After the record-breaking success of the 1998 Nintendo 64 classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the series was never quite the same. While the introduction of three dimensional graphics breathed new life into an already wildly successful series, a combination of an unpleasable fanbase and intense pressure for sequels to live up to Ocarina of Time led the series in an odd direction. None of the later games were by any means bad — you’ll quickly find that entries such as The Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask each have their own staunch defenders — Nintendo was at a loss when it came to finding a sequel that would please everyone.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess hit shelves in late 2006 for both the Wii and the Nintendo Gamecube, and the response was immediately positive. For the first time since Ocarina’s release, fans around the globe were universally pleased with a Zelda game. And this is partially due to its excellent soundtrack.
Composed in a collaborative effort by Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta, and series regular Koji Kondo, the Twilight Princess soundtrack features a more complex, mature tone to match its darker themes and subject matter. For the first time, the music here actually rivals that of Ocarina of Time.
Highlights include Ilia’s theme, a soft, mildly bittersweet tune to reflect the personality of Link’s dear childhood friend, and Midna’s Lament, a moody and melancholic piano piece that relays the intensity of Midna’s pain as she struggles to cling to life. The battle themes are also some of the best (and most unique) in the series. Each subsequent theme builds on the last, growing steadily more erratic and nightmarish as Zant slowly succumbs to madness.
The Zelda series may have had its ups and downs, but the music has always been the cream of the crop in terms of quality. It is no different with the multilayered Twilight Princess soundtrack.