Music is an integral part of any game. While pieces that truly compliment their environment are often capable of stirring emotions and conveying a story without the use of words, dull, uninspiring themes can go completely under the radar.
The list below is a compilation of some of my own personal favorite cavern themes in RPGs. I have attempted to provide an eclectic mix of tracks from all sorts of RPGs throughout the years, but I’m sure that I have missed many amazing pieces as a result. But that’s where you come in – be sure to leave your own personal favorites down in the comments below.
Illusionary World – Final Fantasy IV
Illusionary World will forever be ingrained in my mind from the many-a-grind-sessions I had in both the Sylph Cave and Land of the Summons as a child. But if I’m being honest, I didn’t stick around those places because they were good grinding spots – in fact, they were home to some very annoying enemies – but I loved the aesthetic and sound so much that I never really wanted to leave. Arguably one of the simplest and shortest pieces that Uematsu ever composed – at 42 seconds – it nonetheless has left a lasting impression on me to this day.
Dark Caverns – Octopath Traveler
Though not exclusive to subterranean scenery, this track from Octopath Traveler is a beautiful – yet haunting – tune thats appeal never really fades no matter how much you listen to it.
Dangerous Feeling – Breath of Fire III
This piece is one of the best offerings to come out of the jazzy soundtrack that is Breath of Fire III simply due to what it accomplishes. It uses a heavy, distinct bass drum kick and hi hat beat with an electric bass run as support to a symphonic melody – all things which might not necessarily tie in well together, but makes for a really impressive (and appropriate) cavern-esque track.
Dungeon – SaGa Frontier
SaGa games are known to be grindy, so it is a good thing that they are almost always accompanied by excellent soundtracks. SaGa Frontier is no different, and this one of only a handful of tunes that play in various areas of the game, but it is likely one you’ll remember fondly rather than with disgust. The oriental influences here really set it apart from the typical cavern theme.
Bombermines – Evoland 2
Newcomer to my personal favorites – also rivaling Illusionary World in its length – Bombermines is a simple track, but includes all of the key ingredients necessary to make an appropriately atmospheric track without bogging the experience down with unnecessary filler. 10/10 would listen again.
Premonition of Trouble – Landstalker
Perhaps the most somber of all tracks here, this one you’ll grow intimately familiar with (whether you like it or not) while you cope with the frustration that is janky isometric platforming in Landstalker.
Lost Odyssey – The Wanderer of Darkness
I’ve always felt like this was one of Uematsu’s most complete compositions. As a result it is a slow burn, but his expertise as a composer really shines through if you see (or hear it) through to the end. It isn’t so great as to give Illusionary World a run for its money in my eyes, but is still more than worthy of being on this list.