A-Side: “Top 20 video game Spooky themes” (10-1)

spookymoon

“The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…”
-Stephen King

 

 

NPC’s, I’ve gotta confess. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I mean the last 10 songs were a bit too spooky for me. I’m not a black mage. I’m a red mage. A renaissance man. I’m not sure I can do this. Oh. Oh no. No. No. No. The lights are dimming. It’s too late…!

All I can say is the following songs… some of them are very disturbing. Listen at your own risk. You’ve been warned…

 

 

#10. “Giygas’ theme” – EarthBound

On the face of it, EarthBound may look bright and childish but this song is the death of innocence. There’s a reason why it consistently makes lists of disturbing and creepy video game music. Let’s start with the concept. Ever seen AkiraGiygas is messed up like that. Raised from infancy by human parents who were abducted by aliens, Giygas demonstrated incredible PSI powers. However, he is later forced to attack Earth by his own race and has to sever ties with his mother, Maria. When confronted by their descendants, who sing a lullaby he heard from Maria as a baby, Giygas is shattered by the emotional distress and retreats. In time, Giygas’ own power becomes so overwhelming that it destroys his being and his mind, making him “undefinable by human standards”, aka pure evil. Giygas becomes incapable of rational thought, and his servant calls him “an all-mighty idiot”, wielding vast cosmic powers he is totally unable to control. Great. Lovecraftian. Fighting him at the end of EarthBound, Ness and his companions are confronted by swirling darkness and a hideous screaming face seemingly locked in perpetual torment. Some players have even seen the shape of a fetus in the image of Giygas. Then this music plays, as incomprehensible as the villain himself. The song doesn’t know what it wants to be and it is seriously unsettling in one of the most unusual final boss fights in any game, ever. Those breathing noises…

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#9. “This Is Where They Sleep” – Bioshock

Dude, how scary is this game? I don’t know ’cause I’ve never played it. Always wanted to. Well, maybe not so much anymore. “This Is Where They Sleep”? Who the heck is “They”? Something horrible I’m sure. This high-tension track from a much acclaimed game is the poster child for walking through your own home at night in the dark. You may begin to think there really is something behind you, almost reaching out to grab you. And you keep telling yourself it isn’t there… You know you don’t need to look. You’re an adult. Except you can’t shake that lump of fear rising up like bile in your throat…

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#8. “Shadow Temple” – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (suggested by moresleepneeded)

This is some real terror territory. I’m pretty sure I’m still traumatized by those ReDead screams from Ocarina of Time. Oh yeah and Dead Hand gave me nightmares. And then I used to see a psychiatrist about the blood stains on the temple walls. The place was hidden in a graveyard, for cryin’ out loud! The Shadow Temple couldn’t be scarier if it tried and its track beat out the many other possible entries from the two N64 Zelda games, notably those from the freakishly creepy Majora’s Mask. “Ikana Valley” of course almost took this spot (almost a tie really), but lost to “Shadow Temple” for its use of high-note synth keyboard that takes me out of the feeling. “Shadow Temple”, on the other hand, takes everything frightening from “Ikana Valley” and doubles down on it. Get that chill up your spine at the sound of those hideous moans and voices crying, as if from underneath the earth? That’s all this song is, with some crashing, banging noises of wind and stone and metal, and the rhythm of unseen drums beating like the staggering pace of your heart… Make it stahp!

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#7. “River Twygz Bed” – Super Paper Mario

What the heck, Mario?! Go home! You’re drunk! Why would you allow a song like this to appear in one of your candy-colored, cartoonish video games? And in Paper Mario of all series? Really? Look at it? It’s cuter than you’ve ever been, Mario? And yet we’re accosted by this track obviously named from the River Styx of Grecian myth. Yeah, you know, the river that divides the land of the living from the underworld, from Hades, from the dead! This is horrific! The muttering, confused voices. You can’t tell what they’re saying. Is this even music at all? It’s more like audio agony!

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#6. “Transit Delay” – Alien: Isolation

This is one of the scariest games that I have actually played. Isolation’s quality and impact upon the player stems from its attention to the details that made Ridley Scott’s Alien such a terrifying film. Namely, atmosphere and sound. Like the movie, you hardly get to see the alien until well into the experience. Therefore, it’s largely up to the sound department to deliver. They did so by using a lot of the same music from the film and incorporating it into the game, where it changes and builds and horrifies depending on how closely you’re being hunted by the alien. I played it in the dark. I wish I hadn’t. This track comes from one of the most memorable moments when you’re trying to get out of a room where you just watched a full grown man get pulled backward into a ventilation shaft, where his screaming was instantly cut off. You’re only exit is through a transit system but once you hit the button to summon the terminal, the alien knows you’re there. Hiding in the corner, crouched down, peeking out into the darkness, you can hear the monster approaching as the music grips your heart and shakes it like a dog shaking a tiny animal.

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#5. “Main Menu” – Slender: The Arrival

Creepypasta had to make an appearance sooner or later. Before there was FNAF, there was Slender: the internet’s horror fascination. Why do these always have to be first-person games? All I remember is walking around in the frickin’ woods at night trying not to look up and see a slender man without a face. Slender: The Eight Pages uses a lot of minimalism to convey terror, focusing on repetitive noises. Things you don’t want to hear at night. The Slender Man is a supernatural entity resembling a faceless man in a suit and tie who is associated with amnesia, abduction, paranoia. The game Slender: The Arrival, the sequel, is just as obsessed with minimalism as its predecessor. You can’t really tell if those are voices whispering or just the noise of static. It sounds like both. Then the sudden audio “jump scare” is the ultimate “gotcha”. If there’s one track thus far that makes me want to keep looking over my shoulder, it’s this one. And I did do just that. Several times. Plus any time there’s a game that becomes related to real-world hysteria and criminal acts, it immediately becomes twice as scary.

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Okay, guys, these last ones are seriously messed up. I’m warning you!

 

 

#4. “Pyramid Head theme” – Silent Hill 2

You probably said “Oh no” when you saw the words Silent Hill. Pretty much this entire countdown could’ve been occupied just from songs in the Silent Hill franchise. It is the definition of psychological horror. Too deep for me, man. The most I’ve ever played Silent Hill was walking down a dark alleyway for like a minute when I heard the sounds of dogs baying and a baby crying. It was a long time ago, if those facts don’t match up. I never could pick it up again. The Silent Hill series seems to be about cults in the town Silent Hill, and ordinary but messed up, tortured individuals forced to confront manifestations of their own screwed up feelings/memories/trauma/etc. I know enough about Silent Hill to be horrified by its antagonist: Pyramid Head. The entity represents the protagonist’s wish to be punished for the death of his wife. It’s like it seems to be the embodiment of torment and mutilation. His iconic appearance apparently stems from the town of Silent Hill’s past as a place of execution. That mechanical scraping (if you can distinguish it from all the other machine-like noise) is Pyramid Head dragging along a massive cleaver across the floor, before the monster does who knows what to some of the other creatures in the game. Had to be there, I guess.

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#3. “Regenerator” – Resident Evil 4 (suggested by Mr. Wapojif)

Every single time this song starts I get that rush of fear that crawls up the back of my neck. I’ve played the original Resident Evil, which was quite enough for a gentleman with as weak a constitution as I. The soundtrack from this series of games could, similar to Silent Hill, make up this entire list. Easily. Mister mh4wp (Mxyzptlk? Mehfwarp?) also suggested “Lab Entrance” from Resident Evil. So many to choose from. For me, “Regenerator” bears the sound of some shambling horror coming closer and closer. And indeed that’s what it’s all about. Bullets can’t stop it. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can stop the sounds. I’m not afraid of zombies but these regenerators are the something I never want to see again. Stop bringing it up!

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#2. “Playrooms” – Shadow Man

Deep breath. Two left. How bad can it be? Bad. This track takes everything we previously learned about horror by juxtaposition and throws it in your big, fat face. It begins gently enough but then comes the rubber duckie, and the drill, the buzzsaw, flesh, screams. From babies? Women weeping? Laughter? How sick does someone have to be to come up with this stuff? Not to mention enjoy it! I mean, how much is too much? I can’t be sure, but I think that this is what the world sounds like to inmates in an asylum. …And now I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight…

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#1. “Kill Yourself” – Cry of Fear

How much is too much? THIS is too much. I don’t even want to listen to it anymore. I don’t want to know what it’s from. I don’t want to hear it again. I just want to skip down to the bonus track! It’s a track (not a song) called “Kill Yourself” from something called Cry of Fear. Way more than I need to know. The scariest thing I’ve ever heard.

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Bonus Track: “Main Theme” – Luigi’s Mansion

It’s funny when a story about someone wandering into a haunted mansion to rescue his abducted brother represents the arrival of dawn. Because that never happens. Yet this track off Luigi’s Mansion is certainly a relief. Enjoy the humorous tones of Luigi humming while terrified. You could use the laugh after everything we’ve heard on the long night that was this countdown, the scariest we’ve ever done. I promise we write more “feel good” work that this post!

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Do come back and stay… forever.

–The Dead Meat Mage deadmeatmage

 

 

ragemage  Deez Honorable Mentions:

“Page 3-4 theme” – Slender: The Eight Pages
“Haunted House/Big Boo’s Haunt” – Super Mario 64
(suggested by D.T. Nova)
“Alchemist With a Wavering Heart” – Super Robot Wars: Original Generations
(suggested by D.T. Nova)
“Holy City Pentagulia” – Lunar: Eternal Blue
(suggested by D.T. Nova)
“Main Menu” – Alien: Isolation
“Alien Reveal” – Alien: Isolation
“Infraworld” – Beyond: Two Souls
(suggested by The Timely Mage)
“Light and Darkness” – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
“Lakebed Temple” – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
“Ikana Valley” – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
“Forest Temple” – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
“Abandoned Pit” – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
“Mantis’ Hymn” – Metal Gear Solid
“Cyborg Ninja cutscene” – Metal Gear Solid
“The Sorrow” – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
“Radio” – Half-Life 2
“Phazon Mines, Level 3” – Metroid Prime
“Haunted House theme” – Super Mario Land 2
(suggested by moresleepneeded)
Labyrinth of Time [OST]
(suggested by moresleepneeded)
“Fun is Infinite” – Sonic CD
“Ghost Sobbing” – Fatal Frame
“Ceremony” – Secret of Mana
(suggested by SnapperTrx)
“My Heaven” – Silent Hill
“Ashes and Ghosts” – Silent Hill 2
“Mansion” – Resident Evil
“Lab Entrance” – Resident Evil
(suggested by mh4wp)
“Bitores Mendez” – Resident Evil 4
“Twinkle Twinkle” – Dead Space
“Severed Limbs are Hazardous Waste” – Dead Space
“Omen” – Persona 4
“Curse” – Okami
“Insanity” – Shadowman
“Angry Aztec” – Donkey Kong 64
“Witch” – Left 4 Dead
“Scissorman Chase” – Clock Tower
“Dreamworld Grounds” – Gauntlet: Dark Legacy
“Jesus Loves Me” – The Binding of Isaac
“Opening theme” – Super Metroid
“Creeping Shadow” – Shadow of the Colossus
“The Waterfall” – Super Castlevania IV
(suggested by Mr. Wapojif)
“Life Story of a Sorcerer” – Soul Sacrifice
(suggested by The Timely Mage)
“Timbre of Tear” – Soul Sacrifice
(suggested by The Timely Mage)
“Requiem Within” – Soul Sacrifice
(suggested by The Timely Mage)
“Footsteps of the Misfortune” – Soul Sacrifice
(suggested by The Timely Mage)
“Mad Monster Mansion” – Banjo-Kazooie
(suggested by Matt)
“Abyss of Fear” – Batman: Arkham Asylum
“Those Chosen by the Planet” – Final Fantasy VII
(suggested by The Shameful Narcissist)
“Who are you?” – Final Fantasy VII
(suggested by The Shameful Narcissist)
“Lavender Town” – Pokemon Red/Blue
(suggested by D.T. Nova)
“Cave of the Past/The Place” – EarthBound
“Forest of Fear” – Wario Land 3
“The One Who Is Torn Apart” – Xenogears
(suggested by D.T. Nova)
“Intro” – Silent Hill
(suggested by CheapBossAttack)
Friday the 13th (NES) [OST]
(suggested by CheapBossAttack)
“Zeromus’ theme” – Final Fantasy IV
(suggested by Krystallina)

 

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13 thoughts on “A-Side: “Top 20 video game Spooky themes” (10-1)

  1. I have not played many of these games, but found the selection interesting, as I have heard many of them are very scary games, so I did like the way the music reflected the games. I agree that the soundtrack of Shadow Temple, with the low moaning and cries, is scary, particularly the hollow ringing of the bells on the ship. I felt Ikana Valley music was also scary, with the notes from the synthetic keyboard creating an unnatural sound. I am also pleased to see that other people find the music to Forest Temple frightening, with the mystical music and sounds like unseen children playing. The “Mantis Hymn” is also a good selection, not only does it use a creepy score, but it also signifies something unusual and frightening is about to occur. “The Sorrow” was also an interesting choice, the slightly weird music worked well with the echoing voices and The Sorrow’s grim predictions for Naked Snake’s future.
    What is the reasoning for the Angry Axtec theme being scary? I found it quite uplifting. Thanks for the mention

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh heck yeah, recognized it right away. It’s one of the few creepy songs in an otherwise fairly childlike game. It definitely had to make an honorable mention in the list above. Which it did. I’ll add your credit next to it though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Now I have guilt!” Sorry, mh4wp, the regenerator track pushed my adrenaline just a bit further, as terrifying as “Lab entrance”. We’d have to come up with a list of top 20 Resident Evil tracks, or maybe yours will pop up on another list someone makes someday. I hope you at least get some traffic from the link.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cry of Fear is a free horror game on Steam, and a damn good one at that. You can play it in co-op too, although I find that loses its impact. I’d agree with a lot on your list, although I haven’t played some of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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