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  #151  
Old 09-13-2017, 01:28 PM
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You Were There is a gorgeous song. But yeah, most of ICO's soundtrack is in the background, so while I love it I could not justify putting on my list. Definitely deserves to be on this one, though.
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  #152  
Old 09-13-2017, 01:31 PM
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I remember spending a lot of time with Gitaroo Man when I worked at Software Etc. About an hour before closing we'd swap out the disc in the PS2 for whatever we want to play; I remember watching my manager finish the game in one sitting.
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  #153  
Old 09-13-2017, 01:54 PM
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I've never played Gitaroo Man and I still love its soundtrack, mostly because of "Resurrection", the most Pillows-ish thing on the soundtrack and also the closest a rhythm game has ever gotten to recreating "Just" by Radiohead.
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  #154  
Old 09-13-2017, 05:11 PM
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Ico! Finally, something I voted for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrenaline View Post
Weird to see it here because much of the gameplay is defined in my brain by the lack of music.
It is mostly ambientish, which was why it was low in my list. And I usually don't like that kind of music, but listening to it again, it is strong, even without You Were There. Though the existence of that song helped push it onto the list.
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  #155  
Old 09-13-2017, 06:03 PM
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Egads I meant to comment yesterday on Xenoblade Chronicles. My first pick to make the list so far, I think XBC has an amazing soundtrack that for me was the high point of the game. So many good compositions from a very talented group of musicians.
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  #156  
Old 09-13-2017, 06:45 PM
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Nothing I voted for his made it to the list. Should I be worried? Bemused? Amused?
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  #157  
Old 09-13-2017, 07:07 PM
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Reading this thread is such a delight!

Ico was my #2; i chose Heal as my favorite music. As with everything in this soundtrack, it works really well in context; it is more melodic and gives you an immediate sense that you're free from danger. Together with the animation, it makes saving the game meaningful and kinda touching. I chose a music randomly, though.

I also voted for Gitaroo Man, and chose The Legendary Theme; i'm a sucker for music that goes straight to the heart. It makes me weepy.

(I would have voted for Xenoblade Chronicles, but i've never played it; the soundtrack is amazing though.)
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  #158  
Old 09-13-2017, 09:47 PM
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Guitaroo man sounds amazing...

I voted for SotC and called it a day, but Ico is sublime and definitely deserves it. Shadow would've been my pick if I didn't hypothetically vote for You Were There in some alternate universe where we voted for more than 25 songs...
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  #159  
Old 09-14-2017, 08:22 AM
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I've listened to about half of the Xenoblade Chronicles soundtrack and I'm really enjoying it.

I have never heard of Gitaroo man, but holy crap is the soundtrack good. One of my new favorites!
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  #160  
Old 09-14-2017, 09:14 AM
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I only learned about Gitaroo Man through this cover by The Altered Beasts (the two guitarists from The OneUps), but once I listened to that I all of a sudden got requests for my radio show for some of the other songs, so I was exposed to more of this amazing soundtrack. I never played the game so I didn't know that the tracks could be different each time. Amazing.

It's generally considered in poor taste to reveal possible entries later on the list, guys, so let's not talk about haha I'm not spoiling when we're supposed to be talking about ICO! Very atmospheric soundtrack, and the music is sparse. I haven't heard much of it, but what I have heard I've enjoyed, but I do think it's better in context.
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  #161  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umby View Post
this cover by The Altered Beasts (the two guitarists from The OneUps),
You're the man, Umby. More good music to listen to!
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  #162  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:21 PM
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#40 — Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
96 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #4 (Solitayre)

Featured Track:

House of Sacred Remains

Dark Night ToccataRinaldo’s Cabin

Composed by:

Michiru Yamane

Platform: Playstation 2 • Release date: October 21, 2003
A lamentable game, but an innocent soundtrack

Lament of Innocence was a big deal back in 2003. Despite Symphony of the Night's smash success, there was no immediate follow-up to it; the series continued as it had before, being passed from team to team, everyone doing their own thing. IGA returned to the series in 2002, putting out two (excellent) titles on the Game Boy Advance. Lament was IGA's return to consoles, once more with Michiru Yamane providing the music. More than that, it was backed by a huge ambition: it was 3D, it would tell the origin story of the Belmonts and Dracula, and it would mark a new starting point for the series.

IGA's game underwhelmed. But Yamane's score didn't.

Yamane's score was no less ambitious than the game itself, however; she fully bought into the origin story concept, and that affected her compositional style. First, she refrained from using the series' iconic songs, reasoning that they wouldn't 'exist' yet (so to speak), and that their absence would underscore its timeline placement. Second, because Lament is set in the 11th century, Yamane decided to not use any modern instruments— namely, the electric guitar. Curiously, that didn't stop her from making ample use of electronic elements (most notably, the dance club banger "Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab"), but it's certainly evident that she opted for a more classical approach overall: strings, woodwinds, choirs. The ultimate result is a soundtrack that sounds more somber, solemn, and… well, mature than anything else in the series.

Which is not to suggest that Castlevania had never been classy or atmospheric before; but Lament takes it to a new level. The game's hub theme, "Prologue to the Black Abyss", effectively sets the game's tone with its haunting operatic vocals. "Rinaldo's Cabin", a simple song with a lone flute overtop a basic beat, displays a degree of loneliness and vulnerability unheard of in the series. Even the penultimate boss theme, "Dark Night Toccata (Walter's Theme)", while being appropriately bombastic, has a degree of regality that Dracula's themes never approached. Tracks like "Dark Palace of Waterfalls" and "Garden Forgotten by Time" are more typical of Yamane's Castlevania work, yet they're still more melancholy and delicate than comparable tracks from Symphony of the Night.

For the featured song, Tyrants chose to highlight "House of Sacred Remains". As the flowery name suggests, it plays in the game's cathedral area— which is to say that its series of halls and boxes have a nice wallpaper and the occasional statue or bookshelf. Still, even if Lament's area design often fell flat, the music was there to pick up the slack. That's certainly the case here; with its church organ opening and ethereal, wordless vocals, the theme convincingly argues that its area is indeed a holy temple to be treated with respect. It helps that the song is just gorgeous on its own merits, too.

~ conchobhar

Last edited by conchobhar; 09-14-2017 at 12:35 PM.
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  #163  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:22 PM
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#39 — Metroid
96 points • 5 mentions • Highest rank: #8 (Dracula)

Featured Track:

Kraid’s Lair

NorfairTitle

Composed by:

Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System • Release date: August 6, 1986
Shooting from the Hip

According to Hip Tanaka, his work on Metroid was more than a soundtrack; it was a statement.

At the time, video game sound design was starting to get a bit of notice, and be seen as something more: game music. Developers were eager to play into their new respectability, and started producing catchy, upbeat, pop melodies for their games. Hip Tanaka, however, did not like this trend; he thought it lazy and uncreative, and not necessarily suited to the game.

With Metroid, Tanaka sought to create "the antithesis for that trend." After all, Metroid featured a desolate and hostile world that instilled such feelings as isolation and helplessness, so rip-roaring adventure tunes just wouldn't track. Instead, Tanaka's concept was that of a "living creature"— that Zebes was a real place with its own thriving ecosystems, not simply a game environ— and crafted moody, subdued music to match. To that end, Tanaka tried to minimize melody in his work, and made ample use of silence and minimalism… so that, when the upbeat ending theme kicks in, it's the ultimate catharsis.

I don't think he succeeded in making it unmelodic— otherwise, "Brinstar" would never have become a series mainstay— but it's undeniable that Metroid features some of the most atmospheric music of its era. In fact, it received a mixed reception in its own time, with many calling it "too serious". But Tanaka was unphased, and it's not hard to see why: with Metroid, he showed that video game music could be more than pop melodies.

The featured track is "Kraid's Lair", which predictably plays in Kraid's lair. It is, I think, a bit of an odd song. "Kraid's Lair" has a slightly off-kilter rhythm to it, and the climax of the song is a rapid-fire series of beeps; hardly anthem material. Yet, I also find it to be the biggest earworm on the soundtrack… something about that rhythm makes it irresistible and impossible to ignore.

Sadly, "Kraid's Lair" never became part of Metroid's musical legacy. Outside of Zero Mission, the only reappearance I'm aware of is in Super Smash Bros. Melee, where it's the theme to the Brinstar Depths stage.

~ conchobhar
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  #164  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:35 PM
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Why did people vote for things that are not on my list? It's like I don't even know you people.

On a serious, note YAAAS GIRL CASTLEVANIA YAAAS.

I wanted to vote for a Metroid game but I couldn't decide which one, so I didn't vote for any. But "Kraid's Lair" is brilliant. The Title theme is also amazing; it's deliberate and atmospheric and alien. Those few opening and ending bars always make me smile.
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  #165  
Old 09-14-2017, 12:48 PM
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I never would have expected Lament of Innocence to be on here. Great OST. House of Sacred Remains is definitely the highlight. I also like Lament of Innocence (Leon's Theme) and Ghostly Theatre. This cover of the latter is pretty good.

The game itself is honestly not terrible, either. It could have been better... much better. But it also could have been worse, as its PS2 follow-up shows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
First, she refrained from using the series' iconic songs, reasoning that they wouldn't 'exist' yet (so to speak), and that their absence would underscore its timeline placement. Second, because Lament is set in the 11th century, Yamane decided to not use any modern instruments— namely, the electric guitar.
Of course, she wasn't afraid to use either in the bonus modes.
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  #166  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:12 PM
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Lament is so good. It's clear right from the stunningly declarative Prologue that this is Yamane in her most confident form. Cursed Memories and Aria of Nightmare display her adeptness at conveying lingering unease and dread through omission and restraint, Fog-enshrouded Nightscape delivers comfort and intrigue in equal sweeping measures, and Pagoda of the Misty Moon captures the demonic delight of a monster's stronghold. Of particular praise are the soundtrack's several pieces dedicated to the game's cinematics, such as Despair, Rear Garden and Dracula Appears. They canvass the emotional spectrum from tender and quiet to suddenly violent and accusatory, a perfect complement to the game's brand of theatric melodramatics. This is as virtuosic as Castlevania's music would get from this point on, and rarely before.

Metroid missed out on my short list, but I like it dearly still. My favourite tracks are the themes for the item rooms, Tourian and (especially) Mother Brain. The bass in all of them skitters feverishly, greatly evocative of some unseen creature or mechanical life-form stalking out of sight, in the darkness.
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  #167  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:33 PM
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Yesssss, always love some good Hip Tanaka weirdness.

My list feels so inadequate. Like, I could have easily voted for an entire 50 and would still have had to leave out things I love.
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  #168  
Old 09-14-2017, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Regulus View Post
The game itself is honestly not terrible, either. It could have been better... much better.
Yeah, I don't hate Lament either. It's not good, but there's a lot to like about it. I felt a little bad for making that quip about it being "lamentable", but… well… the pun was there. How I described it in the body ("underwhelming") is more how I feel about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peklo View Post
Metroid missed out on my short list, but I like it dearly still. My favourite tracks are the themes for the item rooms, Tourian and (especially) Mother Brain. The bass in all of them skitters feverishly, greatly evocative of some unseen creature or mechanical life-form stalking out of sight, in the darkness.
The item room theme is also a great example at the silence at play in Metroid. Great track.

It belatedly occurs to me that Tanaka's goal of making moody, unmelodic music is a perfect description of Metroid II. I wonder if they were consciously influenced by Tanaka's ethos.
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  #169  
Old 09-14-2017, 02:13 PM
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Really glad other people voted for Lament of Innocence. My favorite Castlevania OST even if the game left a lot of things to be desired.

Now I have a very important question for all of you!

https://youtu.be/3Ivpr2rA9zY?t=3m20s

What the hell is Walter saying at 4:18?

Because for ten years I have been convinced he is shouting "PELVIC THRUST" and I have yet to hear a convincing counterargument.
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  #170  
Old 09-14-2017, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
Now I have a very important question for all of you!

https://youtu.be/3Ivpr2rA9zY?t=3m20s

What the hell is Walter saying at 4:18?

Because for ten years I have been convinced he is shouting "PELVIC THRUST" and I have yet to hear a convincing counterargument.
"Now this is power!"
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  #171  
Old 09-14-2017, 02:24 PM
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My first reaction to seeing Metroid on the list was "What? Really?". Then I thought about it and it really is that good.
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  #172  
Old 09-14-2017, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
Because for ten years I have been convinced he is shouting "PELVIC THRUST" and I have yet to hear a convincing counterargument.
PELVIS MOUTH
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  #173  
Old 09-14-2017, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
#39 — Metroid
Based on the results so far I had thought that there wouldn't be any games with chiptunes on the list. I guess I was wrong (but I still doubt that some of my entries will make the list).

Last edited by Torzelbaum; 09-15-2017 at 06:17 PM. Reason: the [center] cannot hold
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  #174  
Old 09-15-2017, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conchobhar View Post
One of my favorite atmospheric NES songs. The gaps of silence and chill tone make me feel lonely, but not in an eerie way. It's more of the feeling I get walking home at 2 AM, with a gentle rain, cool breeze, warm street lights, and not a soul in sight. Like, you know you're alone and it's dark outside, but you somehow still feel comfy and secure while walking -- but not quite enough to stand still. It sets a surprisingly relaxed tone for what is ostensibly a lava area.
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  #175  
Old 09-15-2017, 11:46 AM
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I ranked Metroid so highly for exactly the reasons stated in the writeup. It's good stuff.

I didn't expect the distinction to be made, but incidentally, I voted specifically for the FDS version of Metroid. If you haven't listened to that, please do. The extra sound channel available on the Disk System gave Tanaka the ability to lend atonal qualities to the OST that you don't get on the US version (which is great in its own way), especially on the title screen theme.
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  #176  
Old 09-15-2017, 12:09 PM
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#38 — Castlevania III. Dracula’s Curse
98 points • 4 mentions • Highest rank: #6 (Dracula))

Featured Track:

Clockwork

Mad Forest (NES/Famicom) • Beginning (NES/Famicom) • Demon Seed (NES/Famicom)

Composed by:

Hidenori Maezawa
Jun Funahashi
Yukie Morimoto
Yoshinori Sasaki

Platform: NES / Famicom
Release date: September 1, 1990 (NES) / December 22, 1989 (Famicom)
A game so great it has two soundtracks

Long story short: this game was one of the reasons why voting was allowed by platform, and it was a wash, because each platform received only one specific vote and the rest were for all the versions of the game in general. So we grouped them in one single entry and here it is.

In case you’re undead and just returned to the world of the living through the recent eclipse, Castlevania III (or Akumajō Densetsu) was released in Japan with an extra chip that gave the Famicom three extra sound channels plus the Famicom’s five - eight channels that the composers put to good use. But the NES couldn’t use that chip, so when released in America the music was rewritten so it could “fit”. So we have a game with a single composition but two different executions.

Thing is, there’s a bit of a debate on which is the “best” version, because like with many things your mileage may vary. Some tracks make good use of the extra channel to give the melody more depth, but some other songs are so spartan that the extra channels really don’t add anything, sounding better when interpreted through the more chip-tuney quality of the NES.

I’d say both are awesome and leave it at that, but I know you won’t take my word for it, so I’m leaving you examples of some tracks in both versions, see which one you like better.

The soundtrack is classic Castlevania - with this third entry the Castlevania style was all but solidified. There are some rock action tracks (“Mad Forest”), but also some somber, more atmospheric ones (“Demon Seeds”) and some that have become an intrinsic part of the franchise (“Beginning”). All of them very melodic, perfect songs to hum along while you whip the head off the nearest skeleton.

Our featured track is “Clockwork”, an eerie tune that plays as you climb the clockwork tower near the beginning of the game (and, in a genius stroke of gameplay, then you have to actually climb down). This track has also become a classic, and it’s not surprising because it is one of the most minimalist tracks in the OST (and it lasts only 40 seconds before it loops) yet it manages to somehow incorporate several musical turns and a bridge.

By the way, there’s an animated series based in this game that doesn’t use a single track from it. Now that’s a bloody sin.

~ Positronic Brain
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  #177  
Old 09-15-2017, 12:12 PM
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#37 — ActRaiser
99 points • 5 mentions • Highest rank: #14 (Kirin)

Featured track:
Fillmore


NorthwallBirth of the PeopleThe Beast Appears

Composed by:

Yuzo Koshiro

Platform: SNES • Release date: December 16, 1990
The perfect background music for your day-to-day godly duties


Remember what I said about this game back in the Top 16-Bit Games list? No? Let me quote myself.
I didn't play [ActRaiser] at the time [...] But I did grow up watching the pictures in magazines and reading tons of praise for its gameplay and music. A few years later I finally moved away from my small little corner of the country and into a real city, and while walking down a tianguis I found the orchestral soundtrack to ActRaiser on CD. It was an instabuy because all those guys on the [strings tied down to tin cans that was the Internet at the time] couldn't be wrong, could they?
See? Even when I’m supposed to talk about the game, I couldn’t shut up about the music. And yes, they weren't wrong. Yuzo Koshiro did what could only be described as magic, creating whole orchestras out of the SNES sound chip when giants like Square and Enix were still stuck at making it beep. Compare the sound of, say, Final Fantasy IV with ActRaiser’s tracks. Night and day.

But the sound quality isn’t everything - the composition is critical, and Koshiro delivers. You have all the variety you’d expect from a god/action game. Quiet melodies like “Northwall” and classical compositions like “Birth of the People”. “The Beast Appears” is a tour de force, with a frenetic background rhythm that keeps you on your toes the entire time, with a brass section kicking in every now and then to keep your heroics up.

But what will always define the Actraiser OST for me is our featured track, “Fillmore”. Not because it’s the first side scrolling level you play (remember, I didn’t play the game until later) but because it’s so goddamn catchy. It sounds almost like a song you’d expect at a town, but more upbeat and orchestrated like a classical piece - it’s a strange juxtaposition that ActRaiser pulls off flawlessly.

ActRaiser’s soundtrack was a great score with such a perfect execution that it affected game OSTs for years to come, spurning many other composers to up their game. Maybe we will talk about some of those later.

~ Positronic Brain
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  #178  
Old 09-15-2017, 12:21 PM
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I love ActRaiser, and voted for it! My pick was Northwall. It's so beautifully serene and peaceful, and fits the snowy landscapes of the level well. A bold decision to have it as the track for the action sequence. I love everything else on the soundtrack too.

I'm also here to muster up some words: Lament of Innocence, Metroid and Dracula's Curse (or Akumajou Densetsu as is my preference) are all excellent picks that I'm not sad to see on the list, though I didn't vote for any of them. I can't say much about 'em that hasn't been said already. I haven't played most of the other stuff, so I can't say much about them, but I'm glad for the fans.
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  #179  
Old 09-15-2017, 12:27 PM
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I like how if you really didn't know better, "Fillmore" could be mistaken for a Castlevania song.

Excellent selections. Actraiser and Castlevania 3 were on my long list but they got cut. Glad they showed up on other lists.
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  #180  
Old 09-15-2017, 12:44 PM
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Castlevania III juuuust narrowly missed my list, and really only because I felt I already had enough Castlevania games, so I'm really glad to see it made it without my help. My vote would have been for the Famicom version— and my song choice would have been "Demon Seed".

A friend of mine once made the bold claim that CV3 was the first truly great Castlevania soundtrack. Not that the previous games had bad music, certainly not, but that CV3 was more ambitious, diverse and consistent (not to mention longer) than before. I tend to agree.

ActRaiser was on my longlist, but I cut it pretty quickly… it's good, don't get me wrong, but the soundtrack has been completely overwritten in my mind by the Symphonic Suite version.
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