They say you never forget your first. First kiss. First car. First level of a video game. We're here to focus on that last one. The first level of a video game can say a lot about the rest of the game. It can be a great way to grab the player for invested play time. For a lot of us, not only do we remember the first level because it is the start of a game, but because the music with that beginning level really stayed with us.
Thunder Landing - Super Contra (ARC)
Is there any better way to enter a level via dropping down from a helicopter? Yeah, probably, but it's still really freaking cool. After your feet are planted on the ground, you get to shoot anything and everything in your path. I've played the first stage of Super C so many times that the music quickly became a permanent part of my memory. The NES version is good, but I find the arcade music to be better.
Universe -Stage1- - Gradius V (PS2)
My personal favorite of the Gradius series, Gradius V is one of the finest shooters on the PS2. The music was handled by Hitoshi Sakimoto, mostly know for his RPG soundtracks, but he's no stranger to other genres as he wrote the score for the Saturn classic Radiant Silvergun. Making your way from base to the void of space, the music flows wonderfully with the transition of the two environments.
Sky Station Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
The Super Mario Galaxy games really know how to reel you in with the first galaxy. The first game kicked things off with Good Egg Galaxy, wowing players with an amazing orchestral piece and Super Mario Galaxy 2 opens up with Sky Station Galaxy, which has a wonderful arrangement of the game's main theme.
Ruins - Undertale (PC)
The fame of Undertale is not unlike that of Cave Story. Both games are indie titled developed by a one man team and both titles gained lots of wide spread attention. Your first area of exploration in Undertale is the Ruins, which serves as a tutorial. It's a pretty humble place as is the music that goes with it.