Disposed Hero's Blog

Posted on Jun 25th 2020 at 08:00:00 AM by (Disposed Hero)
Posted under VGM, music, gaming, OST

Partially inspired by the Collectorcast's most recent episode, but admittedly mostly due to not having the time or inspiration this month to write a more in-depth article, I thought it would be fun to highlight some personal VGM favorites that I feel don't get enough recognition. While I have always had an appreciation for music in video games, it wasn't until about two years ago that I really began to dive deep into it, and now VGM is practically all I listen to these days. I'm going to stray from the usual suspects, as classic franchises such as Final Fantasy and Castlevania as well as more recent favorites such as Undertale and the Persona series get plenty of attention already.

Alright, I know I said I wasn't going to talk about a well-known series like Castlevania, but this track from Order of Ecclesia stood out to me while playing the game about a year ago, and it's one that I never hear mentioned. Used only during one short area of the game (if I remember correctly), I definitely felt like I didn't get my fill of this tune before the game was over. Sure, everybody knows the series staples like Vampire Killer and Bloody Tears, but some of the later titles had some excellent music that doesn't get enough recognition.

Cosmic Star Heroine is a JRPG from 2017 that takes heavy inspiration from Chrono Trigger. I wrote a review for the game a while back, and in hindsight I think I may have undersold the game a bit, as I think it is a solid recommendation for fans of the genre. It also has an incredible soundtrack that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it deserves. The battle theme is great and never gets old!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a game that has faded into relative obscurity. Released alongside the Scott Pilgrim movie from 2010, this is a beat 'em up that was available as a downloadable title on PS3 and Xbox 360 but was delisted in 2014 and is no longer available for purchase or download. It's a shame because this is actually a pretty fun beat 'em up inspired by the likes of River City Ransom, and it has some pretty great music as well composed by Anamanaguchi.

Shadowrun on the SNES is a game that has always stood out to me since I was a kid. It has always had this unique aura and mystique that helped it stand apart from anything else on the console. The music perfectly captures this feel also, as it is totally unique from anything else on the system and perfectly captures the cyberpunk vibe that the game was going for.

I've written about the Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky series before, but I never spent much time talking about the music. Developed by Falcom, creator of the Ys series, these games are filled with great music. While it is usually the more upbeat battle themes in these types of games that typically stand out to me, I found myself drawn more to the laidback town and wilderness themes here.

The Metro series has stood out to me over the last few years as some of the best shooters around and is a series I really enjoy. The inclusion of survival-horror based resource management, world-building that is reminiscent of Half-Life, and some seriously weighty and satisfying gameplay mechanics all help this series to stand apart and give it a unique atmosphere. The music also helps with this, and while the sweeping orchestral and somber piano tunes are all great, it is the acoustic guitar renditions of some of these tracks featured in the game that really stand out to me.

Over the last couple of years, I've realized that Natsume is an underrated developer for the NES, and their soundtracks are just as awesome as their games are. Shatterhand is a game I didn't play until pretty recently, but its soundtrack immediately stood out to me. The game and its soundtrack are both among my favorites for the system.

Most people may not think of great music when the Silent Hill series comes to mind, but for long time fans, Akira Yamaoka's compositions are one of the most endearing elements of the series. The Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2 is generally one of the most well known and beloved tracks from the franchise, but this is a lesser-known one that I find myself listening to often.

And an article from me just wouldn't be complete without a mention of the Yakuza series. While this series has been gaining in popularity in the last few years, I still never hear the amazing music mentioned, and even the ubiquitous guitar covers that seem to exist for every piece of VGM ever written are pretty rare for this series.

Hopefully you guys found something here to like, and let me know what you think of my selections. Also, I'm always looking for more quality OSTs to add to my playlist, so please let me know any of your personal favorites. Thanks for reading/listening!

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The Order of Ecclesia song is great! I'm totally with you on Natsume, some great stuff both in terms of gameplay and music. Defintely an overlooked dev on the NES.

Always enjoy hearing new video game music so thanks for all the cool recommendations!
I really enjoy these type of lists, thanks! As a VGM physical CD collector (can't quite dip into vinyl but appreciate it) these help me build a list of soundtracks to grab when I can.

Funny story, I was working on an mp3-filled HD to play random soundtracks during our gaming Fridays, and some of the loud/freaky Silent Hill tracks kept playing in between nice, serene music. Made me realize the importance of separating folder categories...
@Crabmaster2000: Yeah, Ecclesia is full of great tunes, so definitely check out the full soundtrack if you haven't already.

@slackur: Haha, I own the Silent Hill 2 OST on CD, and it's one of my favorites. I do usually end up skipping the more spooky/ambient stuff though. They serve their purpose in the game, but it's not something I'd choose to listen to otherwise.

Thanks for reading, guys!

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