#11. Armed and Dangerous – Bagpipe Theme
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t care much for Lucas Arts. I’ve never gotten into Star Wars, so most of what they do never grabbed my attention. What will grab my attention, however, is bagpipes, Scottish accents, and a gun that shoots sharks. As such, Armed and Dangerous quite attracted me, though (much to my chagrin) it seems to have had much less allure for pretty much everyone else to whom I’ve ever talked. Their loss, really. It was a decently fun (if ridiculous) game, and it had one of the most impressive and captivating scores in any game I’ve ever played.
#12. Halo 2 – Main Theme (Mjolnir Mix)
I’ve never forgotten the E3 coverage in which Halo 2 was revealed: the tattooed arm on the stage, the dual-wielded SMGs on the screen, the experience that would come to define Xbox Live (of which I’d already been a member for almost a year). Though a cliffhanger, sequel-ensuring ending robbed H2 of its predecessor’s narrative grandeur, a bevy of improvements and some of the best multiplayer maps this side of Counterstrike kept the game in my Xbox for years to come, and a re-energized version of the immortal theme kept the soundtrack on my iPod. Halo 2 was also the game that introduced me to the Fragdolls and their community, whose impact on my life as a gamer and a person is the subject of another blog altogether (no, really).
#13. Kingdom Hearts 2 – Sanctuary
Few things could have pulled me from Halo; Kingdom Hearts is one of those things. I’d played Chain of Memories…well, most of it…on my Gameboy Advance on airplanes and long lines at my first Penny Arcade Expo (meeting the Fragdoll community!), and so I had a vague idea of who Organization XIII was. Conveniently, however, Sora didn’t seem to remember much of anything about what had happened in that castle, so I didn’t worry about it too much. I’ve played through the majority of this game twice now, and one of my greatest regrets is having stopped right before the final boss to tackle side quests. To this day, I still have not actually “beaten” the game. Sanctuary lacks the catchiness of Simple & Clean, but the breakdown in the middle — snwod dna spu ynam oS, My heart’s a battleground — raises my brow every time.
#14. Final Fantasy XII – Rabanastre
When it comes to Final Fantasy, X was my first, but XII is my favorite. Compared with other games, I barely even scratched the surface of this game (got too caught up in “real life,” I suppose). But I loved everything about it. The characters intrigued me, the world made me want to live in it, and the battle system was really a great deal better than X’s, to me. I imported the ridiculous 4-disc soundtrack, a decision I have never regretted, as the grand, pseudo-European score remains my favorite in the franchise (which is saying something, because Nobuo’s practically untouchable).
That concludes part one of the journey. Stay tuned for part two, and let me know what your gaming journey looks — and sounds — like!