MENU is a huge collection of iconic title tracks, offering an expansive variety of catchy songs that celebrate the nostalgia of video game history.
Throughout video game history there has been a common musical trope that has followed on from the early days through to the present: title music. These iconic pieces of music lay the foundation of what players build their expectations upon. A good title track incites curiosity, tantalizes and entrances, leaving players anxious to press the start button and get on with the game.
I personally feel that these themes are some of the very best memories I had with my favorite games, and often let the music roll on even after setting the controller down. Some, however, might say that these musical icons from the annals of history weren’t impactful enough, as most people skip right by them, looking to dive into the action of their latest purchase. MENU looks to honor them properly, with fifty-two remixes and reimaginings of some of the best games ever created.
Follow along with us through the following ten tracks and take a deep dive into some of the greatest video game music of all time:
A somber theme where strings weave through a beautiful vocal performance by JoyDreamer, this breathtaking track from Final Fantasy XIII echoes the overall mystery and emotion from the game. Take a listen and get lost in this gorgeous rendition of one of the last console generation’s most ambitious titles.
Chronometric Dimension ShifterThis electronic take on Chrono Trigger’s title theme may not be for everyone, but its catchy underlying beat adds a punch to what some may argue is the best track from one of the best albums of all time. Worth an experience, if simply to hear how their translation of the original breaks down in the end, with its synthy rendition of the theme.
Choose Your Player!An expansion on Super Smash Bros. Melee title track, this tune takes the original up to the skies and soars away with additional development of the melody and adds a few instruments not found in the source material.
A progressive rock version of the title theme from Horizon: Zero Dawn, a game I personally loved from beginning to end. This edgy take works with the emotion behind the original track and simultaneously with Alloy’s underlying personality. Almost sounds like what Evanescence might have played if asked to write the title track for Sony.
Geralt of Rivia
The Witcher 3 has inspired a lot of artwork and cosplay over the years, but not many musical takes on the theme. This track pulls from the classic rock sounds from the seventies and eighties to create a rock ballad that does justice to the original, while adding its own heavy metal take. I could totally take Geralt for a metalhead.
Castlevania III has a lot of amazing tracks, but none more memorable than its title theme. Belmont Overture redefines the original with some epic translations of time signatures and breakdowns that create an epic rendition that would do a vampire proud. An unexpected brass section actually amplifies the track with deep bass not found in the original and sets it up for a fantastic conclusion that suits this masterpiece of a game.
File SelectI distinctly remember spending an embarrassing amount of time pulling at the different parts of Mario’s polygonal face on the Super Mario 64 main menu screen and joyfully watching them spring with that memorable ‘boing’ sound. This jazzy take on the file menu theme that follows it is a great expansion on an already catchy track that is much longer than the original and every bit as impressive.
Wily’s Mysterious Freaking Intro
This track is an odd mix of rock and rap and I’m not totally sure if I like it. Take Mega Man 2’s iconic intro, add Ryan Key from Yellowcard and follow the rock with some rap verses that sound like they were delivered by an unenergetic Lil Pump. I absolutely love the original track, as do most, so I’m not sure how I feel about this version. I feel like it took a stranger direction than most of the other songs on this album, but it’s certainly worth the listen regardless.
Not exactly a title track, but is certainly one of NieR: Automata’s most memorable songs. This epic track consists of a spot-on choir delivering the original track’s vocals, while the energy in the latter section of the track is infectious and really gets the blood pumping. Overall, a wonderful tribute to an amazing song.
The Dawn of TwilightA masterful vocal collaboration, this take on the Twilight Princess title track encapsulates the tragic and deep emotion felt throughout the game. Moving through each segment is a purely brilliant take on each part of the track, bringing additional energy and expanding sections that help personify this choral masterpiece. Hauntingly beautiful in its execution, it’s a wonderful send off to the vast musical landscape of this album
MENU is a wide spread buffet of some of the best moments in video game history. While there are a few tracks here and there in the large assortment the album provides that may strike fans of the original track as off — there’s certainly enough good in this album to make up for it. I have always been a fan of remixes and remasters — especially adding a live orchestra to a classic song’s melody — so this album ticks off a lot of boxes for me. It’s a welcome addition to any gamer’s music library and a great album to start the year off with.