Here on Music Mondays, we normally talk about a great soundtrack, be it a well-known classic or an unknown gem. However, I’d like to try something a little bit different today and mention some songs that have gone unnoticed by the majority of gamers. Maybe the song had an odd circumstance around when it played or maybe it was just the only good song in an otherwise terrible game, but some tracks tend to get passed over in the grand scheme of things. To help rectify that, I’m going to be showing off a few such songs below.
First up, we have “Overthere Shrine,” from Super Paper Mario. It’s an extremely pretty and angelic-sounding song that really conveys the sense of “heaven” that the Overthere tried to evoke as an analog. Unfortunately, this song is only played in front of the Overthere Shrine itself: an area that takes no more than a minute to walk through. As such, barely anyone remembers this beautiful piece despite it deserving so much more attention.
Next, we have “Their Resting Place,” from Final Fantasy X-2. Feelings about this particular entry into the long-running series were … mixed, to say the least. Honestly, I thought it was pretty good, but because of the differing opinions, I know a lot of people who didn’t finish the game. As such, they sadly missed this late battle theme; a great buildup piece that uses the important “1000 Words” track to great accentuating effect for the importance of the battle. Regardless of opinions on the game, this track is simply done well.
Not many gamers expect much out of licensed games due to their fairly well-deserved reputation for being quick cash-ins on popular franchises. However, as “Spongebot Steelpants” shows, that’s not always the case and good can still be found. The final boss theme from the practically unknown Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini-Bottom, this theme manages to be shockingly intense considering the associated character. It conveys a real sense of weight and importance while still making the menace clear. Honestly, I can’t give much higher praise than a belief that it probably wouldn’t be very out of place in a Terminator movie.
The CD-I Zelda games are infamous for being the only black stains on an otherwise clean record for the popular series. Due to that reputation however, what little good there is to be found has been lost to gaming culture at large. “Hanyu Forest,” the theme for the place with the same name from Wand of Gamelon, is a fairly simple track that still manages to perfectly fit a forested area. The low strings in the backbeat of the song grant it a very earthen feel and the musical overlay only helps with that feeling. To put it simply, this is a song that deserved a better game.
Finally, we come to the most interesting track of this bunch, “Singing Mountain” from the much-acclaimed Chrono Trigger. Considering the reputation of Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack, I’m sure you’re asking how any song from that game could be considered unknown. Well, as the developers were making a game, they had to cut a dungeon from prehistoric times due to time constraints and, as such, the song already made for the location went unused until the DS remake. There, they played the song in one section of an extra dungeon added on just for that specific version. Due to that whole situation, many people who have played Chrono Trigger in and out don’t know about “Singing Mountain.” Naturally, that fact is a huge shame, as the track is an absolutely beautiful song that really does make it sound exactly as the name describes it, with whistling winds being heard in the background constantly and a slow, methodic rhythm that coincides with an unmoving guardian very well. I really do love this song and, fairly obviously, it is my favorite of this bunch.
With those five songs done, I hope I’ve introduced you to some great tracks you might not have known about before. If you can think of a song with a similar situation, please comment below about it. I’d love to hear about them and who knows? Maybe I’ll write another one of these sometime with more tracks that have been underrepresented. Be sure to tell me if you would like to see that as well.
Music Mondays is a weekly column by Austin Yorski and Robert Heck dedicated to discussing the most interesting audio experiences in electronic interactive media. Tune in every week for more original game soundtracks that you need to hear. Feel free to disagree with, add to, or question everything. I welcome your feedback.