Friday, October 7, 2011

Underrated Soundtracks This Gen: Music to My Ears

If you've been following SuperPhillip Central at all in the past, you know that we often do segments regarding overlooked and underrated games on all systems. This time we'll be checking out games that had soundtracks that many don't mention or bring up in conversation. Sure, the games may be popular (sometimes they're not even that), but their scores are less than talked about. SPC is here to remedy that with a brief list of some titles with soundtracks that demand your ears' attention.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)

Build it, race it, and then show it off, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was quickly found in bargain bins all across the world after its release. It just wasn't the type of game Xbox owners play sadly. The fully orchestrated score by veteran composer Grant Kirkhope was beyond excellent with symphonic versions of classic Banjo-Kazooie tracks like Treasure Trove Cove, Gobi Desert, Mad Monster Mansion, and Hailfire Peaks. Take a gander at the examples below to fully appreciate Mr. Kirkhope's musical mastery.

Viva Pinata (360)

The party never stops in the world of Viva Pinata. Microsoft was dead set on turning this franchise into a hot seller with a line of toys, a duo of video games, and even a TV series! The music of this game was quite charming, once again orchestrated with heavenly strings and jaunty little ditties. The struggles of managing your own garden were made less stressful with the soothing music being played as background noise to the engaging and entertaining gameplay. Whether day or night, Viva Pinata's score was just right for music aficionados.

Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

This million-seller sports a happy-go-lucky soundtrack comprised mostly of piano pieces, perfect for humming along to in Kirby's adventure in Patch Land. Going along terrifically with the cute and quaint art style, Tomoya Tomita's musical stylings packed a serious punch that will not soon be forgotten. From the jazzy boss themes to the more eloquent and frolicsome level songs make Kirby's Epic Yarn's melodies all the more memorable. Listen as to why with the following examples.

Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

Also coming from Tomoya Tomita's musical mind and additionally developed by Good Feel, Wario Land: Shake It's soundtrack is a mix of various styles from rock to jazz to Latin. If there's a mood you're in, there's probably a style in Shake It for you to clamor over. Each level has a regular piece followed by a theme that is played when Wario has to hightail it out of the level before time runs out. The examples that come after this description are both kinds.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (Wii)

This game was essentially a glorified mini-game collection wrapped up as a grand adventure. I happened to enjoy the game, but that's besides the point. The Crystal Bearers main draw was its superb soundtrack. It had everything: hillybilly rock, jazz, symphonic harmonies, and marches. Donna Burke provides vocals to four of the tracks, and her voice is immaculate and displays great poise. One of my favorite Wii soundtracks, The Crystal Bearers is just fantastic.

White Knight Chronicles: International Edition (PS3)

From what I played, White Knight Chronicles could be considered an MMORPG-lite. Whatever you wish to group the game as, its music was widely overlooked. The game itself was panned by most critics (I was part of the group that enjoyed Level-5's offering), but that does not factor into anyone liking or disliking the orgasmic orchestrations the game possesses. Whether you're battling a boss or roaming around a field blanketed by a clear blue sky, the music played an important part in setting up the ambiance, and it performed its job wonderfully as you'll soon find out if you click on the examples.

We Love Golf! (Wii)

We not only love golf, but we're enamored with Motoi Sakuraba's ensemble of songs fitting for Camelot's Capcom-published golf game. With six courses, three short courses, a multitude of modes, and numerous menu themes to listen to, We Love Golf was not only overlooked by gamers' hands but their ears as well. This is a shame as Sakuraba-san really put his heart and soul into this soundtrack as you can probably discern from the following examples.

Camelot Links Golf Course
Tournament 2
Skull Island Short Course


Now what say you? Which games this generation have soundtracks that you deem underrated? Voice your opinion in the comments section.


GamesAndBiz said...

Great list there: I especially agree with the Crystal Chronicles and White Knight Chronicles. They're both incredible soundtracks.

Have you heard the Neir soundtrack at all? It's the best I've ever heard in my 20 years of gaming. I can't recommend it enough.

Xenoblade also has a pretty special soundtrack... the best part about that game, by far.

SuperPhillip said...

Nier is actually planned for Part Two. I agree with you-- it's terrific.


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