Well I have been lagging on coming up with a new soundtrack to do, so I decided to go with my idea of making a top list of epic tracks. One of my favorite things about making this list was seeing how varied each track was from system to system and game to series.
Top Epic Tracks
Once again I bring you an odd number of songs with my top 17 epic songs. What I wanted to display in this list is songs that have the “epic” feel to them of something huge and momentous. Not all the songs are slow with a killer chorus section or fast with some shredding guitar, instead I wanted to balance it out to show that you can find an epic song just about anywhere.
(This list is not in a necessarily particular order)
17. Swift Horse – Shadow of the Colossus – Koh Otani
The first track up is none other than “Swift Horse”, one of my all time favorite songs because it’s this heart stopping orchestral number that has the ability to charge you up no matter what. Not to mention it’s a more modern piece where a full orchestra was used instead of adding in an electric guitar (not that there’s anything wrong with that) It’s just nice to see some diversity.
16. Gang-Plank Galleon – Donkey Kong Country – David Wise
So you’ve been playing through the game, collecting bananas and listening to ambient jungle music – but now the heat is on. The final showdown with K Rool is here and suddenly flying crocodiles with capes and shred become one.
15. Ending – Dragon Spirit – Rich Kiyosi
Here we’re going to slow things down as we go to Dragon Spirit: The New Legend. This game saw an arcade release and NES port, but the arcade music stands out much stronger (as you can hear here). Not only do I find this ending simple and epic, I would easily also place it on my top endings list.
(50 seconds in)
14. The Price of Freedom – Final Fantasy Crisis Core – Takeharu Ishimoto
Here’s a track late off of the Final Fantasy bandwagon, not composed by Nobuo Uematsu (or Hitoshi Sakimoto), and still kicks butt. I especially like the fact that there’s a blend of acoustic and electric guitar. It reminds me of “Regret Not” by All That Remains.
13. Lance & Red Battle Theme – Pokemon Gold & Silver – Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda
This game seems to have faded out of the franchise now that Nintendo is up to Platinum, but Japan is soon to see a rerelease of these games dubbed “Heart & Soul”. Hopefully they make it to America because I believe that this was the best game and it easily had the best music out of the series.
12. Title (intro) – Legend of Zelda ~ Twilight Princess – Koji Kondo, Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta.
This song is a remake of the Zelda them with only a full chorus and towards the end a string section. There’s just something about the harmonies but I think this is one of the most epic tracks out of the soundtrack, especially as it finishes with the wolf call. I’m not sure if the SFX add to or take away from it.
11. Scars of Time – Chrono Cross – Yasunori Mitsuda
Of course I couldn’t pass up the Chrono series without at least one track and I think this one is the clear winner. The driving violins and flute make this an incredibly intense song to listen to. My favorite part is the “slow motion” break down in the middle with the strings. (You’ll hear it when you get there)
10. Fear of the Heavens – Secret of Mana – Hiroki Kikuta
No matter how many times I listen to this track it always has this powerful, haunting tone to it; with it’s echoing piano and light strings. There are some darker songs on the soundtrack, but I just don’t think they quite have this atmosphere.
9.Title Theme – After Burner III (Final Take Off) – S. S. T. Band
The Sega CD is riddled with bad games, but when it has a good game… well it’s freaking awesome, and After Burner III is one hell of a game. This is the third transformation of the original theme.
8. One Winged Angel – Final Fantasy VII – Nobuo Uematsu
Well I had to throw this track out sooner or later. Not only is it a blend of epic elements, it features multiple notorious sections. Uematsu seems to not be satisfied with using just a few epic elements such as a choru and strings… No, he’s going to throw in heavy drums, electric guitar, and the works. The best part is that Uematsu said the intro to the song was inspired by “Purple Haze”
7. Chaosium Sword – Ninja Gaiden II ~ Dark Sword of Chaos – Shitamachi Kajiya, Mayu
One again Ninja Gaiden has a team of two composers that seem to appear out of nowhere, write a rediculously epic song, and then fade back into the shadows. I can vouch for the fact that I haven’t seen them since, the song you’ll have to listen to…
6. The Cable Car – Cold Winter – Mark Willot
Now were getting into the final five and the tracks get even more heart pounding. Cold Winter is a soundtrack that I think really went under the radar, probably because it was an OK shooter for the PS2 when franchises like 007 do so well, but in any event Willot should have his day. Normally a TV/Movie composer, Willot stepped in to blend those elements you would find in a CSI show, a Jason Borne movie, and one hell of a spy VGM OST. The piano in this is it.
5. Doomsday – Sonic 3 & Knucles – Sonic Team
Sonic the Hedgehog has always had excellent music. Even though many of the boss themes are not my favorite, they all have an epic feel to them, but this game pulls out all the stops.
4. Master Ninja Theme (Stage Version) – Ninja Gaiden – More Yamasan, B. Hasake
Well believe it or not I have three tracks from this game for you. There’s just something about this game that is timeless. The soundtrack , in my mind, is always probably going to be one of the greatest ever made. It has so many powerful tracks that were made from 4 NES sound channels, when today composer have as many as they want. This one in particular is an awesome driving ballad (that you’re going to need to make it through level 6-)
3. Premonition – Ninja Gaiden – More Yamasan, B. Hasake
This music fits the scene pretty well, in this particular spot you are forced to fight your father who is possessed by a demon mask that has been forced upon him. I think I’ve given you the general idea..
2.Fight on the Rooftops – Cold Winter – Mark Willot
We return to Cold Winter one more time to hear one of the most epic tracks of all time, particularly in modern game music. Not only is the intro chorus gripping, but when it is later blended with the percussion it’s breathtaking.
Fight on the Rooftops
1.Seeking Truth – Ninja Gaiden – More Yamasan, B. Hasake
I’m closing this list with a track that has been a longtime favorite of mine: “Seeking Truth”. Not only does the name set the scene, but the track itself is incredibly driving for how simple it is: a basic bass line, a top guitar riff, and some percussion.