This is where we say farewell...
Quite a while back, I wrote an article showing off ten of my favourite songs in video games that happened to feature vocals. Listening to all those songs sure was good fun, and many were quite the nostalgia trip! But why stop with just ten? There’s plenty more songs out there that simply need to be honoured. Here are ten more show stealers from the world of gaming.
10. Daytona USA: Let’s Go Away
The year is 1998. It’s a cloudy day on your holiday in the north of Wales, which suits you just fine, because all the time you’d normally have to spend on the windy, overcast beach you’re now spending in the caravan park’s dingy arcade. It’s the instant you enter that you hear the angelic musings of Daytona USA.[yt_video id=”Y1WlBBVPMJo”][/yt_video]
Children of the nineties from all across the country would flock to this arcade machine because, at the time, it was the most awesome thing any kid had ever seen. The cars may have looked and controlled like a cereal box on wheels, and nobody ever picked manual transmission, but that’s not what we cared for. We were constantly drawn to Daytona USA because of that one, infectiously catchy jingle. Even though the arcades themselves were smoky, and filled to the brim with middle-aged men hogging the 2p machines, being able to escape playing Go Fish for hours on end and settle down with some Daytona was the highlight of many a kid’s Welsh caravan holiday. Gentlemen, start your engines.
9. Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: Fierce Battle
Also known as Lucifer’s Call in the UK, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne has the reputation of being one of the hardest games ever created, and has an intimidating, occult-themed soundtrack to match. The Boss Appearance track succeeds at instilling nervousness into the player, and does a grand job of letting you know that the bosses in this game do not mess around. One boss theme in particular addresses just how inferior you are in terms of power in comparison the game’s numerous boss monsters.[yt_video id=”qO6LWQhvzRw”][/yt_video]
As mentioned, Nocturne has a dark and brooding, yet utterly absorbing soundtrack. The battle themes are laced with stellar guitar work and an utterly haunting vocal track that hasn’t really been done in any other game. Indeed, Nocturne is not a pleasant experience; it will leave you perplexed, empty, and maybe a little depressed. The soundtrack is there to remind you of how utterly hopeless the situation is, and spells out exactly how any encounter has the potential to wipe you out. Also, Dante shows up, so that’s quite nice. You can read more about Nocturne here.
8. Child of Eden: Star Line (Stratos Remix)
Child of Eden is a fantastic trip of a game created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, master of integrating synesthesia (the unification of senses) into video games. It is considered to be the spiritual successor to Dreamcast classic Rez, and features the music of Genki Rockets, an excellent J-Pop group whom you may also know from Lumines and No More Heroes. In essence, Child of Eden is Genki Rockets: The Game, and is in many ways a celebration of their catchy, infectious brilliance.[yt_video id=”zH-maoaP8so”][/yt_video]
The above song is a remix of a Genki Rockets track featured in the game, and is a particular highlight of the title as a whole. The stage it features in is made up of brightly coloured swirls, patterns and imagery, not the least of which being a gigantic psychedelic space whale.
7. Phantasy Star Online: The Whole New World
Good gosh, did Sega know how to open their Dreamcast MMO epic Phantasy Star Online. While the game itself has a superb soundtrack worthy of anyone’s music library, the track for the game’s opening cinematic, titled “The Whole New World”, is especially memorable. Primarily because at the time, I hadn’t heard much in the way of vocalised music in video games outside of Parappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy (who we’ll be visiting shortly!)[yt_video id=”g6Ufyp3F4tU”][/yt_video]
The song really set the tone for the epic adventure that you’d embark on, an adventure that ended up with a much darker plot than the rather light-hearted song let on. Did you know, Phantasy Star Online is still played today? There are various free private servers where anyone can download the client and play the game with others. The clients run the Blue Burst versions of the game, featuring both Episodes 1 and 2, as well as the BB exclusive Episode 4 which adds new areas and a boss.
6. Um Jammer Lammy: Fire Fire!
Um Jammer Lammy was the rock n’ roll spin-off of Parappa the Rapper, and has a selection of songs to match the quality of its hip hop predecessor. The plot is absolutely adorable; you play Lammy, a shy lamb who plays guitar in her band Milk Can. She wakes up one morning, forgetting that she has a gig to play, and thus has ten minutes to make it in time for the show. It just so happens that these are the craziest ten minutes anyone has ever lived. Lammy helps put out a fire, gets mistaken for a pregnant woman after eating too much pizza, learns how to fly and chop down trees, dies, is resurrected, and fights her evil twin, all before making it on time to the big show. It’s a wonderfully bizarre musical journey that no one should miss.
Lammy helps put out a fire, gets mistaken for a pregnant woman after eating too much pizza, learns how to fly and chop down trees, dies, is resurrected, and fights her evil twin, all before making it on time to the big show.
5. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Kaze no Ne (English version)
The GameCube exclusive Crystal Chronicles was a strange departure from the Final Fantasy norm. It was a top-down hack n’ slash with a very basic character creation system. It was a fun little romp, but sadly lacked the depth and storyline which you’d expect from such a highly regarded series. Still, it looked great visually, and the soundtrack was pretty neat, featuring another opening theme laced in angelic vocals. “Kaze no Ne” really set the scene for a grand fantasy adventure, and is rather typical for a Final Fantasy game. Not that that’s a bad thing by any stretch, as the song still manages to evoke feelings of wonder and admiration.[yt_video id=”WbSOKVx9fcY”][/yt_video]
4. Rez: Fear
One of my absolute favourite rhythm games, Rez, ends with a stage and song that are both beautifully haunting. Featuring a remix of DJ Adam Freeland’s “Mindkiller”, the purgatorial Stage 5 is the most challenging in the game, and ends with a final boss fight that is at times cheap, but it’s a fittingly breathtaking end to an absolute masterpiece. Fear is a very dark and melancholic rendition of Freeland’s original piece, and the song and stage it accompanies are a stark contrast to the more upbeat tones of the game’s 4 other main stages. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition that throws the game for a loop, and really hammers home that final stage feeling. The best part of this song? It’s 11 minutes long! It’s a great example of progressive techno applied to a stage in a video game. The way Rez handles it is actually rather elegant, and the stage and song don’t feel drawn out as they both work so well with one another. If you want to learn more about Rez or are simply looking for a healthy nostalgia trip, you can check out my retro reflection here![yt_video id=”WMMWwqwRggQ”][/yt_video]
3. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Rules of Nature
Wow, did this game have an amazing soundtrack. I’ve spoken numerous times on this website how much I absolutely adored Platinum Games’ Metal Gear Rising, and a large part of that was down to the uniquely vocalised soundtrack. The lyrics were cheesy as all hell, and sound as if they were written during the early 2000’s nu-metal phase, but the slight injection of other genres such as electro and dubstep really made these tracks stand out. And the fight with Metal Gear RAY at the start of the game? Easily one of the most impressionable boss fights I’ve ever played, and really set the tone for the rest of this cyber-ninja-rific experience. RULES OF NATURE!!!![yt_video id=”N3472Q6kvg0″][/yt_video]
2. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F: The MMORPG Addict’s Anthem
I’ve had a real obsession with Hatsune Miku recently. Okay, hold on, that sounded pretty creepy. Let me start again. As noted on our new podcast, Tanooki Time, I’ve really been enjoying Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F on PS3. One of the most refreshing and challenging rhythm games I’ve played in a while, it features over 40 songs made by Crypton featuring their titular vocaloid personality and five of her “not nearly as cool” friends.
While there are many songs from the game I could easily pick as a favourite, I’m going for the one titled “The MMORPG Addict’s Anthem” (this being the English title). The drum and bass beat goes perfectly well with Miku’s entrancing vocals, and as a bonus, the game featured in the video is Phantasy Star Online 2, a game us westerners have been without for nearly two years now. Regardless, Miku’s performance here is top notch. It’s great to see the video without buttons prompts invading every part of the screen![yt_video id=”uaLCAiXY6GQ”][/yt_video]
1. Persona 4 Golden: Snowflakes
Yes, as was the case with my previous list, Persona 4 wins out again. I hadn’t actually planned on this, but the song “Snowflakes”, added to the new winter portion of Persona 4 Golden, is so tear-jerkingly brilliant, I had to give it the top spot. Never has a song resonated so strongly with me in a video game in such a way. The song’s lyrics reflect the feelings of the main protagonist and his friends, looking back on their year together. They’re sad that they will soon be parted from the protagonist, but they’re love for one another, and the adventures they’ve shared, are irreplaceable memories that will stay with them for all of their lives. It’s an absolutely gorgeous track, and the added context makes it all the more bitter sweet.[yt_video id=”pFTbH43n77Q”][/yt_video]
So ends another list of awesome video game music that feature vocals. Did you like the list? Maybe you hated it? Perhaps you have some suggestions of your own? In any case, let us know in the comments, and your suggestion may be featured in a future article! For now, kick back with these incredible tunes, and stay awesome!