Archive for November 27, 2011

Greatest Gaming Theme Songs.

Posted: November 27, 2011 in Games

Games have always had an interesting variety of music. From Sonic to Mario, Pac-man to Tetris. Music has always been an important part of the overall experience and the theme music from these great titles will stick with us forever. However, brilliant as it all was back in the day they wouldn’t hold up very well against what’s on offer today. Some of the greatest music in entertainment can be in found today’s huge selection of games, and although background music is incredibly important, it’s the theme song that sticks with us. Especially if it’s used in the right way. Here’s three examples of moments in games where I’ve been completely emerged into the world, thanks largely to the clever use of the games theme song.

The Halo series took music to a whole new level.

Halo 3.

It’s true what the voice-over guy said on the new Halo anniversary trailer, “ten years ago Halo changed the way we play video games.”  What he didn’t mention was that it also changed the way we listen to video games. Starting off slow with a slightly religious sounding chant and ending up with tribal style drums and singing, all backed up by members of the Chicago orchestra, the Halo theme song really gives you the sense that the ring world of Halo is an extremely ancient place with hundreds of years of secrets waiting beneath the surface.

The theme song is implemented into the gameplay very often through the Halo series but there’s only one moment for me that 343 industries are going to have very hard time surpassing. The final stage of the game is similar to that of Halo: Combat Evolved, though instead of trying to escape an exploding ship, you’re trying to escape an exploding planet. Epic. As you drive your Warthog at high speeds jumping off ramps over devastating explosions, avoid falling towers and watch in horror as roads and bridges collapse around you revealing perilous drops, all complemented by the incredible theme music, this really is one best uses of Halo’s theme song and over all, one of my favourite moments in the Halo series.

Shooter of the year? I think so.

Gears of War 3.

I’ve always thought of Gears of war’s theme song as the imperial march of video games. It’s just got that powerful, military feel to it. The song isn’t really used at all during gameplay moments of Gears, it’s used more for the cinematic side of things during cut scenes. Which is why it’s that much more effective when it’s used at the end of the Gears 3 campaign during a gameplay section. It’s been over fifteen years since Marcus has seen his Father, that whole time he was believed to be dead, you find out towards the beginning of the game that he’s still alive and you fight your way through the levels trying to get to him. It’s the last mission, you find yourself at the top of a huge, skyscraper of a building, the elevator doors open, there’s twenty maybe thirty angry locust between you and the reunion you’ve been fighting for since the beginning. Cue the theme music and you’ve got most heart pumping fight of the game. The difference that song makes whilst actually playing is so inspiring, it’s enough to bring a tear to your eye. It honestly makes you think ” we’ve got this far, nothing can stop us now.” This is a perfect example of how a theme song can completely change how a game feels, because technically you’re doing the same thing you’ve been doing for the last ten hours, slap the theme song on it and it’s like having mash instead of roasties, they’re still potatoes, they just taste different.

If you didn't know there's dragons in Skyrim...............there's dragons in Skyrim.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

If you haven’t played Skyrim yet then you’ve probably heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it then you have no business reading this blog, go on, get out! The music of Skrim captures the world beautifully, soft harps are played as you  wonder through the forest chasing butterfly’s,  drums are beaten as you run for your life from giant, man eating spiders. There’s always a piece of music in there  that seems to capture the moment, especially when facing dragons. You can always tell if a dragon is near even before you see it. It may be the flapping of it’s heavy wings tearing through the air, it may be the ferocious sound of it’s roar (similar to Jurassic park’s T-Rex), it may be that the ground around you starts to shake as it lands somewhere close by, or it could be that Skyrim’s epic theme song kicks in which is only triggered when a dragon has you in it’s sights and moves in for the kill. Once the music starts and you are going toe to toe with with one of these mystical beasts, you can get truly lost in this game. You see it often in movies,   a protagonist reaching the end of his journey and trying to over come his greatest enemy. In Skyrim this happens every time you face a dragon and I can honestly say that each time is always more exciting than the last thanks largely to the to way the theme song makes each battle feel like you’ve reached the ultimate climax only to move on, find another dragon and do it all over again. It really is one of the most powerful theme songs in gaming history and one that really creates a dramatic and pulse racing battle between man and beast. Go and have a listen on youtube, or better yet, buy Skyrim. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.