"Linkage", the title screen song, puts you in the mood with its catchy electronic bits. It was later remixed to serve as Joint Assault briefing music.
"Physical Layer" mixes classic guitar riffs and drums with an electronic vibe for a pretty badass music. It's used for a training mission in the US/EU version.
"Frozen Soul", used for the stratospheric battles using the Blackbird II, mixes slow and low-pitched beats to remind you that yes, you're flying higher than commercial planes and yes, you're halfway to space.
"Black Lotus", because nothing says "Go bomb hives of rogue nanomachines that will eat your plane if you fly too close to them" better than slow creepy drums.
"Freefall" is creepier than Black Lotus with its permanent alarm sound, but for a good reason: you're on a timed mission to shoot down laser weapons in a space mission, in a plane half-fighter half-space shuttle.
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
"Sitting Duck" has you intercept a squadron of bombers as your introductory mission, accompanied by your first taste of the soundtrack's mix of rocking guitars, sharp violin movements and clever synthesizer play.
"Comona", used in the game's namesake mission, is a hard rocking number that goes hand in hand with the epic furball happening over the rocket base. Each replay of the song only seems to heighten its intensity.
"Emancipation" is quite calming, but when the bell strikes, it invokes a feeling of uncertainty. In later part (about 3:18), it turns into an awesome rousing theme.
"Whiskey Corridor" cannot go by without a mention, especially not with what starts at 2:50.
"Stonehenge Attack". Made doubly terrifying when you hurry to obey the sudden order to drop altitude, not knowing why it was given, and watch as half your allies get blasted out of the sky above you.
"Aquila", Yellow Squadron's main theme. Made ominous by a combination of drums, cymbals and a chime, all coming together to make a bell-like sound everytime the song moves forward with its violins.
Breaking Arrows and Breaking Arrows 2. The tension instilled by the music as you race against the missiles will give you the chills. Especially the last (nuclear) one.
Mobius. Get your plane, listen to the base commander give a Rousing Speech, and go destroy the Megalith.
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
"Hrimfaxi". A reprise of the music from the earlier Scinfaxi fight, but with some insane electric guitar thrown in for effect.
"Supercircus". Absolutely perfect for the scene it's pulled on: in the middle of safe territory, the four of you suddenly get Zerg Rushed by 50+ Yuktobanian fighters and what was supposed to be a simple ceremonial flight quickly devolves into a nerve-wracking dogfight for your lives while waiting for reinforcements that turn back and jam the airwaves once halfway there.
"Dead Ahead". Perfect music for hurtling at the speed of sound down a long dark tunnel, and no choice to go forward.
"First Flight". Yuktobania launches a massive raid on your base, but the Four Wings of Sand Island launch for the first time, and utterly curbstomp the Yukes. It's also an orchestral arrangement of "Blockade" from Ace Combat 4. It speaks volumes that a series with so much awesome music thought this song was worth reusing.
"The Unsung War". Latin chanting of the legend of the main characters, with sweeping orchestral music wins it every time.
"Winter Storm". A sort of prologue to "Unsung War", also deserves mention. It is New Year's Eve 2010. Millions of lives hang in the balance; while the war is over, one final mission remains: to stop a massive orbital railgun equipped with a nuclear superweapon, from falling on the capital and causing untold devastation.
"15 Years Ago". Another piano version that you normally hear during Nagase's and Gennette's musings on the Belkan war, but also plays during the final mission if you beat the enemy planes quick enough. This song, along with the ordinarily sappy dialogue, makes those two minutes leading up the SOLG assault practically into a CMOH/Tear Jerker.
"Unsung Heroes". A short, yet still magnificent piece, truly befitting your final victory.
It might be due to the kick ass trailer, but "Blurry", which appears in the intro and is overheard in the radio in some cutscenes (being Chopper's favourite song), sets the tone well for the game.
Ace Combat Zero
"Glacial Skies". That crescendo though. You can practically feel the icy wind on your face, as there's not a warm instrument to be heard, all shimmering violins, cymbals, and castanets, and even the guitar is razor-thin. Gorgeous.
"Diapason". A rousing, uplifting piece that plays as the player flies in the skies over the capital city of their homeland, pushing the Belkans and liberating the city.
"Glatisant". The beat gives it an ominous feel as you enter your enemy's home country.
"Excalibur", the heavy and medieval-esque movement that plays while trying to launch an attack on the superlaser tower that can cut you from miles away.
"The Inferno". An aptly named soundtrack for one of the most depressing missions in Ace Combat history, that effectively portrays the feeling of absolute dread and terror the inhabitants of Hoffnung must feel at experiencing an all-out obliteration bombing, and the resulting firestorm it spawns. Allied bombers carpet-bombing a civilian city, panicked cries from civilians on the radio, fires raging across all of Hoffnung, it all makes for a gut-wrenching feeling and encapsulates that War Is Hell.
"Contact" is absolutely fantastic. It fits the incredibly frantic dogfight against the ace squadron at B 7 R so well.
"Merlon", or "How to Make Your Guitar Sound Like a Harp."
"Mayhem". Possibly the best non-boss track in the whole series.
"The Stage of Apocalypse". June 6th, 1995. What was supposed to be a support mission for Allied forces in Sudentor becomes one of the most infamous moments in the entire series, as Galm Team is ordered to intercept a flight of Belkan bombers headed for Ustio. Said bombers are loaded with nuclear weapons. If you played Ace Combat 5, you know what happens next.
"The Round Table". If the massive dogfight inside Area B 7 R (AKA The Round Table) wasn't hectic enough already, a squadron of enemy aces enter the battle to ramp things up even more and try to take you down.
"The Valley Of Kings" perfectly portrays the feeling that you're going to the enemy base to finish them off once and for all... somehow.
"Avalon". The enemy is preparing to launch nuclear missiles, you have limited time to stop the launch AND you have to fly through a tunnel to stop it. The first part of the song catches the tension of the moment, but the second part gives a heroic feeling.
"Zero". This is perhaps Keiki Kobayashi's magnum opus. Combining the flamenco motif and the signature orchestral chorus for a perfect mix that's applicable for so many final fights, it is hailed as a masterpiece even by non-Ace Combat fans. A final battle between two former friends and squadronmates on December 31st. As the snow falls, the fate of the world hangs in the balance and it is up to the player to stop the end of civilization.
Even better, someone made an 11 minutes long, digitally remastered HD-quality version. Here it is.
"Galm 2/Epilogue". A calm and sorrowful accompaniment to the final cutscene. Your buddy has realized the error of his attempt to rid the world of borders and moved on, and has a message for the interviewer, just in case you ever see the video. Cap it off with a speech from the interviewer to just remind you how awesome you are, and the curtain falls.
"Alect Squadron, Armada". Whether you're intercepting the enemy's top pilots to stop them getting their hands on their advanced super-fighters, or sinking a massive convoy of warships carrying new weapon parts for said super-fighters, a blaring electric guitar makes sure you're going to feel unstoppable doing it.
"End of Deception" accompanies the assault on the enemy's last fortress, and a tense, fast and frantic dogfight with their advanced super-fighters that can stop in mid-air, and even turn invisible.
'Skies of Deception" backs up a fairly simple bomber interception for the game's first mission, and introduces the game's recurring melody.
Even two "unknown" tracks that don't have a title are good. The first one plays during second part of missions "Ice Bound" and Wild Card", while the second one plays only during the raid on Sachana Air Base in "Blitz" and includes a portion of the game's main theme.
"Siege on Silvat" greatly emphasizes the race against time to save Emmeria's mainland forces from being overwhelmed by the numerically superior Estovakians.
"Selumna Peak". A soothing orchestral song for a mission in the snowy mountains.
"To All Things", the final mission's theme. Moody, but still uplifting, being a choir of the children back at Emmeria singing for the hope that the war finally ends.
"Ragno Fortress" for the eponymous mission is underlined by frequent use of cellos and percussion, great for an extremely complex siege mission. Fans of the series will also find that they repurposed the main melody of "Glacial Skies".
"A Brand New Day", sung by a children choir, is an Award-Bait Song reaching out for hope even amidst the Estovakian occupation, and becomes the rallying song for Emmeria within the story.
The dreaded "Malebolge". Just when you thought all threats were grounded after retaking Gracemaria, Pasternak shows up in his CFA-44 Nosferatu and, accompanied by countless UAV drones, provides one of the most intense One-Man Army moments in the series.
"San Loma Assault" at first seems run of the mill for Ace Combat, until the brass comes in and turns the song into a heavy bombardment of tubas; exactly like how you're taking back San Loma with a lot of Emmerian forces involved.
If you'd already played AC 4 and 5, you probably knew something bad was going to happen the moment they told you your last mission was a peaceful patrol over Gracemeria. When "City Lights" starts playing, those suspicions are confirmed.
Ace Combat: Joint Assault
"Showdown (Varcolac)", a heroic track to accompany your fight against the recurring rivals of the game, Varcolac Squadron. This time, they're going down for good.
"Release", the supremely intense piece played on the final mission, features Ominous Latin Chanting for starters. After an awesome startup with a rising choir, the frantic tone offers a mere couple of soft moments before diving back into the chaos.
"Rush", the rocky theme for your trip over Dubai. Slowly opening up with a faint Middle-East woodwind, the song builds up momentum for 50 seconds until it breaks out with Orchestral Bombing, angelic choirs and wild guitar riffs.
The main theme, "Gotta Stay Fly", featured heavily in promotional trailers and making up the overarching melody of many tracks. Unfortunately, it only plays during the ending credits.
"Fighter", the instrumental version of "Gotta Stay Fly", which picks up once Bishop and his wingmen start turning the tide around during the battle on Miami, interceded with a speech from the President of the United States no less!
"Keep Alive". A near-perfect blend of militaristic drums, electric guitar and electronic music samples, creating one of the most amazing songs ever conceived for a 21st century aerial battle.
"Shall Defend". Starts with an almost tragic set of piano keys, but quickly hits you with a rolling thunderhead of tense strings, powerful riffs, and a snare drum that simply will not quit.
"Decisive Battle", the brief motif that flares when Bishop goes face-to-face with Markov over Miami in a cinematic joust.
"White Devil", an intense combination of orchestra and rock for an intense battle in the snow, defending an airbase from ground attack and protecting transport planes from swarms of enemy fighters.
"DEJA-VU", a watered-down version of Markov's theme without the actual lyrics and with frequent rock bouts. A truly chilling piece of music.
"Naval Warfare" is an unrelenting maelstrom of metal, sounding as though each instrument is going every which way doing its own thing. It's rather fitting for the one level where you get to use the Attacker planes and blow an entire naval fleet.
"Launch", the theme that plays during Razor's bombing run in the eponymous mission, making heavy use of percussion that echo the unrelenting series of nighttime explosions Janice leaves in her wake.
"Eyes", where the orchestra slowly replaces the percussion heard in "Launch" and makes way for the game's main motif as Bishop rushes to shoot down an ICBM before it flies out of range.
"Gravity". The Ending Theme with some pretty cheesy, yet absolutely epic lyrics, serving as an extended Badass Boast in honour of Scarface One. note The 3D Cross Rumble soundtrack calls this song "Like a Phoenix Rising," but in the credits for Assault Horizon Legacy this song is titled "Gravity." This is also the name Noel herself used for the song.
"Fighter's Honor". It's been an established tradition for Ace Combat protagonists to get an awesome orchestral song singing their praises for the final battle, and now Scarface One gets his own.
"Locked", Cocoon Squadron's theme; a fast-paced rap number meant to rival Assault Horizon's "Gotta Stay Fly". note The 3D Cross Rumble soundtrack calls this song "Gravity," but in the credits for Assault Horizon Legacy this song is titled "Locked."
"On the Verge", Albireo Squadron's theme; a hard rock/thrash metal tune fit for the rebel forces' top fighter squadron.
"Zone of Endless", Z.O.E's first of three themes, and the one used most often. Notable for the lack of melody, yet it still sounds ominous with the periodic electronics spike and the percussion.
"Intruder", the second Z.O.E. theme, ditches the periodic use of electronics altogether and goes for a relentless percussion number.
Ace Combat: Infinity
Despite Ace Combat Infinity reusing many great tracks throughout the Ace Combat Series, it also has a fair share of remakes that are well enjoyed, including:
"Comona Remix", played during Mission 2 of the campaign. Though less rocky than the original track of Ace Combat 04, it still gets the job done with a dubstep rhythm.
"Stonehenge Remix", played during the Entirety of Mission 4, and has also been used during all the Multiplayer runs against Stonehenge and the Second and Third Multiplayer runs against Moby Dick/Agaion. Unlike the original "Stonehenge", this remix incorporates tense guitar riffs.
"Invincible Fleet Remix", played during the first third of Mission 5, is a throwback to Ace Combat 04's similarly named track, except this one builds on the melody with intense strings and brass.
"Blue Skies (INFINITY Remix)",a brillant rendition of Ace Combat 04's own ending credits song, more heroic and dynamic than ever. Played on the second part of Operation Bunkershot as to give you and your allies a Heroic Second Wind as you tear apart the USEAn forces even when they previously had you cornered with the helps of OLDS.
Collins: We got nothing to be afraid of! Not with the Grim Reaper haunting the skies! Bertz: You said it! On the ground and in the air... We can do this! [Cue rallying cries of "Let's go!"]
This acoustic medley of selected tracks from across the series, finishing with a duet of the theme song of Zero. It truly must be heard to be believed.