Our Top 5 Theme Tunes on 360
We look at the best video game music on 360
It’s Friday, so time for a bit of fun! We’re huge fans of video game music here on 360. While it might seem incidental at first good music is vital to atmosphere and mood in a game. But it goes beyond that as video games share the ‘theme’ tradition that films have, meaning that the identity and character of a game is often wrapped up in its music. The 360 has been home to some of the most fantastic music in video games, so we’re happy to share our top five picks for greatest music on 360.
The culmination of the Halo saga (Reach is a prequel remember?”) allowed Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell to take all the music from the previous Halo games and expand it in an almost greatest hits way for the series ending. There are so many great tunes in this game that reflect that, but none does it better than the rip roaring ‘Finish the Fight’. It masterfully brings together parts of series main theme, Master Chief and Cortana’s leitmotifs and that classic Halo monks chant in a triumphant finale that simply screams Halo
Left 4 Dead 2 has some great mood music that really captures the games Southern vibe. But far more memorable are the musical leitmotifs or themes of the Special Infected, with the Witch standing out. No one who’s played any L4D can forget the horrible piano and shrieking vocals that ensue when anyone gets to close to the Witch, fading if you move away but rising to screaming crescendo if you persist. That, of course, sees a player down as the enraged Witch attacks and engenders a Pavlovian instinct to behave whenever you hear the tune play. It’s one of the best uses of character theme and gameplay in video games.
Lost Odyssey was created by a ‘dream-team’ of Japanese RPG developers headed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and he brought another Final Fantasy alumni, the legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu, along with him for music duties. That’s the chap who composed that Final Fantasy battle music you’ll be carrying in your head till the day you die. Little wonder then that Lost Odysseys battle theme, entitled, ‘A Formidable Enemy Appears’, is just as catchy and striking. This fast paced, strings heavy piece just seems to catch the spirit of Lost Odysseys frantic feeling turns based battle perfectly.
Most of the time it’s the big, Wagner-esqe orchestral pieces that catch our attention in games, despite the fact they often have some very striking incidental pieces or even menu music. One of our favourites is in the Gears of War sound track by Kevin Riepl and it’s a haunted echoing piece that plays on the games menu screen. It’s actually a reprise of a larger piece called ’14 Years After E-Day’, but this short snippet does more to capture the tone of Sera’s shattered beauty and the horror of war than any militaristic piece ever could.
Composer Jack Wall blew us away with Mass Effect’s faux electronica soundtrack and the Mass Effect 2 score is even better. While it shifts more to towards traditional orchestration, it still retains that electric vibe, but has a more epic feel. There are so many great takes on the Mass Effect theme, like the pulsing drum and brass driven ‘Crash Landing’ but for us the standout piece is ‘Facial Reconstruction’. It’s the music that plays while Shepard is being re-built at the start of the game, and just seems to capture the essence of the games sci-fi roots.