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Hisymak

Which of the 3D games from Doom era (mid 90s) had the best music?

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Posted (edited)

I played through various DOS 3D games from the mid 90s era including Doom, and indeed I enjoyed listening to the music they provided during gameplay. Each game had its qualities (had a better or worse gameplay, graphics and stuff) and that also applied to the music, althrough the music quality was its own thing. Here I'd like to comment on which of these games had the best music I really loved, and which soundtracks were not that much interesting to me.

 

I consider this list of games I played: Doom, Doom2, Heretic, Hexen, Duke Nukem 3D, MDK, ROTT, Cyclones, Wolf3D, Spear of Destiny, Blake Stone

 

Excellent music: Heretic, ROTT, MDK (these had very melodic and distinct soundtracks, Heretic was a pleasant medieval-themed, ROTT was very pretty jazzy one, and MDK had a peculiar orchestral soundtrack)

Good music: Hexen, Doom (Hexen was much more moody and ambient, but still good, Doom1 was slightly better than Doom2 so I put it there)

Average music: Doom2, Duke Nukem 3D, Wolf3D, Spear of Destiny, Blake Stone (these were still good but not that much interesting, just average)

Poor music: Cyclones (I mean the MIDI soundtrack, it was very repetitive, stereotypical and did not have any much melody in it. The CD soundtrack is a good one, but I did not have that one)

 

The very paradoxical thing is that Kevin Schilder was composer of music for both Heretic and Cyclones, but the quality is diametrically different.

Edited by Hisymak

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Posted (edited)

Hexen, Doom, Duke 3D, Rise of the Triad, Terminal Velocity, Death Rally, and if going later into the 90s, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Exhumed.

Edited by seed

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I'd say Quake and Unreal are the best of all even though they're a bit later. I do also like the Heretic and Duke soundtracks a lot.

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Posted (edited)

I'd put Duke 3D's music above Doom II and Hexen, personally. Blood's soundtrack by Daniel Bernstein and Guy Whitmore is pretty great, too. And let's not forget Descent! It's unclear who did what exactly (last time I looked into the credits for Descent's music, the best I could get was that it was just made by "the team").

 

Different genre, but I have a great fondness too for the soundtrack of Ultima Underworld II by Jon Blackley and Dan Schmidt. There's just something incredibly nostalgic about it, particularly the Ice Caverns of Anodunos, Scintillus Academy, and Killorn Keep themes. I'm also fond of Shadowcaster's soundtrack, by Marc Schaefgen. And the soundtrack to TES: Arena and TES: Daggerfall, by Eric Heberling and someone else.

 

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Posted (edited)

S tier: Quake.

A tier: Doom 2, Rise of The Triad

B tier: Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Blood

C tier: Duke Nukem 3D

D tier: Wolfenstein 3D.

 

(Welp, those are just the ones I have played)

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To me there is no "which 90s game had the best music" as a question. Only "90s games had the best music" as a statement.

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Posted (edited)

Descent holds up the best for me in terms of consistency (of atmosphere as well as quality). The first two levels are astonishingly good and the rhythm programming in general is bloody awesome.

 

Tempest 2000 (released in '94, oddly) is pretty good, in a Descent-ish vein.  Then there's Skyroads which has some of my favourite game music.

 

@Hisymak MDK's a great shout, that opening theme -- superbly dramatic. I think it gave me a love of brass that never left!

Edited by holaareola

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Doom and Doom 2, naturally. Even though I don't think some of it always fits (ie The Healer Stalks), I still respect the choices made.

 

Heretic and by extension Hexen, with Hexen being largely superior. Relentlessly bleak and moody for the most part. Heretic is a bit more upbeat but still works great.

 

Descent. The first game has a vastly superior soundtrack IMO, only this game could put a techno twist on "What is Love?" and have it work perfectly for shooting demented mining robots (map 18 IIRC).

 

Terminal Velocity. More dogfighting to techno bangers! Only complaint is that all the tracks are about a minute long and just loop endlessly.

 

Duke 3D. Like Doom, great balance between upbeat and sinister.

 

Moving into the later 90s: Unreal and Unreal Tournament, Quake II, Half-Life and for non-FPS, Age of Empires II, Grim Fandango, Command and Conquer: Red Alert.

 

 

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All these 1990's games had great midi soundtracks. If I could pick 1 song from certain games they would be:

 

Doom - E1M8

Doom 2 - MAP28

Heretic - E2M1

Hexen - MAP02 Seven Portals (on SC55)

First map from ROTT. Joyful tune, oh that happy brass!

Stalker from Duke Nukem 3D.

Dark Forces - Arc hammer.

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Posted (edited)

I haven't listened to the Rise of the Triad soundtrack yet (surprisingly), I'm tempted to check it out because of the recommendations in this thread.

 

I have two favourites from the mid-90s, Doom 1 and Hexen, for similar reasons.  Doom 1's is more iconic and has more ambient moody tracks than Doom 2, and less of the direct remixes of metal bands' music.  Hexen's soundtrack had a large impact on me in my childhood.

 

Heretic's soundtrack for me has its moments but many of the tracks are too short for my liking, meaning that they get repetitive after a while.  Doom 2's is a mixed bag.  In the case of Duke3D, I think the main theme and the first couple of levels have great music but that most of the rest of the Duke3D soundtrack is just average.

 

Descent might well slot into third place after Doom I and Hexen, it's a bit hit and miss for me but on balance I like most of the tracks, including the first four levels and Level 8, which subtly incorporates a speeded-up version of Grieg's "Ase's Death".

 

Aubrey Hodges's music for the PSX Dooms and Doom 64, and Trent Renzor's music for Quake 1, are quite hard to place because they aren't MIDI-based and go more down the "sound design" route.  But I reckon the Playstation Doom soundtrack is probably up there with the PC Doom and Hexen soundtracks for me, and the others perhaps on a par with Descent.

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26 minutes ago, ENEMY!!! said:

I haven't listened to the Rise of the Triad soundtrack yet (surprisingly), I'm tempted to check it out because of the recommendations in this thread.

The ROTT soundtrack was what got me to loving MIDI music. You gotta give it a listen, bud.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ENEMY!!! said:

I haven't listened to the Rise of the Triad soundtrack yet (surprisingly), I'm tempted to check it out because of the recommendations in this thread.

 

 

I think if we use use the end of 1996 as the cutoff point, then I would say that ROTT probably has the best soundtrack of any FPS game from that era. If we go to late 90's, then Quake 2 and UT99 are also solid contenders for the best OST among 90's FPS games.

 

However, this is the realm of FPS I was talking about. When it comes to non-FPS games, I should mention that I really like the OST in older Command & Conquer games, especially Red Alert.

 

 

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Descent yeah. ROTT yeah. That one creepy track from Blood yeah.

 

not forgetting Ultima Underworld I&II and Daggerfall, though. They're 3d first person DOS games with beautiful adlib opl soundtracks and all the enemies are drawn in fairly doomy dimensions, they just happen to be RPGs. i count em :P

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Posted (edited)

@BladeWolf Lee jackson is a midi master. I also think that Lee jackson's music for  DN3D fifth episode, Alien world order is seriously underrated. He brings his mixture of Jazz and rock so together so well in that episode.

 

Obligatory screw you, Randy for not paying Robert Prince for his awesome music. You lying, greasy, selfish, slimy, self-centered, rancid, wannabe-magician, Think-he-knows jokes-but hasn't-looked-in-the-mirror, Undercut-his own employees, attempting-to-make-money-off -police brutality-protests in-America, sleazy douchebag.

 

Sorry if you had to read all that, I just love insulting Randy....  because he makes it so easy for me to dislike him.

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2 minutes ago, Silhou3tte said:

@BladeWolf Lee jackson is a midi master. I also think that Lee jackson's music for  DN3D fifth episode, Alien world order is seriously underrated. He brings his mixture of Jazz and rock so together so well in that episode.

 

I have to check out more of Lee's works. (save the beef with Randy Pitchford for the occasional DNF thread ;) )

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1 minute ago, BladeWolf said:

(save the beef with Randy Pitchford for the occasional DNF thread ;) )

uh..... NO!

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1 minute ago, Silhou3tte said:

uh..... NO!

As if that ever happens haha (do we even do DNF threads?)

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, BladeWolf said:

(do we even do DNF threads?)

 Yes, we had two in the last few months, one of which was completely pointless and unnecessary( "What games are better than DNF"). I don't know why people insist on bringing up a game that nobody really care exists, but here we are. Off topic, but I'm only half joking when I talk about Randy. The things he gets away with just make me despise him. Sounds Like I'm bringing up old news, but new headlines involving him doing something scummy are a relatively common occurrence. Like most people, I can't stand scummy people

 

To get back to the topic, I believe Jackson actually released a new album of some of the cut shadow warrior music, as well as some of the music from world tour on Bandcamp quite recently. Defintely worth a look.

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Rise of the Triad's OST is trumpets going ape playing other trumpets. All the more reason to love it. Not to mention it's got some really pump music like "Run like Smeg" (Red Dwarf reference?) or "Suck This!" (yes that is literally the name of a track XD).

 

DooM + DooM II are a no-brainer choice for obvious reasons.

 

If we can allow Isometric games (they're sort-of 3D?) than Dungeon Keeper and Theme Hospital's music are classics with the sarcastic upbeat tones for TH and the demonic, creepy music for DK.

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No matter what you think of the game itself, Corridor 7's soundtracks by Joe Abbati, both CD and Adlib, are absolutely fantastic. 

 

Rise of the Triad has my favourite game soundtrack ever. 

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