Top 10 Konami Game Soundtracks [Best Recommendations]

While the company’s recent history has been a bit troubling in the eyes of some gamers, Konami remains one of the most influential and beloved developers of all time. As the creator of many genre-defining series on consoles and countless arcade titles old and new, Konami’s games have made a huge impact on the industry since its founding in 1969.

Music and sound design play a huge role in the enjoyment and memorability of a game, something that Konami clearly understands as the preeminent developer of arcade music games as well as many series known for their music. In this Top 10 we’re counting down our picks for their best soundtracks, focusing on their console games, in terms of originality, cohesiveness, and overall enjoyability.

10. Pop'n TwinBee

  • System/Platform: Super Famicom/ Super NES
  • Publisher: Konami/Palcom Software
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: March 26, 1993 EU: November 1993

Pop’n TwinBee is the sixth game in Konami’s vertical shoot 'em up TwinBee series, a direct sequel to the arcade game Detana!! TwinBee (known as Bells & Whistles outside of Japan). Like other entries in the series, Pop’n TwinBee is considered part of the “cute 'em up” subgenre, featuring a variety of adorable playable characters and enemies, bright colors, and a light-fantasy, slightly surreal atmosphere. The plot of the game involves Light and Pastel, who pilot TwinBee and WinBee, fighting against Dr. Mardock, a normally noble scientist who became crazy after hitting his head, and his Donguri Army bent on world conquest.

For a relatively short game with less than 20 tracks, Pop’n TwinBee has quite a few composers: Kazuhiko Uehara, Masahiro Ikariko, Hideto Inoue, Tomoya Tomita, Nobuyuki Akena, Masae Nakashima, Saiko Miki, and Michiru Yamane. The OST fits perfectly with the cute and colorful graphics, with an overall triumphant but lighthearted tone enhanced by quintessential SNES soft orchestral instrumentation complete with funky bass. Upbeat, sweet, and incredibly consistent, we think this hidden gem of a game (and its soundtrack) deserve more attention!

Standout tracks: Far East Sky, Big Airship, Wild Life, Village Sky

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time

  • System/Platform: Arcade/Super NES
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: 1991 | Super NES JP: July 24, 1992 NA: August 1992 EU: November 19, 1992

Appropriately-named, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time has our favorite anthropomorphic, shelled reptiles taking on familiar foe Shredder. After Shredder’s minion Krang steals the Statue of Liberty, the turtles fight their way through New York only to be thrown into a time warp where they have to fight Shredder’s army in the past and future. Turtles in Time is the fan favorite of the many TMNT games Konami developed, considered one of the best beat ‘em ups, and remains one of Konami’s best-selling arcade games of all time.

Turtles veteran Mutsuhiko Izumi was the composer for the arcade version of Turtles in Time, his music was later arranged by Kazuhiko Uehara and Harumi Ueko for the Super Nintendo version. This soundtrack is very frenetic, full of energy with fast rhythm, goofy SNES electric guitar and synths, awesome orchestra-hits. Interestingly, there are voice recordings of the track’s titles at the beginning of most of the tracks and the instruments themselves seem to be largely drawn from the same library used in Pop’n TwinBee and other Konami games on the Super Nintendo like Fantastic Parodius. Altogether, this OST is a lot of fun and balances references to its source material and original source material very well.

Standout tracks: Sewer Surfin', Big Apple, 3 AM, Boss Theme

8. Dance Dance Revolution

  • System/Platform: Arcade/Many console ports
  • Publisher: Konami, BEMANI
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: September 1998 NA: March 1999 EU: March 9, 1999 AU: 1999

As one of the definitive and most popular rhythm games of all time, Dance Dance Revolution was, well, a revolution when it hit arcades in the late 90s. The second BEMANI rhythm game (after Beatmania), Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) is the only game in the line to achieve large-scale success outside of Japan. In DDR, players use a dance pad marked with directional arrow, using their feet to press the buttons in time with the arrow symbols flying in from the bottom of the screen.

Unlike any of the other games in this list, Dance Dance Revolution (and other BEMANI games) is pretty unique in that its soundtrack is made up of a mix of songs from various artists, many independent, and not necessarily original to the game. Music company Toshiba EMI produced many songs from their Dancemania brand for the original game, along with music original to the game by Naoki Maeda, and even music from international artists like Swedish eurodance group and American funk and disco band KC and the Sunshine Band. DDR’s catalogue of tracks has a good variety of genres but focuses, appropriately, on electronic dance music and subgenres like para para that mesh well with the colorful nightclub vibe of the game’s visuals.

Standout tracks: Butterfly

7. Elebits (Eledees)

  • System/Platform: Wii
  • Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: JP: December 2, 2006 NA: December 12, 2006 EU: May 4, 2007 AU: May 17, 2007 KO: April 26, 2008

Elebits was an innovative launch title for the Nintendo Wii that fully embraced the system’s motion controls and managed to make something genuinely fun and original with it. Elebits is a first person 3D game that plays something like a physics-based first person shooter. The player navigates realistic environments, like different rooms in a house, in search of tiny, energy-producing creatures called elebits using a tractor beam-like ‘capture ray’ to grab them and manipulate the environment. As you collect more elebits, power will be restored allowing you to turn on devices like lamps, megaphones, and more to access new places and find more elebits.

The soundtrack for Elebits, composed by Naoyuki Sato and Michiru Yamane, feels very modern, bouncy, and happy, with a noticeably smooth, jazzy flair in its electronic-heavy instrumentation. This soundtrack does a great job at being noticeable and memorable, yet subdued enough to not distract or dominate your attention, striking a good balance between the “atmospheric” approach in game music common in modern games and the strong melodic focus of earlier generations.

Standout tracks: To the Amusement Park!, Puzzle Panic, Sky, Sea, and Land (Boss music)

6. Goemon's Great Adventure (Ganbare Goemon Derodero Dōchū Obake Tenko Mori)

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 64
  • Publisher: Konami Computer Entertainment Osaka
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: JP: December 23, 1998 EU: June 18, 1999 NA: September 15, 1999

The Goemon series is one that remains relatively obscure outside of Japan, Goemon’s Great Adventure being the last to have an international release. Goemon’s Great Adventure, like other games in the series, is set in a fantasy version of the Edo period that mixes in some sci-fi elements and a lot of surreal humor. The story involves a device called the Super Gorgeous Ghost Machine, which is capable of bringing people back from the dead and is stolen by a cross-dressing nun from the future named Bismaru who is trying to resurrect and marry the king of the underworld, Dochuki, so they can conquer Edo together.

In line with its wacky theme, Goemon’s Great Adventure’s soundtrack is a similarly eclectic mashup of traditional Japanese instruments and melodies and modern synthesizer-heavy, electronic music. Composed by Shigeru Araki, Yasumasa Kitagawa, Hirotaka Kurita, Yusuke Kato, Nobuyuki Akena, many tracks have a good sense of progression and movement that harmonizes with the sidescrolling gameplay wonderfully. Goemon’s last adventure to escape Japan leaves us with one of the best soundtracks on the N64 and some of Konami’s finest work!

Standout tracks: Ryugu Castle, Sky Garden, Edo Castle, Frog Mountain

5. Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (Anubis: Zone of the Enders)

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PC
  • Publisher: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: JP: February 13, 2003 NA: March 10, 2003 EU: September 26, 2003

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is a story-driven third-person shooter/hack and slash mecha game. A direct sequel to the first Zone of the Enders, The 2nd Runner’s gameplay was refined from its predecessor to be more purely focused on action and combat and follows the story of Dingo Egret, a miner on Callisto who accidentally finds an Orbital Frame (mech) called Jehuty, just in time to be attacked by a military organization called BAHRAM that Dingo used to belong to.

Norihiko Hibino, Maki Kirioka, Akihiro Honda, Toshiyuki Kakuta and Shuichi Kobori were the composers for The 2nd Runner, returning to provide a pulsating, electronica and J-pop-infused soundtrack that perfectly suits mech combat. Interestingly, the theme of the game, Beyond the Bounds, has some nonsense lyrics written using Finnish as reference.

Standout tracks: Beyond the Bounds, Bahram Battleship, Zakat

4. Suikoden II (Gensou Suikoden II)

  • System/Platform: PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, PC
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: JP: December 17, 1998 NA: September 25, 1999 EU: July 28, 2000

Suikoden is a unique RPG series loosely based on the classical Chinese novel Shui Hu Zhuan (Water Margin) centered around themes of politics, corruption, and revolution. Suikoden II, the fan favorite, is set years after the original game, telling the story of a silent protagonist and his best friend Jowy Atreides who get caught up in political intrigue involving magical runes and the invasion of the City-State of Jowston by Highland Kingdom. Gameplay has different modes with traditional JRPG combat for smaller encounters and grid-based strategy for larger battles and features a massive 108 recruitable character roster.

While Konami isn’t really known for its RPGs, Suikoden II is considered one of the best of all time, and, like any good RPG, music is an important part of that. Composed by Miki Higashino and Keiko Fukami, this OST has a great deal of variety in its expansive 90-track, including many songs with a sense of grandeur and emotion befitting the serious story. Its frequent use of non-lyrical vocals and influences from traditional Japanese (and other cultures) makes Suikoden II’s soundtrack feel entirely its own.

Standout tracks: Reminiscence, Gothic Neclord, The Chase, Secret Village of the Ninja

3. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: NA: November 17, 2004 JP: December 16, 2004 EU: March 4, 2005 AU: March 17, 2005

Anyone familiar with Konami knew we’d get to the mega-popular Metal Gear series at some point so here it is as our #3 pick! Snake Eater is action-adventure stealth game created by famous game auteur Hideo Kojima. Chronologically the first in the series, Metal Gear Solid 3 is set in 1964 and follows special CIA operative Naked Snake during the Cold War as he attempts to defeat his mentor, only known as The Boss, the greatest agent of the United States before she defected to the Soviets, and stop an experimental nuclear superweapon from igniting World War III. Compared to previous games, MGS3 gameplay remains largely the same but differentiates itself with its 1960s Soviet jungle setting.

The musical score of Snake Eater was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and Norihiko Hibino, with one track, “Don’t Be Afraid” composed by Rika Muranaka. The game also uses “Way To Fall" by British alternative rock band Starsailor, the first instance of an outside track being included in the series. Metal Gear Solid 3’s soundtrack feels very much like a major Hollywood action movie with lots of exciting orchestral pieces, a very Bond-theme remenscient title track in “Snake Eater”, and some smooth, softer tracks like “Pillow Talk”. Everything feels complete and lets this game stand out in a series full of fantastic scores.

Standout tracks: Snake Eater, Main Theme, Don’t Be Afraid, Pillow Talk

2. Silent Hill 2

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Team Silent/Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: NA: September 24, 2001 JP: September 27, 2001 EU: November 23, 2001

Silent Hill 2 is considered one of the best, if not the best, survival-horror game ever made. The story follows James Sunderland who comes to the eponymous town of Silent Hill, Maine after receiving a mysterious letter, apparently from his deceased wife Mary, telling him to come there. Gameplay revolves around combat, exploring the environment for important items and weapons, and solving puzzles.

Atmosphere is extremely important to horror games, and Silent Hill 2 has it in spades! Working around the constraints of the hardware, it masterfully utilized fog and darkness to limit the player’s visibility and allow for high visual fidelity. This also made the impact of music and sound design ever stronger, and Akira Yamaoka’s work really speaks for itself. This soundtrack exudes an atmosphere that fosters player introspection which perfectly matches the themes of the game. Blending industrial, ambient, rock, and masterful use of silence, Silent Hill 2’s soundtrack is one of the best ever!

Standout tracks: Theme of Laura, True, Promise, My Heaven

1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight)

  • System/Platform: PlayStation, Saturn, PlayStation Portable
  • Publisher: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Dates: JP: March 20, 1997 NA: October 2, 1997 EU: November 1, 1997

The Castlevania series is one of the most legendary in gaming, and a big part of Konami’s identity practically since its beginning. Symphony of the Night is considered to be a masterpiece of its genre as well as one of the greatest games of all time. In this game, taking place 5 years after the events of Rondo of Blood, Dracula’s castle has once again reappeared and it’s up to Dracula’s dhampir son Alucard to investigate. SotN was hugely innovative for the series, adding nonlinear level design encouraging exploration as well as RPG elements.

The music was composed by Michiru Yamane, with additional songs from akiropito, Tomoko Sano, and Rika Muranaka. Boasting 34 tracks, the OST for Symphony of the Night contains some reworked music from other Castlevania games, as is common in the series, but overall is one of the most completely original Castlevania soundtracks. SotN’s music is very unique, taking elements from classical, jazz, new-age, techno, gothic rock, and several varieties of metal. With musical variety, interesting instrumentation, and strong melodic composition, Symphony of the Night remains one of the most iconic and memorable soundtracks of all time!

Standout tracks: Dracula’s Castle, Pitiful Scion/The Tragic Prince, Lost Painting,

Final Thoughts

Konami has been a huge part of gaming, and game music, since the beginnings of the industry. Fostering the musical talents of composers like Michiru Yamane, Akira Yamaoka, Rika Muranaka, and Naoki Maeda, the company has brought us a wealth of great music to make our gaming experiences all the more unforgettable.

We hope you enjoyed this list! Let us know your thoughts, including personal favorites and/or glaring omissions in the comments below and don’t forget ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A for luck!

Zone-of-the-Enders-Wallpaper-1-500x500 Top 10 Konami Game Soundtracks [Best Recommendations]


Author: Oskar O.K. Strom

Call me Oskar or OkiOkiPanic or other things depending on how whimsical you're feeling. I'm an artist and game designer currently working in the indie scene. In true otaku fashion I'm also interested in anime/manga, collecting figures, building robot models, idols, denpa music, retro games and electronics, etc. Judging by the company I keep I figure it's only a matter of time until I'm obsessed with wrestling and mahjong.

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