We all love a good soundtrack whether it be from cinema, television, theatre or video games. A soundtrack can do so much for a game, building atmosphere and help creating memories. The key to a great soundtrack for me is one that whenever you hear it, it takes you straight back to playing the game. With those memories you get a rush of nostalgia and if you’re like me, a strong desire to go back and play those games again.
Everyone knows classic game soundtracks such as Mario and Sonic, but here are five different game soundtracks (that you still hopefully remember) that I’ve been humming since their release:
Age of Empires 3
Released in October 2005, Age of Empires III is a real-time strategy video game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. As the name suggests it is the third game of the Age of Empires series and the sequel to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.
During the European colonization of the Americas, between approximately 1492 and 1850 AD, the single player campaign the story follows the fictional Black family through three acts, which divide the story arc into three generations. While in the multiplayer mode the players choose from eight European civilizations to play as. Such as France, England, Spain and Germany.
I’ve been a big fan of the Age of Empires franchise for a long time. Going all the way back to the Age of Empires 1 demo in fact. That demo was fantastic! My friends and I have put in so many hours into multiplayer in Age 3. We use to go around to each others houses, bringing our laptops, and play game after game of 4V4 all day. Sure the lag was horrendous but it was still so much fun.
The music throughout is brilliant, of that the is no doubt. I actually had a hard time selecting which track I would use as an example for this article because I enjoy so many of them. I may have accidentally gone down a rabbit hole of listening to them all one by one for a while.
Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven
Mafia is a third-person shooter video game developed by then Illusion Softworks, now 2K Czech and published by Gathering. Originally released for PC in 2002 Mafia was later ported to the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox consoles in 2004. You play as Tommy Angelo and follow his steps in the world of organised crime.
Mafia received positive reviews with critics and players alike praising the game for its realism in comparison to the over the top and often ridiculous Grand Theft Auto games. A sequel, Mafia II, was released in 2010 and once again had a fantastic soundtrack. With a third game, Mafia III, scheduled for 2016 I think it’s fair to assume that will also feature some excellent music.
As the game is set in the 1930’s the soundtrack is obviously packed full of classic tunes, really adding to your immersion for the setting as well as just being awesome songs in general. The track below however is used for the opening credits sequence and might just be one of my favourite pieces of music ever written, let alone for a game.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Despite it’s name the 2003 video game, Pirates of the Caribbean, has few connections to the film franchise. Developed under the name Sea Dogs II it was to be the sequel to Sea Dogs, which was released in 2000. Aside from the presence of the Black Pearl and a opening and ending voice over by actress Keira Knightly, this is essentially just a pirate game licensed under the title to sell more copies. It worked, after all that’s why I bought it.
You play as Captain Nathaniel Hawk and sale around the Caribbean picking up quests during the 17th Century. The game features gameplay that takes place both on land and at sea, and allows the player to upgrade their character by earning skill points and gain new abilities. The player can buy new ships, recruit a crew for them and hire officers. Officers will follow Hawk on his quests and help him in hand to hand combat when on land.
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of my favourite games of all time. I know it’s an odd choice, but this is definitely a top 5 game of all time for me. I was a huge fan of the original film and had developed quite a love for the genre when I found this game. I played this game so much after I bought it. I use to take the manual to school to read up on it and would race home to play it as soon as possible. The sea battles were awesome and the quests were fun. I loved it. I remember the music just being stuck in my head for months and months during this spell and I still whistle the main tracks to this day.
As the first of two World War 2 first-person shooters on my list comes 2002’s Battlefield 1942. Developed by Swedish company Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts for PC.
The music which is brilliant throughout was composed by Joel Ericksson, who has written music for six of the Battlefield franchise. The 1942 soundtrack introduced the Battlefield Theme which would be used throughout the franchise. The original used large and majestic fanfares. The overall feel of the music would be kept but updated to suit the timeline for future installments. His music sets a tone for the whole game and really gets you in the mood once you hear the iconic opening round.
Twenty Three tracks were created to be apart of the original score. However of the twenty three tracks, only seven made it to the final game; the remainder were made public with the score’s release.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault
And finally last, but not least!
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault is a 2002 first-person shooter developed by 2015, Inc and published by EA Games for Microsoft Windows. Allied Assault was not only a fantastic single player game, but an amazing online multiplayer experience as well. Remember when first-person shooters used to have actually campaigns that lasted more than a cup of coffee? Good times. I’m pretty sure this was my first time playing an online multiplayer shooter, or at least its the first I remember, and it was so much fun to play. I can’t even count the amount of hours I sunk into this game.