Choice Soundtrack of the Day: Jet Force Gemini

During Rare’s Nintendo 64 heyday, it seemed the famed developer could do no wrong. While Rare is probably remembered most for making classic games such as GoldenEye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie, one of Rare’s lesser-known games, Jet Force Gemini, gained a smaller but just-as-loyal fan base. It just so happens to be that this lesser-known game has one of the best soundtracks on the system, period.

The soundtrack is in a league of its own, whether or not you’re talking about the N64 in general or just Rare’s catalogue of fantastic games – there just simply isn’t anything that came close to the quality of its sound or musical writing. Every note and every percussive sample hits hard and with clarity, a word that isn’t used to often when talking about anything N64-related.

Graphically, JFG is misleading with cartoon-y characters and dumb looking ant-like enemies. Judging from this, you would almost expect the music to sound more akin to a sweeping Disney movie than an epic sci-fi adventure. Yet Robin Beanland’s score helped JFG carve it’s own identity as a violent, lonely and unforgiving adventure in space. Needless to say, JFG would not have been the game it was without its music, which is still engrossing to this day.

SS Anubis is immediately striking, as it sounds more fitting for a big screen movie rather than a game. Even now, it just sounds huge. The clanging of metal, the loud and foreboding brass: it all helps creates the image of a tireless army creating weapons for war, and reinforces the sensation of a perilous journey against countless enemies. It was the feeling that a whole universe existed besides what was shown to the player, something few games of the time managed to do.

The tragic and haunting Water Ruin continues this theme. It really creates the feeling of a dying planet, once rich with history and life, now ruined and forgotten, with the full effect kicking in at 1:25 into the song.

Again, the idea of a video game’s soundtrack creating the feeling that a deep history and universe existed behind what you were seeing or playing was mostly unheard of back then. Technically speaking, most games could never hope to achieve something like this on the N64 because the system simply wasn’t powerful enough. But JFG proves that visuals aren’t always the most important thing, and with the right amount of creativity and skill, any story or universe could be realized and brought to life.

Character Select is a pounding track that gets the adrenalin pumpin’. This one blasts its way into your ears and kind of makes you feel like you’re a Terminator of alien ant-things. If you listen closely, it has kind of a Star Wars Imperial March – sound to it. Playing this on nicer sound systems will definitely give the sub-woofer a workout.

Even with these highlighted tracks, the temptation of posting YouTube videos of each track is difficult to resist, because it’s just so good. Unfortunately, finding a copy of the soundtrack for purchase is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. According to, an official soundtrack was released in 1999, for free ironically. Must’ve been fun downloading that on a 56K modem. Now, you’d probably be more likely to see a sequel to the game than a copy of the soundtrack. In other words, it just ain’t happenin’.



About Tyler Cameron

Tyler is a longtime gamer and videogame music fanatic who grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Now living the dream in the land of dairy (Milwaukee) he has taken to showing the world just why videogame music is so darn great. A diehard Red Wings fan, cat lover and cereal connoisseur, his passion and enthusiasm knows no bounds.