Spookytacular 2015: 5 creepy video game themes
Game voice acting, sound effects, and theme songs can all resonate with players. Scary games in particular are dependent on audio to set the right mood, and a well-done score can carry a game when gameplay and graphics fall flat. Interestingly, some games are able to chill us using just their musical score, regardless of whether or not they're actually horror games.
As October 31 draws near, GameCrate's Halloween Spookytacular gasps its final breath ... until next year, that is. Here are five themes that are eerie, dark, or just plain frightening.
"Tears Of..." - Silent Hill
There's nothing inherently scary about "Tears Of..." If anything, the theme is a bit on the depressing side — beautiful and gripping, but depressing. That said, the somber tone of the song creates a harrowing mood, which is actually quite perfect for a survival-horror classic like Silent Hill.
Scored by Akira Yamaoka, the soundtrack to Silent Hill — and especially "Tears Of..." — builds a sense of foreboding fitting for what can only be considered one of the greatest-ever video game takes on the psychological horror genre.
Snowy Roads theme - Twisted Metal: Black
Twisted Metal: Black is at its core a fast-paced, high-octane, car-combat thrill ride. Draped over its action gameplay, however, is a horrific narrative in a semi-post-apocalyptic setting that follows a bunch of lunatics who've escaped an insane asylum and are running roughshod over entire cities. No song in the entire game is as eerie or chilling as the theme for the Snowy Roads stage.
The slow, tenebrous music intertwines with sorrow-filled female vocals that sound slightly like saddened cries. "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones may be the official theme song of the game, but the Snowy Roads track is the standout theme.
Ghost Hideout theme - Rage
It may not be shrouded in horror overtones like Doom, but Rage from id Software still features a distinct level of horror influence. This is apparent in the mutated enemies and gloomy environments, but it's most evident in the music. The theme that plays while you explore the Ghost Hideout level is especially ominous and spooky.
The loud thumping drums and rapid violins create music that would be fitting for a '60s horror flick. There are clear nods to classic films like Psycho, and there's also a resemblance to the music that plays in a lot of the Friday the 13th movies. The way the music transitions to a faster pace when you encounter enemies instills fear and desperation in a manner recognizable to any fan of classic horror movie soundtracks.
Menu theme - The Warriors
The Warriors for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox has the distinction of being one of the best movie-to-game licensed adaptations ever. Aside from being an outstanding 3D beat 'em up, the game is also coated in creepy, surrealist imagery. The moment you first hear that menu theme, you just know you're in for something special and unreal.
Though The Warriors may not exactly be a horror game, that menu theme is strange, hypnotic, and, above all else, freaky. You gotta love that synthesizer!
Spirit Temple theme - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It was difficult choosing between the Spirit Temple and Forest Temple themes from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Ultimately, the former won out due to its more sinister sound. The moment you enter the Spirit Temple, you're greeted by this blood-curdling theme music. It welcomes you into its world and creates an ever-present sense of dread and uneasiness.
The Spirit Temple connects both young and adult forms of Link by requiring that he enter it as both to clear it. In a sense, the Spirit Temple is the, uh, "link" between youth and old age and, inevitably, death. To top it off, it's filled with mummified monsters, undead soldiers, possessed statues, flying skulls, werewolves, and giant hands (in the Master Quest version). It's also worth noting that the dungeon's boss battle has Link taking on two creepy witch sisters.
Playing through the Spirit Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a memorable experience. Aside from the fact that the dungeon is really good in and of itself, the theme music builds the perfect atmosphere and just the right amount of tension.
"Song of Healing" - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Like "Tears Of..." from Silent Hill, "Song of Healing" from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is more lovely and sad than it is terrifying. But its grave, solemn, and grim sound indicates that death is near. It's a haunting melody that stays with you, and you can't help but feel a bit sad whenever it plays.
Giygas boss battle - EarthBound
A perfectly creepy theme for a perfectly creepy end boss. This collection of nightmarish sounds and droning music is odd, and it'll make you feel entirely uneasy. How EarthBound goes from being joyously quirky to just totally scary is bizarre, but the music during the battle with Giygas is a huge contributing factor.
Did we miss your favorite creepy game music? Sound off in the comments!
Thanks for joining GameCrate once more for our Spookytacular this October. Have a rad, safe, and ghoulish Halloween!