Best game music: seven great RPG melodies

Tear-jerkers and heart-pounders from the annals of history

Selecting the winners for last week's Greatest Video Game Music #2 giveaway (if you're among them, you'll receive a PM shortly), I find myself succumbing to a familiar urge. Yes, there is no other way. I will, I must put together another round-up of Youtube embeds.

This one's dedicated to role-playing games, and as always I've no doubt you can expand the list. For more audible brilliance, check out our 10 game tunes the snobs won't see (or more aptly, hear) coming and vanilla collection of incredible soundtracks.

1. Dragon's Dogma Main Theme
Perhaps it's just the sugar speaking, but I can't listen to Dragon's Dogma's ultra-cheesy, orchestral-going-on-J-rock theme without giggling enthusiastically. People are going to disagree, on account of all the goshdarned "taste" clogging up their earholes. Screw those people! In the words of the lyricist: "I'm breathing life or death, are we making progress?"

2. Time's Scar - Chrono Cross
A great recommendation from ConVito, not least because it's the only part of Chrono Cross I got to hear after trying and failing and trying and failing to get an import version of the game working on my chipped PS1. Square's JRPG compositions tend to skew towards either the thuddingly bombastic or the sappingly wistful, so it's nice to come across something that manages to be both.

3. Fable 3 Main Theme
While other people were busy lamenting the Fable franchise's slow decline, O5nknort was whiling away the hours with the third game's many-hued rollercoaster of an orchestral score. This track hits all the right notes, especially the high ones.

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4. Suicide Mission - Mass Effect 2
A real slow-burner, and an elegant medley of electronica and brass which falls short of the first game's theme only because it's not as cunningly integrated into the campaign. (In case you've forgotten, the emotional significance of Mass Effect 1's main menu track makes itself manifest just before your final return to the Citadel, care of Vigil.) Thanks for the nod, JCHN.

5. Skies of Arcadia Intro Theme
A track that's like a huge red-faced man jumping up and down on your sofa, yelling "I'M A SKY PIRATE" and throwing candy at your face. Remember when role-playing games were this happy, everybody? Before the genre came down with a terminal case of angst? Good work, seiibutsu.

6. Sora Mi Areru Ec Sancitu - Panzer Dragoon Saga
Thanks for this too, seiibutsu. All of a sudden, I find myself in urgent need of a Sega Saturn.

7. Neverending Journey - Lost Odyssey
Starts off slow and easy, like a Wild West hero riding off into the sunset. Then, at around the 1:40 mark, the cowboy busts out an electric guitar and glam-rocks all over the skyline. Talk about memorable incongruities.