I love the Professor Layton series. It’s the closest Nintendo – or any major video game company, for that matter – will get to making a Sherlock Holmes-style character. He’s highly intelligent, polite, and solves mysteries of ridiculous proportions. It would’ve worked well enough as a visual novel, but letting you solve hundreds of puzzles along the way makes it so much better. The series is also well known for its extensive continuity and well-written characters; The Last Specter is the fourth installment out of six (seven if you count the Phoenix Wright crossover), but it’s the first chronologically. It’s also famous for its various soundtracks, which are among the best you’ll ever hear on a Nintendo console. While the theme of the Diabolical Box will always be my favorite, this live version of the Last Specter is great for some easy listening.
A little while back, I mentioned a game called D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die. It’s an exclusive title for the Xbox One directed by SWERY. While I’m not interested in the console, the concept of the game is pretty awesome: A private investigator from Boston (complete with the stereotypical accent), traveling through time to recollect the memories surrounding his wife’s murder. At times it’s surreal, hilarious, and utterly bizarre. What other game has slice-of-life moments involving clam chowder? Its jazz instrumental-based soundtrack is easily one of the finest of 2014. Due to the game’s relative obscurity, however, a lot of people haven’t heard it yet. Even if you’re not into gaming, the OST is definitely worth a listen.
When it was first released, Bayonetta was arguably the finest action game of its generation. It had great characters, insanely fast pacing, intricate combat mechnics, and pushed the consoles to their limits. The titular Bayonetta was smart, dangerous, and could utterly crush her opponents with style. What other video game character could summon demons with her hair, walk on walls, slow down time, or equip shotguns on her stilettos?! In the years following its release, the game garnered a huge following and a demand for a sequel. And it finally happened in 2014…on the Wii U. There were a lot of misgivings about it being exclusive title for such a poorly-performing system, but it was eventually revealed that Nintendo were the ones who stepped in to ensure the game’s development. It’s thanks to them that Bayonetta 2 made it to store shelves and has been rocking the gaming world ever since.
It’s worth noting that this song isn’t actually on Bayonetta 2’s official soundtrack. Miracle Of Sound is a well-known and highly respected composer of tribute music for video games and film. “Messing With The Best” perfectly captures the game’s upbeat tone, flashy style, and undeniable fun. It’s also a must for any jogging playlist.
If you want more Miracle Of Sound, you can find his work on YouTube, Bandcamp, and iTunes. If you want to listen to Bayonetta 2’s regular-but-equally awesome soundtrack, you can find it here.
Last week, I posted one of my favorite tracks from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. In doing so, I realized there were several more awesome songs spread throughout the Tekken series. I decided to check out Tekken 6 first; I’d played it a few years ago, but had mostly forgotten about it. Its soundtrack is an eclectic blend of heavy metal, techno, and instrumentals. Some songs, like the “High Rollers Club,” fit their stage’s tone perfectly. Others, like the “Anger of the Earth,” go for something a little more epic. “Edge Of Spring’s” guitars and piano won me over, though. In a game about demons and martial arts, you need a track like this to mellow things out.
If you want more Tekken 6, you can find the full OST here.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Nightis one of the most popular video games ever made, and for good reason. It whisked you away into a gothic spectacle that was both beautiful and nightmare-inducing. The sheer amount of customization, weapons, and tiny details were mind-boggling. It had everything: zombies, ghosts, succubi, skeletons, werewolves, demonic possession, Death itself, culminating in a final showdown against Dracula. You’d think the hero of the game would be some kind of whip and cross-slinging badass, like in previous Castlevanias. However, Alucard was anything but. As the half-human son of the big bad himself, he was subdued, thoughtful, and distant from his allies. You’d be too, if you were tasked with killing your own father! His bittersweet attitude is reflected in I Am The Wind, the ending credits song exclusive to the Playstation version of the game. With a soundtrack that covers everything from classic and rock to jazz and heavy metal, Cynthia Harrell’s soulful tune is the perfect sendoff.
If you want more Symphony of the Night (and trust me, you do), you can find the full OST here.
Fighting games have come a long way since Street Fighter II hit the arcades, and few demonstrated it as well as BlazBlue. Gorgeous animations, detailed backgrounds, and high-competitive gameplay made it a new mainstay in the fighting genre. It also boasted an awesome soundtrack by Daisuke Ishiwatari, who voiced the main character of Guilty Gear, this series’ spiritual predecessor. While this OST is mostly metal, this upbeat jazzy theme is the odd one out.
If you want to rock out some more, you can find the full OST here.
Need some music to chill out? Give this gem a listen.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned Michiru Yamane at some point. And with good reason; she’s created some of the best music in the gaming industry. That’s especially true for the soundtrack to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It covers a wide spectrum of musical genres, including classical, rock, and heavy metal. Nothing else in the series has come close since. My personal favorite is this song (the odd jazzy one out on the entire playlist), Crystal Teardrop. It’s one of the few tracks that lets you breathe, only to take it away.