- Ace Combat/Air Combat wasn't exactly scrappy with its music, as this sampling of tracks shows.
Ace Combat 2
- From the powerful and Hot-Blooded "Fire Youngman" to the subdued yet wonderfully catchy "Aerial Hawk". Even the song that plays in the briefing portion is awesome.
- "Rising High" is amazing. There's also "A Fresh Youngster" to guide you in on landing, and finally, your musical reward for completing a mission.
- Remixes of earlier tracks go at least as far back as this game for this series—"Night and Day" from the first game was remixed for the second, and it's quite possibly the best track in the game.
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
Despite being awfully chopped up for the non-Japanese market, Electrosphere is no slouch in the music department.
- "Linkage", the title screen song, puts you in the mood with its catchy electronic bits. It was later remixed to serve as Joint Assault briefing music.
- "Physical Layer" mixes classic guitar riffs and drums with an electronic vibe for a pretty badass music. It's used for a training mission in the US/EU version.
- "Frozen Soul", used for the stratospheric battles using the Blackbird II, mixes slow and low-pitched beats to remind you that yes, you're flying higher than commercial planes and yes, you're halfway to space.
- "Black Lotus", because nothing says "Go bomb hives of rogue nanomachines that will eat your plane if you fly too close to them" better than slow creepy drums.
- "Freefall" is creepier than Black Lotus with its permanent alarm sound, but for a good reason: you're on a timed mission to shoot down laser weapons in a space mission, in a plane half-fighter half-space shuttle.
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
- "Sitting Duck" has you intercept a squadron of bombers as your introductory mission, accompanied by your first taste of the soundtrack's mix of rocking guitars, sharp violin movements and clever synthesizer play.
- "Comona", used in the game's namesake mission, is a hard rocking number that goes hand in hand with the epic furball happening over the rocket base. Each replay of the song only seems to heighten its intensity.
- "Operation Bunker Shot". Just imagine this playing while flying over a 21st Century version of the D-Day landings.
- "Farbanti". Another great track for the given level. In this case, sacking your enemy's capital city, and dogfighting with Yellow 13 in the sunset.
- There's also "Blockade". It gets particularly good at around 2:38.
- "Megalith - Agnus Dei". The first track in the series to use Ominous Latin Chanting was used in the final level where the world was about to end, Deep Impact style.
- "ISAF" is powerfully rousing stuff.
- Two briefing tracks. "Operation" to start off, and later "Second Strike" after the destruction of the Stonehenge railgun network.
- "Escort". The final part is especially awesome.
- "Emancipation" is quite calming, but when the bell strikes, it invokes a feeling of uncertainty. In later part (about 3:18), it turns into an awesome rousing theme.
- "Whiskey Corridor" cannot go by without a mention, especially not with what starts at 2:50.
- "Stonehenge Attack". Made doubly terrifying when you hurry to obey the sudden order to drop altitude, not knowing why it was given, and watch as half your allies get blasted out of the sky above you.
- "Aquila", Yellow Squadron's main theme. Made ominous by a combination of drums, cymbals and a chime, all coming together to make a bell-like sound everytime the song moves forward with its violins.
- Breaking Arrows and Breaking Arrows 2. The tension instilled by the music as you race against the missiles will give you the chills. Especially the last (nuclear) one.
- Mobius. Get your plane, listen to the base commander give a Rousing Speech, and go destroy the Megalith.
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
- "Hrimfaxi". A reprise of the music from the earlier Scinfaxi fight, but with some insane electric guitar thrown in for effect.
- "Supercircus". Absolutely perfect for the scene it's pulled on: in the middle of safe territory, the four of you suddenly get Zerg Rushed by 50+ Yuktobanian fighters and what was supposed to be a simple ceremonial flight quickly devolves into a nerve-wracking dogfight for your lives while waiting for reinforcements that turn back and jam the airwaves once halfway there.
- "Dead Ahead". Perfect music for hurtling at the speed of sound down a long dark tunnel, and no choice to go forward.
- "First Flight". Yuktobania launches a massive raid on your base, but the Four Wings of Sand Island launch for the first time, and utterly curbstomp the Yukes. It's also an orchestral arrangement of "Blockade" from Ace Combat 4. It speaks volumes that a series with so much awesome music thought this song was worth reusing.
- "The Unsung War" plays over the Final Battle. It can actually be a low-action Puzzle Boss, leaving the music to establish the stakes single-handedly: four Razgriz, four warriors, four ghosts... racing to stop a Colony Drop that will bring about The End of the World as We Know It. In those moments, the Ominous Latin Chanting is not just the legend of the player characters; they are the prayers of every person in Strangereal.
- "Winter Storm". A sort of prologue to "Unsung War", also deserves mention. It is New Year's Eve 2010. Millions of lives hang in the balance; while the war is over, one final mission remains: to stop a massive orbital railgun equipped with a nuclear superweapon, from falling on the capital and causing untold devastation.
- "Ice Cage". Totally sounds like a You Shall Not Pass! moment.
- "Into the Dusk". A more somber piano version of "The Unsung War".
- "15 Years Ago". Another piano version that you normally hear during Nagase's and Gennette's musings on the Belkan war, but also plays during the final mission if you beat the enemy planes quick enough. This song, along with the ordinarily sappy dialogue, makes those two minutes leading up the SOLG assault practically into a CMOH/Tear Jerker.
- "Unsung Heroes". A short, yet still magnificent piece, truly befitting your final victory.
- "The Journey Home". A Tear Jerker, with or without words. If you think this version is powerful, try imagining it being sung by pilots and soldiers from BOTH side of the conflict as they join together and rush forward to stop the true mastermind.
- "Closure". Apparently, it's an easy-to-miss song.
- "Lit Fuse". It gets better with every second. A massive Osean ground assault on a Yuktobanian beach,
- "Briefing2" mixes the main theme with brass movements, making for an engaging briefing session during the second half of the story.
- "Razgriz". Listen to this song and tell us you don't want to stand and salute.
- "President Harling". It may only be just over a minute long, but the last fifteen seconds are truly awesome.
- "Grabacr". Similar tracks include "Mask" and the apparently unused "8492," which together form a sort of ad-hoc Leitmotif.
- "White Bird (Part II)". A theme befitting a giant, majestic Space Plane.
- It might be due to the kick ass trailer, but "Blurry", which appears in the intro and is overheard in the radio in some cutscenes (being Chopper's favourite song), sets the tone well for the game.
Ace Combat Zero
- "Glacial Skies". That crescendo though. You can practically feel the icy wind on your face, as there's not a warm instrument to be heard, all shimmering violins, cymbals, and castanets, and even the guitar is razor-thin. Gorgeous.
- "Diapason". A rousing, uplifting piece that plays as the player flies in the skies over the capital city of their homeland, pushing the Belkans and liberating the city.
- "Glatisant". The beat gives it an ominous feel as you enter your enemy's home country.
- "Excalibur", the heavy and medieval-esque movement that plays while trying to launch an attack on the superlaser tower that can cut you from miles away.
- "The Inferno". An aptly named soundtrack for one of the most depressing missions in Ace Combat history, that effectively portrays the feeling of absolute dread and terror the inhabitants of Hoffnung must feel at experiencing an all-out obliteration bombing, and the resulting firestorm it spawns. Allied bombers carpet-bombing a civilian city, panicked cries from civilians on the radio, fires raging across all of Hoffnung, it all makes for a gut-wrenching feeling and encapsulates that War Is Hell.
- "Contact" is absolutely fantastic. It fits the incredibly frantic dogfight against the ace squadron at B 7 R so well. "B7R", from the same mission, is also awesome.
- "Merlon", or "How to Make Your Guitar Sound Like a Harp."
- "Mayhem" is the rocky track that plays during your second foray into Area B7R; this time, the airspace colloquially known as "Round Table" is turned into an immense furball, and there's no better theme to play than this heavy mix of guitars and percussion.
- "The Stage of Apocalypse". June 6th, 1995. What was supposed to be a support mission for Allied forces in Sudentor becomes one of the most infamous moments in the entire series, as Galm Team is ordered to intercept a flight of Belkan bombers headed for Ustio. Said bombers are loaded with nuclear weapons. If you played Ace Combat 5, you know what happens next.
- "Briefing II". Tetsukazu Nakanishi should be scoring Cold War films.
- "The Round Table". If the massive dogfight inside Area B 7 R (AKA The Round Table) wasn't hectic enough already, a squadron of enemy aces enter the battle to ramp things up even more and try to take you down.
- "The Demon of the Round Table." Brilliantly illustrates the theme of corruption.
- "The Valley Of Kings" perfectly portrays the feeling that you're going to the enemy base to finish them off once and for all... somehow.
- "Avalon". The enemy is preparing to launch nuclear missiles, you have limited time to stop the launch AND you have to fly through a tunnel to stop it. The first part of the song catches the tension of the moment, but the second part gives a heroic feeling.
- "Zero". This is perhaps Keiki Kobayashi's magnum opus. Combining the flamenco motif and the signature orchestral chorus for a perfect mix that's applicable for so many final fights, it is hailed as a masterpiece even by non-Ace Combat fans. A final battle between two former friends and squadronmates on December 31st. As the snow falls, the fate of the world hangs in the balance and it is up to the player to stop the end of civilization.
- "Galm 2/Epilogue". A calm and sorrowful accompaniment to the final cutscene. Your buddy has realized the error of his attempt to rid the world of borders and moved on, and has a message for the interviewer, just in case you ever see the video. Cap it off with a speech from the interviewer to just remind you how awesome you are, and the curtain falls.
- "Epilogue (Near the Border)". In case you forgot how good the flamenco is in this game, you're given one last reminder as the credits roll.
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
- "Alect Squadron, Armada". Whether you're intercepting the enemy's top pilots to stop them getting their hands on their advanced super-fighters, or sinking a massive convoy of warships carrying new weapon parts for said super-fighters, a blaring electric guitar makes sure you're going to feel unstoppable doing it.
- "End of Deception" accompanies the assault on the enemy's last fortress, and a tense, fast and frantic dogfight with their advanced super-fighters that can stop in mid-air, and even turn invisible.
- 'Skies of Deception" backs up a fairly simple bomber interception for the game's first mission, and introduces the game's recurring melody.
- Even two "unknown" tracks that don't have a title are good. The first one plays during second part of missions "Ice Bound" and Wild Card", while the second one plays only during the raid on Sachana Air Base in "Blitz" and includes a portion of the game's main theme.
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
- "The Liberation of Gracemeria", and "The Limit", a remix by Brandon Strader. You've fought long and hard, but at last you're fighting to take back your capital city in the largest mission yet.
- "Siege on Silvat" greatly emphasizes the race against time to save Emmeria's mainland forces from being overwhelmed by the numerically superior Estovakians.
- "Selumna Peak". A soothing orchestral song for a mission in the snowy mountains.
- "To All Things", the final mission's theme. Moody, but still uplifting, being a choir of the children back at Emmeria singing for the hope that the war finally ends.
- "Ragno Fortress" for the eponymous mission is underlined by frequent use of cellos and percussion, great for an extremely complex siege mission. Fans of the series will also find that they repurposed the main melody of "Glacial Skies".
- "A Brand New Day", sung by a children choir, is an Award-Bait Song reaching out for hope even amidst the Estovakian occupation, and becomes the rallying song for Emmeria within the story.
- The dreaded "Malebolge". Just when you thought all threats were grounded after retaking Gracemaria, Pasternak shows up in his CFA-44 Nosferatu and, accompanied by countless UAV drones, provides one of the most intense One-Man Army moments in the series.
- "San Loma Assault" at first seems run of the mill for Ace Combat, until the brass comes in and turns the song into a heavy bombardment of tubas; exactly like how you're taking back San Loma with a lot of Emmerian forces involved.
- If you'd already played AC 4 and 5, you probably knew something bad was going to happen the moment they told you your last mission was a peaceful patrol over Gracemeria. When "City Lights" starts playing, those suspicions are confirmed.
Ace Combat: Joint Assault
- "Showdown (Varcolac)", a heroic track to accompany your fight against the recurring rivals of the game, Varcolac Squadron. This time, they're going down for good.
- "In The Zone", one of the few songs in the series, is a power metal anime-esque theme praising every Ace Pilot's dream of defying the laws of physics and gravity.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
- "Beyond the Canal", the low-key riff that encourages you to mow down enemies with a gatling gun on a Black Hawk chopper.
- "Dogfight", which is exactly fitting of its name.
- "Release", the supremely intense piece played on the final mission, features Ominous Latin Chanting for starters. After an awesome startup with a rising choir, the frantic tone offers a mere couple of soft moments before diving back into the chaos.
- "Rush", the rocky theme for your trip over Dubai. Slowly opening up with a faint Middle-East woodwind, the song builds up momentum for 50 seconds until it breaks out with Orchestral Bombing, angelic choirs and wild guitar riffs.
- The main theme, "Gotta Stay Fly", featured heavily in promotional trailers and making up the overarching melody of many tracks. Unfortunately, it only plays during the ending credits.
- "Fighter", the instrumental version of "Gotta Stay Fly", which picks up once Bishop and his wingmen start turning the tide around during the battle on Miami, interceded with a speech from the President of the United States no less!
- "Keep Alive". A near-perfect blend of militaristic drums, electric guitar and electronic music samples, creating one of the most amazing songs ever conceived for a 21st century aerial battle.
- "Shall Defend". Starts with an almost tragic set of piano keys, but quickly hits you with a rolling thunderhead of tense strings, powerful riffs, and a snare drum that simply will not quit.
- "Decisive Battle", the brief motif that flares when Bishop goes face-to-face with Markov over Miami in a cinematic joust.
- "White Devil", an intense combination of orchestra and rock for an intense battle in the snow, defending an airbase from ground attack and protecting transport planes from swarms of enemy fighters.
- "DEJA-VU", a watered-down version of Markov's theme without the actual lyrics and with frequent rock bouts. A truly chilling piece of music.
- "Naval Warfare" is an unrelenting maelstrom of metal, sounding as though each instrument is going every which way doing its own thing. It's rather fitting for the one level where you get to use the Attacker planes and blow an entire naval fleet.
- "Launch", the theme that plays during Razor's bombing run in the eponymous mission, making heavy use of percussion that echo the unrelenting series of nighttime explosions Janice leaves in her wake.
- "Eyes", where the orchestra slowly replaces the percussion heard in "Launch" and makes way for the game's main motif as Bishop rushes to shoot down an ICBM before it flies out of range.
- "Mrs. Krista Yoslav", the Final Boss's theme, is Markov's dirge for his titular wife's death, sung in Russian. It mourns his inability to cope with it, and how he wishes it was all a dream; how everything should have been a dream. Bonus points for playing over the game's most intense dogfight sequence as a case of Soundtrack Dissonance.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy
- "Fighter's Honor (Flying Remix)", the first mission's theme, is a lighthearted orchestral piece that starts the game with a blast.
- "Gravity". The Ending Theme with some pretty cheesy, yet absolutely epic lyrics, serving as an extended Badass Boast in honour of Scarface One. note
- "Fighter's Honor". It's been an established tradition for Ace Combat protagonists to get an awesome orchestral song singing their praises for the final battle, and now Scarface One gets his own.
- "Sound Embrace". Quite possibly one of the most moving pieces in the game.
- Every ace squadron gets its own Leitmotifs:
- "Skyburn", Lancer Squadron's theme, and sure to bring back fond memories for Zero veterans.
- "Grey Wolf", Beast Squadron's theme. Absolutely ferocious.
- "Locked", Cocoon Squadron's theme; a fast-paced rap number meant to rival Assault Horizon's "Gotta Stay Fly". note
- "On the Verge", Albireo Squadron's theme; a hard rock/thrash metal tune fit for the rebel forces' top fighter squadron.
- "Zone of Endless", Z.O.E's first of three themes, and the one used most often. Notable for the lack of melody, yet it still sounds ominous with the periodic electronics spike and the percussion.
- "Intruder", the second Z.O.E. theme, ditches the periodic use of electronics altogether and goes for a relentless percussion number.
Ace Combat: Infinity
- Despite Ace Combat Infinity reusing many great tracks throughout the Ace Combat Series, it also has a fair share of remakes that are well enjoyed, including:
- "Comona Remix", played during Mission 2 of the campaign. Though less rocky than the original track of Ace Combat 04, it still gets the job done with a dubstep rhythm.
- "Stonehenge Remix", played during the Entirety of Mission 4, and has also been used during all the Multiplayer runs against Stonehenge and the Second and Third Multiplayer runs against Moby Dick/Agaion. Unlike the original "Stonehenge", this remix incorporates tense guitar riffs.
- "Invincible Fleet Remix", played during the first third of Mission 5, is a throwback to Ace Combat 04's similarly named track, except this one builds on the melody with intense strings and brass.
- "Blue Skies (INFINITY Remix)",a brillant rendition of Ace Combat 04's own ending credits song, more heroic and dynamic than ever. Played on the second part of Operation Bunkershot as to give you and your allies a Heroic Second Wind as you tear apart the USEAn forces even when they previously had you cornered with the helps of OLDS.Collins: We got nothing to be afraid of! Not with the Grim Reaper haunting the skies!
Bertz: You said it! On the ground and in the air... We can do this! [Cue rallying cries of "Let's go!"]
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
- The game shows time and time again that the franchise still holds up well in the music department, and 7 looks to be the most varied so far.
- "Charge Assault" is a song that fits well for the first mission, especially what fans could argue as Ace Combat's return to form, and the Strangereal setting. Whether you are a newcomer to the series, or a veteran ready to spread your wings once more, the drop at 1:43 will blow you away.
- "Dual Wielder" mixes rock with bongo drums of all things and yet still manages to fit greatly in the mission.
- The track that follows "Two-Pronged Strategy" fits with the enigmatic and soulless nature of UAVs as you engage in battle with a swarm of UAVs and their mothership, the Arsenal Bird for the first time.
- "Tears of Razgriz", a Dark Reprise of AC5's signature Leitmotif closing off a huge Tear Jerker Wham Episode guaranteed to leave a first-time player who played the previous games neck-deep in a mixture of shock and horror with just a single Wham Line: "Oh my god! Mother Goose One has been shot down!"
- "Long Day" is a tribute to AC04's "Deep Strike", mixing hard rock with orchestra as you blast scores of ground targets into oblivion across the Roca Roja desert.
- "Faceless Soldier", played during the mission of the same name. It starts off slow, only to enter a Triumphant Reprise. Fitting, as it's played during the final parts of the mission; ambushed by Erusean drones spoofing IF Fs, Spare is left in shambles. Thanks to the quick thinking of Tabloid, though, they quickly reorganize, tearing through the drones with the efficiency of a proper squadron, all the while dodging through the Arsenal Bird's Helios missiles.
- "New Arrows Air Base Hangar" is a fitting track for preparing for a very important mission, especially one deep in enemy territory. Which is the purpose of the Osean Air Force's LRSSG (Long Range Strategic Strike Group).
- "ADFX-10", the theme of the titular aircraft that ambushes Trigger and Count at Bulgurdarest, features an oppressive drum beat with an electronic undercurrent that sets the mood of the frantic dogfight against one of the fastest opponents in the game. Quite fitting for the predecessor of Hugin and Munin and the next evolution of the Zone of Endless project.
- "Siren's Song" starts out with a choir rendition of the main theme, then delves right into a mix of guitars and electronic beats, keeping you good company as you frantically scramble to destroy a massive Erusean fleet and their docking points.
- "Magic Spear I", an upbeat and groovy track that makes you almost forget that you're on a dead-serious mission to prevent the launch of ballistic missiles. The second half of the mission gives us "Magic Spear II", downplaying the upbeat riffs from "Magic Spear I" in order to give you more time to focus on intercepting ballistic missiles at high altitude.
- "Battle for Farbanti". The spiritual successor to AC04's "Farbanti" theme, it's a brass-heavy theme that takes the leitmotif and keeps escalating it again and again into a triumphant tour de force, a musical statement that your victory is assured.
- "Sol Squadron" starts off with Mihaly's signature monastic choir, before diving into a dynamic violin movement punctuated by guitar riffs and the recurring male chorus. It's an intense piece that heralds the fight against the eponymous squadron, with Mihaly as their leader. The dark reprise of the Battle for Farbanti melody is just icing on the cake, your assured victory now in question.
- "Last Hope", the low-key mix of electronics which plays during the aftermath of a literal information blackout. With nighttime settling on Anchorhead and everyone fighting each other in confusion, this track really sets the tone for the true meaning of the game's title. "Last Hope II" follows the same melody down to the instruments, but adds a cymbal for extra intensity as you are forced into defending a civilian transport from squadrons that were previously non-hostile.
- "Homeward", the frantic orchestral movement that plays during Mission 17, which is easily the darkest moment of the war. In spite of the horrors your allies witness on Tyler Island, this heroic track presses you to rescue them and put an end to the madness.
- "Archange", featured heavily in 2017 promotional trailers, is Mihaly's boss theme during Mission 18. Unlike "Sol Squadron", the starting monastic choir has a longer melody, before giving way to a succession of solemn male and female choruses that clash with each other, the combined mix of which is underlined by electronic beats; the perfect setup for a fight between an old ace (Mihaly) and a rising one (Trigger).
- "Lighthouse". The uplifting orchestral piece with a very catchy leitmotif that plays in the penultimate mission of the game: the iconic "furball" large scale air-to-air combat between aces in the blue sky, with the stage being the International Space Elevator itself.
- "Daredevil", which has been used in several trailers, including the Gamescom 2018 Reveal Date trailer. It starts out with an oppressive feel, as if the enemy is itself imposing its will on the music. Throughout the track, the game's main theme and the sense of pressure war against each other, until it feels as if the enemy's will has prevailed... and then at 3:14, the main theme rallies and counterattacks with the One-Woman Wail from the trailer. That particular moment is deliberately put to triumphant use once Rosa Cosette shuts down the Arsenal Bird's shields permanently, becoming one of the most beloved climactic sequences in the franchise, right up there with "Agnus Dei" and "Zero".
- "Hush" will make your skin crawl as soon as the One-Woman Wail starts, and it only gets better from there. It is an epic combination of several setpieces, with piano echoes playing alongside a march rendition of the main theme, both intermittently supplanted by Scare Chords and an oppressive brass, before the Gregorian chants step in to counter with the main theme once again, as the layers ramp up and up without ever letting go, topped by the One-Woman Wail resurfacing amidst the chaos. It is the melancholic, yet hopeful soundtrack that plays during the Final Battle pitting the two super UAVs Hugin and Munin against everything the Osea-Erusea coalition force still has left, in a battle that will decide the fate of Strangereal itself as you try to prevent the two drones from kickstarting an apocalyptic Robot War. Its alternate mix is used during the flight up the Lighthouse, and is more hopeful, befitting the beacon of light Trigger represents by his exit.
- "Space Elevator" serves not just as the tense backdrop of this game's offering to the series' signature Airstrike Impossible tunnel flights while you try to stop the aforementioned threat's final attempt at getting their way, but the heavy amount of futuristic synth tones also make a veteran player realize that the series is closer than ever to Electrosphere's timeframe.
- "VR Blockade Remix" is the perfect track to show off the VR mode trailer, with a palpable sense of urgency and purpose, and then it kicks into the Blockade melody, building up into a triumphant crescendo punctuating the VR campaign's mission statement: Mobius One is back.
- This acoustic medley of selected tracks from across the series, finishing with a duet of the theme song of Zero. It truly must be heard to be believed.
- This brilliant acoustic cover of "Daredevil": two guitars doing justice to a piece scored with a full orchestra.