There’s a lot of cool stuff on the horizon at the moment for us gamers. With E3 now only a month away, we are all getting psyched up for more information on the coming generation of hardware and relevant titles. In all this excitement it’s easy to forget our rich gaming heritage, and the soundtracks of said games are never really remembered at the best of times. In favour of the overlooked elements of the last decade of gaming, here’s a list of the top ten gaming soundtracks from 2000-2009.
10. Metroid Prime
Metroid Prime was an impressive franchise revival on all fronts. It successfully ported everything we know and love about the Metroid franchise to the third dimension, all whilst retaining the series’ classic overtones of isolation and solitude. The soundtrack was no exception, and Metroid Prime is an interesting entry on this list for its exceptionally minimalist nature. Though many soundtracks hold no punches, Metroid Prime was a more effecting score in its sparsity.
9. Zelda: Twilight Princess
What would a soundtrack list be without a Zelda game? Any of the Zelda soundtracks of the noughties could have made this list, but Twilight Princess is arguably the most deserving of praise. With Twilight Princess being the first console Zelda to include a more realistic aesthetic (not meaning to knock The Wind Waker) since the N64 days, the higher quality audio available to the Wii and Gamecube made the score truly stand out. There really isn’t much you can do wrong with the standard Hyrule theme.
Another soundtrack that is just as notable for when it isn’t playing as for when it is. Ico painted a beautiful landscape and told a simple but touching story that were perfectly complemented by the unique timbres in the background music. It’s also notable for giving stringed instruments some serious love, with a main theme mildly influenced by the beautiful tunes of Simon and Garfunkel. A unique and engaging soundtrack to be sure. Though some prefer Shadow of the Collosus, Ico was here first, and its music was more impacting as a result.
7. Final Fantasy 10
Of all the Final Fantasy games that came out between 2000 and 2009, FF10 gets the winning vote in terms of its score. Having just missed the brilliantly orchestrated soundtrack to FF13, the criteria for this list leaves the varied brilliance of FF10’s music as the only contender within the series. Number 9 could’ve been an equally good shout but, with its blatantly self-referential nature, it lacked the diversity and innovations of 10’s score. Who cares if the distorted guitars sound out of place? They still sound damn cool.
6. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Here we have an entrant who’s farcical melodic references earn it some proper credit. With a game as littered with allusions to sixties culture as Metal Gear Solid 3, it’s only appropriate that its music would do the same. And that it does. The classic MGS tunes you know and love got a new lease of life with a twist of standard Spy fiction melodies and timbres. What was more noticeable was the game’s theme song that sounded like something ripped straight from the intro of a James Bond movie. Classic stuff.