Soundtracks That Were Better Than Their Games – Vidjagame Apocalypse 293

Headphones are recommended for this week’s show, in which VGMpire’s own Brett Elston rejoins us to help pay tribute to mind-blowing music from unspectacular games. After that, we move on to Just Cause 4, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, Epic’s new game store, the swag you scored during Black Friday, and much more.

Question of the Week:
What’s your favorite lesser-known game-music track? (Include a video/sound link, and we’ll play them as we read them next week!)


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Theme song by Matthew Joseph Payne. Break song is Psycho Soldier by Eikichi Kawasaki and Kaori Shimizu.

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24 thoughts on “Soundtracks That Were Better Than Their Games – Vidjagame Apocalypse 293

  1. QotW: LJN games are infamously considered bad games…BUT many of those games have killer soundtracks! The Nightmare on Elm Street/Friday the 13th games have pretty haunting tunes, all things considered and they fit the atmosphere of the game perfectly. Karate Kid’s OST sets the tone off nicely with its stage specific tunes, that fit the scenes they’re interpreting from the movie. Maximum Carnage has a rocking OST that works with the game! I could go on, but you get the point…(mostly) shit games with awesome music!

    1. I gotta say, nice picks. Whenever I see LJN, I think of the Angry Video Game Nerd’s acronym: Laughing Joking Numbnuts XD
      In all seriousness though, those soundtracks are great. I mean you already know Nightmare on Elm Street is gonna be good when you see that it’s composed by David Wise, and Friday the 13th nails the atmosphere for sure. I haven’t listened to the Karate Kid or Maximum Carnage OST yet, but I sure will now!

    2. did the QotW change? lol…anyway, here’s some music tracks to go with my QotW…cabin from Friday:, that haunting melody, while looking for Jason used to get me tense as a kid cause you never knew when he’d suddenly appear…Maximum Carnage Boss theme:, how rocking is that?! Gets you amped! T&C: Surf Designs had some funk too:

  2. “Sign” from Sword of the Berserk: Guts’ Rage

    This one’s got a bit of backstory. Susumu Hirasawa, composer of such Satoshi Kon works as “Tokyo Godfathers” and “Paprika”, is also quite well-known for his work on the 1997 anime adaptation of Berserk. Tracks like “Forces” and “Guts” are well-known by the manga and anime’s fandom. However, he also did work on the Dreamcast and PS2 Berserk games, of which only the Dreamcast game saw international release.

    Spoiler: neither game is particularly good, but Hirasawa fucking knocked it out of the park with the soundtrack of both games. “Sign” is often considered his best composition, and was even remixed for the 2016 CGI adaptation of Berserk. That’s right: this is a game track that transcended its roots and became an official song for the anime.

    1. P.S. The track is lesser-known among fans of video game music. The track itself is extremely popular among fans of Berserk.

    2. I love Berserk and VGM, so how have I never heard this before??? This is so dope, it does remind me of “Forces” as well as numerous other tracks from RPGs that feature chanting/choir singing. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Deadly Premonition: the whole soundtrack is for a game that’s made fits nicely in a bag of dicks.
    I really wanted to see the end of this game but the driving sections and real life time-wasting moments made this game unbearable to play. But goddamn that soundtrack. This ALWAYS reminded me of Super Mario World, and you’ll see why when you hear it Always reminded me of Classical Gas

  4. Hey VGA! I know it’s been a while since I last posted; I’ve been really busy with school and work lately as this semester comes to a close. I just finished my last final exam yesterday though so now I’m ready for Winter Break! HYPE!!

    Now as for this QOTW, I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of VGM (perhaps not to the extent that Brett is though haha) so it’s tough for me to pick a single answer for this question, but I’ve narrowed it down to two tracks; one that is from a more obscure game and one that I enjoy more and still feel is often overlooked. The more obscure one is the track “Morning” from the game Grounseed for the PC-9800. Here’s a YouTube link:

    The other track is “Boy Oh Boy” from the game Lisa: the Painful. This track so quirky and silly, especially in the context of the game; I love it. It feels like the track is saying, “Everything is not alright and is not going to be alright anytime soon. But you know what? That’s OK.”

    That’s it, thanks guys and have an awesome week!!!

  5. As part of a game that’s not likely to be played by as many people as should play, since it’s on PSVR, Astrobot Rescue has some groovy music, like a mix of Ape Escape and Jet Set Radio.

  6. If you’ve heard any music from Gimmick (or Mr. Gimmick?), it’s probably the bangin’ intro track Good Morning, but that’s not what I’m talking about this time. No, you need to wrap your ears around the track Sophia. It’s got this otherworldly bounce to it that’s hard to describe. Makes you feel like slow motion head banging on a cloud or something. This whole soundtrack is rad as fuck, check it out.

  7. The Swapper. It’s an atmospheric indie puzzle game with incredible (literally!) handcrafted visuals about cloning and consciousness. Its subdued piano soundtrack is a large part of what makes the atmosphere. The soundtrack isn’t creepy or scary, more sad, which fits its unsettling subject matter.

    The swapper is a really great whole (though the story is a bit confusing) and I wish more people knew about it, since the actual puzzles are also quite nicely engineered and its difficulty feels just right.

    The Swapper – Recreation is my absolute favourite piano piece in games (beating out some good ones like to the moon/for river) and I have secretly been hoping it would be featured in a VGMpire episode. I still listen to it occasionally when the mood strikes.

  8. One of my favorite lesser known game tracks is Sphagnum from Sin & Punishment: Star Successor on the Wii. The game’s soundtrack generally mixes an orchestra with techno beats and this track is my favorite example of that mix.

  9. I’m tempted to just say “everything Falcom has ever released,” but I’ll limit it to Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. This series (there are three Trails in the Sky games) is sadly not particularly well known, but it’s a Falcom game. Amazing music is basically a given. Anyway, this is the battle music for regular enemies:

  10. I’m gonna pick a theme for this post and that theme shall be fighting games. Why? Cause FIGHT ME! That’s why.

    Both of these games fall into the category of good soundtrack bad game sooooo bonus?

    The street fighter ex games rank among the weakest in the series but some of the character themes equal, dare I say, surpass their predecessors. Such is the case with chun-li’s theme spinning bird. It emphasizes the badass lady of the law element of the character and casts her in a heroic light. Where as all her sf2 theme does is let you know she’s from china.

    Kakuto Chojin carries with it a degree of infamy. Both for being a bad game and for some other controversy regarding one of the character themes. ( the character theme for Asad had Quran versus being chanted. The altered the song later on ) Luckily I won’t be using that theme. (Don’t mind the time code it just skips you past the build up theme. Each character’s stage has one which plays be default till one of the characters lands the first hit. Landing the first hit causes that characters primary theme to play.) This is the theme for Rena. A japanese capoeirista entering the fighting tournament to escape her shitty crime boss father.

  11. Not a bad game, more of a cult classic, Phantom Dust on the OG Xbox had a soundtrack that felt like ambient era Brian Eno and industrial noise Aphex Twin were put in a blender and poured over someone’s vinyl soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange.

    If you’re not familiar with the game itself it was half Magic The gathering, half arena battle like Powerstone where you created decks of weapons and abilities and fought in destructable environments, fighting random nasties or other players. Already a pretty niche combo, but being exclusive to Japan for 6 months hurt its chances or a wider audience.

    Generally it was the OST I’d put on if I wanted to have just a really bad time. Some tracks had no discernable structure and at least one consisted of almost 3 full minutes of children screaming. It was like picking at a scab, oddly, pleasurable but really bad for your health. But it worked in cementing that very alien feel of the world and its inhabitants.

    But there were a few gems in there, notably ones that played up to my love of classical music recreated on old-timey synths like they used to do in sci-fi movies back in the 60s.

    My favourite was the music which 0layed while you set up your arsenal, linked below.

  12. Bethesda lies about the quality of the product they’re selling, and Matt and Chris respond by defending the lie, bashing the people who were lied to, and making a point about homeless people that makes no sense. Big corporations have trained you well. Never complain about any product’s quality, because homeless people would love to have them!

    Great episode other than that!

  13. One reason I know we got shafted with the Plastation Classic is the fact that the Japanese release has Saga Frontier and the US doesn’t.
    Saga Frontier? Isn’t that a sup par turn based rpg that is notoriously known for using the same areas for every characters scenario? Fro all 7 characters?!
    Yes and as meh as the game itself is 2 things for make it godlike to me:

    1) the combat systems- there were Disgaea like combos in that game

    2) To me, no exaggaration, no rpg music since has gone this hard. every battle theme is amazing and there’s even an album with just those. The enviromental themes are varied and extremely catchy. And best of all the super sentai inspired character has his own triumphant theme music. I wish games not matter how bad could at least be recognized when the music is exceptional more often.

    composer: Kenji Ito

    Battle 4

    Baccarat (Casino)

    Alkaiser (super sentai)

  14. QOTW
    I’ll take any chance I can to bring it up: Brave Fencer Musashi. It doesn’t fit the idea of a bad game with a good soundtrack, coz I think it’s a fantastic game, but nonetheless the music is quintessential 90s Square Enix goodness. The main theme is one of my all time favorite game tracks, while the rest of the score fits in so well with the adventures you go on throughout the game

  15. I’m not sure that is exactly lesser-known, but Big Blue from F-Zero, more specifically the version in Smash Bros. Melee. Back when I used to run, I had this in my running playlist. This and the Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out theme would always get me extra pumped for a big hill. I really like remixes of these songs and others done by fans. The one I’m linking here is a version I really, a heavy metal cover by an artist I found on YouTube, RichaadEB:

  16. The Metal Gear series is hardly obscure, but the music in those games is near-perfect. From the badass theme that plays during boss fights in MGS1 to the theme to Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker to the James Bond riffing “Snake Eater” from MGS3, the music in those games manages to perfectly encapsulate everything that the series stands for: a bombastic blend of orchestra and synth for boss fights, a feeling of epic finality for the continuation of Big Boss’s story, or a campy, self-awareness of the spy movie aesthetic.

    Encounter –
    Peacewalker –
    Snake Eater –

  17. Hopefully I’m not too late, but I’ve always really enjoyed the soundtrack for Medal of Honor on Playstation 1. Despite having incredibly outdated graphics, the soundtrack for this game holds up incredibly well. It was insanely good and definitely helped add to the atmosphere of feeling like you really were kicking Nazi ass.

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