This article may contain what some consider spoilers, so beware!
Whenever there's a cast list or staff roll there is usually an ending theme that accompanies the names of the people who worked on the game you just beat. This list is composed of my ten favorite ending themes from games this gen, last gen, and gens prior. After you listen to my examples and read through my list, be sure to note some of your personal favorites in the comments section!
10) Dissociative Identity (Killer7 - PS2, GCN)
To kick off the countdown we have a relatively mellow piece from the mind of Masafumi Takada. It's Killer7's Dissociative Identity, the credits theme from the game. The piano medley is pitch perfect and sounds pleasant, the steady beats keep the pulse of the piece moving through your mind, and the accompaniment is especially haunting. When the truth is revealed about Garcian Smith, this song kicks in and overwhelms the emotions of the player. It's a great piece of music and a great start to our countdown.
9) Staff Roll (Super Mario 64 - N64)
I was amazed as a ten year-old or whatever my age was when I beat Super Mario 64 and the credits theme chimed in. Composed by Koji Kondo, Staff Roll is a peppy romp full of hummable musical cues and bodacious beats. It's augmented by the awesome camera work of every level that Mario visited in the game. I chose as the example Staff Roll alongside the actual credits in-game for maximum effect. It won't be the last time I do this either.
8) Cast Roll (Mega Man X3 - SNES)
Rock out 16-bit style with the song from Mega Man X's third installment. After finishing off Sigma and climbing walls to escape rising fire, X runs through the city streets while this energetic song plays. During the credits it shows off the various Mavericks in the game that X and Zero encountered along with stats and attributes. It's a terrific song for the victory that the Maverick Hunters achieved, don't you think?
7) To the End of the Wilderness ~To a New Journey~ (Wild ARMS - PS1)
Borrowing the melody of the opening theme, To the End of the Wilderness ~To a New Journey~ is the most superb song to wrap up a long, puzzle-filled quest that the trio of Rudy, Jack, and Cecilia embarked on. The guitar is certainly catchy, and the final take on the opening/main theme with a full orchestra sends shivers down my spine when I see it coinciding with the credits. Composer Michiko Naruke definitely knows how to scribe a tremendous track.
6) Standing Ovation （エンディングのテーマ）(Viewtiful Joe - PS2, GCN)
"Looks like the party's about to begin any minute now." Right you are, Viewtiful Joe, especially so when this theme begins. It's a rockin' melody that is accompanied by movie posters of the various levels Joe persevered through to rescue the lovely Sylvia as well as biographical information about numerous bosses and characters seen throughout the game. Take a listen to this song, and be ready to rock out at your leisure!
5) Staff Roll (Mario Kart 64 - N64)
Finishing first in the 150cc or Extra cup of Mario Kart 64 reveals the credits of the game, showing off the sixteen tracks with exotic camera views and angles. Staff Roll by Kenta Nagata would later have its accompaniment sampled in Mario Kart: Double Dash's credits theme. I'm referring to the piano at the beginning of the piece. Regardless, Mario Kart 64's credits are a treat to view, and I hope you enjoy watching them by clicking on the above link.
4) Credits (Skies of Arcadia - DC)
Beginning with a soft piano melody, Credits from the Dreamcast classic in Skies of Arcadia is a beautiful tune. When the flutes and strings glisten their notes like the morning dew I simply swoon. Everything crescendos at the end to accomplish a fantastic, booming sound that rumbles through one's room, moving all that listen to its heavenly harmony. Who doesn't love a live orchestra? I certainly prefer it to MIDI, that's for sure!
3) Fantasia Alla Marcia For Piano, Chorus And Orchestra (Kingdom Hearts II - PS2)
There's actually two themes played during the long-winded credits, Passion ~ After the Battle and this one, Fantasia Alla Marcia For Piano, Chorus And Orchestra. It's an especially poignant and majestic series of themes. It starts out with a triumphant melody then it changes to a dark, chilling chorus chanting in Latin for those who love that sort of stuff like yours truly. Then it returns to a softer take on the opening melody and concludes. Yoko Shimomura is a tremendous talent, and this work only augments my opinion of her.
2) Ending Theme (Final Fantasy VI - SNES)
There were over a dozen individual characters in Final Fantasy VI (then known to Americans as Final Fantasy III), and each one possessed their own theme, masterfully composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The ending theme of Final Fantasy VI is a compilation of these compositions against the backdrop of the various party members teaming together to escape from Kefka's tower. There's some particularly emotional moments during this piece which makes it rank number two on my list.
1) Small Two of Pieces ~Screeching Shards~ (Xenogears - PS1)
On the Final Boss Theme list Yasunori Mitsuda's composition ranked tenth. This time he leads the pack with Small Two of Pieces ~Screeching Shards~, an exquisite vocal piece backed by a pleasant pan flute and strings. The lyrics are poignant, the harmonies are splendid, and the female vocalist (Joanne Hogg) is undying in her spirit, sporting a terrific texture and timbre in her voice. Listen to this song, and I defy you to find an ending theme that's more perfect than this one.
Another list and another day down here at SuperPhillip Central. What say you now? Surely you have your own favorite ending themes that I neglected to mention. Let your voice be heard in text form in the comments section. They're truly appreciated. See you tomorrow, all!