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The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Joel’s Top 10 Video Game Songs

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Music is a powerful tool; it’s something that can speak to everyone. When it comes to video games, a game is only as good as the music to accompany it. Good video games take their music and use it to further immerse the player in the experience. This is my list of the top ten video game songs ever, in no particular order.

  1. Lights, Camera, Action! Studiopolis Act 1 – Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania was a breath of fresh air for the series. After consistently releasing awful games, Sega (the publisher of Sonic the Hedgehog games) decided to return to the series’ roots for some classic 2-D platforming. Along with excellent gameplay among remastered levels from the early Sonic games, new levels were also added to spice things up. Among these new levels was Studiopolis, a city themed after movie studios in the golden age of cinema. Upon entering the level, you’re greeted with a long stretch of road as the music begins to play. Upon running down the road and up towards the city, the music, which at this point was just a few beats and a drum, echoes in your ear:




Suddenly, you’ve entered the city as the music picks up to accommodate your arrival. The piano is the star of the show here. It has aspects of something you’d expect to hear from that time period, but accompanied with other instruments it also has the flare of a high speed run around a movie studio. The music itself captivates everything great about the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It isn’t about telling bleak stories with obnoxious characters and awful level design. It’s about running fast through expertly themed worlds as you find your own unique path towards the exit. Not only is the song something I’d unironically listen to, it also encapsulates the best parts about the series.

  1. One Winged Angel – Final Fantasy VII

Fear. It’s something that we all feel at times, yet something that differs depending on the person. You fought through thick and thin, spending countless hours traveling the world as you’re being hunted. After many hardships, you finally defeat JENOVA, the alien threatening the world. You’ve done it. You beat Final Fantasy VII. The screen fades to black. You prepare for the ending cutscene to play, but all you hear is the sound of a drum being repeatedly hit. And there it is …


The screen lights back up and you’re staring at the one thing that has haunted you since you started on your journey: Sephiroth. The music begins to intensify as you’re forced to confront the true final boss. The track to accompany this fight does everything it needs to do. It instills a sense of dread onto you, the player. What’s worse is that once you think things can’t get any worse, a chorus begins to chant the name “Sephiroth” as he’s mowing through your team. What I really enjoy about this song is that it moves away from the exciting music that final bosses are known for. Instead of a track that screams “It may look tough but we can prevail,” this track just straight up screams “lol you’re gonna die.” In my opinion however, it just makes victory even sweeter. A terrifyingly excellent song for a terrifyingly excellent villain. 

  1. Jump Up, Super Star! – Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is one of my favorite games on the Switch. The movement and worlds to explore cause it to be one of the best 3-D platformers ever made. This game was ambitious, and the song to accompany it reflects that. I remember the first time I heard this song in the trailer, I was blown away. A vocal track in a main-series Mario game was unexpected, to say the least. Here is this jazzy, exciting song about exploring new worlds with a character you’re familiar with. Additionally, I think that this song is used perfectly in the game. If you listen closely, you can hear callbacks to Mario’s past. For example, sounds from the original Donkey Kong arcade game can be heard right before the second verse. Couple this with gameplay that mimics Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and you’re in for a treat. Running around New Donk City as classic Mario during a festival with this song playing is bound to be a memorable experience for anyone who grew up with Mario.

  1. I Believe – Persona 5 Royal

How do you top a 10/10 song? That was my question when I first started playing Persona 5 Royal. I didn’t think that this song would stand as a replacement for Life Will Change, which was originally my favorite song from the game. However, once I heard those first few chords, I knew I was in for a treat. I Believe takes inspiration from other songs within the game in order to give a grand finale to an already amazing experience. Combine that with lyrics that reinforce the overall journey that the heroes take, and you’ve got yourself one of the best video game songs ever. What makes this song a blast is that it plays at the end of the game, a game that takes a normal gamer roughly 100 hours to complete. You’ve been on this adventure for a long time. You’ve grown acquainted with the characters and themes being presented. You are prepared to fight for what’s right, even if you know it’ll be hard. Then, this song begins playing as you climb the stairs to confront the final boss, and your resolve is never stronger. The memories and hopes of your journey are reinforced as the finale draws near. It’s a surreal moment, one that I’ll never forget.

  1. Lost Woods – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Okay I’ll be honest here: this is on the list mostly because of nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong, the song itself is still great, but it’s my experience playing the game that really made me enjoy it. A lot of my childhood was spent by listening to the tracks from this game, with this song at the top. I couldn’t tell you why, I just really liked the way it sounded. Even now, I’ll go back and listen to it because I still like how it sounds. Sometimes, you can’t really put into words or explain why you like something, you just know that you do.

  1. Tomorrow is Mine – Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta’s main lyrical songs tend to revolve around the notion of the moon. That is true for all three games. However, each game also features lyrical songs that more so revolve around Bayonetta as a character and the narrative being told. Tomorrow is Mine is one of those songs. Since this song is featured in the second game, players are already established with who the character of Bayonetta is (assuming they didn’t skip the first game). The lyrics in this song reflect the growth of Bayonetta as a character, alongside the journey she is on. She has become more confident in herself largely due to her newfound friendship with Jeanne and Luka, two people she met in her first adventure (not that she wasn’t confident beforehand). The lyrics of this song are from Bayonetta’s perspective, as she boasts about her strength. This is not only a great song to get the player ready to fight, it also serves as a way to show where Bayonetta as a character is in that particular moment. When she goes on her rescue mission to save Jeanne, having this song play during fights tells us that Bayonetta has a goal to save her friend, and she will meet that goal by any means necessary. It’s an excellent way to remind the player that this version of the character is thanks to the actions in the first game. 

  1. Driftveil City – Pokémon Black and Pokémon White

Again, this pick was mostly due to nostalgia. Out of the entire soundtrack, this song resonated with me the most. My eight-year-old mind was blown when I first stepped into Driftveil City. I vividly remember just standing at the end of the bridge that leads into the city just so that I could hear this playing through the tiny DS Lite speakers. In terms of the song itself, I can’t really explain why but it fits with the city’s theme pretty well. A city that’s run by a mining corporation that sits next to a cold storage area which is being used by an evil team just screams this song. All those hours I spent in my childhood running around the city just so I could hear this song play is a memory I won’t soon forget.

  1. High-Noon Hoopla – Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

What I like about this song is its sheer absurdity. You’re playing as a cup, piloting an aircraft, all while fighting a giant cow. I think that, in all of Cuphead’s boss fights, this song complements the visuals the best. It’s just so goofy, but alongside it there’s an immaculate sense of worry. The game looks childish and cartoony on the outside, but that coat hides an unforgiving gauntlet of boss battles and levels. It’s much like this song, as it initially sounds very upbeat and exciting. However, the more you listen you realize that it sounds as if the silliness is covering a more terrifying string of chords. I think that, in all the songs in the game, this one does it the best. Not only that, but this boss battle is my favorite so that makes me a little biased.

  1. Gusty Garden Galaxy – Super Mario Galaxy

Okay … more nostalgia. But this is the last time, I promise! Super Mario Galaxy is breathtaking every time I play it. Blasting from planet to planet as you explore an entire galaxy is so much fun. I remember coming home from school every day just so I could boot up my Wii and play this game while neglecting my homework. It’s the first game I ever 100% completed, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Now, that trip down memory lane also includes the music. I think that Nintendo really hit it out of the park with the songs in this game. Every single song fits so well and invokes the exact feelings that are appropriate for that specific moment. Out of all the songs though, I believe that Gusty Garden Galaxy stands above the rest. There’s something magical about it that just makes it feel exceptional. As you glide from planets using flowers, it reminds you that there’s so much to explore, and the entire galaxy is at your fingertips. That entire sequence, from 1:25 to 1:52 is one of the best I’ve ever heard in a game. It’s so good that even Nintendo still uses it in their games even after the fact. Heck, even Super Smash Bros. didn’t feel the need to remix it (as they often do for these types of songs). Every time those trumpets intensify I know I’ll be in for a treat. A nostalgia trip that reminds me just how much there is to do in the world around me.

  1. Heaven – Persona 4

This will spoil a surprising dungeon of Persona 4, so if you want to experience it yourself, I’d recommend that you stop reading here. Heaven is one of those songs that I feel like most people can relate to. It plays as you explore the world created by the mind of Nanako, that main character’s cousin. The world of her creation is modeled after Heaven, which shares the name of the song. It’s the lyrics of this particular song that cause me to find it utterly beautiful. They’re from the perspective of Nanako, as she longs for her deceased mother. It’s almost as if you’re constantly hearing Nanako’s thoughts and desires as you run around her world. Just take a look at the first few lines:

“Can’t get my mind out of those memories

Now time to tell them ‘don’t take my dream’

Still music keeps on turning me from the words that hurt my soul

Removing doubts from my mind”

It’s as if Nanako is stuck in the past, unable to move on from her mother’s passing. We hear throughout the game how Nanako’s mother played the piano, hence why Nanako feels as though music is able to make her feel as if her mother is still with her. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least. What I really like about this song however is its practicality. In life, we are all faced with our pasts. There are moments in our lives that many of us still long for, wishing we could go back to simpler times. Some are like Nanako, wishing they could have more time with a loved one, or maybe some long for something else. Regardless, I think this song wonderfully encapsulates that very essence of missing those times we were happy. I also think that this song does an excellent job of telling us that, even though it’s okay to miss our past, we have to eventually accept that it’s over. We can’t ever go back to the way things were, even if we try to pretend. It only causes more suffering when we ignore our present to reach for a lost past. I implore you to think about this song, even outside the context of Persona 4. It truly does a spectacular job of relating to a wide variety of experiences.

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