Soundtracks and original compositions may not seem like an interregnal part of a video game for those unfamiliar with the art form, but a game's score is a vital part of the overall experience. Knowing this well and true is Ash Gray of extreme metal titans Venom Prison. Born with a Jackson King V in one hand and a gamepad in the other, Gray is an avid gamer and general aficionado of the media form, frequently voicing his opinions on games recent and retro on a variety of platforms. With Venom Prison's fantastic new compilation record Primeval out now via Prosthetic, we got in touch with Gray to found out his five favourite video game soundtracks from over the generations.
"A Square Enix classic, probably my favourite title from this console generation. Keiichi Okabe composed this soundtrack and previously composing the first Nier installment, as soon as I started playing this game I knew it was going to be the full package, the soundtrack is incredibly powerful, the emotion and atmosphere it brings to the gameplay is another level. Unfortunately I couldn't see the full orchestral performance in London but even just listening to the soundtrack with headphones on it creates that perfect image of playing this game in my head."
Final Fantasy VIII
"A lot of reasons why this sits so highly in my top five is due to nostalgia and everytime I hear the soundtrack it grips me into wanting to spend another 100 hours grinding and reliving my favourite game. The memories this soundtrack has created for me has always stuck with me, walking through Balamb Garden then humming the piece of music throughout the day, there are so many incredible moments in this game and the compositions only compliment it into being a game that has never left me for over a decade."
Everybody's Gone To Rapture
"This is certainly an unexpected one for me and the very off chance that I gave this game a try. The minimalism to this game is what really captivates on the soundtrack - Jessica Curry has utilised the scores to adapt to the characters (the dead people, yes) and captured the personality through her music, gasping an understanding for the players to feel the emotion, whether it's ominous, happiness, sorrow and I really can't compliment it enough. After playing this game, I regularly listen to this soundtrack to relax or try and get into a creative mindset."
"All about the experience, immersion and no action. This title is another game I feel relies on the soundtrack. With most of my picks, words don't really describe the emotion this game creates, a reject boy meets the daughter of the queen who plans to take her daughter's life to extend her lifespan, as sinister as that sounds, the music gives such a delicate feeling to the game, dark yet beautiful. I could have picked Shadow of the Colossus or The Last Guardian but I feel ICO brought something innovative to the table which led onto those great titles."
Metal Gear Solid
"Iconic; I think most gamers have this under their belt or should have. The theme song could have been produced for Rambo or Terminator, it's that memorable; every boss having their own unique theme builds the persona, hearing Mantis' Hymn for the first time and buckling myself up for what you could feel through sound as a psychological warfare. Each story segment has its own unique score which sticks with you and helps you picture every moment of this game. If you're a fan of this game, listen to the soundtrack now and get the score vision of every part of your childhood."