and was about to finish off Ganondwarf, rescue Hyrule and sit back to watch the credits roll.
Little did I know that the game was only just beginning. I pulled the fabled sword from the stone, and watched in awe as the scene unfolded in front of me. Not only had I grown up, but now another quest was beset upon me. I had time traveled. I've always been interested in things like time travel and fate, so this game had just blown me away. I had a little kid joygasm when the music played and I got to just take in everything that happened. One of my reasons why Ocarina of Time will never be beat in terms of epicness.
One last song:
Never having played a Final Fantasy game before and only hearing about it from magazines (I was hardcore into EGM for a couple of months), I knew nothing of Final Fantasy, but I needed a good game to go with my Playstation. Having heard you could easily spend many hours playing this game and how fantastic it was, I tried it out. Now, this was also my first RPG and anyone who's never played an RPG before should NEVER play FFVIII as their first RPG. I had no idea what I was doing, but the intro alone let me know this game would be one of the most rewarding experiences I would have with a video game.
Growing up, there was never a game I couldn't beat and get good at. FFVIII was a different beast. I loved the music. That was the first thing I discerned from the game. The music is absolutely amazing. I couldn't get passed it. I'd never heard anything like it before. Secondly, the graphics were like something I'd only seen in movies and TV. This made Ocarina of Time look like shit as far as graphics go. So I was engaged the entire time I played, loved every minute of it, did every side quest I could find and go towards the end of Disc 3.
Anyone who has beaten the game will tell you that they defeated Seifer at the end of Disc 3 with Odin. I, however, never got Odin, so I fought him for 20 minutes before I won/survived, just casting Aura on myself and abusing Limit Breaks. I can't tell you how I did it either, because my entire strategy at the time consisted of "Summon GF...did I win? Sweet./No? Summon GF...did I win?" So once I got past that epic battle, I went to fight Adel.
Adel is the only reason FFVIII was unbeatable for me. I just couldn't kill her without killing Rinoa. My GFs did way too much damage and I never had to use anything else the whole game. I didn't understand anything about junctioning magic, so I decided I needed to go back and train. Well, unfortunately, you're trapped in the Lunatic Pandora and every enemy you defeat only nets you 1 EXP point. I was stuck, and for the first time, defeated. This is why FFVIII stands out to me more than any other FF title. It was the first game that ever beat me. The second time I went into it was years later, when I was wiser and understood the junctioning system. I wrecked that game in every way possible, dominating from beginning to end, knowing that my only real fight would be against Adel. I trained for hours, convincing myself that I had to be at least level 60 before I fought her.
Not only did I succeed in beating her, but I did it in 7 turns. The rest of the game was just as awesome and I loved remembering why I thought the game was so great in the first place, reliving my youth through a video game.
Normally I always turn the in-game music off when I play a game, that all changed last night however when I started playing Uncharted 2. I couldn't get enough of the score, all the musc just fit so perfectly with what was going on in the game.
I remember one time my mother walked in on my playing FF10 and I left the room to go use the bathroom. As I'm walking I can still hear To Zanarkand song start playing and when I come back into the living I see my mom crying little. She asked me who does the music for this and as soon as I told her she goes on the computer to look for it.
My mother isn't at all a gamer, but when one song from a video game makes her cry even to this day then I know it's good music.
Your Final Fantasy VIII story definitely resonates with me. My first go at that game was an uninspired mess on my part and I ended up flatly quitting upon reaching Ultimecia's castle. A later playthrough found me on more solid footing with the game's quirky magic system, etc.., and I ended up having a much better playing experience. To this day, I still find a lot of that game's content to be uninspired (not least of all the shit-awful party members you have to use and the uninteresting overworld you have to explore), but the soundtrack is a stunning masterpiece. In my experience, this was the first game in the whole series (excluding the NES ones which I haven't played) where the music ended up being the main draw that kept me interested. FFVIII's story never quite grabbed me like the plots in IV, V, VI, or VII. Not long after, I had a similar experience with Chrono Cross, a confusing mess-of-a-game with a convoluted story that, to this day, I can't properly explain. What I could definitely ascertain was that Chrono Trigger's fun and uplifting tale had been sank into oblivion by an oversized cast of crappy characters and a bevy of bad plot devices. However....Mitsuda's soundtrack, like Uematsu's, was marvelous. I don't think I managed to even get 2/3 through the game, but I definitely bought the 3-CD set of the score. The obvious standout is the "Prisoners of Fate" track, which, if I recall correctly, plays out during a poignant battle with a friend of the main character's father. Why the fight goes down, I don't have a fucking clue, but the music is riveting, perhaps moreso than the Jenova fight in FFVII that is accompanied by Aerith's theme.
One of these days I'll go back and replay that game so I can find out how exactly this amazingly-effective sad piece is contextualized. Thinking about that game pisses me off, since it kind of turned me off of RPGs for a while, to the point of making me completely miss out on Xenogears, a game that's supposed to have one of the best stories in gaming history. ::grumble::
On a more positive note, I've been thoroughly enjoying the experience of overhearing my fiance playing Chrono Trigger for the first time (she just got it for the DS). I've been hearing lots of "Wind Theme" and "Spekkio's Theme" emanating from the living room and I can't wait to hear my favorite themes from later in the game, including the bad-ass "Tyrano Lair" music that plays out like an awesome little prog-rock suite:
And I definitely can't wait to hear the straightforward pathos of its uplifting ending theme.
You remind me that I really need to finish Chrono Cross one these days.
Has anyone here ever played any of the bit Generations series?
I just discovered Sound Voyager last night, a game that can be played using ONLY sound; in fact, once you get past the first couple of levels, looking at the screen doesn't help you at all.
The goal is to collect dots (which eventually become completely invisible) by judging how far to the left or right of you they are, by the music they make.
It can become pretty challenging, and there are other game types in it, too. It's certainly unlike anything else I've ever played, if nothing else.
Any idea on where to get this? Is it on the DS or Wii? I've played Orbient before and while interesting, it isn't really as useful as Sound Voyager.
They didn't remake it like they did Dialhex or Orbient, I guess because it didn't sell as well.
It is very easy to find a not-ROM to not-download, though.