An original song whose length greatly exceeds its screentime.
Ideally, the length of an original song should correspond with the amount of screentime it gets. For instance, say the heroine starts singing about the Power of Love only to get interrupted by the villain. The full song still exists on the sound track or on the cutting room floor, but in the work itself, you only get part of it resulting in this trope.
Reasons for this vary. Maybe the song was composed for a much longer scene, but the scene was shortened in the final product. Maybe the part of the work it was composed for was cut entirely and the song had to be used somewhere else in order to prevent it from being scrapped. Maybe they wanted to have it for a music collection, but couldn't fit most of it in the work itself. Whatever the case, this song got the shaft. Often times the full length version can be found on the soundtrack or elsewhere, but never in the work itself.
In video games this may be the result of a short cut-scene with a long song playing only during it so that the only way the full song can be heard is by hacking the game for the sound files or get the soundtrack if the game had one released. During gameplay a song may play only in a certain area or for a short period of time and be obscure to all but the most dedicated players as a sort of music-equivalent to the Unique Enemy (Ex: A song that only plays in one room in the game or a long song that only plays in a short hallway requiring the player to idle if they honestly want to hear all of it) Often included as a kind of easter egg in the game. These are often songs that are uniquely representative of that area/scene and may be a sign that there is something notable about that place.
See also Cut Song, which doesn't even play in the first place. A subtrope of All There in the Manual because the additional materials exist, even if you don't end up experiencing them in the work itself.
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The Sonic OVA had an intense, islandy, techno track known as "South Island". And it was only used for about five seconds, through a crackling stereo no less. It was used in trailers for the OVA too, so, luckily, people managed to rip the entire track.
Most of Cowboy Bebop's score can qualify for this, but a particularly blatant example is "Adieu," a smoky torch song based off of the recurring music box melody "Memory." On the soundtrack CD, it's a full-fledged, six-minute song. In the show, all we get is the very last stanza at the beginning of "The Real Folk Blues, Part I" and the opening verse at the beginning of "Speak Like A Child." One episode also treats us to the very beginning of an opera rendition that wasn't even put on any of the CDs!
"Car 24" plays for about 30 seconds of screentime.
"Farewell Blues" is another one to that list. It uses another frequently-used melody (also heard in "The Singing Sea," and "Stella by Moor") but without lyrics that make the song much more emotional.
"Rei III", a more powerful version of Rei's leitmotif, was never even used.
Just about every track in Rebuild of Evangelion seems to be considerably longer on the soundtracks than they are in the movies themselves, though mostly this just accounts for the track looping a lot more in the soundtrack-version. There is one clear example of this trope in the movies though; The song "Gods Gift" in 3.33, which in the movie pretty much skips the verse and jumps straight into the chorus.
The one-off Pokémon Mystery Dungeon anime special Explorers of Sky: Beyond Time & Darkness have renditions of the track "Sacrifice". The first, which plays when Grovyle, Chimchar and Piplup cross the boundary of the the ocean and head into the Hidden Land, is a fully orchestrated version of the track but with triumphant horns and drums added in. The second version, which plays when Grovyle suplexes Dusknoir, then suplexes him again through the portal to the future, is a fully orchestrated version of the track but it is played much slower pace, giving it a mournful instead of triumphant feel. Both pieces are played during sections where there is a lot of speaking and background noise, in addition, they only last a few seconds (22 seconds in the case of the first instance and roughly 10-15 seconds in the second instance).
One of the OSTs for Samurai Champloo contains a track called "World Without Words". The song got less then 20 seconds of playtime in the entire series, used only for a brief fight between Mugen and Okuru.
Several songs from Code Geass, mainly its sequel, qualify. Many tracks are only used once, and even if they are heard in their entirety, they are never heard again. The first season had numerous tracks that showed up regularly, with only a couple of unused ones on the OST. However, R2 is filled with tracks that are either heard once (or twice at most), such as "Le Repos Du Guerrier", "Check Mate", "Siegfried" and "Love is Justice", and some that didn't even get used at all such as "Prodigy" and "Dark Activity".
The soundtrack for RahXephon was composed by big name jazz artist Ichiko Hashimoto. A lot of the three OSTs worth of music she created didn't even appear on the show. Some of the most outstanding tracks, like "Fate of Katun" and "Flying Fighter" were only heard as snippets of music listened to by characters.
There was a melody that played about 10 minutes into the final episode of Wolf's Rain. It may have been based on a backwards midnight sonata.
The second ending song to Hanamaru Kindergarten fits along with the ending's theme—the show recast as a space drama. In the ending itself, it's a little under half a minute long and truncated. The full version is nearly seven minutes long, operatic, and has several epic guitar solos.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has this in the early episodes. For the first 15 or so episodes, whenever Yusei started to get serious in duels, a very different version of "Yusei Battle" begins playing. Neither version of the Sound Duel CDs have this version of the track on them. Although there's a chance that the third one will have it.
Another song, apparently called "Hopeless Battle", was played a few times during emotional moments early on. The ripped song was removed from Youtube and not released on any of the soundtracks.
Similarly, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has a TON of BGMs that never made it to the two Sound Duels it had. Camula's theme needs to be released.
Angel Beats! has the "Theme of SSS", which is played more than once but never in its entirety (which is under two minutes to begin with). Additionally, multiple other songs included on the OST were never played once.
YuYu Hakusho - this sad song, which is not even titled, plays after Genkai's (temporary) death. This song does not appear on the official soundtracks, and the version linked was clearly ripped from the show - you can hear footsteps echoing over the end. It was never played again.
The ending for the second season of Queen's Blade is sung by the Terrible Trio and has 3 variations, one for each girl. While Melona and Menace got to sing their variations several times, Airi's only appears ONCE, and on the second to last episode at that (The finale doesn't have the ED). Clearly a ploy to sell more CDs, since Airi's the Ensemble Dark Horse, but still.
Super Robot Wars Original Generation: The Inspectors got an awesome new opening on episode 24... out of 26. At this point might as well stick with the first one. Oddly the second ending came on the series' midway point like usual.
A similar deal happened to Dancougar, which got their second, beautiful opening and ending themes on episode 34 out of 38. Not as bad as other examples, but kinda wasteful to give new songs to a series about to end.
"VISION" from the NEEDLESS soundtrack might as well count, because it is only heard for less than thirty seconds in the entire series.
In Gundam Wing, each of the five Gundam Pilots has his own theme song. However, only Heero'snote "The Wings of a Boy Who Killed Adolescence" and Wu Fei'snote "When the Dragon Submerges, Everything Ends" appear more than twice. Trowa'snote "In the Returned Scent of Blood and Gunpowder" plays once, Quatre'snote "Looking for Peace Hiding in the Corpse" twice, and Duo'snote "Black Wind Inviting to Death" never shows up at all...unless you play SD Gundam G Generation.
Similarly, a battle theme for Zechs ("Zechs Comes"), only has tiny excerpts from it get played here and there.
And in the last episode of the Japanese version of Digimon Adventure 02, there's a three-minute edit of the nearly seven-minute "Bokura no Digital World".
There are two versions of the song Only A Memory Away, from the English dub of Sailor Moon. The original was a sombre, somewhat sad song that played during a pivotal moment. The version released on the soundtrack was more upbeat with different lyrics.
From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, we have Numquam vincar, which is dark and epic and combines dramatic violins with an electric guitar bridge and drums all throughout. It could easily pass as the music for a Final Boss, but it's only played in one episode, for a grand total of maybe thirty seconds, against a minor Witch who Homura kills with no effort.
In Monster, during the first half of the anime, there's a theme that sounds like an insane marching theme that plays on occasion when a character is realizing what a danger Johan actually is. Oddly, it never appeared in either OST.
The music when Luke finally goes after Vader after threatening to turn Leia, "The Dark Side Beckons" (On this video), was apparently not in the first soundtrack release. The 1997 release of the soundtrack includes all the music from the movie (except for the end music from the original theatrical release), including this cue. It is found in the track "The Battle of Endor II". It gets its glory in the game Jedi Outcast, where it is used as the final battle's theme.
The epic victory music at the end of Return of the Jedi. Not even named or featured on the soundtrack, it can be found here, though it was clearly ripped from the movie (credit riff kicks in at the end).
The Max Rebo Band number "Lapti Nek", which was replaced by "Jedi Rocks" in the special edition, was only released on the original 1983 soundtrack, the master tapes since having been lost, and the film version, which has different lyrics, was never released at all.
"Show Me Your Spine" from RoboCop (1987). To quote The Other Wiki, "In the Nightclub scene of the movie, the song by P.T.P was played. P.T.P was a short lived side project consisting of members of the band Ministry. However, this song was not available in any official form and could only be heard in the film. It was eventually released in 2004 on a compilation album called Side Trax by Ministry."
In The Good Shepherd, there is an arrangement of "Oh Shenandoah". Of course, we only hear part of it, and in the background behind the dialogue. It is MIA on the soundtrack, and hours of aggressive searching on the internet have turned up fruitless.
"Kabhi Kabhi Aditi" from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na became extremely popular among Bollywood fans. However, some of these same fans were dismayed that its picturization pretty much just shows Aditi sulking and Jai following her around.
And similarly, a techno song from The Replacements (no, not that football movie) called "Heart," played during the final huddle and line of scrimmage for about 15-20 seconds tops. Shown on the credits, absent from the soundtrack.
"Sway" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" from Dark City, or at least the versions from the Director's Cut, with Jennifer Connelly singing. The theatrical cut has Anita Kelsey singing these songs—these were the versions that appeared in full on the soundtrack album.
Indie musician Sufjan Stevens made an art film called The BQE. The Stinger at the end of the film featured two songs—an untitled noise-music piece, and "The Sleeping Red Wolves"—which are completely omitted from the soundtrack album.
Disturbed recorded "This Moment" as a straight-forward fight song with the intention of putting it in a film. They chose Transformers, who played it for a few seconds, then later during the end credits, and not during the fight scene the band was probably hoping for.
Another example would be "Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" by The Goo Goo Dolls, which they wrote specifically for the film (it only got a brief instrumental segment in the actual film). These two songs showed up in the soundtrack as the only two pieces of original material, which was otherwise made up of popular licensed songs (in particular, "What I've Done" by Linkin Park, which got far more focus of these).
Hans Zimmer felt this way about the short cue underscoring the parasail scene as Jack and Elizabeth escape the Flying Dutchman towards the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The composer lamented the fact that he'd used up such an amazing melody on a single scene. It didn't appear on the official soundtrack release, though a subtly-altered version is part of the "Marry Me" suite from the four-disc collector's edition release of all three soundtracks (meaning fans would likely have to re-purchase three OS Ts they already owned just to get hold of the bonus disc of new material).
Ghostbusters originally had a different theme song, performed by Hughes/Thrall, before being replaced with the now-famous Ray Parker Jr. song. The original song was only ever featured in a 1983 teaser trailer.
In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Jo (Doris Day) doesn't get to sing "We'll Love Again" in its entirety, and what little viewers do hear from it gets mostly drowned out by the confrontation between Jo's husband and their son's kidnappers. On the other hand, "Que Sera Sera" sounds longer in the movie than on the soundtrack.
"The Meek Shall Inherit" from Little Shop of Horrors runs over two minutes longer on the soundtrack than in the movie. "Some Fun Now" and Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" also have some lyrics on the album that didn't make it into the movie. Plus, for years, the album marked the only way people could hear "Don't Feed the Plants" (albeit shortened), due to the addition of a Focus Group Ending.
Elliot Goldenthal's score for BatmanForever was cut down from over two hours of music to just forty-five minutes, in order to accommodate more licensed singles on the soundtrack. Until recently, even all of the album releases have failed to include the entire track listing, instead splicing multiple pieces together and leaving others out entirely.
The Muppets has extended versions of "Rainbow Connection" (both the Muppets' and the Moopets' versions), "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Forget You", "Mah Na Mah Na", "Me Party", and "Let's Talk About Me" included on its soundtrack. The longer "Let's Talk About Me", in particular, goes into more detail about Tex Richman's Start of Darkness. The whole song was filmed and included on the Blu-Ray as a bonus feature.
The Sound of Music had its reprise of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" shortened for the movie, then restored to its full length on the soundtrack. However, if any other songs experienced trimming during the transition to the big screen, they had no such luck.
In the Doctor Who episodes "The Doctor's Daughter" and "Turn Left", an unspeakably epic, heroic theme plays near the end of each episode. It's on the series four soundtrack as "A Dazzling End", but the end of the song has been completely changed.
Also in Doctor Who, the original version of "Song For Ten" from "The Christmas Invasion" was never released.
"Evolution of the Daleks" was only put on the soundtrack in a slowed-down way, instead of the fast, hectic version used in the show.
In Takeshi's Castle a final battle theme plays for the Final Showdown. But due to the commentary it can be hard to hear and as it's generally a curb stomp battle it's often cut short. Might never have even been played fully. Could be averted however, as the Theme Song is also used for the Final Showdown, combied with the fact that it's more or less played in a loop, and it depends on how many contestants are left.
Pokémon Smash has an ending theme, "Endless Fighters", which is something its successor Pokémon Sunday lacked for a while. However, the reason Sunday stopped having an Ending theme was because the credits made very short and the announcer would talk over them, and that's exactly what happens to Endless Fighters.
Most of Fat Segal's contributions to the Skins soundtrack suffer this. "Whitecap Widow" is an astonishing five minutes of music, but you wouldn't know it from the half dozen distinct chunks it gets sliced into during Emily's S4 episode. (And that's only if you can find the full song before it gets yanked off his Myspace page...)
Battlestar Galactica had Black Market from the episode with the same name. It was barely heard in the background as Lee walked into the Prometheus. These days, it is considered the only thing good about the episode and, by some, one of the best songs of the Season 2 soundtrack.
Five Iron Frenzy felt their album Electric Boogaloo ran too long, so they cut three songs. One of them got significantly reworked and appeared on their next album; the other two wound up on Cheeses (of Nazareth), FIF's collection of b-sides. One of these songs relegated to Cheeses was "Kamikaze". Reese Roper (and possibly some other FIF members) eventually came to the conclusion that "Kamikaze" was one of the best songs the band ever wrote, and that it should have been released on a better album.
Johann Sebastian Bach's church cantatas and other religious works, while beloved today, remained very obscure for more than a hundred years, as they were written to be performed just once. The cantatas were only rediscovered after Felix Mendelssohn revived interest in Bach's music by conducting the first performance of the St. Matthew Passion since the mid-1700s in 1829. A great many of Bach's works were lost forever when his wife decided to use his older scores to wrap fish.
The Beatles relegated the otherwise unreleased "Can You Take Me Back?" to a brief snippet seguing "Cry Baby Cry" and "Revolution 9." The actual recording was a full three-minute song.
Inverted with "Revolution 1" - as originally recorded, take 20 of "Revolution 1" went on for ten minutes, its ending jam being overdubbed with numerous chaotic sound effects. When John's idea to release this as a single was shushed by his bandmates (in favor of "Hey Jude"), John separated the chaotic ending, removed the musical bed, and retitled the remaining sound collage "Revolution 9." (Reasonably enough, someone with skill can actually synch "Revolution 9" to the original bootlegged ending - elements such as John's "RIGHT!" screams match up perfectly.)
Pavement's "Trigger Cut / Wounded At :17" has an instrumental outro with the band playing a catchy riff, which lasts about 30 seconds, fading in from the last note of the main part of the song and then very quickly fading back out. A decade later, the bonus tracks on Slanted And Enchanted: Luxe And Reduxe revealed that this was actually a small part of "Nothing Ever Happens", a full two and a half minute song sung by Scott Kannberg.
Similarly, "3 Inch Horses, Two-Faced Monsters" was left off Modest Mouse's The Moon And Antarctica, appearing only as a 10 second segue between "A Different City" and "The Cold Part". The full song is a little over four minutes long, and appeared on the outtake/B-Side compilation EP Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks.
The version of Magmoor Caverns in Metroid Prime Pinball can only be heard when waiting for a signal from another DS to start the multiplayer table.
Disney Theme Parks have literally thousands of individual audio elements, many of them music that is heard all too briefly.
Splash Mountain at Disneyland CA in particular has several, including "Laughin' Place" - of which only 0:41 of its 1:27 loop will be heard on any one ride-through, and then there are multiple versions heard in that time, including a surprisingly addictive versions with bees "singing" the song - and "Burrow's Lament," a slow minor-key version of "Laughin' Place" with new lyrics, plus an alternative, shorter instrumental piece based on Burrow's Lament (revealed by files that have turned up on the Internet to have been made by cutting down a full-length alternative version of Burrow's Lament). Burrow's Lament is heard for around 15 seconds at most, and the alternative version is mostly drowned out by the final lift hill.
Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World uses a bluegrass soundtrack different from Disneyland's, which includes a catchy steel-guitar-accompanied instrumental version of "How Do You Do" between the end of the first set of lift hills and the first descent, and a similarly styled version of "Laughin' Place" which has to compete with vocals to be heard. The singing bees were also re-recorded specifically for WDW. But WDW's "Splash Mountain Medley" Official Album track is not nearly as complete as Disneyland's.
The Haunted Mansion at Disney World has a piano version of its "Grim, Grinning Ghosts" theme tune that is barely audible due to weak speakers playing it, the standard organ-dirge version of the song playing nearby, and the "Ghost Host" narrating loudly all through the piano room scene.
The queue/"area" music for any ride that either has a very short wait or which one uses Fast Pass to skip the lines for becomes Wasted Music. Some of it is very good, but will only be heard briefly. Sometimes even the long normal line provides little help in hearing it, as the speakers may be placed poorly and leave it inaudible from certain points in the queue. Only a handful of tunes are available on park CDs, and many have never been released, even on the "Forever" CD kiosks that allowed people to take home an impressive amount of park music.
Mission: SPACE has its own theme song, called "Destiny," which is heard only in the ride's exit hallway (and not, as one might expect, in the game room at the end of that hallway, or the gift shop after that). There's a cut-down version (argh!) on the park soundtrack album, which is generally the first time people realize it even exists.
Video Games - Action Adventrure
The main canal area in Beyond Good & Evil normally has no music (instead, you get to hear the Big Bad giving speeches), but if you sit around, a unique song, "Channel Surfing / Something Complete Different" starts to play. It's a pseudo-remix / Suspiciously Similar Song of one of the game's more awesome songs, "Akuda House Propaganda." However, since most people will be in and out of the area before the speech finishes, many players don't even know the song exists.
Some fans of the game thinks that "Dancing with Domz" suffered from this.
Also "Safari", which is only played in the area in front of the lighthouse, so you probably won't hear most of it unless you stop to talk to the kids when they happen to be outside. Oh, and by the time the plot gives you a reason to return there the song is gone for good.
Bully does this with the song that plays during the Final Showdown mission, along with the song that plays in The Tenements and the song that plays in the first half of the mission "Nice Outfit".
Metroid Zero Mission has the Space Pirate Mothership Theme, an eerie techno beat that plays when you've been stripped of your suit and have to sneak through their ship without any weapons or armor. The song is almost four minutes long, but you'll only hear about 20 seconds of it before you're spotted by an unavoidable pirate and the alarm music plays. Even when you ditch them, the original sneaking music never plays again.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night includes quite a few catchy songs (and levels for that matter) that were added onto the Saturn version of the game, making any owners of the game for any other console out of luck. These songs are also notable because the levels and fights that feature them aren't particularly long, thus it's easy to miss a large portion of the songs. Some of the songs missed out by many players include this, this, this, and this.
The Wasted Song on both versions, however, is the prologue song, which plays when Richter is on the way to Dracula's throne. No enemies in sight. And Dracula's leitmotif took over when they fight.
The Akumajou Dracula Sharp X68000 game (which was later given a PS1 port known in Western territories as Video Game/Castlevania) has a pretty catchy loading theme that you don't hear anywhere else. However, it does get reused in Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth as the Stage 4 music.
Each nightfall in Shenmue I and II featured the opening to a very pleasant acoustic guitar song (a rearrangement of a track from Super Hang-On) that is never heard anywhere else in the game nor the OST... Until now!
Oracle Of Seasons had a "Pirate ship un-beaching cutscene" music, which was a location music in Oracle Of Ages. Conversely, the "pirate ship" location music of Seasons becomes a Wasted Song in Ages, since you can only get into the pirate ship once in the entire game. The sad part is that they were almost the two coolest songs in the game. First is available here.
In Ocarina Of Time the warp songs have the relatively boring first section that you actually play, but they all have quite elegant second sections that most people miss because they're mashing the A button to warp as fast as possible.
What about the fanfare from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening when you recover your sword? A quartet of arpeggios and a few harp notes, then a 4-bar Theme Music Powerup letting the whole damn island know that Hyrule's resident ass kicker has truly arrived. Only played one more time in the game (when Marin joins your party), never again in the rest of the series, and most (if not all) renditions don't seem to know it exists.
For that matter, the music that plays after you leave Marin and Tarin's house for the first time is, if memory serves, not played anywhere else.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures has a lengthy puzzle in the form of the Village of the Blue Maiden. Once you've finally sorted out everyone's problems, you get an upbeat version of the classic Kakariko Village theme that only lasts until you leave that screen. Fortunately, it was later used again in Super Smash Bros. Brawl without any need for remixing.
It does make a second appearance in one of the multiplayer Tingle's Tower mini-games... at the beginning and end of an area that (mostly) plays an entirely different song, and which you're only going to hang around in for around ten seconds tops.
Like any character leitmotif. For the sages (Irene, Rosso, etc), this is played ONCE during a cutscene in which you talk to them. The cutscenes are about 20 or so seconds long at most, and are easily skipped through at record speed. Then they get captured by Yuga and you never hear their theme songs again. Heck, Yuga's own themes are this too, since both (yes, he has two leitmotifs) are only played during certain cutscenes, which are also rather short.
The Chamber of Sages theme. You visit this area about six times throughout the game, and are almost always done there in well under half a minute. The song goes on longer than that.
Any version of a song played when Link is a wall painting. Because in such a form, the music is changed slightly, yet he can only stay in this form for a matter of a seconds due to the rapidly decreasing stamina meter (and even the last few seconds don't help, because a loud alarm plays over the songs).
The song played when Mother Maiamai is upgrading items, which plays only during the very short cutscene in question but has some pretty epic chanting in the background.
Cave Story has the tracks "Toroko's Theme" and "White", songs heard on the title screen only if you succeed in finishing the game's bonus stage quickly. White isn't even included with the soundtrack that is downloaded with the game's "deluxe" edition.
"Break Down", the music that plays when the island breaks down in the normal ending, is very epic and very short, since it plays during one of the game's very few fixed-length cutscenes, and is also cut short in the version of the soundtrack most people have. (Full version of the soundtrack here.) It becomes even shorter in the Wii version because there's a longer intro so the song gets cut off during the cutscene before the melody even really starts.
The song "Buzz Buzz" in Mushroom Men. It plays in exactly one, relatively small area: In the second "true" level, while fighting the bees. Once you defeat them—and it won't take long - the song goes away. But listening to the song in the Sound Test reveals that it goes on for quite some time before looping - and it's pretty sweet, with hissing, buzzing, bee-like vocals, and a cool vibe.
Ōkami has twovariations of the theme that plays when you fight Orochi. You only hear the first for a few seconds before you find that your attacks don't work on him and it switches to the second variation for the remainder of the fight, then you only hear the second when you refight him in the past and on the Ark of Yamato.
Video Games - Action Game
The PS1 version of Tomb Raider has a few unused tracks that can be heard by putting the game disc in a CD player. These include a slowed-down version of the secret sound, a reprise of the main theme and an alternate, more climactic mix of a different track. There's also a short reprise of the chase theme that is only used once in-game, in Palace Midas. Also, the two songs that were remixed in Tomb Raider: Anniversary (as "Explorer Theme" and "Waterfall Room") are each only heard twice in the entire game.
Also, in the early games, music is activated by triggers like stepping on certain tiles, and any new music or sound being triggered will override anything that's already playing. At least in the earliest of them, this often results in the catchy theme music that's just getting good being interrupted for the sake of a two-second Scare Chord unless you stand around and listen to it.
The SNES game based on the live-action Flintstones movie has five entire tunes which are literally not used in the game at all, and are only available via the game's sound test. Naturally, they're all quite catchy; this atmospheric tune is particularly outstanding.
Bastion has the awesome 'Spike in a Rail', which is played during a single stage, which is auto scrolling and has a lot of narration over the music. And once you beat it, as with every level, you can't go back.
The first part of "Mine, Windbag, Mine" that plays over The Kid collapsing after the final stage is skipped over in the official soundtrack.
Video Games - Adventure Game
Chibi-Robo has Telly Vision's "theme song," "Teriyaki Blues". While he'll attempt to sing it for you several times throughout the game, playing the intro alone, he'll always get interrupted in some fashion before he gets to finish. The only way to hear the full song is to complete a fairly unintuitive sidequest, and then complete Funky Phil's sidequest. Then talk to Funky Phil, select the second option, and then "Teriyaki Blues." Telly will then, finally, sing the complete song for you in a completely unique version of his signature simlish babble.
Used as a plot device in Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does A Little Undercover Work: Larry's memory of his past adventures has been wiped because his previous game, Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Missing Floppies has been stolen and destroyed, and Patti recognizes Julius as the culprit because she catches him humming the love theme from that game...which she herself wrote.
Death Gate does the "long music over short moment" thing A LOT. In a way, it does kinda add to the atmosphere, since you'll never hear some of the looping points. However, given the astounding quality of the soundtrack, not releasing an official OST was an insult to the fans. Even bigger insult? The unofficial OST rips are all either GM or MT-32 and Death Gate's music was composed specifically for Adlib soundcards... and sounds terrible on both GM and MT-32. The Adlib OST rip is either incredibly rare or doesn't actually exist.
The Curse of Monkey Island is a game with a great soundtrack that perfectly captures the mood and setting, especially the melancholy music in the Blood Island hotel. There's a spare room off the upstairs hallway which contains only one puzzle, and thus only one reason to go into that room, and the music in that one room is a moving, haunting little melody that sounds like this.
Telltale's The Walking Dead has a track during the climax of Episode Five. "Armed With Death" plays during Lee's One-Man Army moment in the streets of Savannnah against an insane number of walkers. You'll only hear about 45 seconds of a track that's at least twice as long. In fact the full track itself had to be edited into the extended version used for the link.
The music for the gateway to the Mechanical Age in Myst is only audible when you get up close to the linking book, and for some reason, was left out of the official soundtrack CD, despite the other gateway themes being there.
MadWorld has a song called "Crumson Rain". The first time this song was actually ever heard was before the release of the game and it was played in one of the older trailers. The song is played right before you go to fight the third boss in the Mad Castle area. The only way to hear the full song is either pausing game or have Jack just stand there before entering the church to face the boss or buy the soundtrack.
The ever popular "Look Pimpin!" only plays during the first phase of the final battle, which might only last 30 to 40 seconds if you're competent, and will quickly be replaced by "So Cold" for the rest of the fight.
Super Double Dragon has many music tunes that were composed for the game, but never used. A few of them can still be heard in the Japanese version's (Return of Double Dragon) sound test (Duke's Theme) or levels (Las Vegas and Chinatown), but most of them were never uploaded to the game's code and can only heard from the original demo tape (which can be downloaded here). Likewise, in the US version, the classic Double Dragon theme only appears in Mission 5, instead of at the title screen and Final Boss battle like previous games and the JP version, replaced in the former's title and final stage by a mediocre tune that was originally planned to be the credits music, and was left unused in the latter.
Ultraverse Prime for the Sega CD features music by Tim and Geoff Follin. The title music, a seven-minute rock piece in the style of Deep Purple, cuts off about three and a half minutes in, cutting off half the song. It's CD Audio though, so it can be listened to in a regular CD player....... Or Youtube, for that matter
BGM2 in Final Fight is only played on Round 1-2, which is a really short stage compared to the rest.
Likewise, For Metro City in the third game is only played in the first part of Round 1, which can be cleared in less than a minute.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's shop theme. On one hand, you'll hear the first few bars a lot, given how many times you'll be taking a snack break to boost your stats. On the other hand, the entire loop lasts a minute and a half— the longest single music loop in the entire game— and in most cases, you won't even get to the awesome acoustic guitar solo by the time you've left the shop. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the official soundtrack CD doesn't even give this tune a single full loop before fading out, unlike every other song on the soundtrack.
While a wide variety of songs get looped for most of the level (which tends to be pretty long), the song Suburban Tram only plays while you're on said tram. You can be done with that particular part of the level in about three minutes, which is enough time for the song to loop once, and then it's never heard again.
The demo in Uniracers plays a bitchin' up-tempo hard rock song (the whole soundtrack is like this). Frustratingly, however, the return to the title screen always cuts it short, leaving the listener to wonder what the rest is supposed to sound like, if there was any more.
F-Zero GX is rife with this trope. Each and every of the 41 characters have their own theme music, and they only ever show up in the information screens for that character and during replays.
Even worse are the tunes which play exclusively during the story mode cutscenes, which are talked-over, often cut-short, and have yet to be found released separately anywhere.
The song "Paper Engine" plays only in one course, which is unlocked by putting a game save into F-Zero AX. The only other way to unlock it is to basically beat all the cups in the game on Master difficulty, in an already Nintendo Hard game. Here's the song.
The results screen music from Mario Kart 64. It turns out that it has a hidden song that you get to hear after letting the music loop 64 times, just under 53 minutes in total. Here's the song.
The Dolphin Shoals track in Mario Kart 8 has two different versions of the BGM that play in different areas due to Variable Mix. This version is the one that plays on the shortest segment of the track, the one which you'll blaze through in about ten seconds.
Test Drive 5 features "Leid und Elend" by KMFDM, but only as a 30-second clip on certain point-to-point courses and loading screens. Similarly, in Test Drive 6, "Dog's Life" by Kottonmouth Kings only appeared as a 30-second loop on the Honolulu Reverse course.
Most of the music in Twisted Metal Black. The songs run on quite a while before looping, but due to the Variable Mix nature of the music, you'll only hear a few small parts of them at a time, and you'll be focusing on the action anyway. Worse, half the music was ommitted from the OST.
Grievously averted by the Trackmania Canyon trailer, which was about a minute long. Many fans wanted to know how to obtain the full length song. But it really was only one minute long.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has several examples. First, several of the levels, Temple Trouble in particular, have tracks that change at different sections of the level. But these sections tend to be rather brief. Therefore the remix of Jungle World that plays in the boat sections of Temple Trouble, and the remix of NiGHTS and Reala that plays in the Nightmare sections of Dream Valley are mostly missed by players.
Another instance is some characters' All Star themes, which are mostly cut off due to how short the All Star attacks are. Examples include Metal Sonic's remix of his theme from Sonic 4, and Knuckles' remix of Unknown from M.E..
The Amiga classic Super Cars 2 has an incredible Barry Leitch theme on the title screen that you'll skip through in about fifteen seconds (long before the breakdown about two minutes in), to be replaced with an even more incredible one for the options screen. Fortunately the options music comes back between races during the dialog and weapon select parts.
Some japanese Formula 1 games released in the nineties open with the classic TRUTH by the T-square band, but the opening ends right as the song is about to get intense. By looking on sound tests or the games' data, you can either listen to it all or find out the devs didn't use the full song after all.
Video Games - Fighting Game
The song that plays in the character bios section in Eternal Champions is hauntingly beautiful, easily the best track in the game. However, the bios are long enough that you'll hear the whole thing if you just read one.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Giga Bowser's theme manages to take Final Destination's theme, which was rousing enough to begin with, and amp it up even further. For some reason, it also only seems to exist for that one special, end-of-game Bonus Boss fight. That's counting the Sound Test.
Brawl includes an awesome remix of Melee's menu theme, only appearing in Boss Rush mode and custom stages.
The Cruel Brawl theme is only played in... well... Cruel Brawl. It's not unlockable, and cannot be listened to in the Sound Test - the player pretty much has to pause during Cruel Brawl in order to hear it in its entirety.
There are songs that you can only hear during certain movies in the Subspace Emissary, such as the Wild West version of the Luigi's Mansion theme heard during the "King Dedede Steals..." movie, or the melancholy version of the Brawl theme heard in movies such as "Ganondorf Takes Command", or the stirring rendition of the Fire Emblem theme when Marth first unsheathes his sword, etc.
Brawl's "How To Play" music amounts to this trope; it only plays during the "How To Play" video and cannot be accessed in the game's Sound Test (and said song actually originates from Melee's "How To Play" video).
An early trailer for Brawl featured this rockin remix of the Brawl main theme, only to not appear in the final game at all.
The King of Fighters '98 has two songs made for Orochi Chris and Orochi Shermie ("Mad Fantasy" and "Fanatic Waltz"). However, it's almost impossible to hear them in regular gameplay, as the Orochi Team never show up in Arcade mode as regular opponents, and going into Practise mode and selecting them there doesn't bring the music up either. Fortunately, the Updated Re-releaseUltimate Match corrects this by featuring the team as midbossesin the Arcade mode.
Street Fighter IV does this to all character themes, since they only play in rival battles. Need we mention that not all characters are anybody's rival?
Fortunately, they can also pop up in online mutiplayer lobbies. The ones you're only in for about 15 seconds.
Super Street Fighter IV solved that problem by having an available option for character themes to be played in Versus Mode after you beat Arcade Mode once.
As well as introduced another problem in that Akuma and Gouken's actual character themes do not play.....rather, their rival fight themes against Ryu, which are remixes of his theme, play.
"Love So Blue" plays only for the final Noel vs. Nu battle in the true ending of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Noel has an infinite super bar for this battle, so you'll probably win it in 10 seconds. Fortunately, the song shows up in Sound Test and the console versions let you pick it in Versus mode.
Both of Bang's Fu-rin-ka-zan themes (the Calamity Trigger original and its Chronophantasma replacement) are over 3 minutes long. The play only for the remainder of a single 90-second match. Like "Love So Blue" they can be selected in sound test and versus mode.
In Tekken 2, Baek is the only sub-boss character with a theme that isn't recycled from the first game, and since the Mid-Boss music is used for all mid-bosses in 1-player mode, it can only be heard in VS mode.
There is a reason for this. The original Arcade version of the game has an option to have either Jun and Lei or Baek and Lei as the new starting characters. As a result, Baek's music can be heard if facing him as a normal opponent (once unlocked) rather than as a sub boss.
Several Tekken games have fantasticcreditsthemes. Each and every one can be skipped through (and likely will be) after playing for all of four seconds.
Tekken 1 and 2 have the Name Entry music, a wonderful chillout piece. The one in Tekken 2 is a slower version of the Tekken 1 music, but they both loop.
In the Touhou fighting game Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, the menu theme is so divine that you'll waste perfectly good game playing time just sitting at the menu listening to it. Have a listen to it.
Sonic the Fighters has at least three unused tracks. One of which is the theme for an unused arena Sunset Town. Death Egg Hangar also had a frantic rock theme composed, however the stage has no music in the arcade version, while it's Sonic Gems Collection port uses the "Sonic vs Knuckles" theme instead. Even if it had been used, the thirty second limit of Eggman's battle means you still likely wouldn't have heard much of it. Both are available in the latter's sound test however (another random track is completely unavailable outside the OST however).
Marathon has several soundtracks that are only played in one level. One of them is "SPLASH!", which only plays in the final level. That makes sense, however other soundtracks, such as the awesome Rushing, second only to SPLASH!, is played in only one level, along with FATMAN, another awesome track that plays only in the third level. Yet another example is the oddly-named Chomber, which plays only in the seventh level, despite being awesome. Another decent, yet unfitting soundtrack is Guardians, played only on the level Blaspheme Quarantine. None of these soundtracks play on particularly epic levels, except for SPLASH!. All other soundtracks, including the Pfhor Ship soundtracks, are played at least twice.
Most of the boss themes in the Metroid Prime series are single use. Arguably, this actually makes them more effective because they're made with that specific boss in mind instead of just trying for "generically epic".
Particularly memorable is the Hive Totem theme, which is heard once in its full version, over the second boss of the game (and later returns in truncated version for another boss). Why they used a song this great for only two miniboss fights is beyond most human logic, especially considering how mediocre the default miniboss theme is.
Even worse, a glitch in the game caused the first few seconds of Flaahgra's theme to loop endlessly, and it wasn't restored to its full glory until the PAL Version.
The Phendrana Drifts Depths song in Prime is probably the best world music in the game, but restricted to a small recess of the Drifts that you don't see much of.
Metroid Prime Pinball contains a version of the Magmoor Caverns theme (itself a remix of Lower Norfair from Super Metroid) that can only be heard when waiting for a local connection to play the multiplayer table. It doesn't even play during the match itself.
The title screen theme of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. If you just press Start when the titles come up, the only time you'll hear it it is an excerpt during the final cutscene (the credits play the menu theme instead).
And "Running from Evil", Suspiciously Similar Song of Megadeth's "Hangar 18" is played only in the first and fifteenth levels, nowhere else.
The song "At Doom's Gate" is only played for the first map of the first episode, and it's a very short map. Ironically, this is perhaps the most recognizable song in the Doom soundtrack, though this may be a case of First Installment Wins.
The IDMUS cheat lets you use any song in any level.
The PlayStation version of Doom / Doom II replaced the... interpretations of rock songs in MIDI format with atonal ambient noise, but instead of the six second Scare Chordtitle music it had an epic march that tended to last for all of the few seconds before the player pressed start. The full song be found here.
Battlefield 3 uses God's Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash but only in a short trailer, and for less than a minute in the first mission. Which is probably just as well, seeing as how the next immediate verse is about Cash praying to Jesus... while the mission itself is set in Iraq, which would have been all sorts of unwanted and distracting controversy.
Although most of the songs from Team Fortress 2's series of trailers, Meet the Team, have been added to the actual game as menu music, the song from Meet the Sniper has yet to be added because it's a remix of the title theme from Magnum Force.
Halo 1 had the infamous "Lost Song", which was only used once in the game, on Assault On The Control Room, and not included on the OST. Fortunately, it was released as a download, and more recently remastered as "Arborea Above" on the Anniversary soundtrack.
The second game has a variation of In Amber Clad (5:26-6:59) that's played only on Delta Halo after the battle with the dropship reinforcements at the beginning of the level, which most players skip.
This percussion-based piece is heard on Quarantine Zone, only lasting about 45 seconds, and doesn't appear on the OST at all. On the same level, the song "Reclaimer" only plays about halfway before fading out. Same with "Pursuit of Truth" on High Charity.
A droning choral track (7:47-9:43) starts up in Cairo Station after you return to the Armory and plays until the outside area, but this also didn't make it onto the OST. The only other time it appears is after crossing the Hanging Gardens on Gravemind.
The final level of Halo 3, while you're going up the tower to the control room, has a variation of the middle part of "This is Our Land" with a distinctive drumbeat heard nowhere else in the game, and which was also omitted from the soundtrack.
GoldenEye has a music track that sounds like jungle music, but no music is heard in the Jungle stage, apart from a few seconds when you encounter Xenia (which does sound like a Variable Mix of the unused jungle theme).
"Triage at Dawn" (mistakenly called as "Path Of Borealis") in Half-Life 2. It only plays for about half a minute when leaving Ravenholm, and doesn't play anywhere else. That didn't stop fan remixes and extensions, though.
Half-Life 2 did this a lot. The music was good at setting the scene, getting you pumped, and so on, but it never lasted more than a minute. Everything you hear is Combine chatter and gunfire.
Half-Life had some awesome tracks, but the problem was that it was all too easy to "waste" them by reloading a save point that was past the trigger for the track.
The Source version of Half-Life had its own problem too. Since the Source engine doesn't support music continuing to play when a new map loads (unlike the original game), any song that starts shortly before a loading screen is now abruptly cut off completely. The game's opening scene was reworked a little to avoid this, but the rest of the game music was not.
"Oblivion" from Turok 2 only plays during a few short cutscenes, and is completely absent from the PC version, due to CD audio space limitations. It actually is indefinitely long, since each instrument sequence/loop is a different length, so they slowly drift out of sync. The PC version also had several of its songs shortened to fit the Redbook audio space on the CD, so some of the otherwise awesome music pieces are missing their most epic parts.
"Approaching Colditz Castle", a Cut Song from the first Medal of Honor, did get used in Allied Assault, but only the first half of the song. Likewise, in that game, "Securing the Codebook", another returning piece from the first game, is only used during the Behind Enemy Lines briefing, and at the beginning of the Siegfried Forest level as a short non-looping snippet (The full version does appear in one of the expansion packs). The first variation of the Nordhausen theme can be found in the music folder, but isn't used anywhere, at least in the single player campaign. In Frontline, there's The Halftrack Chase, which has quite alot more than you hear in-game, as only a few segments are used, during the truck Rail Shooter sequences. The full version of "Halftrack" was finally put to use for the second level of Mission 2 in Allied Assault: Spearhead, where you actually ride on a halftrack.
Due to its use of dynamic music (the music is split into many parts and dynamically remixes itself according to the situation), the official OST for Crysis only represents roughly one third of the actual music in the game.
The Updated Re-release of Descent II, while featuring extended versions of the Redbook songs, pushed some of them onto the Vertigo Series disk, and changed the order of songs. Since the game only uses audiotrack 3 and up for gameplay, "Glut", "Cold Reality", and "Crush" got wasted as a result. This can be rectified with the Jukebox in the D 2 X Rebirth sourceport.
Descent 3's official soundtrack release only had about half the music from the game. Jerry Berlongieri did release mp3s of some of the missing songs (which can be found floating around the net, although his own mp3 page no longer exists), but the others (such as the awesome Level 13 theme) can only be obtained by extracting the Variable Mix segments from the game files and mixing them together.
Left 4 Dead 2 has two rock concert songs that plays during the finale of Dark Carnival, but you are unlikely to hear them in their entirety due to the Tank fights that happen in between zombie waves having their own remixed themes playing. You can listen to the songs on the jukeboxes in certain maps, but the AI Director will throw zombies hordes at you for idling too long.
PAYDAY: The Heist has several party music themes that play at the party in Diamond Heist, but the songs stop playing the moment the alarm is triggered. You also can't stick around to hear every single song due to the patrolling guards. Only one of the songs from the party is on the game's official soundtrack.
Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light have numerous pieces of music that play only during chapter intros. They're over 2-4 minutes, but the intros only have about 10-30 second of narration.
Video Games - Four X
This trope accurately describes every single Alien theme music in the PC Strategy Game Ascendancy. When you meet/speak with any of the alien races, its unique music plays... and stops after about 30 seconds, sometimes in mid-movement. Extracting the files from the game reveals: the rest of the music isn't even there.
Video Games - Hack And Slash
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has several awesome pieces of music that are inexplicably played for very brief segments of the game, so often that it's a wonder that the game doesn't lampshade it. The epic "No More Riot", which could easily double as a boss battle song, is only heard in the enemy-less stretch before two battles(Rank 50 and Rank 4, specifically), when the player is probably spending more time saving(where no music at all plays) than listening to the BGM. "The Lost Spaceman" is heard only on the bike ride on the way to Rank 3,'' and then never again. However, the most egregious example is the beautiful "An Assassin Named...", which gets about a minute of playtime in part of the final area of the Rank 2 level...and for most of it, it's drowned out by the Most Annoying Sound of the enemies.
In the first installment, a rather catchy tune plays at the beginning of the fight against Holly Summers. Then, you fall into a hole, a cutscene is triggered, and the music changes for the rest of the fight, never to be heard again.
In that same vein, hacking into the data files for Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, revealed that the Getter Robo team had a second song, the series' first ending "Gattai! Getter Robo", on the disk, but ended up having its first theme, "Getter Robo!" used again.
MapleStory's Evan Promo Video. Twenty seconds of pure awesomeness.
In Ragnarok Online, Retro Metro only plays in one rather unpopular dungeon. That might not be too huge of a problem... but the fact that said dungeon was simply made inaccessible in a recent patch certainly is. At least you can always go to your BGM folder and listen to it whenever you want to.
"Good Morning" is played on Nameless Island during the daytime, something that is shown only once in the game.
So far, every expansion of World of Warcraft has come with its own fully-orchestrated (complete with Ominous Latin Chanting) title theme: "Burning Crusade", "Wrath of the Lich King", and "Cataclysm". The average player will never hear any of them for more than the few seconds it takes to log in. The music also plays when players create their characters, though, and people can remain on the title screen for a while if something on their end or the game server's is preventing them from logging in and they make multiple attempts.
Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE's battle theme, starts getting awesome over 1 minute into the song. However, since most battles last no more than 15 seconds, it's impossible to listen the good part of the song in-game, being stuck to the annoying hig-pitch beginning of said song. The original battle theme is also loved dearly by old players, but after the implementation of Chain of Curse, that battle theme isn't used anymore. It's still in the bgm folder, but since version 1.605 the bgms have been encrypted, so it can't be simply played from the bgm folder normally.
Video Games - Multiple
Thanks to NSF Ripping, which allows you to extract the entirety of an NES game's music tracks in one file and play it with a program, it's been revealed there are literally tons of these. Some songs will play for quite a while, but are cut short in the game (and there is no way to play the full version in the game itself, it's literally just coded in for no reason), and some songs are never played at all in the game.
"Totaka's Song" is a brief signature tune which Nintendo composer Kazumi Totaka inserts into nearly every game he works on. It's usually hidden away and will only play under conditions which are either so obscure you'd never think to try it, or very difficult to achieve.
Mario Paint: Click the O in "MARIO" on the title screen.
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins: Wait 2 minutes, 40 seconds on the Game Over screen.
Virtual Boy Wario Land: After the credits, wait on the end screen for 1 minute, 15 seconds.
Yoshi's Story: Wait 2 minutes, 10 seconds on the Trial Mode level-select screen.
Luigi's Mansion: Wait 3 and a half minutes on the Training Room controller-configuration screen.
Animal Crossing: Approach K. K. Slider when he plays music on Saturday night and request "K.K. Song".
Pikmin 2: Wait on the Treasures Salvaged screen for 3 minutes, 50 seconds.
For the computer program The Games Factory (the first one), some of the tutorial games (included depending on what could be downloaded) have MIDI music, but the playtimes and/or time limit cut the music down to 30 seconds out of a minute or two before it starts over.
The song "Ice Cave Chant" from Donkey Kong Country is used in only one level of the game—every other song save the final boss theme is used at least twice. It's a great song, too, like all DKC music. In the GBC port, the track was used in the outdoor snow levels, while the "Kremlantis" track was used for the Ice Cave.
"Ship Deck 2" (called "Snakey Shantey" on the English soundtrack release), a more shanty-like version of the main deck theme, only plays through one stage (Rattle Battle), but can be briefly heard at the end of Glimmer's Galleon. The Haunted Hall theme only plays in one stage which happens to be noisy, on rails, and containing bonus stages in places such that a fast player can make it through the stage and never hear a full loop of the song. Then there's Bad Bird Rag, which only plays during the latter half of the final level.
In the GBA port, "Run, Rambi, Run!" does not play in-game (it's replaced by Bad Bird Rag, boosting the song to two uses), yet is still accessible in the Music Test.
"Mining Melancholy" actually gets a decent amount of play, as it appears in every stage set in a mineshaft-type area, but for whatever reason it was not included on the game's official soundtrack.
"Disco Train" is a really catchy tune with a decidedly funky bass line. It's only played in the rollercoaster levels, and, as such, unless you stick around on one spot for a few minutes, it's going to be drowned out by the screeching of the rails. The fireworks constantly going off in the background don't help, either.
The GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 3 has an odd example. The music for the riverside levels (Enchanted Riverbank) is played in all three levels that have that theme, but there are actually two different variations of it depending on whether you are in the water or not, with a percussive rhythm and environmental noises for when the Kongs are on land and a more intricate and flowing melody for when they are underwater. Unfortunately, you won't be spending much time in the water in any of the three levels in question, so this "fuller" version of the track will most likely be heard for only a few seconds at a time at most.
Donkey Kong 64 has a number of pieces used only in a small area, but the standout in terms of oddness is "Mad Maze Maul". For some reason, a seemingly ordinary Bonus Barrel mini-game got its own track, as opposed to every other bonus barrel having the same theme elsewhere. It's much more upbeat and jazzy than the song used in the other barrel mini-games, too.
Earthworm Jim: "Use Your Head", widely considered to be the best song from the original soundtrack, is played very briefly in the "helicopter" area of the last stage. It takes approximately twenty seconds to pass this part, but the PC/Sega CD version of the song goes on for 3 minutes before looping (and includes a wicked guitar solo). That particular song gets used a fair bit more in the Genesis/Megadrive version; appearing during the mechanical chicken battle and in the fight against Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt. This song appears again in the Beast Chase level in the PlayStation game Wild 9, which also had Tommy Tallarico as its composer. Interestingly enough, the Wild 9 game disc, due to using standard Red Book Compact Disc Digital Audio for its music rather than a proprietary format as with most PlayStation games, also serves as its own OST (when played in an ordinary CD player or computer disc drive), with "Use Your Head" being track 10 (track 1 on the disc being the game data track, with everything else being Compact Disc Digital Audio). (The CD version of Earthworm Jim also uses Red Book audio.)
Death Egg Zone's theme is surprisingly long, considering it's only heard in one really short hallway before the final boss fights. You only end up hearing it for the 5 seconds or so it takes to run into the room with Silver Sonic, who inexplicably has the standard boss music instead of the rest of the Death Egg Zone theme.
Death Egg had a Dummied Out second act in the beta version, meaning it was originally supposed to be a full length stage, the reason for the song length.
The awesome ending theme of Sonic 3 (the basis for Michael Jackson's "Stranger in Moscow) can only be heard if you play it without Sonic & Knuckles locked on. They replaced it with a medley of the level themes in S & K and S3 & K. Locking on S & K also overrides other Sonic 3 themes, such as the mini-boss theme and Knuckles' theme; those tracks' counterparts from the former play instead, even in the levels from the latter.
Green Grove Zone Act 2 in the Genesis/Mega Drive version of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island is 4 minutes and 15 seconds long. You're almost guaranteed to hit an invincibility box, enter a special stage, or finish the stage before then. The song for it is about 1.5 times longer than the powerup.
Sonic Advance has a similar situation at work- the final stage, the X-Zone, is nothing more than a boss rush; you spend no more than a few seconds outside of boss fights playing normally. However, the music used exclusively for this stage is quite long.
Sonic Adventure has several pieces of music that are used only in one obscure place. The biggest offender is the Hedgehog Hammer theme, which is used for a particular minigame, but only if you play that minigame through the main menu - if you go to it in the adventure field, which is how you have to access it the first time, the adventure field music plays instead. There are also a number of tracks used only in single cutscenes.
Similarly, "Calm After The Storm" is supposed to be the Egg Carrier music after it ditches in the ocean, but is only played in one cutscene, while the regular Egg Carrier theme is still used when you travel around the now-abandoned carrier.
The game's theme tune, "Open Your Heart", plays in instrumental form in several places, but the full version only plays during the final credits. A truncated, looping version plays for the final boss battle. Or at least, over the first part of the final boss battle. The part which, if you know what you're doing and have a bit of luck, lasts significantly less time than the first verse.
Snowy Mountain, in Ice Cap from the same game. It only plays in Sonic's first section of the level which is cleared in 30 seconds, and is a really ambient song which after about a minute in has a pretty awesome guitar solo.
Sonic Adventure 2's "Supporting Me" is a very soft, almost poignant tune, with the typical semi-inaudible lyrics we've come to expect from Shadow's stages (see White Jungle and Final Chase)...which you will likely be unable to hear due to the rather loud boss you're fighting at the time, the Biolizard. Thankfully it got included on the soundtrack CD and was much clearer when the Biolizard fight was reprised in Sonic Generations.
Adventure is full of songs where you only hear 90 seconds or so but go on much longer. "Azure Blue World" (Emerald Coast) is an excellent example. The song itself is almost 4 1/2 minutes long.
Shadow the Hedgehog contains a rather neat remix of E.G.G.M.A.N by Paul Shortino. But the segment used in the game is less than 30 seconds long, only used in one cutscene and is buried in the Sound Test behind the anonymous "Event" title. The full version of the track did eventually appear on the "Lost And Found" soundtrack CD, however.
The theme for the options menu in Sonic Colors is a full orchestrated piece.
The first phase of the final boss battle in Donkey Kong '94 for Game Boy is accompanied by the longest (1:25) and most complex song in the game: a chiptune guitar imitation that goes into a ridiculous "solo" a minute in. But the battle itself takes only a few moments to beat if you're good enough.
The cutscenes in Psychonauts are filled to the brim with original compositions. In an interesting move, the company that made the game (Double Fine) released a "cinematic soundtrack" for the game, consisting of all the cutscene music remixed and performed orchestrally.
The original Banjo-Kazooie has several unique, one-off melodies for a few relatively tiny areas, such as the houses of Nabnuts and Gnawty in Click-Clock Wood, and the Twinklies' mini-game (which you can't play once you've gotten the Jiggy for it) in Freezeezy Peak.
The Dr. Wily stage intro song in Mega Man 3 is 13 seconds long, but the longest you get to hear of it are about 5 seconds.
Proto Man's theme is an infinitely better example of this: you've probably only ever heard the initial whistle part in the actual game. The only way to hear the rest of the song during the game is to use a certain Good Bad Bug on the second controller to prevent the game from switching to the actual ending music.
Or just hit Start as soon as Mega Man enters the room. Music plays all the way through.
Also, Wily Stage 5 & 6. Since each of these these stages only consist of a single room followed by a Boss Battle, you'll probably only hear the first few seconds.
The Robot Museum theme in Mega Man 7 is a nifty blend of the level themes for a few classic Robot Masters, but you probably won't hear most of it before you walk into the boss room (which is right in front of you when you start the level!)
Mega Man 8's awesome intro music is nowhere to be found on the OST.
There's a track in Mega Man Legends played only during the racing minigame you can do at the KTOX television station. The most you'll ever hear of it is 29 seconds, and that's only if you keep your race rank on the technical course at D and grab all the time extension cones. The worst part is that at the 25-second mark, a snazzy sounding saxaphone starts to play.
The Undernet theme in Mega Man Network Transmission is probably one of the best, most energetic songs in any of the post-Classic games, but you spend so little time in the two areas it's used that you'll probably barely hear any of it if you don't ever stop to smell the roses.
The single Band Land sublevel in Vexx has a long, unique, jazzy melody that starts out slow and builds to a frantic pace. It's quite long, but it only plays in that one area.
Sonic Rush Series's DS Download Demo version had stage music remixes made using only the DS' PSG sound chip, such as "What U Need Is PSG", a remix of "What U Need", lending the songs a Game Boy Advance-like sound quality. This was presumably done to lower the amount of space needed for the download.
The PSG mixes appear in the retail game's stages if you're playing a local multiplayer race.
In Super Monkey Ball, the "Monkey Target" minigame has, scattered among the larger targets, a small cylindrical object that's very difficult to hit. As it turns out, landing on the object gives you a special fanfare (which might be shared with other similarly tiny target spaces).
Its predecessor, The Neverhood, also had one: Backtracking to the first room's basement after Willie dies and reading one of the notes from the mailbox (which were formerly written by Willie) will give you new background music, as well as a series of taunts from Klogg.
Much of the stuff played by the radio might count, as you only need to tune one song randomly chosen by the game from a sequence of about five. Although most of the stations after the sequence only play surreal sound effects, not quite songs.
The demo game of The Neverhood, (that is, the one that came on the PC Gamer Magazine disk) had a haunting melody that involved whistling; it was not included in the finished product.
And what about "Psychedelic Boogie Child"? You can hear it ONLY if you collect ALL 1970s marks from Monk Rushermore + all secret marks. Then you need to go in the secret level and from there you can go into 1970s level. Btw. Once you drop in one of the level(s), you can't get back.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has a really cool "pop vocal" song in the credits, but because it's preceded by a lengthy orchestral piece, it fades out immediately after one verse and chorus have passed. The CD soundtrack version is just as short. It's hard to believe that's all they recorded.
The La-Mulana Jukebox, which comes with the game itself, has a number of songs that didn't make it to the final version, such as "Aqua Wish" (presumably for some underwater area) and "Good Morning Mom" (which might have originally been used in the Final Boss fight with Mother), as well as "prototype" versions of songs that are used in-game. Additionally, there's a "song" in the game that basically just simulates nighttime sound effects, and it plays in one, and only one part of the game: when you make the surface go into nighttime as part of the steps to unlocking the Bonus Level Of Hell.
The official soundtrack for Kirby Super Star Ultra lacks quite a lot of songs from the game, such as the creepy Final Four theme from "The TRUE Arena".
The music for Corn Hall in "Gourmet Race", in both KSSU and the original Kirby Super Star, is a minute and a half long; you'll spend about 40 seconds in the course. The game does have a Sound Test, but it's not unlockable until far after you first hear the song.
Kirby Air Ride has very nice musical pieces, one of which is "Target Flight" (an orchestrated version of Super Star's "Cocoa Cave" music.). The entire song lasts for at least 2 minutes, and it's very awesome indeed. Too bad that the actual Target Flight event only lasts 15 seconds long. At least the Sound Test is available right off the bat.
Miracle Matter's theme in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It got sandwiched in between other themes that became far more well known, such as the theme of the entire world, the theme for the second level of the world, and ESPECIALLY the True Final Boss's theme. Thankfully, the creators remembered that the song exists and put it in one of the new challenge stages in Kirby's Dream Collection. Smash Challenge EX, to be exact.
Kirby's Dream Land 3 plays one of two songs at the end of each stage depending on whether or not its mission was completed. The "success" theme is the happier of the two and about as long as you'd expect a song that plays on a one-screen wide area to be (not very). The "failure" theme, on the other hand, is a lovely melancholic waltz that plays for over half a minute without looping on a screen you have absolutely no incentive to stick around on.
The ending theme of Yoshi's Story, naturally, plays only upon clearing the game, but since it's a short game, it's not very difficult to hear. However, it's noticeably absent from the official soundtrack to the game.
There are actually three soundtracks released for the game: Music To Pound the Ground To (the Amercian soundtrack, which includes only 15 tracks, yet presumably includes the ending theme), Love, Peace & Happiness (the European 28-track-long soundtrack, which is the most common version to find on the Internet), and the Japanese soundtrack (which includes a whopping 50 tracks, including the bonus track "Yoshi's Staff Voices," which can be found here).
The bonus music for the Mona Pizza song in WarioWare Touched, you basically have to bought WarioWare Twisted, put the game in the GBA slot, started WarioWare and then got the Toy in game.
The Sega Genesis video game Contra: Hard Corps includes in its sound test a theme titled "Jurassic Dope". This song is heard in only two areas of the game. One is nothing but a very brief cutscene consisting of a text box, a selection of two choices, and one more text box afterward. The other instance is a second cutscene, this one with a whopping one dialogue box. The song itself is a minute and a half in length. Unless you're an extremely slow reader, you won't be hearing the whole thing ingame. Another song from Hard Corps that went almost unheard was "Moonlit Army", also played at two distinct points in the game and abruptly gets cut off after half a minute at best. The song itself lasts nearly two and a half minutes, and slowly becomes more intense and elaborate.
The background theme of the Game Boy puzzle-platformer Altered Space, which runs nearly a minute and a half, restarts every time a new room is entered— and, to add insult to injury, takes a whole ten seconds to actually start up, when most rooms will be visited for only a few seconds.
In Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), Ray Parker Jr.'s iconic Ghostbusters theme song is used. During the opening cutscene, the song stops abruptly shortly after the verse starts. Similarly, the theme fires up over the ending credits, only to come to a badly-edited halt seconds later. The only other time the theme is heard in the game is during loading screens, which only appear after your character dies. Even then, the song never plays for more than 30 seconds. If not for the above, this trope could have been considered averted, as the game uses all of the movie's original score, even including some portions that were never used in the movie.
But then, it's not like that song is unattainable elsewhere.
The Emperor's theme in SNES Super Return of the Jedi; it is heard in a few (short) cutscenes and as the background music in two (also short) levels, but the game switches to its standard boss theme when you actually confront Vader and (more noticeably) the Emperor himself.
The final boss theme from the nightmarishlyhard sixth Mega Man X game is an awesome remix of the Sigma themes from the first two games. You'll probably defeat the boss within twenty seconds.
The Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg commercial has one of the best songs they ever made, but the game's theme song but was changed into something more playful. Thankfully, you can see the commercial and hear the song on the official site.
Wario Land 4's final level is the Golden Passage. It has an awesome, mildly creepy, and perfectly fitting song... that you will never hear in-game. The Frog Switch is located directly below the level entrance, meaning you only hear about half a second of the song. Pausing doesn't work- it just stops the music.
RosenkreuzStilette has an egregious example of this. Sky God Corridor's "Dark Purple Moon" is perhaps one of the more epic songs in the game - and yet it not only gets wasted once, but twice - for the confrontations with Grolla and her grandpa. At least they have a soundtrack somewhere....
Also, the password track, "Snow-Covered Ground", which depending on how you see it, loops for either half a minute or a whole minute and a half. Definitely between stages, when you're shown a password, but even when you're entering one, you probably won't take long enough naturally to hear the "ending" part of the loop. (Anyone wanna explain better?)
Dr. N. Brio actually had his theme remixed for Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back like the other returning bosses, except you only heard short bits of it twice throughout the entire game; once when he contacts Crash after you collect the first gem, and twice when he contacts Crash after you collect all the gems. Good luck trying to listen to his theme, as N. Brio's voice pretty much drowns it out. Thankfully, Josh Mancell finally released the full track on his music fan-page, so now we can listen to the track in its crystal-clear glory.
Then in the third game, N. Ginn's theme only plays for his boss battle. The developers of the later game Crash Bash exploited this by reusing the same song and playing it in quite a few places, including against the final boss.
This music is used in the options menu of Daffy Duck in Hollywood for Sega Mega Drive. Let me just reiterate that: it's used in the options menu. Who spends over two minutes on the options screen?
Oh, even better? It's also used on the Game Over screen. For all of ten seconds. It's almost as if Daffy himself were directing the music choices.
In the comments on that YouTube video, Matt Furniss himself has confirmed that the developers took an unused level theme and just slapped it on the options screen.
The Wii version of A Boy and His Blob has a sound test mode that's laid out like a level of the game—you have jellybeans to use there for navigation, and you listen to songs by feeding the many blobs scattered around the level jellybeans. However, dropping a Hole bean in a very specific spot lets you access a tiny underground cave. It has four blobs that play remixed versions of the BGM from the original NES A Boy and His Blob. They're not used anywhere else in the game, and getting to them is very nearly a Guide Dang It.
The Subspace music in Super Mario Bros. 2 (a remix of the Overworld music from the first game) runs a bit longer than the time you are allowed in Subspace (and you cannot pause there). A trick involving a super star and perfect timing will replace the normal stage music with the Subspace music (and allow you to pause and listen to the "bass and percussion" version of the track).
The lava overworld theme in New Super Mario Bros. for the DS. It's refereshingly unlike anything else in the entire Mario series. It's only used in three levels, and two of those require you to hurry through them, so you won't have much chance to enjoy it outside of YouTube.
In the same game, the Starman (invincibility) theme is only played for a few seconds. Nothing special, right? Actually, this game's Starman theme is the one from Super Mario 64, whose Starman theme is quite unique compared to those from other Mario games. But the actual unique part of the theme does not play in-game; the entire theme is only accessible in minigames or through cheats.
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, many themes come under this: You've got any of Squizzard's themes, because the battle is the only place in the game with a different fire flower theme, the final battle music, because it's over in about ten seconds, the Boss Blitz Galaxy music (it's actually got unique music, but you never hear it because the boss themes override it) and the Perfect Run level themes, all from the original Galaxy, and all found in two screens maximum.
Similar to the Ice Cave Chant example, Super Mario 3D World has exactly one level that plays the desert theme (2-1, Conkdor Canyon).
The NES and Game Boy versions of DuckTales 2 have an excellent little piece of swing-ish music that plays enroute to the final boss - during a sharply truncated stage with no enemies and no reason to linger. And then it gets mostly drowned out by dialog SFX when it starts looping.
The SNES version of Prince of Persia has three one-time level themes; Level 17, Level 19, and Level 20, the first and last of which only consist of short corridors ending with boss battles.
In Epic Mickey, Mean Street has its own battle theme, a heavier, faster-tempo remix of the city's main theme. It goes for about two minutes without looping. However, the only time there is a normal battle in Mean Street, it's just three of the weakest enemies in the game, so the battle is over within several seconds.
In Bionic Commando (NES version and its remake), the catchy Area 8 music plays exclusively in that stage. The only other level with unique music is Area 12, but that at least makes sense, since it is the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
Rayman Legends has one or two pieces like this. The first level of Toad Story has a very atmospheric and pretty piece of music that is quite unique compared to the rest of the game's otherwise fairly bombastic soundtrack, but it is only heard for about a single loop's length (even if you explore thoroughly) on this level before never being used again.
The music in the seventh level of Toy Story is actually about 1 minute and 25 seconds long and includes a section beginning around the 1:04 mark that, while no better or more unique than the rest of the track, will never be heard in the game because the level involves riding Rex in a Minecart Madness fashion (you can't stay in one place or go back, only constantly forward) and will be over in under a minute.
The main theme of LEGO City Undercover. You can only hear the main theme of the game on the title screen which is just a loop of the first 30 seconds of the music but in some trailers of the game such as this one and this one you can here a longer version of the game's main theme
The invincibility themes in the Something series are remixes of full songs (You Spin Me Right Round in Something and Guile's theme in Something Else), but invincibility lasts only a few seconds. If another star is touched, the theme just starts from the beginning.
Video Games - Pokemon
The Pokémon games have several pieces of largely incidental music that occur when you confront trainers. Some of them are surprisingly good, despite the fact that you'll almost never hear more than 10 seconds of one.
Unless you don't press the button to enter battle until the song ends; They can last a while.
This includes the Kimono Girls in Gold, Silver, Crystal, HeartGold, and SoulSilver who even have their own intro theme that can only be heard before fighting them.
Think the Kimono Girls have it bad? The police officers in the same games as them have an intro theme that's a redone version of the first generation's intro for encounters with most male Trainers. In contrast to how the same games' redone version of the first generation's typical female encounter theme is used quite often, there are a measly two police officer battles in the game, and they can't be challenged to a rematch. HeartGold and SoulSilver only increased its use slightly by having battles with Double Teams (duos consisting of a male and female Ace Trainer) use it as well, but this doesn't help much because they can't be challenged to a rematch either.
There's a special music track that plays when you're choosing your starting Pokemon in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and later Emerald. This is the only place it's used, and it's a bit similar to the Team Magma theme from Ruby and Emerald, so it's easy to forget it existed. Fortunately, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire have this track as part of their soundtracks (and have a Sound Test, which has it as track number 18) for those who didn't forget about it. In it, it plays when the timer is running out for events that are timed, such as catching a Pokémon.
Later Pokemon games started writing unique compositions for all of the "Legendary Pokémon" encounters, including the "special event Pokémon." Most of those can only be fought by going to special Nintendo-hosted events and getting unique items put on your game cart. And not all events even GIVE you these items - some just give you the Pokemon, so you never have to fight them. The Deoxys theme is a good example of this - a deliciously creeping techno vibe that most people will never get to hear.
The Deoxys theme is such a wasted song it could very well be this trope's namer: You only hear it in Birth Island, which is only accesible by a event-exclusive key item that was distributed only twice in Japan and never anywhere else. What's curious is that every legendary that was catchable in the main GBA games is also catchable in the DS games, except for Deoxys. Which means that its theme was the only one to not get carried over and remixed for the new audience.
The event-exclusive key item in question was distributed in the United States once back in 2004, in only three locations. Europe got a better deal where they could send their games to Nintendo to get the item loaded.
If you lived in Europe (Or at least Britain), the event wasn't simply "send your game to Nintendo to get the required item". You had to collect the letters D, E, O, X, Y and S from adverts for Emerald in certain magazines. When you collected all the letters, you then had to go to one of a VERY select few cinemas (yep. Cinemas.) at which point your game would then be loaded with the item that allows you access to Birth Island.
Arceus's theme is unlike any other music in the game - and of course, you'll only hear it if you go to a Nintendo event. FOR A GAME THAT IT DOESN'T PLAY IN.
To clarify: The song was in the data of Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum but was Dummied Out. HeartGold and SoulSilver allow you to hear it via the Sinjoh Ruins event, activated by bringing an Arceus from a DPPt-exclusive event to the Ruins of Alph and attempting to enter the researcher's building. The music is played during the 'creation' cutscene towards the event's conclusion.
The very first unique Legendary song in the series—and one that many fans still believe is the best—is the theme of the legendary beasts, Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. These are roaming legendaries, which makes them prime candidates for the Master Ball - but if you chuck that ball at the start of the battle, you'll hear maybe the first two seconds of their theme before they're caught and the battle ends. This technically applies to any Pokémon with a unique theme, but roaming legendaries are such a hassle that most players save their Master Ball so they can catch them on the first try, making this a particularly annoying example. Though Suicune isn't a roaming legendary in Crystal, so you do get to hear the song in a proper legendary battle.
HeartGold and SoulSilver up the ante on that one, giving each of the three beasts their own theme. On the bright side, if you don't use your Master Balls, expect to hear the songs a lot. And even then, you still won't hear that much more of them, given how Raikou and Entei run away on the first turn.
All of the game's overworld music is replaced with "Drought" in Ruby and "Flood" in Sapphire and Emerald, but only during that brief period of time when Groudon and/or Kyogre are causing natural disasters. As soon as they're caught/defeated, it never plays again. And given that Drought only plays in Ruby, it's even more wasted than Flood is, since if you don't have Ruby you'll never get to hear it.
The third generation games also have the Underwater music, which is actually one of the longest and most complex songs in the game, but you tend to only spend about 20 seconds underwater, or have it interrupted by a wild encounter, so you tend not to hear much past the entremely basic beginning of the song.
And there's also the music for Route 120 and 121. It's actually programmed to play on all end-game routes... but since every route after 121 is 99% water, the surfing theme overrides it most of the time. So you'll really only hear it during those two routes and the few brief moments you step onto the tiny patches of land on water routes.
The music that plays after defeating an Elite Four member or the Champion in Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald is surprisingly long and complex for something accompanying a some small text boxes.
The N64 game Pokémon Stadium 2 has an awesome remix of the fan-favourite Dark Cave theme. The problem? The only time it ever shows up is during the Gym Leader Castle, after Clair is defeated and you get a message from the Elite Four, which unless you stay on the message and wait, only lasts for a few seconds, and can't be heard after that until Round 2 (which, again, is just for that one bit).
Most players assumed that the battle victory music from defeating a boss trainer is only a few notes, as the dialogue with these characters after battle doesn't last long. Unless you wait to advance the dialogue, the only time you'll hear this tune in full form is after the final battle with your rival.
In the original Red and Blue games the Pokéflute could be pulled out and played at any time, but only a few notes would come out. If you wanted to hear the whole song you had to use it to wake up a Snorlax (of which there are only two in each game) and even then you get to hear the song one full playthrough each time and that's it.
An even worse example from Red and Blue was the 'follow me' music heard only twice in the entire game, and never beyond a few notes. Fortunately, the second play of it could be incited an unlimited number of times, but it didn't even get to the halfway point before being cut off. The only way to hear the full rendition was to exploit a glitch in Pokémon Yellow. (Note that this is not the case in the remakes; the Teachy TV tutorials play this music so it can be heard anytime in those games.)
There is a remix of the Kanto Champion's theme from the first generation which was only found by hacking the rom and, to the best of anyone's knowledge, was not used anywhere in-game. It was later found to be programmed to play only at the grand finals of the Pokémon Video Game Championship tournaments, which only happen once a year. X and Y have it as well.
In the Generation IV games (including the remakes of the Generation II games, which originally did not have this trait), this often ends up being the case for victory themes, because the game automatically advances the post-battle dialog and exits the battle screens after that. It's especially a problem with Team Galactic's victory theme, which only plays for several seconds before getting cut off, unlike the one Team Aqua and Magma had in the previous generation (and Team Galactic has a completely different victory theme than those two). However, this was corrected in Pokémon Black and White, which only exit the battle screen when the player manually does so, so the victory themes loop endlessly until then. It helps that the victory themes in that game (with the exception of Team Plasma's) are taken from HeartGold and SoulSilver for those who liked the ones from those two. Pokémon X and Y takes a step backwards, though, and returns to automatically exiting the battle screen; making this even worse is that unlike Black and White, the victory tracks aren't even ported over from HeartGold and SoulSilver this time.
The Black and White soundtrack includes a number of bonus tracks, including 'Sayonara -refrain-', an extremely beautiful orchestral remix of 'Farewell', a song that plays at the end of the game. Sayonara, however, isn't even coded into the game - if not for the internet, only those who bought the soundtrack would ever hear it.
X and Y has a kickass remix of the already awesome Gym Leader battle theme, which only plays during one battle - the battle with Successor Korrina. Said battle is solely to introduce Mega Evolutions, and will probably be over in two turns. On the plus side, the theme is available to use in multiplayer battles.
This song that plays only on the first route, one that is very short◊, and can be traversed way before the song lasts halfway without looping.
The original rendition of "Follow Me" from way back in Pokémon Red and Blue only played while the character you followed was moving and would instantly be replaced with the original background music once they stopped. Every other game in the series, including remakes FireRed and LeafGreen, lets the theme continue playing until the event concludes. FRLG does play the theme during Teachy TV tutorials, meaning it can be heard whenever you want at any point after obtaining the item, but in Gen I it was more or less impossible to hear the entire thing without ripping the music from the game.
How long do you spend at the map screen? Probably not 3 minutes and 13 seconds. Probably not even the minute it takes before the oom-pah band comes in. The song still plays while you're viewing your collection, so it's not too wasted.
"Wanda Wanda" is played exactly once - during your first run of the first stage, and before that, when you start the game, you get to hear a neat techno mix thingie of the basic "na na" theme during the tutorial.
A relaxing tune plays in Master mode when the "speed level" is between 500 and 700. However, if you're playing particularly well, it only plays for one section, so you rarely hear the second half of it.
The game data has a Dummied Out song named "sakura2", probably intended for the Sakura mode but was never used. It's completely inaccessible in the game.
Poking around in the game data also reveals that the music which plays in the rule/mode select menus is over a minute in length. Being an arcade game, menus all have time limits, and even if you stall as much as possible, you'll never hear more than the first third of the track.
Tetris DS has "Ancient Tetris", a nice remix of the original Type A/Korobeiniki song. But it only appears in level 20, and given the speed of the game at that point it won't go on for long, unless you abuse infinite rotation, which is normally a Scrappy Mechanic. Even in the Endless mode the music switches back to level one when you beat level 20.
Tetris DX's Type B Music is longest and most elaborate at the "intermediate" level of Danger. you'll never hear all of it unless you let the tetriminos stack up to the appropriate height on a lower level, and then let them soft drop.
Lemmings 3D had a fairly lush soundtrack, but a couple of the best tracks were only used very scarcely. One track - an alternate garden theme - did, in fairness, get used extensively in the practice levels, but the alternate Egyptian theme was an incredibly cool piece of rock music with a very cool guitar solo right in the middle, and it only got used in two levels, 30 stages apart. Although, they were both fairly long levels, so it's only a minor offender. Still, given the number of egyptian levels, and the ridiculously badass nature of the piece of music, it's a crime it didn't get used more.
Whereas the Amiga version of Lemmings - and most of the standard ports - cycles through the 17 tunes so that each is heard more or less the same number of times ("Cancan" is heard once more than all other tracks), the Sega Genesis version has a highly irregular matching of tunes to levels. "Rondo Alla Turca" only appears three times.
Its final boss theme, The Place where Evil Sleeps, is an epic Ominous Pipe Organ that plays during matches against the Goddess of Light, Cordelia. In the American localization, Tetris Attack? Relegated to a short monologue from Bowser, whose actual stage theme (which plays on Thanatos's stage in PDP) is decidedly less epic.
Lip's stage theme was relegated to gameplay tutorials - which you never have to watch in the first place - when Tetris Attack gave Yoshi a unique stage theme.
Pokémon Trozei! has a couple of awesome uniquetracks that only rarely play on higher levels of the unlockable Forever mode. Considering how quickly the game will be moving by the time you reach that point, you probably won't be hearing very much of them.
Video Game - Real Time Strategy
"Revolution" plays in Age of Empires III if you elect to revolt during the Industrial Age instead of heading to Imperial. It's a sweeping piece that makes beautiful use of its brass instruments, but it's unlikely to come up in a game because accessing it cripples your economy in exchange for a powerful but brief military edge, and many players prefer to end the game before the option even comes up. On top of that, it barely lasts a minute and will be interrupted if you do the sensible thing and use your newfound military might to attack the enemy base before your edge wears off.
Brutal Legend: "Through The Fire And Flames", an amazing power metal song almost 7 1/2 minutes long for a chase scene that lasts about one minute. Especially jarring for longtime DragonForce fans. In the music video, they cut out most of the bridge/interlude and the last verse.
In the original Pikmin, one of the only times the music changes in the game is during the lone fight with the Beady Long-Legs.
Some of the sub-levels in the Glutton's Kitchen, one of the more obscure of the many dungeons in Pikmin 2, have unique melodies that don't play elsewhere.
Video Game - Rhythm Game
While most of the songs in Harmonix's Frequency fall under this, the fan favorite "Motomatic" can only be found in the game, and full version of the song are virtually impossible to find. It's a gem lost in time.
Beatmania IIDX has the song "Skin", a song that appeared once in the arcade version of Beatmania IIDX 3rd Style and never appeared in the series again, not even on a console release.
DDRMAX has the Eurobeat songs "Flash in the Night" and "Follow Me", which were never included in any other arcade versions, nor any console versions outside of Japan, probably due to licensing problems. "Baby Love Me" from MAX 2 AC was also never repeated or exported. Many other songs from the Japanese series still have yet to appear on a US version, again due to either licensing issues or Cultural Translation. And since Ta Q left Konami, none of his songs have been repeated.
DJMAX Technika has "The Night Stage". Whereas every other song gets appearances in at least two modes, or appears once in an easy-to-access manner, "The Night Stage" gets only one use: in the Cotton Candy set as the more difficult boss song that can only be obtained by hitting at least 95% of notes in the first 3 stages with a "MAX!!!" judgment, which is a fairly difficult feat unless you've been playing for many months. You can also play the song in a special championship set...that only appeared on the Korean version's Platinum Crew service.Technika 2 recitifies this by allowing you to play the song any time you want in the Black & White set.
If you played the Japanese home version of Dance Dance Revolution 7th Mix, unlocked a mode called Endless Mode, then enabled an option to give yourself periodic "break stages" (where the game lets you pause indefinitely after every few songs), you'll get to listen to a song called Feelings won't Fade when the break stage comes up. Apart from being included in a limited-release special soundtrack CD, this song didn't really get any exposure until many years later.
Video Game - Rogue like
In Dark Cloud, Norune Village has a theme which can only be heard before you begin rebuilding it. Which is probably just a walk accross the map unless you stand around to hear it.
In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, there are catchy remixes of the themes for the Ragged Mountain, Hazy Pass, and Holehills. The problem is that neither of the ways you can hear them are very convenient. The first is by revisiting those dungeons after you beat the game (Something you'll likely have little reason to do), then being sent to an alternate version of those dungeons while you explore them through a rare and random event. The second is by listening to them at the Musical Paradise (More or less the game's soundtest), but said songs are only unlocked once you've gotten your Paradise rank to Perfect, which requires getting 99,999 points and is probably the last thing you'll accomplish in the game.
Video Game - Role Playing Game
Saturos's battle theme, the most popular song from Golden Sun, is played twice in the game; the first time, it's in an unwinnable battle that's over in 5 seconds. The second time is 25% of the way through the game. In the sequel Golden Sun: The Lost Age, it is the theme for the Bonus Boss Star Magician. It can be heard at any time via a secret Sound Test (which you'd never find if not for GameFAQs). In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Camelot apparently thought the few times it was used in the Game Boy Advance games wasn't enough, so in Dark Dawn, it's the Battle Theme Music for all four Bonus Bosses, one of which is the aforementioned Star Magician, who makes another appearance along with Dullahan, the latter of which reprises his position as the hardest boss in the game. The song's appearance in Dark Dawn makes it one of the few tracks to appear in every game in the series in some form, despite starting out as an example of this trope.
The Linked Battle theme qualifies as well (if not more), since the only way to hear it outside of the two-player battle mode (which many have likely never tried) and the aforementioned Sound Test is a brief scene in the first game when you automatically outrun a boulder in a mine. And that only lasts the first 10 seconds. It was also used again during the dice game in The Lost Age — if you decide to double up.
Jenna's battle theme is an aversion; it only plays during the prologue, but you can use an Easter Egg to get it in any encounter without a special theme (said easter egg can be used only after you can beaten ~over 2/3 of the game)
Did you know that Briggs has a leitmotif ("There Goes Briggs!")? It only plays in one of his cutscenes. Briggs is also one of the two Badass Normal bosses mentioned just above, so he gets two Wasted Songs in his honor.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has a nice remix of Vale's theme from the first game that plays in Patcher's Place, which like Vale was in the first game is the first town encountered in the game. Due to a Point of No Return very early in the game, it can't be heard again without exploiting a Good Bad Bug (which isn't available until the very end of the game) or using a cheating device. (This is averted with the music that plays in Carver's Camp in the same portion of the game, which can be heard anytime later in the game since it isn't limited to one town like the redone Vale music.)
Belinsk's theme falls under the same fate. It has a very upbeat and Russian sounding music, but once the Grave Eclipse is triggered, you lose access to the city for the rest of the game until you beat the final boss. The song can be heard again in the game's ending when the party travels back to Belinsk one last time before leaving for home.
Lunar: Eternal Blue has a song that plays while controlling a boat in the overworld. But there's only one part in the entire game where you use the boat and that one voyage lasts a grand total of 8 seconds. And then you never hear the song again. Working Designs actually sped up the song in the English version just so people could hear the whole thing.
Chrono Trigger has "Schala's Theme" - since the only time you hear it is in her bedroom and once later on in the Terra Caves after finishing the Mountain of Woe; and again, you'd only hear the full version if you set the controller down and don't advance the dialogue.
The DS version does not restore the first half of Frog's theme, which turns an already epic song into an even more epic one. Fortunately the full version is on the soundtrack and was even given notice in the Video Games Live concert medley for the Chrono games.
The full version of Lavos's Theme includes a slow movement taken from "The Last Day of the World". In its shorter version, the looping point is set right before this slow movement would start.
In the original SNES version, it depends upon the scene whether or not the slow movement will be heard. For example, minor cutscenes (such as Lavos' impact in 65,000,000 BC) will play the "short version", as will going to Lavos very early in New Game + or fighting Lavos long enough in the Ocean Palace. However, other major scenes, such as the very first Lavos cutscene (in Arris Dome, heard only if you put the controller down) and using the bucket to go to AD 1999, with grant you the full version.
Changed in the DS version. Every time Lavos's theme is heard, the full version will be used, regardless of the situation.
Another one that's wasted is the "full version" of Crono's theme. This only plays in the attract screen on the SNES version if you leave the title screen alone. Normally Crono's Theme plays three times, but then switches to an epic closure. Music rips from the game itself can't reproduce the work because either the loop is always stuck where it is, or the part of the song is finally loaded into the sound memory.
The Home World Termina theme's intro doesn't get much use. You'll hear the Home Termina theme quite a bit in the one in Another World after Porre takes over it, but that's a shortened version that opens with a crescendo of bagpipes that normally plays after the part cut in this situation. The easiest way to hear it is during a small scene in which Glenn is asking for bellflowers from a merchant at the entrance of Another Termina, but the music for that version kicks in right after the conversation ends. As for Home Termina, for some reason later in the game its music is replaced by Fossil Valley's music, "Drowned Valley."
In Flower Fields in the original Paper Mario, three areas had completely unique music that isn't played anywhere else in the game. One of them was in the area with Petunia, while she's being attacked by Monty Moles. It has surprisingly epic music. The second is in the tower with the fallen Sun, which has a gorgeous, Spanish-style melody... that completely vanishes after you rescue it. Bummer. The third is the area with the Puff Puff Machine, which you'll hear for 20 seconds before battling some Lakitus, and another 20 while you break the machine afterwards.
Additionally, "The Master!"— a fairly epic battle theme— only plays during a few optional fights in the game's Dojo, after which point it's Lost Forever. This wouldn't be so bad if the song weren't conspicuously absent from the official soundtrack. The song was, however, present in the follow-up "Lost Tracks" soundtrack— in severely clipped form, lasting significantly less than the full duration of the song.
The Thousand-Year Door also has a tune that goes for nearly two minutes without looping... used only on its file selection screen.
Super Paper Mario has a separate theme for each boss, so there are several songs that only play once. Most are fairly short, but not always as short as the battles - for example, if you fight Bonechill as Luigi, you can be done in seconds.
There is also the music for Chapter 6, Sammer's Kingdom. It's an upbeat oriental-esque tune, but the chapter it plays in consists almost entirely of fighting duels with the local NPCs, and these battles have separate music. The area the chapter takes place in also gets destroyed after you fight the chapter's midboss, though it does get restored after the end of the game.
Final Fantasy III includes a fast techno/electronic song for each fight against the Cloud of Darkness - and the first time you fight her, it's inevitable that you are wiped out on the first turn. It's basically the only thing you have to look forward to by the time you have to fight her again, at which point the fight is winnable if you've fulfilled the prerequisites. The rest of the music gets repetitive.
Final Fantasy VI brings us Gau's theme. Other than a remix in the medley at the end of the game, it plays exactly twice. One is a short scene when you first meet him; the other is when Gau meets his father in an entirely optional event that doesn't give any other rewards.
Also as a wasted sound effect is Kefka's original laugh. Though heard almost every time he appears, it is only heard once in the official OST (in the middle of a very long track of the final battle music). Furthermore, the Playstation and Gameboy advance ports of the game did not have the same sound specifications, which makes it sound really garbled and off-key from the original. However, the Virtual Console version is based more directly on the original version of the game (down to using the original Market-Based Title of Final Fantasy III outside of Japan), so at least it be heard normally on a newer system.
Gogo's Theme. It only plays inside the Triangle Island dungeon, which is absurdly hard to find and fairly short.
Final Fantasy VII has "Birth of a God", a variation on Sephiroth's theme song which plays only during the first stage of the final boss fight... a fight which, since the player is powered up to Game Breaker levels by this point, is usually over in less than a minute.
The "Jenova Absolute" battle theme immediately prior is likewise excellent, and the battle is over far too quickly. At least the third battle song in this row, "One Winged Angel", tends not to get wasted, partly thanks to HP scaling and Sephiroth's Super Nova attack.
Final Fantasy VIII has an Irish jig which is one of the most fun pieces of music in the game. You can only hear it in two places: first, by picking the jig instruments during the concert partway through the game (which seems counterintuitive, as it's meant to be romantic); or second, by finishing the Shumi Village sidequest (in which case the music seems completely inaccurate to the setting). The track does not appear on the official soundtrack.
Even worse is the terrible misuse of "The Legendary Beast", which only plays when Griever uses his ultimate attack, which theoretically happens after a certain point, but because by that point you're likely to be at Game Breaker status, you get to hear about 30 seconds from a brilliant piece of boss fight music, although the intro is at least synched to the attack so they're 30 really good seconds.
In regards to the Irish Jig, if you're feeling malicious, you can choose half instruments from the sexy-lounge-song version of "Eyes On Me" and half Irish Jig instruments, just to giggle over the chaos that will undoubtedly result... Only to discover that they're in the same key and non-clashing tempos, and there are no train wrecks to be had. Also, the Irish Jig can be gotten at if you play a PSF file for it on a compatible media player; on Windows, this can be done by downloading Neill Corlett's PSF plugin for Winamp and on Linux the Audacious media player has built-in support for the format.
If one were to listen to "The Oath" prior to playing FFVIII, they would surely come to the conclusion that such a great song would be used often during the game's awesome cutscenes. While it does appear in a couple good cutscenes, it seems to last no longer than several boxes of dialogue.
A particularly egregious case, since The Oath is the main characters theme.
This is slightly different, but still on the theme of poorly-utilized music: "Zidane's Theme" from Final Fantasy IX is a very, very long track which only plays during one very, very short cutscene early on Disc 1. Hence, you're only likely to hear about half the track, if that. This isn't a huge loss, because the music isn't actually that good, but noteworthy because, toward the end of the track, a melody plays which shows up on Disc 3 as "Unfathomed Reminiscence." It's a neat bit of thematic connection that no one would ever hear unless they put the controller down and didn't advance in the dialogue at all.
Also from Final Fantasy IX: "Feel My Blade", which plays during the mock battle with Baku on stage at the beginning of the game.
Let's also not forget "You're Not Alone". Only played during one scene in the game but still considered amongst many fans to be one the better, if not the best, song in the game.
Also one of the best moments in the game. Zidane just learned he was created specifically to replace Kuja in order for Terra to assimilate Gaia. And does not take it very well. His friends help him snap out of it, though.
Fortunately averted with the awesome "Vamo' alla Flamenco". The scene it plays over is one of the very earliest (Zidane's on-stage sword duel), but it's reused later for the Chocobo Hot and Cold minigames.
The theme for Fossil Roo. It plays for the dungeon's first couple of screens, but the rest of the dungeon uses the same music as Gargan Roo.
The last underscored scene in Final Fantasy X (Yuna's speech in the Luca Blitzball dome) is accompanied by a poignant melody which lasts about 70 seconds has not been heard at any point earlier in the game. Knowing Uematsu's habit of repeating his strongest material ad nauseam, it's hard to understand why he let this final minute of music go undeveloped.
The song "Seymour Battle", like "Birth of a God", is a song that plays during the last battle with Seymour, whom at that point in the game is probably child's play compared to your overpowered characters, making it easy to miss a lot of the song. It's not even on the Sound Test, either.
Similarly, the song "Decisive Battle" which, in the original Japanese and North American versions, only plays during the Anti-Climax Boss battle right at the end of the game. The International and PAL releases reuse it for the fight with Penance.
And let's not forget Lulu and Wakka's themes. Lulu's only plays in one totally optional scene, and Wakka's never (however, both are actually in the Sound Test.)
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII has a lot of different battles theme that change depending on what you're fighting, where, and what time of day of it is. Because of the none-linear nature of the game, it's not impossible to never even hear some of the battle themes. The more likely scenario is that at the beginning of the game you'll hear some of the battle themes in full for the first area you decide to go to, but then later on as you get stronger, only hear the battle themes for the other areas for about 15 seconds.
In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, all songs are made roughly the same length. While some songs get in two full loops, the DLC song "Desperate Struggle" (from Final Fantasy XII) is long enough that it fades out before a single loop has a chance to play.
From Grandia, "Deck Swabbing", which plays during a small mini-game near the start of the game. You can play the mini-game as many times as you want, but once you choose to leave the area, the game - and this track - is Lost Forever.
The original MOTHER game has two overworld themes: "Pollyanna", which plays when Ninten is traveling alone, and "Bein' Friends", which plays when you have at least one more person in your party. Both are excellent, but you can guess which one you hear way more of. Ironically, "Pollyanna" has often been considered the main theme of the series and appears in every game in some form (such as Ness's house in the second one), while "Bein' Friends" only appears in the first game (and Super Smash Bros.).
Mother 3 has "A Railway In Our Village!" an incredibly catchy town theme which only plays in Tazmily at the beginning of Chapter 4 and never plays again once you leave town or save/load the game. Then there's the battle theme "Formidable Foes," an arrangement of the Oh-So Snake's boss music, that is never used in-game but is still featured on the Sound Test.
Also in Mother 3 is "Even More Intense Guys", played only during the battle with the Rhinocerocket Mark II... which isn't a boss of any sort, just a powerful mook.
And then there's the 8-bit version of "Please Don't Eat Crackers in the Cinema", which only plays in the theater in Chapter 8 and isn't on the sound test. There are several other examples of songs that weren't included on the sound test, as well.
There's also the Sunshine Forest music which starts in Chapter 4 and ends when Everyone moves to New Pork City. Although it's present in the game for a fair amount of time, you'll only rarely be visiting Sunshine Forest in Chapter 4+ , and the track itself doesn't actually have a name, as it isn't in the Sound Test.
There's also "Barren Factory", which is only used at the Clayman Factory in Chapter 7, when you never even have to go there.
The epitome of this trope in the MOTHER series, though, has to be thefivesongsthatplay on a completely optional, out-of-the-way jukebox in the middle of nowhere in MOTHER 3.
In EarthBound, there's the haunting Snow Man theme, which is only played once in the game, during the brief moment where you play as Jeff inside his school. Once you leave the school, you never hear it again.
The present version of the Cave of the Past has a short, yet unique and atmospheric track (which actually is partially a sped-up sample of the French national anthem, "La Marseillaise") that can't be heard anywhere else. The only way to hear it before heading there past a Point of No Return (which doesn't last long as the party goes past another Point of No Return right after that to get to the past version of the cave) is by entering a small Disconnected Side Area of the cave from the Lost Underworld's world map, which may happen when looking for the last My Sanctuary dungeon but entering the wrong cave. (The past version that the party spends considerably more time in, due to being under Giygas's control, uses a completely different and eerie theme fitting for that version.)
Each town in Xenogears has a unique town theme that plays there and there alone. Lahan, Fei's Doomed Hometown, has a really good one. Fill the blanks in yourself.
There's actually a vocal remix of the overworld theme, "Stars of Tears", which never plays in the game. It is, however, contained on the game CD along with a montage of FMV scenes from throughout the game, and is available on the official soundtrack.
You can hear "My Village Is The Best" (the theme from Lahan Village) when you reach Shevat.
In most Wild ARMs games, the opening song, which tends to be really good, can be heard any time one starts a new game or loads a save. In Wild ARMs 5, however, the opening only plays once, about 10-15 minutes into the game, and never plays again.
In Wild ARMs 3, both the intro and ending themes were translated into English and re-recorded by an American artist. However, while the soundtrack has English tunes, they are with different lyrics and sung much more badly by the original Japanese singer. The tracks that actually play on the American release are not available on any soundtrack.
The same thing happened with Wild ARMs 4. In fact, it's worse: the American artist recorded not only a short version for the game, but a full length version that isn't even played at any point in the game.
The full length version of Wild AR Ms 4's opening plays during the final part of the final battle. Which can potentially be over within the amount of time it takes to play the first verse of the song which you'll have heard in the intro many times already.
The original Breath of Fire had the unheard tavern song only implemented in a Dummied Out bar in the guarded city of Nanai. The only way to access the bar was to use a Dummied Out developers tool, the Dragon Warp, which could be added to your inventory through a hex editor.
Much lesser known, but a second, completely unused song is also hidden away in the game. It's fairly short, but surprisingly epic.
In The Legend of Dragoon, the final boss has a different theme tune for every one of its forms... but they only play in the cutscenes of him changing into said forms; once the actual battle starts, the music reverts to that of his first form.
Persona 4 has plenty of tracks that appear once and aren't even on the offical soundtrack (included with the game), examples include "The Genesis" the (true) final boss's battle theme, "Fog", the final Disc One Final Boss's theme and a slower-trumpet version of "I'll face myself" which only plays at the hospital with Dojima. There is also the beat that plays during the phonecall with Yosuke on 4/16 and when talking to Adachi on 4/17 (Zone Time), this isn't an exceptionally good song, but deserves mention because it's played so quietly that some players won't notice that it's playing.
The only way to get the entire soundtrack is if you bought the Social Link Expansion off of Amazon, which included the "Side B" soundtrack that contained everything left off of the first disc. This swag collection was sold in extremely limited quantities and is now going for over $200 on auction sites. Thanks Atlus!
There are a handful of songs that didn't even get onto the "Side B" CD that were used in cutscenes. If you want a good example, look up the anime cutscene of Yosuke's Shadow forming on Youtube; there's a version of Awakening during it that's played with a kick-ass bass solo replacing the piano at the beginning.
Likewise, Persona 3 had several songs that played at only during specific events. For one case, "Shadow", which plays roughly 45 minutes into the game and is never heard again. Keep in mind that this is a game that, on average, takes 70 hours to complete. Once again, the official soundtrack in the US only contains about half of the songs in the game. Note that the Japanese OSTs of both Persona games contained every single track.
The Original Version of Persona had "Awakening Legend" which plays only when a Persona awakens (which is only about 4 or 5 times) and is not in the remake.
And for that matter, many other songs are only played a few times in the whole game. The character themes are among the best songs on the soundtrack, yet aren't even played more than once or twice. The SEBEC route Final Boss gets two themes, an intro BGM and pre-battle theme that are only played once and twice respectively. And the list goes on...
Shin Megami Tensei IVlacks any sort of defensive stats, so non-boss battles tend to end far quicker than the time it takes for the normal battle music to finish looping unless you intentionally spend some time not inputting any further commands once you've initiated battle.
The song actually can be unlocked in the game's Sound Test, but it's a Guide Dang It of epic proportions: the shampoo magnus must be left to age for 336 hours, whereupon it turns into a different magnus and, for some reason, unlocks the songs from the final battles/cutscenes.
Even worse than the final boss theme is the Post Final Boss theme, A Last Villainous Quip. You'll probably hear Violent Storm all the way through, but this battle can be over in one turn if you know the trick.
Soul Poetry only ever plays on the Game Over screen...which most people will just mash A to get through as fast as possible.
Ar Tonelico 2 has a great Ominous Latin Chanting song called "Emptiness" play in a cutscene before the final boss - for about a minute, before it cuts to generic "bad things are happening" music. While it doesn't appear on the sound test or in any of the game's official albums, composer and singer Akiko Shikata released it later on the CD of one of her concert pamphlets.
And on that same line of ideas, the final battle songs Qoga, Au Gumu and the corrupted version of Ec Tisia ~Tarifa~ in Ar tonelico Qoga, as they aren't featured on the sound test and they were never released in any way.
"Karma", the main theme for Tales of the Abyss is a glorious song but is only played in the opening. Songs with variations of the tune, ('Promise' and 'Meaning of Birth') are only played once each in a single playthrough, though fortunately both versions of the game have a sound test that is unlocked after finishing the main story.
Dragon Quest VI has Brave Fight, which plays during the second phase of the fight against Murdaw. Fortunately, it also plays whenever you fight a Sealing Fiend, and there's three more of those guys.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has the underwater theme... which, outside of the Credits Medley, plays for about three screens max in an area that's optional for 98% of the game. It also has the version heard while Mario and Luigi are inside Bowser, which considering is not required when he's underwater... is heard even less.
Also from Bowser's Inside Story, there's one very calm and soothing general-purpose theme that plays about four times in the game: once while meeting Broque Madame, once while talking to Princess Lipid in the Flab Zone (who only appears once), once while putting together a puzzle (the other puzzles you gain access to later on play the game's happy theme instead), and once during a Leave the Camera Running segment while drilling into the Lumbar Nook (which can be skipped using a certain button code!). The only other time you'll hear it is if you lose to a boss in The Gauntlet, which of course is a completely optional area.
Icewind Dale has several musical pieces that weren't in the final release of the game, but ended up in the OST as bonus tracks. Particularly glaring that most of those missing tracks were battle themes and several fights (including the final battle) in the game didn't have * ANY* background music.
Suikoden II has what's most likely an accidental example, presumably only in the North American Playstation version. There were supposed to be three war battle themes, but due to what appears to be a bug in the way the game handles its own XA audio, only "Battlefield Without Light" is ever heard in-game... and of the two unplayed songs, only one, "War", is present on the OST. (The other is still on the game disc, however, and can be heard using any XA audio player.)
Works fine on the PSP port of Suikoden I and 2.
Suikoden II also features the other type of wasted song in the form of the duel songs, "The Time for Confrontation" and "Mad Luca". Although each is over a minute long, duels rarely last longer than that, usually only ending in a matter of seconds, so most people won't hear the whole song in-game.
Suikoden IV, meanwhile, gives us "Scenery of a Nameless Island", a nice mellow song that plays on Lime Shelf Island, Mountain Mass Island, or Donut Island, but only before recruiting Rene; once she joins, the song is permanently replaced by the treasure hunt theme on all three islands instead. With the former two islands being far out of the way and having little value except for the treasure hunt minigame itself, it's very unlikely you'll make the trek to them before you've met Rene, and Donut Island, where you actually meet her, is very tiny, with no random battles. Odds are, most players will hear about 30 seconds of this song, tops.
"True Nature of All" in Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. Only appears as the final boss theme on the A Path.... which is LUDRICOUSLY HARD to reach without a guide. And theme is NEVER, EVER used again in that form, not even in Covenant Of The Plume, where it fits the A Path battle of that game as well as, if not better than Lenneth (Since Wylfred really learns the True Nature of everything)
In what is perhaps the strangest example of this trope, if you insert the Monster Rancher game into a regular CD player and skip to track 2, you'll be greeted with some weird (but surprisingly catchy) techno music, which never shows up in the actual game.
Many of the songs in Monster Rancher will only be heard in their entirety by players who are very slow readers or who like to visit the sound test menu. This also includes many of the battle themes, as battles only last 1 minute, but most battle themes are a bit longer.
The demo of Final Fantasy VIII had an alternative "Prelude" remix and different music for the opening than what was used for the same scene in the final version of the game. These tracks are in full game, but Dummied Out, it is possible to play them via a sound test. However, said sound test is in the Developer's Room which is itselfDummied Out, and can only be accessed by using a Game Shark.
Tales of Symphonia has a few pieces that are played a couple times in the game and are never heard again, especially near the beginning of the game. One being the song Moonlight. It is played twice at the beginning of the game and is never heard again. You probably would forget it existed until you replay the game. Standing the Pain is roughly two minutes long, but it never plays that long in the few cutscenes it's used in. Another one is Kratos' theme, which is only played a few times at certain parts of the game, not to mention the theme of his battle with Lloyd (The End of a Thought), which is played exactly once. The theme of Lloyd's father, Dirk, is played four or five times through the entire length of the game.
Xenosaga Episode II has "Fatal Fight #2", an incredibly epic song that is one of the highlights of the game's soundtrack. Of course, it's completely absent from the game itself and the scene it's supposed to be played over instead features a less-epic track. It's even timed to match up with the fight and everything. Seriously, just watch this video and start playing the song right after Margulis says "I see you still talk too much" and thrusts his sword at Jin. The low-rent "Fatal Fight #1 (Jin and Margulis)" also gets some extremely brief play at the climax of the prologue, but it's far less impressive than the second version. Luckily, Episode III brought back a slightly modified version of it in a very relevant boss battle towards the end of the game, where the whole song can be heard in the fight.
Also unused in Episode II are both versions of "Bitter", a track used in several of the cinematic and gameplay trailers but absent from the game itself. The ironically named "Image Theme of Xenosaga Episode II" also doesn't get any play save for the trailers. Just like "Fatal Fight" the low-rent "In the Beginning There Was..." is played over the New Game/Continue screen instead.
When Episode I was announced, there was a great deal of excitement about how several of the tracks would be performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Metro Voices. The first two such songs that were released, The Miracle and Ormus were very well received by fans and raised expectations to high levels. Come the release of the game, and it turned out that the former was partially played in one cutscene and the latter was only played in a hallway that took five seconds to cross.
In Xenoblade, you've got "Unfinished Battle". It's one of the best battle themes in the game (or any game, really), but it only plays once, during a cutscene and the subsequent battle after that. Even though Metal Face is present during the battle, the song never gets played again during your actual fights with him. And it's not even looped, so after it plays once, the regular combat music starts playing again.
The Attract Mode of The 7th Saga plays a good piece called "The Seven Apprentices"... and ends before the final eight measures of the piece can be played and the loop point reached. The piece cannot be found elsewhere in the game.
Cosmic Fantasy 1 has a 4 minute 22 second vocal theme song, featured on from idol Tomomi Nishimura's 12th album, but it only plays over the title screen, which you'll probably see for all of 5 seconds before going to the load screen, which has its own music. Even the end credits use a different song.
The music for the lifting of the werewolves' curse in Dragon Age: Origins is one of the most beautiful pieces... yet scarcely a minute long.
And it's not even on the CD! (Yet tunes you hear so often they annoy you - 'Behold, you're fighting darkspawn again! - are.)
Of all the battle songs (most of which are unremarkable), the most memorable is the Battle for Lothering. It's rather melancholy, vaguely heroic...and you'll hear it a grand total of once in the entire game.
In Ys III, "Theme of Chester" lasts 2 minutes before looping, but only plays in the short corridor leading to the Ruins boss. It got somewhat better use in the remake.
The music that plays at the entrances of dungeons, "The Boy Who Had Wings," won't get a chance to play completely unless one waits outside (such as to regenerate HP), because dungeon entrances aren't very long sections and they contain no enemies. Like the above, it got significantly better use in the remake, in which it plays in any area outside of a dungeon or the town of Redmont. However, this demoted the old world map theme, "Prelude to Adventure," to Wasted Song status since it only plays if, for some reason, one decides to step outside of town before it's time to go to the first dungeon (though since a save point is located just outside of town, it isn't too hard to miss).
In NieR, the song "Gods Bound by Rules" only appears during the boss fight in the Barren Temple. While it's a fairly challenging boss fight, and you're likely to hear it all, it's notable for being one of the only songs neither repeated nor variated in gameplay. Nearly every other song is. And yeah, like the music from the rest of the game, the track owns face.
There is a duet version of Song of the Ancients, the song Devola sings. It can only be heard by completing a sidequest to make Popola a Gargle Blaster so she can work up the nerve to perform with her sister. While it's not a hard sidequest, it's easily missable, and even if you do complete it, you only hear the song once.
Then there is Emil Karma that only plays in the True Final Boss battle but at this point you will likely blast through it in seconds.
Ys VII has three boss themes. One is played for normal bosses here. They are rather long fights, so we get to hear it a LOT. The Wasted Song is another boss theme that plays a grand total of four times in the game: Adol's duel with Geis, Adol's coliseum match, the dragon knights in wind town, and the first fight with Scias Three of those fights Geis, Scias, the Dragon Knights are likely over before the song loops once. It's called Crossing Rage.
Same with the other long rarely-used boss themes that only play during short battles, such as "A Great Ordeal" from Ys IV, "Armored Bane" from Ys VI, which only gets used once, and "Black Ark Unveiled", which is replaced by "The Depth Napishtim" after the short first phase.
Lost Odyssey had a particularly awesome boss track, "Battle Conditions", which only plays during 2 fights in the game. The DLC added one additional use of the song, but even so the song is still hideously underused and far outshines the "regular" boss tracks in the game.
Every party member in Mass Effect 2 has their own theme track, most of which are only played during their recruitment and loyalty missions. The different missions mean that while some themes show up fairly often, a few (like Samara's or Jacob's) are only heard a few times in the entire game. There's also the music that plays over the Golden Ending, although that doesn't quite count, since it's a reprise of a piece from the original game.
The Arrival DLC level has Captured, a surprisingly relaxing song that only plays when Shepard is locked in the med bay at the Project.
Mass Effect 3 has Reaper Chase. In normal gameplay, you'll hear about fifteen seconds of it; the scene it was supposed to play over (Shep and co. are chased across Rannoch by a very angry Reaper) was replaced.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Sacred Cards had a couple of these; the lategame battles against Ishizu Ishtar and Yami Yugi used neither the standard boss theme nor the Ghouls' boss theme, and neither of these opponents can be faced again once they are defeated.
The Last Remnant has two suitably climactic tracks for the final battle against The Conqueror and his lieutenants, Nisus and Schismogenesis. However, if your party morale becomes too high or too low for several turns (the latter is especially prone to occurring due to how freaking hard the fight is) then the battle music will be overwritten by the relevant music theme for that level of morale, which you've likely heard dozens of times throughout the game. It then irritatingly stays like that for the rest of the fight; it's unlikely you'll even hear the second track.
Star Ocean: The Second Story has a couple. "Hydrangea" is ridiculously obscure. It can only be heard in a single private action in Central City, only if you're playing as Rena, and only if you have Chisato on your team. "Star Ocean Forever" is only played in the "victory lap" after beating Gabrie Celeste in the Cavern of Trials. Not an easy task. And once you leave the cave and return, the normal music plays there once again.
In Sa Ga Frontier 2, the amazing soundtrack was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, but some songs are only heard once or twice, and there are cases where you can miss some songs very easily:
One of the most notable example is without a doubt Interludium, a song which is played only once in the entire game, during Ginny's birth. The scene in question only consists of 5 or 6 dialogue boxes, which take roughly 10 seconds or so to read, before cutting out to the scenario map, ending abruptly a 3:31 beautiful song.
The most wasted song of the game is definitly Rosenkranz, an incredibly beautiful piece of music, which can only be heard after you defeat the final boss (if you ever manage to defeat it). The worst part, though, is that the player will only hear about 30 seconds of the whole thing (1:56), before the song is brutally cut for narrating reasons. Please note that this song had a Piano version (for the Piano Collection Album : Rhapsody on a theme of Saga Frontier 2), under the name "β 1", which is magistral.
The Freudenbezeigung (I, II, III and IV) songs are almost never heard in their entirety by the players: these are the battle ending songs, and in cases you don't level-up anything, the players will only hear the 4 first seconds before the game skip to exploration mode. Even if you happen to level-up some caracteristics, it's very easy to glance through these, and to end the battle. Unless players stop intentionnaly to hear the full rendition of the songs, most won't discover what lie after the first seconds.
Manie is a weird example. The song is the first one the players will hear during the credits of the game (if you ever reach the credits), but most players don't realise that this song is also the boss theme of the Tone Lord. For those who didn't play the game, the Tone Lord is a skippable boss in the last dungeon, and most players will never fight it: you need to sacrifice a character in your sub-party in order to duel it. Since you only have a limited number of characters you can sacrifice, and since it's more interesting to kill others Lords in order to weaken the final boss (especially the Stone Lord which can grant the final boss a spell which can petrify your whole party), most players never fight the Tone Lord, and no guide will advise otherwise.
Dark Souls has Pinwheel's theme. It's a very eerie and atmospheric tune that perfectly suits the Humanoid Abomination necromancer living in a coffin deep in the Catacombs. However, Pinwheel is a massiveBreather Boss, to the extent that a prepared player can stomp him flat in less than ten seconds.
"Battle of Stoicism" suffers from this to a lesser degree. On the one hand you can hear it as much as you want, providing you're willing to PvP, though you may have other things on your mind instead of appreciating the soundtrack. At least Pinwheel's theme made it onto the OST.
Fallout 3 has the music when the Lone Wanderer leaves the vault for the first time, which only runs for about 34 seconds, and is not heard anywhere else in the game nor on the soundtrack. There's also "Tension" during the Liberty Prime escort sequence, which is mostly drowned out by the heavy action sounds and did not make it onto the OST either.
Fallout: New Vegas has a rather long credits theme (about 3 minutes), but only 30 seconds of it appears on the OST, in the track "The Doctor is In", which is the segment heard when the Courier leaves Doc Mitchell's house for the first time.
The Freeside neighborhood has a unique background music, but due to scripting errors, it is rarely if ever heard in-game, being overridden by other BGM's instead.
Find Mii/StreetPass Quest's battle themes are long compared to how short battles are (you probably won't hear more than 30 seconds of it unless lots of people around you own a 3DS). Fortunately, there is a Sound Test.
Radiant Historia gets good use out of most of its soundtrack... except one. The well-titled "Interrupted Moment" plays over the bad end title cards, and only the title cards; the actually parts where everyone dies and the world ends get the game's usual "bad things are happening" music. It's almost two minutes of music for one screen with a single line of text that you'll click past in a second or two.
Transistor has a handful of "processed" versions of themes, which are generally harsher and more electronic, and only heard in one location (the most notable being the processed version of "In Circles", which only plays during the final part of the fight with Sybil.) These processed tracks don't even make it onto the official soundtrack.
Video Game - Shoot Em Up
The entire soundtrack of Lords of Thunder for Sega CD is constantly drowned out by the loud noise of firing your weapons, but nearly every song is a masterpiece. Every stage theme uses live guitar and is at least 4 minutes long and has at least one radical solo. Luckily, there is a Sound Test.
Salamander 2 has three songs—all remixes of Life Force and MSX Nemesis songs—that can only be heard on the 2nd loop, in which continues are disabled. If you use programs that allow you to listen to music off of arcade ROMs, you'll find that you cannot access these songs normally; you have to start up the ending theme before you can listen to any of these songs.
Gradius III (arcade version) has a secret song that is a medley of songs from Gradius I, Salamander, and Gradius II. It can only be heard by destroying a hard-to reach Mook Maker on Stage 3.
Metal Slug 3 introduced levels with multiple paths to the series, though some paths are hard to find without reading a guide first. Some of these completely optional paths have songs unique to them, one of the best being this one.
Zanac includes an unused song in its sound test. Not even used in the Secret Level, which uses the same music as the final stage.
Actually it can be played on "Arer" 10. When destroying the boss and pressing certain button combinations, it starts to play until the next boss.
In Super Contra (arcade), the song "Hotter than Hell" sounds like it should have been used for the Final Boss, Jagger Froid, but instead it got used for the short Mini-Boss battle of the final stage, and when you reach the final boss, it switches back to the regular stage music. However, in the NES version, it was used for the main theme of Stage 6, the equivalent of the arcade's final stage.
In Ikaruga, the music "Recapture" is used solely for the Chapter 2 boss. All the others except for the Final Boss use "Butsutekkai" for their battle theme.
In Contra: Shattered Soldier, the awesome"Critical Moment of Contra" is played during the penultimate boss battle, and lasts about 3 minutes before looping, but you'll probably only hear about 20 seconds of it before the fight is over. Heck, the OST doesn't even have the full length of the song loop.
Touhou games always have a separate theme for the credits, which is usually several minutes long when the ending takes maybe half as long if you take your time scrolling through the text. Thankfully, it's also always accessible through the Music Room (a Sound Test for music only, no sound effects).
Touhou Hisoutensoku also wastes a song well; Our Hisou Tensoku plays only in a couple of dialogue sequences before some of the last fights in story mode, and while it's available in the music room... It's something you would expect to be able to fight to. Alas... there is also a somewhat extended version.
Another example is "A God That Misses People ~ Romantic Fall", which takes 2:15 to loop, but unless you take a really long time to finish the midboss battle, let the game sit for a long time at the start of the first cutscene, or play it on a really laggy computer, you'll have to go into the Music Room to hear the last 45 seconds.
This happened quite a bit in the PC-98 game. The worst are [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr8e4p03QFk"Orange"]] and Sara's themes, who, despite being stage one bosses who can be defeated in 30 seconds, Orange's goes almost two minutes without looping, and Sara's actually does pass two minutes. In all other Touhou games, the stage one boss themes are the shortest so they can fit the battle.
Another is the final theme of the final boss of the very first game, "Civilization of Magic" and thus one of the most obscure in the series. The battle itself can be finished in less than twenty seconds, but the song doesn't actually loop until over 2 minutes
R-Type Final's title theme only lasts for 20 seconds on the title screen. The full version can only be heard in the secret Stage F-B.
Most songs in Ray Storm, due to them being significantly longer than the stages. For example, "Geometric City" is 4 1/2 minutes long, but only the first minute is heard in-game.
The PSX and PC versions of Ray Crisis use a rather awesome exclusive music piece for Special Mode that was only released on the hard-to-find Ray'z Premium Box OST boxset.
The music for the Area 1 boss in Rez is different from the main stage music, unlike the other bosses, and doesn't appear on the OST. Also, the version of "Protocol Rain" on the OST is different from the game.
In the TurboGrafx-16 CD version of Wonder Boy III Monster Lair, some of the stage themes run on a bit longer than the stages, and the boss battles time out before the music track plays all the way, so you can only hear the full songs on a CD player.
Shmup Sonic Princess features the song "Velocity of Sound" by MOMO. To hear it all you have to sit on the title screen for over six and a half minutes.
Video Games - Simulation Game
Most of the songs in Ace Combat, at least in the newer games, get at least one full loop during standard game play, either due to being relatively brief or appearing during levels that take quite a bit of time to complete. However, there are a couple of exceptions. For example, in Ace Combat 5, the song "Grabacr" gets played only at the end of Chapter 25, where you have to shoot down four planes. It is not difficult for even a less experienced played to shoot all four down in a minute or two, thus missing the nearly 5-minute song. Another case is "The Unsung War," which plays during the very final level, and only plays in full if you run out of time, which is pretty much impossible unless you're trying to run out of time.
Animal Crossing has several songs that only play for a few hours... every year. In addition, every "hour song" (i.e. songs that play for an hour each day, with there being one song for every hour of the day; see below) in the game has a unique mix that only plays when it's snowing (which only happens starting in November and ending late February, when it stops snowing and the snow that ended up on the ground in December melts) or raining, for example, and each festival has its own melody - like the Meteor Shower music in the original and the Fireworks theme from Wild World. The hour song for 2 AM in Wild World (later used in City Folk/Let's Go to the City as well; all other games use a different song) is so nice, it got a special remix just for Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Not to mention, the live versions of K.K. Slider's songs in general... yeah you can get a bootleg, but they tend to be by FAR inferior to the dog's live performances... once a (literal) week.
Speaking of Brawl, the Smashville stage will only play certain K.K. songs if you pick his stage on Saturday night, and these are not found in the Sound Test.
Oh, and the "K.K. Song"? It's been heard in other Nintendo games, where fans know it as "Totaka's Song". Makes sense, as K.K./Totakeke is a "animal version caricature" of Kazumi Totaka (see above).
Wild World and every game since made up for the limited time snow versions of the hour songs can be heard by making very similar versions play when it rains, instead of having the same song play when it rains regardless of what time it is. The catch? Wild World and City Folk/Let's Go to the City use a completely different hourly soundtrack from the original, so this doesn't solve the problem for that game.
The fact that every hour of the day has its own track means some songs are hard to hear within the game itself without cheating, for a different reason than a lot of examples of this trope — some play when most players are likely to be asleep. Although early-morning tracks tend to be short loops rather than being anything special, there are exceptions, such as the above-mentioned 2 AM track from Wild World and City Folk/Let's Go to the City, and oddly enough, the equivalent from the original game as well, which in contrast to the calm and pleasant one from the other games is oddly upbeat and catchy for something that plays at such an hour. The fact that weather conditions are random means it's even harder to hear the versions of said songs that require snow, or, as of Wild World, rain.
Even the title screen of the Gamecube Animal Crossing has this. The title song goes on for another good thirty seconds after the intro cuts it off and loops. The only way to hear it is to actually open the lid of the Gamecube while it's running. The song will continue, but the intro will be interrupted until you close the lid again.
Happens all too often in Mitsumete Knight : several great tunes happen to be used in one-time only Events, the most infuriating examples being "Me and Myself ~ Priscilla (Princess Version)'s Theme", "Entrusting to the Wind", "Lost Timbre", "Salishuan the Spy", and "Sorrowful Sword". The Theaters themes also suffer from this, as players will tend to go straight to the question part of the date, instead of sitting for one minute on the same screen.
The cooking song in Lost in Blue is usually only ten to fifteen seconds long at most, because any longer would completely ruin the food.
Video Games - Sports Game
The music that plays during the Training Montage sequences in the Wii Punch-Out!!!! lasts for maybe 15 seconds before being cut off as the montage ends, just as the song starts to pick up. There doesn't seem to be any way to hear it outside of these montages - it isn't even in the sound test- so the entirety of the song goes unheard.
Likewise, opponents have their own arrangements of the main theme for Exhibition Mode, which are all accessible in the sound test. However, King Hippo and Don Flamenco each have their own unique versions of the music for their Career Mode fights as well. These are not included in the sound test, which is especially sad since Don Flamenco's version is a piece of Awesome Music.
King Hippo has "knocked down" music. The issue? Any time he is downed it is an auto KO, so there are only two ways to hear it: knock off his crown to hear it for a few brief seconds, or unlock his sound test.
The par putt music from Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. You are unlikely to hear the second half of this piece of music unless you do it deliberately, since 1) par putts are generally short, and 2) the music lasts only one putt. You are slightly more likely to hear it in multiplayer, but even then, still unlikely. The fact that this track is not in the game's official soundtrack hurts it even more, but luckily, there is a recording of it here (the relevant part starts at about 0:18).
Metal Gear Solid 2 has "Countdown To Destruction", an epic electronica track that plays during the timed sections. However, because of the way the Plant chapter is structured (several small rooms connected with short outdoor sections) and the fact that no music plays during the outside sections, the player isn't likely to hear more than ten seconds of the track before it goes silent (and when they re-enter the next area, it starts from scratch). The piece is something like four minutes long.
The main characters's themes deserve a mention. Raiden's theme is a gorgeous song played on a live piano, and Otacon's theme is a dark orchestral version of "Memories of Hal". Neither were featured on OSTs, and Otacon's theme plays for only half a minute before it's truncated by the next cutscene.
In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the awesome music that plays when you fight Night Sight plays for him alone. He's not an important boss in terms of story (even the boss battle against Gray Fox uses the standard boss battle theme), is usually over and done with in acouple of minutes - and the track never showed up on any OSTs.
In fact, that music was removed from later versions due to accusations of plagiarism.
Metal Gear Solid has an incredibly epic, yet equally short (read: five seconds), piece during our first real introduction to Grey Fox (while he impales a soldier in the air).
The Twin Snakes, the remake of Metal Gear Solid: never had an OST released, and when it's fairly easy to find unofficial rips of the gameplay songs the great quality music from the cutscenes is imposible to listen outside of the cutscenes itself. Worse yet, the trailers of the game featured a lot of awesome tunes, including the main theme, all of them completely absent from the final game.
Every boss fight in Twin Snakes has its own theme, and every area has unique music when Alert Mode is triggered. Needless to say, there's a lot of quality soundtrack that you won't be hearing much of during the actual game. For instance, one of the most popular songs on the soundtrack only plays when you trigger Alert Mode in the Armory, leading many players over the years to do so deliberately.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a mix of "Snake Eater" that only plays during the final fight with The Boss. It's never been released on any official CD, and it's quite hard to find on the Internet. Also worth mentioning The Boss's theme that plays during the radio conversation with her at the beginning of the Virtuous Mission to not be heard again and of course to not be featured in any soundtrack.
The introduction theme for the Magician in House of the Dead 2. While the song last at least 2 minutes, only the 19 first seconds are heard ingame.
"Rave On" is by far the most popular Killer7 song. It's about five minutes long, and the fifth minute is the best. It plays once before and once after each miniboss fight, on an otherwise un-noteworthy staircase that takes less than 20 seconds to traverse.
The first game has "Concealed Passage", which plays in the underground hallway after the boulder smashes the wall, it ends after you leave the hall and is never heard again. Also, one of the few songs that wasn't remixed for the GameCuberemake.
Plant 42's theme is only heard when playing as Chris, and then only if you chose to take Rebecca with you or delivered the Serum to Richard. In all other cases, the battle uses the Black Tiger's theme instead for some reason.
Silent Hill 2 contains a hauntingly beautiful acoustic version of one ending theme, "Promise", that plays during James' "I got a letter..." reflection at the game's opening; it ends along with the cutscene and does not appear in the OST at all, dammit.
A number of ambient music cues in the series are only heard when going through certain doors or backtracking into rooms you don't necessarily need to. For example, this horrifying music from SH 2 is only heard if you backtrack through the clock room (via the Door To Before to the north stairway) after returning from the east wing of the Woodside Apartments (as opposed to going back through the courtyard). Similarly, "Mall Flashback" from Silent Hill 3 is only heard if you unnecessarily backtrack after the monsters first appear in the mall. Obviously, most of these are omitted from the official soundtracks.
Silent Hill 3, somewhat reversing this trope, had a really beautiful long vocalise, "Lost Carol", that only got 30 seconds on the OST.
The awesome Results Screen music was omitted too. And most people will only hear the beginning of it. To add insult to injury, there's a Dummied Out music track that sounds like a remix of the SH 1 results theme. The former may have been meant for use elsewhere. Also, "Children Kill" only plays for about 20 seconds on SH 1's OST.
Silent Hill 1 had several songs left out of the OST, including Kaufmann's theme, the full version of Lisa's death music, and the climax of the chilling dead-end alley music (only the industrial ambient noise from it was used in the soundtrack).
The first game also has "Hear Nothing", which you will only hear if you go to the optional Police Station.
"Terror in the Depths of the Fog" is not played anywhere in the main game of SH 2, it is only heard at the end of the "Born From A Wish" scenario in the Updated Re-release.
Silent Hill 4: The Room had quite a nice song called "Melancholy Requiem", which is about 4 minutes long. It is only played during the game's intro, where it lasts about 40 seconds, and after that most people promptly forget all about it.
"Silent Hill: Homecoming" gives us "Elle's theme" which is only an instrumental in the final game, "Alex's theme" which is briefly heard on the radio and "One more soul to the call" which is only on the title screen demo. Same for "I Want Love" from SH 3. Only the first verse is used in the game.
Sweet Home has a rather poignant scene where Yamamura dies in an horrific and very graphical way and a sad tune plays... which is heard only for 20 seconds at best.
In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, any of the Polterpup songs come under this. They're all differently orchestrated versions of the same tune, but are all only played in a very short cutscene and overlaid with many, many sound effects. It's noticeable enough that no one's ever figured out what these entire songs sound like.
Additionally, there are tons of these in the Possessor (boss) battles. This is because each battle has about six different songs played; one for each 'hit point' the boss has (it gets faster as the battle progresses, except when against the Tough Possessor), one when the Possessor is trying to charge at Luigi outside of its host, one when the Possessor is being captured via the Poltergust, one when Luigi picks up the Dark Moon piece... Each of these songs is likely to be stopped rather quickly during normal gameplay, and completely wrecked by sound effects to boot.
Video Games - Third Person Shooter
The music for Alraune's first form in P.N.03 is an epic remix of the main boss theme, but this form is usually defeated in less than 15 seconds. Before that, the Escape Sequence in Mission 9 has an epic orchestral piece of music that is not included in the most available soundtrack rip, and it's drowned out by the blare of the warning sirens.
S4 League has a song that only played when you become the randomly-chosen Chaser in Chaser Mode, "MonoXide". If you play a lot of Chaser matches where there are many players, you probably will not hear it a lot. Moreover, if you wanted to listen to this song outside of the game legally, you had to purchase a limited-edition, limited-print-run soundtrack...that is, until the song was included in the soundtrack for DJMAX Technika 2.
The second Aljir Prison level in Syphon Filter 2 has a different ambient BGM than the first, but most of the time it will be overridden by the danger music. Galbadia Hotel's rip of the soundtrack doesn't include it either.
Warhawk (PS3). A full CD-length soundtrack is available on iTunes, but aside from the menu music the songs are only played in 15-second stings when something dramatic happens during matches.
in Max Payne, you only hear the first eight seconds or so of "M.I.B.", when Vinnie Gognitti jumps on a train to escape from Max.
Video Games - Turn Based Strategy
Many songs in the Fire Emblem series are played in one or two events - sometimes in the middle of a level- and never heard again. There's also a ton of battle themes which are played once for 10 seconds. Luckily, the games have Sound Tests.
FE6 features "In The Name of Bern". It's a very unusual song for a strategy game that only gets more unique as the song progresses, but you're unlikely to hear any more than a few seconds of it. Such a waste.
From the same game, the haunting "Shaman In the Dark". The boss battle it appears in is not only very short, there isn't even a text box to wait on to listen to more of it. If it weren't for the Sound Test, you'd never know it had those great organ parts.
(translated from Japanese) Tsujiyoko: It's the complete version of the tune "Wind Crusader Holsety". This tune is a tune that can't be heard if you don't do your best at finishing the game with a good rank. By all means, persevere and listen to it.
In Blazing Sword, the track "Respite in Battle" only plays if you have Hector and Lyn get an A support before Chapter 29x/31x and have them talk in that chapter. Said chapter is solely devoted to shopping for five turns, so it's likely you'll just bring Eliwood/Hector and high-movement units (and Bartre in Hector's mode to recruit Karla), making it doubtful Lyn will even be there to talk with Hector - and if she is, there's no indication they can talk unless you move them next to each other.
Path of Radiance had Victory is Near as the music that cuts in when you've eliminated all the enemies from the map (most games in the series have similar songs). However, perhaps due to a glitch or large oversight, it only plays in chapters 1 and 6, and never elsewhere. This is rather significant since the song itself appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in spite of being so forgettable.
Just about any song in Kamidori Alchemy Meister qualifies. The tracks for the maps are generally cut short by the battle themes, which last only a few seconds before returning to the map theme. If you go to the BGM player, the tracks are actually rather lengthy.
Surpassing the Wall, from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The final boss in that game has two parts - the first phase which is hilariously easy and is over with basically no trouble at all, and the second phase which actually deserves the "final boss" moniker. Surpassing the Wall plays only in the former. In a game with over 300 missions, hearing such a well-composed piece on less than half of a single one is more than a little jarring.
In Project X Zone, each character pair has two themes (plus their solo unit's theme), with one randomly playing during their turn. However, most themes are much longer than a turn lasts, even if there are several enemy turns (which don't change the music) afterwards.
Rondo of Swords is a peculiar tactics game where your characters deal damage by running past your enemies. There's music that plays for these action during your turn, the enemy's turn, and special cameo music; one with Izuna and Shino, and one with Cotton. Due to how brief these actions are (and how likely you are to skip the animation), you'll only hear up a few seconds of the 'battle' music. The best way to hear them play longer is through Marie or Ernest's Over Break skills.
While most of its music lasts at most a minute to match the fast pace of battle, World of Tanks has a 3 and a half minute long ambient tune called "The Legend is Born", which is typically also recycled in developer commentary videos. It's usage in-game is limited to the login screen, which means players will generally rush straight into the game and the ambient noises of the garage. Fortunately it, and the rest of the soundtrack can be downloaded for free.
Video Games - Turn Based Tactics
The full version of Wormsong - the Worms theme song - can only be heard by putting the game disc in a hi-fi. The version played in game is just a tinny midi of the chorus.
Speaking of, there's a full techno remix of one of the main themes buried in Worms World Party, but only if you stop and wait on multiplayer match standings screen (after all rounds are played) for about a minute.
Worms 2 doesn't use Wormsong at all, because it doesn't have a title screen.
The Ballad Of Gay Tony uses an electro remix of "Animal" by Miike Snow for about 30 seconds as the intro and outro to another song. Also on Electro-Choc, we get a neat mashup of "Put Your Hands On Me" by Crookers with "Nude Night" by The Chemical Brothers. It lasts only a minute before it transitions fully into the latter.
V includes warped versions of "V-I-S-I-T-O-R-S" by Visitors and "Clown Dream" by Danny Elfman as the backing tracks to Michael and Trevor's Grass Root missions respectively. Like the Vice City examples, neither of these are heard anywhere else.
Video Games - Wrestling Game
The WWE Day Of Reckoning Series has several, in particular is any song on the disk you are not allowed to give to your CAW, since they are so central to single player game play. The most notable of these is Erik Biscoff's theme in Day Of Reckoning 2, which plays as soon as you start story mode, as if to taunt the player (which would be a pretty funny reference to his role on WWE television at the time if not for the fact it was a senseless restriction).
The more upbeat songs in Swan Song are generally left unplayed later on in the game due to the dark atmosphere. There is a BGM player, but it's only available after going through the lengthy game.
Investigations 2 has Logic Chess: Allegro an extremely fast-paced rendition of the Logic Chess theme... that only plays twice in the entire game. During the Logic Chess battles with Bansai Ichiyanagi in Case 4 and Yumihiko Ichiyanagi in Case 5.
The low remix of Great Revival that plays when Edgeworth shows up to take over the prosecution of Matt Engarde's trial after Franziska has been shot by De Killer plays a grand total of once.
Yarudora series vol.3: Sampaguita has track n°40 "Ending 6", played at the very last scene of Good Ending 2. A track lasting 1 minute and 45 seconds before looping, only the first 30 seconds of it are played during that scene, before the protagonist's last line and the credits cut it short.
Homestuck has generated about a dozen albums of music, and without counting all the remixes less than half of the songs have been played in the comic's flash sequences. A few others have only played shortened versions. Any of these may get their screentime in the future, but likely not all of the best produced so far.
The song At the Price of Oblivion is cut short right at the end of its introduction.
This is lampshaded at one point, when something cuts a flash animation short and the text even points you to the Bandcamp page to see how much of the music (and therefore the flash) you missed.
Metalocalypse does this quite frequently, as songs that briefly appear in an eleven-minute episode will have 3-5 minute long album versions. Though a few have been excluded from the albums in favor of original songs: the instrumental "Crush my Battle Opponent's Balls", "I'm Downloading Your Soul", and "My Inner Child Tied and Beaten in My Trunk", though the latter has an extended demo version uploaded on the official Youtube page.
Right before the final episode of Moral Orel was shown the creator (Dino) plays a song about a man hating himself during Christmas. A title card by the creator even says "This song isn't in the episode. It should be." or something like that.
Rugrats in Paris has three: the version of T-Boz's "My Getaway" played in the plane (which is less R&B-ish and more pop-ish than the one in the soundtrack), the babies' travel song, and the Princess' song.
In South Park commentary it is revealed that full songs were written for the Cartman's band "Faith+1". However due to lack of time they only played a small amount of each song. Word of God says they may be release the full songs on a CD, so far they haven't.
The problem with the soundtrack of BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn isn't that the tunes are cut short, but that they're too silent. The lack of music in most of the scenes is often cited as one of the movie's many shortcomings, but it really is there, just barely audible.