Many of my Top 100 picks are level themes…so much that just picking five of them would be difficult. So I’m just going to gush about five that are tickling my fancy today and cover more in the future.
Castlevania – Wicked Child (NES, Konami, Kinuyo Yamashita)
This here is my jam. One of my absolute favorite VGMs of all time. “Wicked Child” encapsulates the stage it’s from beautifully, with the erratic fleamen and ravens and wayward bones seemingly in step with the composition. And it’s just exemplary for the time. LOVE IT.
Mega Man 6 – Flame Man (NES, Capcom, Yuko Takehara)
I think the MM6 soundtrack is a little underrated — Takehara did a sensational job with her spin on the franchise, and Flame Man’s theme is the epitome of her soundtrack. Again, perfect for the stage and a wondrous example of late NES chiptune.
Blast Corps – Angel City (N64, Rare, Graeme Norgate)
This is in a few stages, but the urgency of this guitar-heavy thrasher is another fantastic sample of a track matches its gameplay — you feel the tension of that runaway nuclear missile as this blasts in the background. Rare arguably was the best at wringing great music out of the N64, and this is evidence why.
Celeste – First Steps (Multi, Matt Makes Games, Lena Raine)
It was difficult to narrow down Celeste’s soundtrack to one song, but I feel “First Steps” does so much right introducing a sense of wonder and determination right off the bat with its delicate medley of piano and chiptune. It works so well in establishing Madeline’s story.
A Boy and his Blob (Wii) – Forest (Multi, WayForward, Daniel Sadowski)
Finally, we come to the mellowest tune this go-around, but one that once again embodies the stage backdrop it represents. I feel like I’m in a forest environment on an adventure! Perfect!