Greetings all and welcome to the first edition of what I hope will be a regular series, Nerd Tunes. The point of this little endeavor is to showcase awesome music related to, or featured in video games, anime, and just about anything else in so called “nerd culture”.
For my first outing I wanted to focus on some of my favorite pieces of music from games for the PlayStation 2 console. I have limited myself to 10 entries for this selection, because if not I could have kept going on for who knows how long. They are not in a particular order, and I do not consider this list to represent the absolute greatest music the PS2 has to offer, only some of my personal favorites.
So without further nonsense, let’s get to the music.
#1 Okami “Reset ~ (“Thank You” Version)”
Composer: Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Let me start by saying I love Okami. I loved it so much I bought it for three different consoles. I played it first on PS2 though so it get’s to be on this list. If you enjoy The Legend of Zelda, if you enjoy things related to Japan, or if you just enjoy good games you owe it to yourself to play this one. As far as the music goes, it is all around excellent, there are several stand out tracks. This one plays near the final battle of the game during a rather emotional set of scenes.
#2 Suikoden III “Exceeding Love”
Performed By: Himekami
An amazing game in an unappreciated franchise. Not my favorite Suikoden game, but one of my favorite PS2 games of all time. The Suikoden series represents JRPGs at their finest, and that includes the music. This particular track is from the intro to Suikoden III. It sounds like something typical of an anime, and that is probably why I like it so much. It doesn’t hurt that the intro it is tied to is also done in anime style.
#3 Soul Calibur III “The New Legend”
Composer: Junichi Nakatsuru
Soul Calibur is arguably my favorite fighting franchise. At the very least it greatly appeals to the nostalgic part of me, and is very dear to my heart. The third entry in the franchise landed exclusively on the PlayStation 2, and so it has a spot on this list. My favorite character is in fact Mitsurugi, as far as the soundtrack goes though I had to go with Kilik’s them. It was actually a hard choice because there are several memorable tracks here, but in the end it was this one that won me over.
#4 Ace Combat 4 “Megalith -Agnus Dei-”
Composer: Keiki Kobayashi
I got this game as a gift from my best friend for my 14th birthday, and I instantly loved it. Ace Combat games generally have solid soundtracks, and this one was no exception. This track plays during the final stage in the game, which in typical Ace Combat fashion involves a giant fortress set-piece that you must fly inside of to destroy. This music is a perfect fit for the battle, being truly epic.
#5 Tekken 5 “Sparking!”
Performed By: Tom Leonard and Jeff Pescetto
This little vocal piece plays during the second half of the intro to this game. It’s kinda cheesy, but the intro it’s paired with is amazing, which helped to endure it to me. The rest of the soundtrack is good too. In researching this I learned that a ridiculous number of different composers contributed to it. Over all worth checking out though.
#6 Dynasty Warriors 4 “Opening”
Composer: Yasuhiro Misawa
I know these games aren’t for everyone, but I really like the Warriors franchise. This track is intense, the percussion and guitar set the stage for the the epic battles you will face in the game. The game has some other really good tracks, such as “Cross Colors”, but this one is ingrained into my memory so intensely that it was the obvious choice.
#7 Disgaea 2 “White Tiger”
Composer: Tenpei Sato
Axel is my favorite character in Disgaea 2. I guess I identify with his pathetic attempts to be relevant. The guy is undeniably stylish though, and his theme is one of the highlights of the game. His character growth throughout the story is strong and the moments that feature him range from hilarious to inspirational. This track frequently shows up in my playlists and I readily recommend it as one of my all time favorites.
#8 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater “Snake Eater”
Performed By: Cynthia Harrell
This was such a difficult choice. I could have filled a list with just Metal Gear music if I let myself, and in a future edition of Nerd Tunes I might just do that. As awesome as this song is, to be completely honest I hated it the first time I heard it. When I booted up MGS3 I expected to hear the familiar MGS theme, and this was not it. Over the years it grew on me though. These days I include it among my favorite tracks.
#9 Persona 4 “A Corner of Memories“
Composer: Shoji Meguro
I played through this game twice, once on the PS2 and then again on the Vita. The Shin Megami Tensei franchise is one of my all time favorites. The soundtracks for them are always a pleasure to listen to. I wish I could have just selected the entire OST as my choice, every track from this game is awesome. I picked this one based on the fact that hearing it instantly makes me want to play the game again.
#10 Final Fantasy X “Seymour Battle”
Composer: Nobuo Uematsu
I really tried to get through this list without a Final Fantasy game, I swear I did. As with most games in the series, the soundtrack for the tenth game is amazing. Several tracks standout above the rest though, and after careful consideration I selected the music that plays when you battle the insidious Seymour.
That’s all folks. If I didn’t include something you think I should have keep in mind these are based on my personal taste, and I could have easily expanded this list form 10 to 100 and still not have done it full justice.
I had a lot of fun putting this together though and I am already juggling ideas for the next edition of Nerd Tunes. Until then, be sure to check out the rest of The Nerd Stash for other awesome articles.
Brian Cowan loves playing video games, football, Magic, and pretty much anything else that he can use as an excuse to waste time. When he is not doing the above or working, he is usually writing or reading.