I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think people pay enough attention to the music in their video games, but I think that it bears repeating: People don’t pay enough attention to the music in their video games. I’ve already written a couple of articles spotlighting some of my favorite retro-styled soundtracks, so now I’d like to shift the discussion over to more contemporary music.
Specifically, I want to focus on individual tracks rather than entire scores, and music with lyrics attached to it. While there is plenty of great instrumental VGM, original songs written specifically for a game are harder to come by, and the really great ones deserve the extra attention.
While there are plenty of great songs in games, the following ditties are amongst my favorites.
“Donuts” — ‘Splosion Man
Although Twisted Pixel’s games are Xbox 360-exclusive, the song “Donuts” from ‘Splosion Man is more than worthy of inclusion on this list. The studio is well-known for their sense of humor, and I think that both the song and the game epitomize that sentiment.
The song is triggered every time you grab a fat guy to use as cover from gunfire, something that you’ll have to do several times. It’s not frequent enough that it ever stops being entertaining, though the song is so good that I can’t imagine a scenario in which I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore.
‘Splosion Man is a hectic game overall, what with the hardcore platforming and constant exploding, but “Donuts” is a welcome break from that, even if you’re done with your pudgy meat-shield after a few seconds.
“Knock You Out” — Street Fighter III Third Strike
I reviewed Street Fighter III when it released on PSN a while back, and it’s a game that I enjoyed the hell out of. The game looks good, and stands proudly as one of the greatest fighting games ever produced.
In reviewing the game, though, I didn’t take the time to discuss the music. Most of the soundtrack is made up of the same stage music found in the original release, but there are a couple of songs that you hear before you’re thrust into the action in the recent rerelease. My favorite is the song that you hear throughout the game’s menu, called “Knock You Out.”
As you can imagine, the song is pretty much designed to get you pumped to fight some streets, and succeeds in doing so. It’s probably not something you’d listen to in your car, but I don’t think that’s what was in mind when it was being written.
“Snake Eater” — Metal Gear Solid 3
There’s a lot to love about MGS3, a game that many (myself included) consider to be their favorite in the entire franchise. Sneaking through 1960s Soviet jungles, mountains, and warehouses as the man who would eventually become Big Boss easily catapulted the game amongst some of my all-time favorites.
One of my favorite things about the entire game is its excellent soundtrack, but “Snake Eater,” the game’s opening theme, is something that gives me goosebumps every time that I hear it. The lyrics are a bit silly, but the way it’s designed to sound like something out of a Bond flick really sells the “super-spy against all odds” feel that the game is going for.
From Cynthia Harrell’s grandiose vocal performance to the strong instrumentation, “Snake Eater” is a song worthy of accompanying one of the best espionage thrillers in all of gaming.