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Classic video game soundtracks are dangerous to play with. It's easy to change them considering the limited palette of sounds they were originally created with, but change them too much and they lose what made them special. Sometimes though, modernizing a soundtrack works, and hearing a classic video game song cane become an exciting new and somehow still familiar experience all at the same time.
The selection below are a few re-imagined songs that appeared in official entries in the franchises they represent. I think they surpass their inspirations using the modern tools available to the composers, while still doing an exceptional job recalling the original songs.
Donkey Kong Country
Like all the songs on this list, the original music stands on its own as being great. This particular remade track stands out to me though thanks to the plethora of different instruments used to recreate the theme. It's just much more diverse than the original with an awesome collection of new sounds to make everything feel larger.You can check out the original version here.
Danny Baranowsky, probably best known for his work on the Super Meat Boy soundtrack, remade the entire Cave Story soundtrack for the 3DS remake of Cave Story. It was a quality game, but somewhat unnecessary. Baranowsky's soundtrack is definitely one the experience's highlights. The remake of the main theme stands out. In Baranowsky's hands, the whole song sounds like an awesome, elongated keyboard solo.You can check out the original version here.
The Tetris theme has been reworked and remade hundreds of time, but this version of it has always been my favorite. I have soft spot for complicated jazzy drums and ride cymbals, and this version of the theme is full of both. I remember downloading the demo for Tetris Splash just to get a quick Tetris fix, but I immediately bought the game just so I could listen to this theme to my heart's content.You can check out the original version here.
Mega Man X
Mega Man X is one of my personal favorite soundtracks, and while I adore the 16-bit version of the music, I can't deny the intensity of the PSP remake's Storm Eagle theme. The real guitar at the beginning setting up the whole theme lets you know you're about to go fight a robot eagle, and it's going to be awesome.You can check out the original verison here.
Earthworm Jim's soundtrack is a diverse collection of classical music, ragtime tunes, and music like this – the funky opening from the game's first level, New Junk City. The version put together for the game's HD remake is a little more subtle, and sometimes creepier version of the original 16-bit version, which gave equal value to each layer of music.You can check out the original version here.
What do you think? Are there any modern video game soundtracks that you feel outdo the originals?
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