In Game Music Showcase, I take a look at a few songs from a particular category, like battle themes or title screen songs. The songs are listed in no particular order, except for the last one which is my personal favorite of the bunch. I love video game music more than any other genre and with this feature, along with game music appreciation, I hope to help you understand why.
So why bother with having two music features? Game Music Appreciation is more in depth while Game Music Showcase is more of a microcosm of one category of video game songs.
A great first impression is always important and if a game wants to leave a good first impression with me it's gotta have a great opening level. And what's a great opening level without great background music? I give you my top 5 favorite opening level songs.
Blue Water Fangs
Metal Slug 3, 2000
I love the Metal Slug series and MS3 is hands down my favorite in the series. The first stage mixes things up right from the start, having you fight mutant crabs and insects instead of generic soldiers. It also features a peppy, upbeat, and slightly epic sounding background tune that hooks you right away. Sometimes I fire the game up just to hear this song as I blast away crabs and flying piranhas...Metal Slug is a weird series.
Shootout at the Sunset Ranch
Sunset Riders, 1993
Sunset Riders has been one of my favorite games ever since the first time I played it as a kid. I still play it to this day maybe once every few months. Like Metal Slug, Sunset Riders is a side scrolling shooter, though in this case it's in an old west setting. The first level's music is just so perfect in my mind. If you listen closely to the bass, it gets freakin' crazy good at a few parts. The rest of the soundtrack is just as good, but we'll talk about that another day.
Fillmore Act 1
Hey it's Actraiser again! The first game I wrote about on this blog. The first level's music is just so badass sounding. It's a shame it's such a short stage though. I could seriously listen to this song on a loop for hours. I love it that much. I already featured this song in my top 5 article about Actraiser but it deserves to be mentioned again. I love this song!
Castlevania: Dracula X, 1995
Ah, there we go. A game that I hate with a fiery passion. Castlevania: Dracula X is by no means a bad game; it's just that it's the CHEAPEST DAMN GAME EVER. It's as if Konami saw into the future and wanted to make a game more frustrating than I Wanna Be the Guy. The first level isn't that bad, but as soon as you hit level 2, expect a treasure trove of cheap deaths.
Anyway, Dracula X is actually a stripped down SNES port of a then Japan exclusive title in the Castlevania series, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. The first level's music was already around in that game, but I vastly prefer the SNES version of the song. There's also a gorgeous, albeit short, version of it that plays during the title screen of Castlevania 64. You can watch it here.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 2010
Holy crap, do I love this song. I've never seen the Scott Pilgrim movie or read any of the graphic novels, but the game is freakin' awesome. Its soundtrack was done by indie band Anamanaguchi who really brought their A game. Another Winter is just such an upbeat, happy song that I can't help but feel good when I hear it. I'll do a full article on this game some day and I'll talk about the music much more in depth then.