Top-10 Songs from Video Games
This time I’m bringing you my 10 favourite songs that were performed in video-games. Here’s the stipulations:
- Only one song per franchise (otherwise half the entries would be from Sonic)
- The song has to be made specifically for the game (so no source music that was taken from somewhere else)
- It must have an actual vocal performance (so sorry, Final Fantasy 6’s opera piece wont be making the list)
- It must have lyrics (so no non-specific choir or chant songs)
Let’s get on with the list…
10. Berceuse (Resident Evil: Code Veronica X)
Although it certainly wasn’t my favourite Resident Evil game, I actually really liked the song Berceuse performed by the game’s villain Alexia Ashford. The melody of the song also plays in a number of locations. In the game, the nude Alexia performs this beautiful little song while caressing the body of her dead freak-show of a brother Alfred.
There’s also an upgraded version of the song featured in the Chronicles games, but I do like the original. The melody is simple but catchy and adds a haunting quality to the game.
9. Happiness is an Inside Job (Broken Sword 2)
The ending credits theme for the second Broken Sword game, The Smoking Mirror, is one of my favourite game ending themes. After the intense finale this laid back reggae tune just leaves you with a great sense of release.
Bob Sekar’s raspy but joyful vocals are really pleasant to listen to. The only thing that prevents me from putting this song higher is that it’s so darn chill.
8. Dreams Dreams (NiGHTS – Journey of Dreams)
Sega’s NiGHTS series main theme is one of the catchiest I know and beating Journey of Dreams for the Wii yielded this lovely ditty. Alright, so Dreams Dreams was already featured in the original Saturn title, but I honestly think the song performance in the sequel was much better.
It’s a bit mushy, but it has a nice melody and it’s really laid back.
7. Orchid’s Theme (Killer Instinct)
Alright, this is cheating a little bit. In-game, Orchid’s theme consisted really only of the chorus, but there’s such a pumping energy to this one I had to include it. The song is so 90s Techno it hurts. Rare really knew how to make music with a hook back then.
I really love the energy of this number. The sexy female vocals are almost a little cheesy but somehow just perfectly fits the mood. The only reason it’s not higher is because it’s so straight-forward and simplistic.
6. Urban Fragments (Ridge Racer Type 4)
Here’s a funny one. I’ve never even played Ridge Racer Type 4, but I once saw the intro of the game on TV a long time ago and it’s stayed in my mind as one of the best and most energetic game intros ever. Mostly because of the excellent theme song by Kimara Lovelace, her voice just has an incredible amount of soul.
Though it’s a short song to say the least it hits all the vital points. It’s brilliant stuff. I also recommend checking out Ridge Racer One More Win, which is the extended credits version with additional verses – but with a slower tempo.
5. A Pirate I Was Meant To Be (The Curse of Monkey Island)
The Curse of Monkey Island is one of my favourite adventure games of all time for several reasons. One them is the part where Guybrush’s crew suddenly bursts into song while a French pirate runs off with Guybrush’s map, having humiliated him in insult sword fighting. What I love is how Guybrush’s pleas for help are continuously ignored by Haggis, Edward and Cutthroat Bill who keep rhyming them into song-lyrics. I especially love the second to last verses where Guybrush himself gets sucked into the song.
The only reason this song isn’t higher is that the song is definitely more enjoyable when experienced in-game and just listening to it, it loses a bit of its charm. Although it’s still funny as all hell.
4. The Legacy (Full Throttle)
The Gone Jackals is a band you may have never heard of, but this heavy-rock group provided Tim Schafer’s first solo project at LucasArts with some absolutely rocking themes from their debut album Bone to Pick. The game kicks off immediately to a rocking start as Ben, the leader of the biker gang Polecats, drives his hog over Malcolm Corley’s hover-limo and Legacy starts blaring over the opening credits.
What makes this such a brilliant number is that it’s a legit rock song, unphased by the fact that it’s serving as the title theme of a game. The rest of the Jackals’ songs featured in the game are also pretty kicking, but Legacy just left a permanent impression on me when I first heard it. Rock N Roll!
3. Kaze yo Tsutaete a.k.a. Roll’s Theme (Mega Man)
I find it kinda sad that Mega Man doesn’t have a proper theme song, but at least his little sister does. Kaze yo Tsutaete has functioned as a type of unofficial theme song for various Mega Man related tidbits. It’s an energetic J-Pop number with reserved singing but a nice beat and some excellent electric guitar sections.
There’s also an updated version featured in Capcom vs. Tatsunoko and an English version, but I’ve always preferred the original. It definitely has a very steady beat, but I recommend listening all the way through. This song always puts me in a good mood.
2. Taxi Drivers Must Die (Grand Theft Auto 2)
I’m an old school GTA fan and really got into the franchise with the second and final top-down title of the main series, GTA 2. I loved it when Rockstar used to create all the original music for the games before source music became the default in the 3D titles. Bula Matari’s Taxi Drivers Must Die immediately caught my ear and it’s needlessly violent and punkish lyrics just made it an absolute blast to listen to while blasting through Liberty City.
It was tough call between this and God Bless All The Universe which was close to making this list for being such a pointlessly uplifting song in such a violent game. Brilliant song and very nearly could have topped the list.
1. Live and Learn (Sonic Adventure 2)
Crush40 is perhaps one of my favourite game bands. Since Sonic Adventure, the rock group provided most of the iconic Sonic themes all through the early and mid-2000s. Crush40 has a lot of great songs I could have picked like It Doesn’t Matter and Knight of the Wind. However, the theme to Sonic Adventure 2 was easily my favourite out of all of them. That iconic guitar opening just blew me away and I love the energy of the song.
Live and Learn never fails to get me pumped up. The entire soundtrack to Sonic Adventure 2 was pretty amazing and even that considered, this song just stands above all the rest for me.
Edit (April 21, 2014)
I feel incredibly silly for forgetting this one but it definitely deserved to be on the list Still Alive from Portal. Call it a belated honourable mention!