It’s a yin/yang, lemons/lemonade, sword edge/sword edge kind of thing. Video game soundtracks still haven’t taken off as a viable source of income for developers or composers outside of Japan and while using them as free marketing material is great for fans like me, it’s still a bummer. Great, free music; still an under-represented labor of love. But let’s put that sad stuff aside because, for today, I’ve got a ton of great video game music to hip you to that’s entirely without cost!
If you kept up with me this past Summer you might remember hearing (either on the site or the podcast) that I was no fan of indie-darling Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. I loved the idea of puzzling and platforming at the same time but it was the run-and-jump gameplay that finally broke my spirit. It was tough and annoying and they throw the forced-scrolling and underwater levels at you at the same time. It stung even more that the music was pretty great, mixing all kinds of styles for a globe-trotting adventure that sounded just as diverse as it looked. Seemingly as a personal apology to me for the punishing difficulty the developers have offered up the epic-sized soundtrack for free from the official site. Thirty-seven tracks in all, it’s probably the most extensive thing you’ll download for free from the internet that isn’t considered piracy!
I love the look and feel of Halfbrick’s games (which have so far hit Xbox Live Indie Games, PlayStation Minis, PC, and iPhone) but to be honest, I haven’t bought any of them… yet. I did scoop up the free soundtrack to the PlayStation Minis version of Blast Off that features four tracks of groovy, downtempo-y acid-space-funk to chill out to whether your slingshotting your spaceship around alien worlds or just relaxing.
OC ReMix: Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack
I suppose Overclocked Remix is a given since all their music is free (err, is it?) but this one gets special mention as Capcom made this collection of fan remixes the official soundtrack for the immensely-titled remake of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix. I only recognize a handful of tracks but there’s no denying the quality and variety of the work on everything from the opening demo to the individual endings and ranking screen. Check the PlayStation Network from your PS3 and you’ll also find a mini tribute album called ‘Street Fighter Underground Mix’ with tracks from DJ Qbert, Heiroglyphics, Redman and more. I’d link to it from here but Sony doesn’t have a functional web-based version of the PlayStation Store. Also stuck on the PlayStation 3 is a free track from Lair and another from the rerelease of Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
Invincible Tiger: The Legend of Han Tao
2009 was full of mech suits and kung fu brawlers. Invincible Tiger was one of the latter and it packed everything from intricate combat to 3D visuals (be it with red/blue glasses or an expensive new monitor). It also featured a soundtrack fitting of its art style with stereotypical asian sounds pumped up by beats, horns, and funky guitars. I’m not sure of the story behind the soundtrack’s release but it looks like all sources point to Big Download as the home of the free file. Grab it, in 3D!
This one’s free as well but requires a little bit of work on your part. The soundtrack is locked behind The Oracle and you’ll have to either try-and-err your way through or actually pay attention and learn something about Greek mythology in order to get your download on. I didn’t end up keeping this after I finally guessed my way through the quiz but it’s a small collection of nice sounding orchestral tracks that probably hold more meaning if you played and enjoyed the game.
One of Capcom’s attempts at branching out with non-Japanese developers was 2009’s Flock! The puzzle/strategy game didn’t do much for me but its free soundtrack is catchy enough with infamous sci-fi UFO sounds serving as the basis for a collection of 14 tracks.
One of my favorite PC games that my system could actually run in recent years is by far IJI. A mix of Out of this World and Blackthorne with a little role-playing skill leveling thrown in, it was a great indie experience and — bonus! — now has a high quality soundtrack which is just as free to download as the game itself!
I’m sure I missed plenty of free stuff out there so leave a comment with links and chatter about your favorites!