Top 10 Boss Battle Themes
Earlier today someone on Twitter linked me to a list that Game Informer put out featuring the top ten boss battle themes, and asked me what I thought of it. It's not a bad list, just a very safe one. Most of the picks are either long-time favorites (One-Winged Angel, for example) or recent offerings that have achieved popularity (Serpent Eating the Ground from Bravely Default). Pretty much the only oddball choice is the one from Guitar Hero. I guess my biggest problem is that it's so uninspired; there's nothing on here for me to really argue with or object to, nor is there anything I haven't heard before. What's the point of it, really?

So, I figure I'll do my own list. Obviously this is going to be my own personal preference, and I know my tastes don't necessarily go along with the mainstream when it comes to game music. That said, if it inspires you to check out a soundtrack that you've never thought about or even heard of before, then I feel that I've done a much better service to the internet than Game Informer has.

Before I start, small self-promotion break: I've done two podcast episodes featuring boss music--#71 and #9--if you prefer something that you can listen to with less scrolling and clicking. Be warned though, #9 may be rough to listen to if you're used to the somewhat more polished and conversational style that I'm currently using. Now then, on to the list:

  • (10) Ridley Boss Battle - Metroid: Other M - Kuniaki Haishima
    The best version of a classic theme.

  • (9) Final Destination - Tales of Symphonia - Motoi Sakuraba
    That drum beat in the middle is the musical definition of an ass-kicking in progress.

  • (8.) World Revolution - Chrono Trigger - Yasunori Mitsuda
    My favorite boss theme of the 16-bit era, and still more epic than most of what comes out these days.

  • (7) Another Side -Battle Ver.- - Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX - Yoko Shimomura
    Fo real, dat piano doe.

  • (6) Groundhog (Beat Juggle) - DJ Hero - NOISIA
    "So you want to be a DJ?" Seriously, how can I not include a song that has a dude with a British accent taunting you the entire time?

  • (5) Rundas Battle - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Kenji Yamamoto
    You can almost feel the frigid intensity.

  • (4) Saber's Edge - Final Fantasy XIII - Masashi Hamauzu
    A little different from most boss battle music, as it makes you feel more like a superhero than someone about to meet an untimely demise.

  • (3) 'IDOLA' have the immortal feather - Phantasy Star Online Episode 2 - Hideaki Kobayashi
    Forget the superhero stuff, you're going to die horribly and there's nothing you can do about it.

  • (2) Super Sonic vs. Perfect Dark Gaia - Sonic Unleashed - Hideaki Kobayashi
    What happens when you take the main theme and replace the vocals with a full orchestra? Epicness happens.

  • (1) A Contest of Aeons - Final Fantasy X HD Remaster - Junya Nakano
    Other music plays when you're fighting a boss. This plays when you're fighting God.

Comment thread »
Very nice selection of music! I definitely enjoyed the Ridley theme update.

Some other nice selections in semi-ranked order

Zeik Tuvai's Theme from Wild ARMs.
It grabs you immediately and really brings the hope of the end being near and stakes of the fight to bear.

Gilgamesh's Theme from Final Fantasy 5
I love the beginning wind up to this theme.

Chrono Cross Boss Theme
The drum beat underlining everything along with the very dance of death-like feel are absolutely fantastic.

Xenogears Boss Theme
The slower pace compared to most boss themes gives this a grandeur you would find in strategic conflict.

Dragon Quest 8 Boss Theme
The symphony hall reverberation just adds a nice flair to this piece.

Battle On The Bridge from Final Fantasy Tactics
It's really really really hard to single out one piece above the rest from this entire soundtrack.

The King Of Shadows from Neverwinter Nights 2
When you're playing, this music really reinforces every decision that you made during the game and the battle itself lead to how this fight goes.

Metal Gear Solid Boss Theme
Much like Xenogears Boss Theme there's a strategic feel that matches the action.

Final Conflict from Lineage II
Why Bill Brown is just awesome!

High Tension Wire from Seiken Densetsu 3
I really cannot pinpoint a single reason why this is my favorite boss theme of all time.
Great remix of the song, I love the following echo added to the piece.