TimeSplitters to Tetris to Wario to Wind Waker.
Appropriately clean and dance-y, this soundtrack matches the rhythmic style of the game with a toe-tapping techno sensibility.
Resident Evil 4
While revelatory in its overhauling of the series’ creaky mechanics, RE4 also offered up an equally frightening mass of music. Whether through ambient whispers or all-out strains of fear, the soundtrack matches the horrific, shambling dread of the game.
Skies of Arcadia: Legends
Though Legends is a port of the Dreamcast original, its music is still some of the best on the ‘Cube. A boundlessly optimistic disposition and proficient execution never get stale, and make the audio package a treat.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Until it was surpassed by Brawl, Melee was arguably the finest collection of Nintendo-specific music available. With a robust musical catalogue that celebrates the standbys as well as the lesser-knowns, Melee acts as the de facto comprehensive box set for some of the best Nintendo-related tunes.
Super Mario Sunshine
Though the main game often receives some arguably undeserved antipathy, it’s much harder to debate the merits of its one-of-a-kind musical style. The tropical setting and visuals are matched by the plucky, laid back swing of the audio, as well as a few abstractly appropriate cuts.
Tales of Symphonia
The soundtrack to this RPG is both energetic and eloquent, moving from high-speed battle pieces to quietly contemplative melodies without feeling disjointed.
The standard Tetris songs and style are absent here, replaced by a steady stream of electronic beats. It may lack the nostalgia of the block game’s original ditties, but it’s an extremely tight bundle of catchy songs.
The multiple locales of TS2 directly impact the music in some particularly diverse ways. You’ll hear strains of saxophone-laden noir jazz in Chicago, thumping techno on Planet X, and a sublime/roaring spaghetti anthem in the Wild West.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
As dictated by much of its presentation and subject matter, Twilight Princess’s music often exudes a somber maturity, though it’s hardly bereft of the series’ sense of wonder.
A game of this amplitude deserves a fun action movie soundtrack, and Viewtiful Joe has that in spades. It’s full of dorky-cool pseudo-rock tracks that, in addition to playing off the innocent ego-driven traits of Joe, are just fun to listen to.
Wario’s 3D treatment is a bit more mischievous than Mario’s, a fact that comes across in the funky bombast of the soundtrack. While a little of the character’s attitude finds its way into the music, it doesn’t hinder the creativity or enthusiasm of the songs at all.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
If Twilight Princess and its music represent the realistic, mature incarnation of the series, then Wind Waker is undoubtedly the timeless, abstract portrait. The high-seas conceit of the game impacts the whole soundtrack, imbuing many a moment with musical grace and resonance.