We're continuing our musical theme this week with a look at my top ten Gamecube soundtracks. The Gamecube is such an underrated system that seems to be finally getting its due thanks to the Wii. The system had a bevy of fantastic soundtracks from both first and third party developers. The following list is my personal picks for the creme de le creme when it comes to Gamecube music. There's only one rule I subjected myself to, and that's that no ports were to be counted. So no Sonic Adventure 2: Battle or Skies of Arcadia: Legends to be seen on this list. With that out of the way, let's get to the top ten!
10) Viewtiful Joe
Henshin-a-go-go, baby! Our list starts off with the most viewtiful hero to ever grace the Gamecube in Viewtiful Joe. Joe could speed up and slow down time as well as attack foes with fists of fury. The soundtrack was rock with a side of techno thrown in for good measure. If you're looking for some great tracks to start you off, might I suggest Some Like It Red Hot, Inferno Lord, Joe & Sylvia, and Standing Ovation?
Your mind will be raped by this game, but the true question will be-- was it consensual? From the man that brought you No More Heroes comes one of his earlier works, the mind-melting, ultra-stylized Killer7. Masafumi Takada and Jun Fukuda joined up to concoct a soundtrack full of mystery, intrigue, and haunting sounds. There's mix of everything as these samples show: Rave On, Windmill, White Sugar, and Dissociative Identity.
8) Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
Motoi Sakuraba is a very busy man. He seems to be the go-to composer for a lot of game companies on the other side of the Pacific, and for good reason, too. He's excellent at his profession as this next game shows. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour may have not eclipsed its N64 original, but it definitely impressed when it came to its soundtrack. What better music to chip, drive, and putt on the golf course to than Ring Attack, Lakitu Valley, Peach's Castle Grounds, and Sudden Death?
7) Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Kenta Nagata (known for his work on Mario Kart 64 and Animal Crossing, a game that almost made it on our list) and Shiobu Tanaka teamed up to compose the very upbeat soundtrack for Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, one of my personal favorites in the Mario Kart series. If you're looking to sample the soundtrack, check out Circuit, Baby Park, Sherbet Land, and the ultimate version of Rainbow Road.
6) F-Zero GX
F-Zero GX was an impressive collection of music as it not only featured techno tracks for the many racing courses in the game, but it also had a theme song for all forty-one racers in the game. Dai Kasho (Gran Turismo 4) composed the vocal themes while Hidenori Shoji (Yakuza) composed all of the track and option themes. Recommended tracks include: Feel Our Pain (Fire Field), Zen (Aeropolis), Captain Falcon (albeit corny), and Dr. Stewart.
5) Tales of Symphonia
Motoi Sakuraba returns once again on our list, this time with an RPG under his belt. Known greatly for his work on Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, and Golden Sun, Motoi Sakuraba crafted a soundtrack fit for the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'Alla. Perhaps Tales of Symphonia wouldn't have been as interesting if not for the stellar soundtrack full of tunes such as Old familiar scent of Iselia, The land of Sylvarant, The Kingdom City Of Meltokio, A Snow Light, and Dry Trail.
4) Sonic Heroes
I very much enjoyed Sonic Heroes. The three-character system was fun, the zones were bright, colorful, and varied, and the music was top-notch from Jun Senoue and company. Sure, playing through some of the same levels four times got repetitive, but for the most part, Sonic Heroes was a decent game in its own right. The soundtrack is suitably bright and bouncy with your traditional guitar riffs a-plenty. Each of the four teams had their own theme song which fit each groups' personalities quite well. If you're looking for some recommendations, check out the theme of Sonic Heroes, Seaside Hill, Grand Metropolis, Bullet Station, and This Machine.
3) Star Fox Assault
Whether or not you enjoyed all of its parts, Star Fox Assault had one colossal-sounding soundtrack. There were familiar themes from past Star Fox games as well as brand new melodies all backed by a symphonic orchestra. We wouldn't get another Nintendo-produced game with an orchestra again until Super Mario Galaxy, nearly three years later. There's nothing like space, land, and air combat with some epic orchestrated music pulsing from your television speakers! Some notable tracks include Sauria, Queen Battle 2, Star Wolf, Boss, and Fortuna.
2) Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
The soundtrack of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is superb, and it's quite unlike other iterations of the franchise. There's a homey, folksy feel to the soundtrack as it uses ancient, worldly instruments to convey its music. Kumi Tanioka did a splendid job creating a catchy, beautiful, soothing soundtrack for players to hack and slash monsters to. It's a work that she hasn't beaten to this day. Within the Gloomy Darkness, Magii is Everything, Amidatti, And Eleonor Too, Starry Moonlit Night, and When The Northern Sky Is Clear illustrate this point wonderfully.
1) Super Smash Bros. Melee
Number one, and some may argue that it's not fair that this game be listed as number one as most of its soundtrack is made up of remixes. I tell these people to get some wood, build a bridge, and get over it. The remixes are some of the best songs in the history of game music-- no hyperbole intended. While some songs are all MIDI, the quality is so high that they sound like real, live instruments. Who can get enough of the soundtrack with the themes of Hyrule Temple, Fountain of Dreams, Onett, Mute City, Multi-Man Melee 1 dancing in their heads?
What about the games that almost made it on the list but were edged out? Well, there's Animal Crossing, Baten Kaitos, Star Fox Adventures, and Super Mario Sunshine to name a quartet! I want to hear from you. What are your favorite Gamecube soundtracks?