Just a disclaimer. There is a very good chance that many of you will be disappointed with my selection here but remember, just because I like these pieces does not mean your personal favourites are in any way less important. You like what you like. So you know, I will only put on one entry per franchise, and links to the respective song/music pieces will be provided after the commentary.
So then, on with the list.
Number 10 - "I don't want to set the world on fire" by the Ink Blots (Fallout 3)
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I love all music from this game. Its suitable for the story, the environment and sounds authentically like 1950's cold war era music, so thumbs up for that. This piece however, was perfect in setting up the mood and the feel of the game, as well as the irony of a song "not wanting to set the world on fire" in a world set after nuclear apocalypse. Nice.
Number 9 - "Demise of the ritual" (Shadow of the colossus).
Now here is a boss theme I can believe. While most boss music in video games tend towards fast-paced rock music or overly-grand choirs, this theme tends more towards the melancholy, making the player feel like the task before them is impossible to achieve. A fitting piece to once of the hardest bosses I've ever encountered.
Number 8 - "Super Mario theme song" (Super Mario Bros) AND the Legend of Zelda Theme Song (Legend of Zelda).
I tried. I REALLY tried to not put these on the list. But deep down I knew that not putting them here would be a lie. I mean, these pieces were the soundtrack to my childhood. These two pieces of music defined video games for me during my early life. It was really difficult for me to decide which piece was better so I just decided to put them both on the same spot. The Mario theme is more fun while the Zelda theme is more epic. Both are good for what they are and I truly considered putting them on the top, but I knew that that too would be a lie as there are other pieces which I consider better to listen to.
Number 7 - Fahrenheit/ Indigo Prophecy Main Theme (Fahrenheit/ Indigo Prophecy).
If you're wondering about the title, let me explain. This game got two different titles depending on where it was sold. Where I live in Europe (specifically the United Kingdom) it was called Fahrenheit, while in North America it was called Indigo Prophecy. This game is sort of an underrated favourite of mine and the theme is much the same. It is perfect for the game. A melancholy and depressing melody to make those who listen to it feel depressed. With a plot based on depression and insanity, I cannot think of a piece of music more fitting.
Number 6 - Truth and dreams (Breath of Fire IV).
If you recall my review of this game I mentioned how much I enjoyed the music of this game. This is the piece I think of whenever I think of it. A calm, almost serene melody with a sense of adventure, as though it is the right music for a long journey, which is what the game is. You listen to this and it feel like something out of a dream, which makes it appropriately titled then.
Number 5 - Monkey Island Theme (Monkey Island Series).
This music, to me, is just plain FUN. I hear this music and I think of a good time. It feels like adventure, it feels like a funny moment and it feels uplifting. It's almost as if no-one who listens to it could be depressed, it certainly picks me up when I think of it. Having been introduced at the start of the series I am glad they never changed it. The series just wouldn't be the same without it.
Number 4 - Sovereign's Theme (Mass Effect).
Whenever I hear this music, I feel a huge sense of dread, as though something bad is on the horizon. This makes it a good fit not only for the villain itself but what it represents, a threat far away that could come back at any time. It's a short piece but sometimes that's the best way to go, short and to the point. It is very much parallel with the player's knowledge have of the villain throughout the game, starting off low and understated but then exploding to full prominence as though coinciding the player's realisation of what the character truly is. A dark theme for a dark villain.
Number 3 - Terra (Final Fantasy IX).
I mentioned in my review of this game that the music in it was some of the best ever made for video games. This piece in particular always sticks with me. Uematsu is just a master when coming up with good music. This theme appears when the main characters land on a strange alien world. The music represents this perfectly. It feels otherworldly and strange, almost dream-like. You listen to this and you feel calm and relaxed, but also slightly sad. Given what we learn of this world later on that is appropriate. Uematsu sir, I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are the master of this franchise.
Number 2 - Promise - Reprise (Silent Hill 2).
This game is just creepy. Not terrifying, but just scary enough to send a shiver down my spine and this music best represents that feeling. It is beautiful but also haunting, a perfect combination given the nature of the game's ghost town setting. I never know what to feel about this piece but to me that's the sign of a good piece of music. Something which makes you feel many things. A perfect scary song for the ultimate scary game.
Number 1 - The best is yet to come (Metal Gear Solid).
Ok, a confession. If a good piece of music is emotional enough, it will make me cry. No exceptions. It's happened many times before but this piece was one of the earliest. Every time I hear it I am bawling like an infant by the end. It's a song which seems very melancholy and depressing, heard throughout the game, usually during an emotional death scene but even though they use it many times it never loses it's impact. I don't know what the words of the song mean, but then I never felt like I needed to know, it's just enough that it makes me feel the way it does. This, to me, is the ultimate example of video game music.
All songs and pieces of music belong to their respective owners. None of these links are to any property of mine.