This year we continue the tradition of dedicating a Top 10 list to covers and remixes of PC game music. With respect to AAA titles this is probably irrelevant (as they are often multi-platform anyway) but when it comes to good ol' DOS and Amiga games or indie PC games, well they tend to get left by the wayside.
How the list was made
This year, I scoured the Internet for PC game music covers and remixes and came up with a whopping 151 to choose from. For the 2021 list, there were only 70 to choose from but this in turn was a huge jump from 2020 when there were only 43. At some point, I'll probably have to do something about this because it took even more time for me to decide which remixes and covers made the Top 10 for last year and which ones didn't. This list was compiled from various sources including OCRemix, Remix64 as well as several YouTube channels. While this list is by no means an exhaustive one, it at least gives people a taste of what awesome PC game music remixes and covers are out there (if I've missed any released in 2022, be sure to mention them in the comments).
I applied a 0-2 scale scoring system, similar to what has been employed previously and also similar to our other Top 10 features. These are what each of the scores represent:
- 0 = remix that didn't resonate with me and I couldn't get into it. Usually because I'm not a fan of the source material or I don't really recognise it.
- 1 = remix that is good, worth a listen and can be appreciated for its technical merit.
- 2 = My favourites of the bunch. Ones I'm likely to listen to again and again. Remixes I'd want my friends to listen to.
32 tracks achieved a score of 2 this time (compared to last year's 26), meaning I had to discount even more tracks than in previous years in order to come with a Top 10. Any remaining tracks with a score of 2 were included in the Honourable Mentions list below.
So, I present to you the Top 10 PC Game Covers and Remixes of 2022 as ranked by Choicest Games!
Honourable MentionsMonkey Island Theme (Cover) - A Shamisen Orchestra (The Secret of Monkey Island) by A Shamisen Orchestra
Subway Song / Tax & Money (Cromabianca Remix) - SimCity 2000 Music Extended (SimCity 2000) by Cromabianca
Return to Monkey Island - LeChucks Theme (DK's Musicbox Cover) (Return to Monkey Island) by DK's Musicbox
Deus Ex: The Synapse (Epic Remake) (Hong Kong Streets) (Deus Ex) by Everrune
Command & Conquer - Act On Instinct (Epic Modern Version) (Command & Conquer) by Everrune
Die Siedler/The Settlers (Amiga Music for Piano) (The Settlers) by Grazia Pizzuto
Starcraft Terran Theme 4 (All Instruments Cover) (Starcraft: Brood War) by Hoojin PARK
Maniac Mansion - So Long, Dave (Dave's Theme) Synthwave Cover (Maniac Mansion) by housethegrate
URANIUM FEVER | Fallout 4 | Diamond City Radio [Remix] (Fallout 4) by Luri
Dovakhiin in Jamaica (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) by M Benson feat. Ben Cureton
Mass Effect 3 - Leaving Earth but it's relaxing (REIMAGINED Version) (Mass Effect 3) by Mr Hulthen
Uncharted Worlds REIMAGINED For Mass Effect 4 (Galaxy Map Theme) (Mass Effect) by Mr Hulthen
Sailing on the Vaporwaves (King's Quest VI) by Brandon Blume
Ultima Online (HQ Remix) - Can't Remove The Pain (Crystallized) (Ultima Online) by Pieces of 8-Bit
Ultima Online (HQ Remake) - Vesper (Crystallized Version) (Ultima Online) by Pieces of 8-Bit
Still Alive (Radio Mix) (from Portal) - Piano Tutorial (Portal) by Sheet Music Boss
Sim Broadway (from SimCity 3000) - Piano Tutorial (SimCity 3000) by Sheet Music Boss
Age of Empires II - Main Theme (Folk Cover) (Age of Empires II) by Tangled Grove
Monkey Island - LeChuck's Theme (Multiinstrumental Cover) feat. Julia (saxophone) (The Secret of Monkey Island) by Tangled Grove
Shamburger (Age of Empires II) Band Cover (Age of Empires II) by The Consouls
Ultopica Covers - Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters - The Yehat (Star Control 2) by Ultopica
Mass Effect 3 - An End Once And For All | METAL REMIX (Mass Effect 3) by Vincent Moretto
#10 Microprose Formula One Grand Prix Remix (Formula One Grand Prix)Game: Formula One Grand Prix
Source: Main Theme
Original Artist(s): David Lowe
Remix/Cover Title: David Lowe - Microprose Formula One Grand Prix (Remix)
Music by David Lowe (aka Uncle Art) deserves more recognition and remixes so it's great to see that D4XX has done a remix of the instantly recognisable theme for Microprose's Formula One Grand Prix (known as World Circuit in the United States). For fans of Fleetwood Mac, the music might sound familiar, because it's based off BBC Formula One's theme music which is in turn based off the ending bass line of "The Chain".
D4XX is a prolific remixer of Commodore 64 and Amiga game music so I can always rely on him providing remixes for classic PC games of the 1980s and early 90s. This remix stays mainly faithful to the source material but it brings along 21st century synths to give a more modern sound to this retro track. David Lowe's own remix of this track called "F1 Carrera" off his Temporal Shift album will still remain my favourite but this is definitely my top pick for a remix of David Lowe's work in 2022!
#9 Lone Trooper New Wave Remix (Tiberian Sun)Game: Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
Source: Lone Trooper
Original Artist(s): Jarrid Mendelson
Remix/Cover Title: Frank Klepacki - Lone Trooper (New Wave Remix) by Norvak
Artist(s): Mike Norvak
Thanks to the remastered version of Command & Conquer that was released in 2020, this classic RTS game from Westwood Studios has received a lot of renewed attention. This means its excellent soundtrack has been revisited too, which culminated in Frank Klepacki and the Tiberian Sons covering much music from the series. Fans of the games also covered or remixed music from the C&C games and when I took a look at the remixes and covers out there for 2022, I found 14 to choose from. I was very close to including Everrune's "Act on Instinct" remix but I figured that remixes of that track have been done to death and Everrune's remix isn't quite as funky as Mike Norvak's synthwave take on "Lone Trooper", one of my favourite tracks from the Tiberian Sun soundtrack.
Although Frank Klepacki is responsible for most of the music for the games developed by Westwood Studios, he actually had a collaborator on the Tiberian Sun soundtrack called Jarrid Mendelson who is the actual composer of "Lone Trooper".
Mike Norvak has released many remixes in the past including a Command & Conquer remix that featured on 2020's list. It's good to see he's made the list again and I would urge anyone who is interested in his music to check out his YouTube channel or BandCamp page.
#8 King of the Spill Acoustic Cover (TMNT: Shredder's Revenge)Game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge
Source: King of the Spill
Original Artist(s): Tee Lopes
Remix/Cover Title: KING OF THE SPILL IS THE PERFECT SONG
I find it to be quite rare for remixes and covers to come out so soon after a game is released and yet there are already remixes and covers of 2022's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, including this one which is based off the music that plays on the Rat King level called "King of the Spill". The original composer for this track, Tee Lopes, has had plenty of experience composing music for recent Sonic the Hedgehog games and I believe it's his skill at emulating that retro sound that has resulted in the Shredder's Revenge soundtrack rocking as much as it does. There are plenty of standouts on the soundtrack including contributions by Mike Patton of Faith No More fame, and Wu-Tang Clan members, Ghostface Killah and Rakewon, but "King of the Spill" deserves recognition too as it captures that late 80s/early 90s vibe so perfectly it really teleports you back in time.
Canadian guitarist Chris Robinson has decided to take a unique take on "King of the Spill" by playing a guitar cover using one electric guitar and two acoustic ones. His video demonstrates his mad skills and the track is a very cool rendition of what he considers "the perfect song". Chris has been posting videos of mainly retro game music covers for a couple of years now so if you're interested in his music, check out his YouTube channel. He's also available on a whole bunch of other social media.
#7 New Worlds House Remix (Mass Effect 2)Game: Mass Effect 2
Source: New Worlds
Original Artist(s): Sam Hulick and Jack Wall
Remix/Cover Title: Mass Effect 2 - Galaxy Map Scanning Theme - F1NG3RS House Remix
Mass Effect Legendary Edition was only released recently in 2021 and as a result, there has been a renewed interest in Mass Effect remixes and covers. In fact, I had 9 to choose from this year but this is the one that made the cut, despite the strong competition, such as a metal remix of Mass Effect 3's "An End Once and for All" by Vincent Moretto, and a couple of remixes by MrHuthen (they all made the Honourable Mentions list above).
The Galaxy Map music in the Mass Effect games are often fan favourites so it's no surprise to see another remix of "New Worlds" from Mass Effect 2. Since I also happen to be a fan of house music (especially French House - think Daft Punk) this remix by F1NG3RS is right up my alley and I'm pretty sure if Commander Shepard listened to this, he would be saying "I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favourite house remix on the YouTube".
If you're interested in more videos by F1NG3RS you can check out the F1NG3RSMUSIC YouTube channel.
#6 Main Theme Remix (Space Quest III)Game: Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
Source: Main Theme
Original Artist(s): Bob Siebenberg
Remix/Cover Title: Space Quest III OC Remix by faRk: "Verdensrommet" [Main Theme]
Artist(s): Hallvard A. Ulsund (faRk)
There aren't enough remixes and covers based off Sierra adventure games out there so I get pretty excited whenever I stumble across one, especially if it receives attention from the crew at OCRemix. This particular remix is based off the Main Theme that plays for 1989's Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon. As has been mentioned before, the soundtrack to this game was composed by Supertramp drummer Bob Siebenberg and it was probably one of the earliest instances of a major artist composing original music for a video game (this trend would continue at Sierra as Jan Hammer of "Miami Vice" fame scored the theme for Police Quest III). The main theme to Space Quest III is a fan favourite so it's not entirely surprising that it has received the remix treatment.
Hallvard A. Ulsund's (aka faRk) take on the theme is fun and nostalgic. This is achieved by giving the original track a chiptune feel (despite the original being recorded in the MIDI format). Changes to the source material are actually rather minimal in this remix and yet it still feels fresh, offering something new that stands on its own for our listening pleasure.
#5 An Exhibition Cover (Streets of Rage 4)Game: Streets of Rage 4
Source: An Exhibition
Original Artist(s): Olivier Derivière
Remix/Cover Title: An Exhibition (Streets of Rage 4) Band Cover
Artist(s): The Consouls
This next cover is for a rather recent game called Streets of Rage 4 (which Choicest Games reviewed and gave it a respectable 8 out of 10). While the Streets of Rage series traces its roots to the Sega Mega Drive console, the original trilogy and the 2020 sequel are available on PC and I'm very thankful that they are. The original Streets of Rage had its soundtrack composed by Yuzo Kushiro who managed to tap into the fresh beats from the 90s dance scene and bring it into a video game. Fast forward to 2020, and he was again given the chance to score music for a Streets of Rage game but this time, the bulk of the music was composed by a chap named Olivier Derivière. Olivier achieved the impossible task of retaining that retro, nostalgic 90s sound, while at the same time mixing in more contemporary styles so that modern audiences could enjoy the game's soundtrack too.
"An Exhibition", a track by Olivier, plays when the heroes fight their way through an art gallery, and it's a blend of Nu Jazz and Latin dance that makes for an intoxicating beat you can't ignore. The Consouls, who cover this track, must've thought the same and their live instrumental version of this is a perfect adaptation of the source material.
The Consouls have a whole YouTube channel with lots of great covers to listen to including one based off "Shamburger" from Age of Empires II (which just missed the top 10 but is on the Honourable Mentions list). Be sure to check them out!
#4 Mind the Lemmings Cover (Lemmings)Game: Lemmings
Source: Mind the Lemmings (Tim 5)
Original Artist(s): Tim Wright
Remix/Cover Title: Lemmings (Tim Wright) - Mind the Lemmings - cover
Artist(s): Banjo Guy Ollie
It's not often we get new remixes or covers for the "ancient" era of PC gaming when Amigas and Commodore 64s were all the rage, so I'm always glad whenever I come across music based off Lemmings. This particular track called "Mind the Lemmings" or "Tim 5" is one of the iconic pieces on the Lemmings soundtrack. It's a toe-tapping classic and was really close to not existing in the game since Tim Wright was hired almost at the last minute to score music for the game after the original composer Brian Johnston had used a lot of copyrighted music for the initial version. Tim ended up basing most of his remixes on old folk tunes which were (mostly) in the public domain. He also created some more original stuff such as the track that Banjo Guy Ollie covers in this video.
This isn't the first time Banjo Guy Ollie has featured on one of these lists. I think it's a testament to how unique his covers are in terms of the instruments played and the source material he picks that sees him returning again and again. Be sure to check out his Youtube channel for some more awesome remixes and covers of retro game music.
#3 Baba Yetu A Capella Cover (Civilization IV)Game: Civilization IV
Source: Introduction (Baba Yetu)
Original Artist(s): Christopher Tin and the Soweto Gospel Choir
Remix/Cover Title: Baba Yetu (acapella) #civilization
At the time of this post, this video is by far the most popular on this list in terms of views as it's sitting on over 1.2 million. This is because it's none other than the YouTube sensation MayTree covering Christopher Tin's "Baba Yetu" which is used as the main theme for Civilization IV. The combination of a hugely popular a capella group from Korea and a Grammy award winning piece of music is a sure-fire recipe for success. In fact, Christopher Tin himself complimented MayTree on their feat:
"Oh my goodness! Thank you for this cover! I've been impressed by your videos for awhile now, so I'm so flattered that you did this!"
#2 Still Alive Cover (Portal)Game: Portal
Source: Still Alive
Original Artist(s): Jonathan Coulton
Remix/Cover Title: Still Alive • cover by Jenny w/ 8-Bit Big Band ver. (Portal)
Artist(s): Jenny w/ 8-Bit Big Band
There are actually quite a few versions of "Still Alive" by the 8-Bit Big Band but this cover that was released last year on Jenny (xUnreachablee)'s channel is really exceptional. You could almost forget that this is a zany song about a rogue AI from a computer game as the combination of jazz music and soulful vocals teleports you back to the 1940s.
There were quite a few covers of "Still Alive" that were released last year but besides Sheet Music Boss showing us how to play the radio mix version of "Still Alive" (a favourite of mine) the one featured here is the one that stood out for me. Jenny doesn't seem to normally do covers of video game music but be sure to check out her channel if you dig her style of music.
#1 LeShip: Murray Brass Band Cover (Return to Monkey Island)Game: Return to Monkey Island
Source: LeShip: Murray
Original Artist(s): Michael Z. Land, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian
Remix/Cover Title: Return to Monkey Island "LeChuck's Return: LeShip Murray" Brass Quintet and Theremin
Artist(s): The Game Brass
And we now come to the number one cover for 2022. 2022 was a big year of releases including a long-awaited sequel for the Monkey Island franchise. On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Return to Monkey Island was released and with the ex-Lucasarts alumni on board such as Michael Z. Land, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian, the soundtrack was as good as you'd expect. One of the iconic themes from the franchise is LeChuck's theme and the Game Brass (a brass band that specialises in covering game music) decided that the version heard in the recent Monkey Island game was worth covering.
It's always a pleasure to hear live instruments playing video game music and the Game Brass do not disappoint in providing a fun take on LeShip: Murray. They even managed to incorporate a therimin in there to give it that extra spooky feel.
Surprisingly, I didn't stumble upon many other Return to Monkey Island covers but a worthy contender was DK Musicbox's cover of the LeChuck theme which sounds a bit like "Thomas the Tank Engine" in parts, but it's well worth a listen, especially for the fans.
If you're interested in more brass band covers of video game music, be sure to check out The Game Brass YouTube channel.
So, what do you think about the list? Did you enjoy any of these tracks? Are there any choicest VGM remixes or covers that I missed in 2022? Make sure to leave a comment.
Oh, this year I've also decided to make a Spotify playlist of every remix and cover that has featured in these articles that are also available on Spotify. This means, I wasn't able to get everything on there (I've only got slightly more than 30 at the moment) but I'm hoping over time it will become a bit more varied as it has a lot of Undertale remixes on it at the moment…