Orchestral video game soundtracks?

  • Greetings Allies,

    Today was the day, that Turrican II: The Orchestral Soundtrack was released as digital download to backers (such as myself) and I'm loving it. But that made me realize how much I've been through from first time I played the original game, to this point in time, that the game is celebrating it's 25th birthday, with original composer creating orchestral soundtrack of the game via Kickstarter. Yes, I feel old again, but this all made me thinking how great the soundtrack is. Here's the original track from the Amiga version of the game, which Chris Hülsbeck composed:

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    And here is the newly released orchestral version, which made me cry tears of joy:

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    Where I'm going with this? I love this kind of stuff. Orchestral renditions of video game songs. I mean just for sake of it, here's the original theme to Final Fantasy:

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    And here is the orchestral version:

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    I may feel old and somewhat sentimental, but I do actually love these. And I'm actually hoping to see more games doing proper orchestral renditions of the more or less legendary songs. What do you guys think? Is it just me, or is there value to these kinds of renditions? Or do you think that orchestral music doesn't have place in todays culture, and should be left behind as a relic?

  • Global Moderator

    a lot of the Final Fantasy music can be found in orchestral pieces which is AMAZING! I listen to it now and then, especially when I have a hard time to sleep or so it really helps me relax and get in a good mood.

  • I went to Symphony of the Goddess (Zelda) and Final Symphony (FF, KH, Chrono Trigger/Cross & Secret of the Mana) this year and both were complete sell outs so I certainly don't think orchestra is dead for modern culture, quite the opposite, in that it's living through the media of games (and films).

    Also, Bloodborne has an incredible Orchestral soundtrack that you should check out!

  • The orchestral arrangements of the Dragon Quest soundtracks are fantastic---especially since Sugiyama's soundtracks are so influenced by baroque.

    Usually it takes a bit in the way of interpretation to make an NES tune sound good on that sort of scale, but his music translates perfectly.

  • To Zanarkand (FFX) and Liberi Fatali (FFVIII) are absolutely breath taking as orchestral pieces. ESPECIALLY Liberi Fatali... oh lord, the feels.

  • Tons of great orchestral versions of tracks out there, but also some "eh" ones. I feel a lot of the time, when people decide to do orchestral arrangements of classic tracks, they try to go all out and make it as big and as epic sounding as they possibly can. It often feels overly-familiar or corny as a result. Perfect example: the orchestral version of the opera from FF6 on the Final Fantasy Orchestral album (starts at 36:46). I have heard a good version of it somewhere, but the version on the album that they have up on youtube is terrible in my opinion. Completely oversung, with waaaaaaaaaaay too much vibrato. It sounds forced and fake, which isn't how opera should be. It's a shame, because the track itself is one of my all-time favorites, and the rest of the album is pretty stellar.

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    Of course, there are some incredible ones as well. People have already mentioned some of my favorites. Zelda and FF are incredible for the most part, and RichaadEB has some awesome "metal" versions of some Undertale tracks.

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    I don't remember when, but sometime around high school I started really caring about the manner in which VG music was presented in game. For example, I was/am totally fine with chiptunes and MDI music in games like Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, Cave Story, and Undertale, but then there are some games that try to go for that big orchestral sound without the actual instruments. This is actually my big (and completely unreasonable) complaint with Twilight Princess. It's so clear that the game needs and deserves a full orchestra, but because it uses MDI music, it's so hard for me to get into the game. They just couldn't nail they dynamics of the music in the way that they needed to, especially since so much of the soundtrack has big horn and string sections. It just sounds... off to me. I think the combat music is so flat that it's distracting. Again, it's a completely unreasonable complaint, but when melee came out years prior with incredible orchestral arrangements, it was hard not to wish for the same in Twilight Princess.

    (Two dope melee tracks)
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    Luckily, that's not really a problem we have with games anymore. Games pretty much always choose the appropriate instrumentation for their tracks, and we're all the better for it.

  • One of my favorite free goodies I've ever received was this bad boy with my Nintendo Power subscription.

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    I remember playing it on repeat for a really long time.

    @naltmank, have you heard any of Ace Water's compositions for Undertale? He worked with RichaadEB to create a cover album, but admittedly, I preferred Ace's work much more. I would have never thought Megalovania needed 3 movements, but then I was proven wrong.

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  • @naltmank said in Orchestral video game soundtracks?:

    Tons of great orchestral versions of tracks out there, but also some "eh" ones. I feel a lot of the time, when people decide to do orchestral arrangements of classic tracks, they try to go all out and make it as big and as epic sounding as they possibly can. It often feels overly-familiar or corny as a result.

    I agree with this. I feel that tons of orchestrations miss the mark. Heck I actually dislike most of the orchestrations made for Turrican, but there are some I like.
    Some videogame songs just simply don't translate well into orchestrated works.

  • Any game trying to be a movie.


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  • @SabotageTheTruth Yeah I really like that whole album! I just preferred RichaadEB's arrangements. I thought Waters's were a little too synthy at times.

  • Just found this concert. The sound quality isn't great, but some of the arrangements are awesome. Still the same problem as with many others, and at times it sounds like certain pieces weren't very well rehearsed (they definitely start rushing at times and fudge a few key notes, and occasionally they sound a tiny bit out of tune with each other), but overall really nice overall.

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