We all love Mario music, Final Fantasy, Dragonquest. But what about those lesser known games? Or just lesser known soundtracks. Music is generally remixed from a few games, mostly due to nostalgia. However, if we can look past those, we can find some truly hidden gems. Below, I list what I feel to be the top ten most underappreciated soundtracks.

Earthbound is a cult classic in the true meaning of "cult" and "classic." It has an astounding number of pop culture references and probably the best script to ever grace videogaming history. However, the trite battle system and subpar graphics turned many gamers away. Most of us only know about EB because of Super Smash Bros. Still, if one sits down to play the game, as unique as it is, there is nothing as random as the soundtrack. Sure, town music may be dull, the pseudo-voices sound bad, the battle music a series of boops and beeps. But, it fits this wacky game to the T and is probably the next best thing about EB besides the script. I highly recommend trying to find the soundtrack and just listening to it, because it's just a whole other experience.

That oh-so-lovable series that consumed all of us. Seriously, it was very kiddy, with trainers catching lots of Pokemon and then beating other trainers for money and fame. The music is best described at kiddy. Even two generations later, the music still has that childish feel. However, it is quite deceptive. Going back to listen to the music, one suddenly realizes that the soundtrack is simplistic, but gets the proper epicness as well. How of many of us loved the Championship Battle song, from RBY, from GSC, from RSE? The music really sets the tone perfectly for this happy, battling world. RSE, the third generation, now with the much better GBA speakers, can do the series much more justice and creates the same memorable songs that we've all heard from the first game. DP will be yet another evolution in the soundtracks.

Megaman music, especially the old NES ones and the SNES ones, are extremely popular and are remixed often. MMZ, although nowhere near as well-known, is just as good, if not better. MMZ games are known to be very difficult games unless one completely memorizes stages and boss patterns. Even then, you need pretty good reflexes and dodging abilities so you don't die in three hits or so. That turned many gamers away from this awesome series. The music by Inticreate just does the job right. Metal and rock fit the series amazingly well. The tunes are perfectly enjoyable in their own right, and blow some of the old MM music plain out of the water. Yes, people, I think Megaman Zero music, especially MMZ4, is better than the classics like Megaman X or Megaman 2 or even the almighty Megaman 3. The ReMastered Remixes Capcom released pretty much enhance the quality to unbelievability. Highly recommended for any Megaman fan.

This game gets so much hate. It wasn't the Chrono Trigger sequel people wanted, and thus gamers found any reason to pick at this game and rip it apart. Indeed, the plot and gameplay may turn gamers away, but the music is the sole reason you should pick this up. The music is very tight, fitting a fairly specific genre and style and just exploiting it for all it's worth. Battle music in this game is extremely memorable and there are classics like Star-Stealing Girl which can rival even the best songs, like Liberi Fatali. Truthfully, although the soundtrack is not as eclectic as CT's, it simply does a much better job at drawing out emotions and invigorating us. You seriously can't tell me that Brink of Death doesn't make you want to pummel that boss.

It's unfortunate that a 2D game released in the 3D era got shafted, especially this classic. However, it happens, and this is the result. Castlevania games are the 4th branch to the Mario/Sonic/Megaman platforming gold genre. SOTN is no different. Perfecting the simple graphics and controls of the 2D platformer, much quality and time was spent on the soundtrack, and it really shows. The music sets the very atmosphere, instilling fear at times, awe at others, and just hardcore monster rocking all the time. The music, besiding being quite atmospheric, also has just enough melody to be worthwhile to listen by itself. This is a game every gamer should play, for the controls, gameplay, and soundtrack.

Sonic the Hedgehog music, like Megaman music, is very popular. Although, Sonic music has changed quite a bit, especially in the 3D incarnations, the Midi style of the 2D platforming has stayed essentially the same. Musical perfection was probably achieved at Sonic CD or Sonic 3&K. This game, though, rivals that supremacy. Sonic Advance 3 pushes the GBA's hardware pretty far and has some of the most memorable songs ever. Chaos Angel may literally be the best Sonic song ever, with Ocean Base and Twinkle Snow not far behind. However, considering the difficulty of the game, length, and genre, Sonic Advance 3 probably only appeals to the most avid Sonic fans. However, the soundtrack is just too good to miss out.

Good old Koji Kondo, with his Funk style Mario Bros music. We all listen to the Overworld theme from SMB or Doki Doki Panic. But how many of us listen to Yoshi's Island? This game feels like a dream. The graphics are playful and the drug references are hilarious *coughFuzzycough*. The original soundtrack works some wonders to make the dream even more surreal. The Athletic song is probably the best one of all the platforming Mario games. And the Castle music can rival all castle/dungeon music from all Koji Kondo games, including the Zelda series' dungeon music. There's a bit of a tropical feel to the game and percussion is used to the fullest on the SNES. Just listen to the World Map music for a few minutes and you'll understand the beauty behind the game.

This is an RPG released around the same time as FF7, which naturally means everyone ignored it. The gameplay could be a bit faster and the controls a lot smoother, but the presentation in general was wonderful. PE is a survival horror game, so the music is going to be creepy, the backgrounds dark, the enemies hideous. The music is very cohesive and sticks with a few recurring themes. Last we saw perfection like this was the lauded Super Mario 64, which pretty much only had remixes of the main themes. PE takes that to the extreme with nearly all songs having the same themes. Add to that operatic singing, primal chanting, and the perfect touch of desolation and fear and we have a masterpiece. Surely beats out FF7 in terms of soundtrack. Now, if we could do something about that gameplay...

You'd be amazed by what an SNES can do. We saw FF6 and Super Metroid just blow us away. And then we get this game. Kirby games are generally not all THAT popular, but the music is almost always done right. Especially in the later games, such as this one, the music is midi style orchestrated, which means it has great sound quality. Plus, it doesn't just sound like an orchestra; the music deserved to be played by an orchestra. This game is the true pinnacle of midi on the SNES. Looking Out for Treasure, Dire Situation, Mechanize, Nova, Marx, Battle Arena, King DeDeDe, classics each. Even the most popular Kirby song, Dreamland from the N64 Smash Bros game, originated from this game, named as First Helping. Seriously, get this game when it comes out on the Virtual Console and be blown away again.

Nobou has got nothing on this game. Motoi Sakuraba, the same composer for the acclaimed Golden Series, created the ultimate soundtrack in this game. Fairly eclectic, the music is generally very intense, bringing out the adrenaline in anyone. However, for a game as depressing as this one, with deaths abound everywhere, the music can calm down perfectly and make us cry our hearts out. I still cry whenever Yumei dies, the music magnifying this already sad event. It should be noted, though, that most of the tunes feel very synthetic, which you definitely wouldn't expect from a game about Norse Gods. However, if you have the opportunity to play the game, the metal, rock, plainchant, techno, orchestra, are all amazing. Basically, imagine Golden Sun, with more genres, better quality of sound, and more emotion. The result is this game. Now, if only you could find a copy that isn't destroyed, or buy a PSP and get the port...good luck doing that.

Not much to say. Music is, all in all, a preference more than anything else. I'm sure my tastes do not match most peoples, and many will disagree with this list. I also can express sympathy with those who wished other games were on this list, like Lufia II, Secret of Evermore, Paper Mario, Gunstar Heroes, or the countless other great soundtracks nobody seems to love. In the end, I recommend these soundtracks more than any other.

List by phoenix85044 (02/26/2007)

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