Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

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Grabthehoopka
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Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by Grabthehoopka » Wed May 28, 2014 12:56 am

All right. All this talk of a particular soundtrack has gotten me in the kind of crazy mood to start a new thread and open it for discussion - what is your favorite or some of your favorite horror game soundtracks of all time? Not the "best" horror soundtracks of all time, but your favorite(s).

Please defend your case and if the soundtrack is on youtube, soundcloud, or whatever, please provide links to a few choice tracks that you feel best represent what makes the soundtrack so special to you, with maybe a (brief) intro to each one.

I feel like saying Neverending Nightmares is cheating, buuuuuut, I guess there's no reason you couldn't, so...

Anyways. Anyone feel like starting?

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JPrice
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by JPrice » Wed May 28, 2014 3:11 am

Sure I'll start!

Well obvious first choice is obvious, that being Silent Hill 2. Great soundtrack, especially in the context of the game. I mean SH2 has some powerful moments as it is, but it's just bolstered by this soundtrack even more.
Two of my personal favourites:



Manhunt 2 had a nice opening theme that I felt actually kind of serves as a nice contrast against the actual game. I mean the actual game is really grimy and sleezy yet this theme is rather traditional, especially when compared to the first games main theme


Also Condemned had a great main theme that I thought was pretty creepy, especially with the twangy electronic vibe in the later half.


And now we get to the section that I like to call "Soundtracks that I like that are only loosely connected to horror" haha :P

Well for starters, the Doom has always had a great soundtrack. I mean the original two have some classic tunes (Even if they're kinda rip off's of actual metal songs hahaha)
Personal favourites include:




Hell even Doom 3 had a really good main theme, even if the rest of the soundtrack was just decent


Spec Ops: The Line had a fantastic soundtrack. I mean the non-original soundtrack was great as it drew some nice parallels and it was just generally rockin' hahaa. But the actual OST was pretty great as well, one particular song that I love is "The Battle as it's played in the final battle and struggle towards the Konrad. Just really fits the mood and such.


And finally I have to mentioned Painkiller's soundtrack as it's just ridiculously metal and suits the game perfectly :lol:




That's about all I can think of currently! But I'm sure people can think of plenty more haha :D
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Grabthehoopka
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by Grabthehoopka » Wed May 28, 2014 3:52 pm

Very nice. Very metal.

When looked at as a whole, my favorite horror soundtrack is Manhunt, hands-down. The whole game is really moody and atmospheric, but I think it wouldn't work half as well if the soundtrack weren't so amazing. It was composed by Craig Connor, who previously was in charge of the music department for the Grand Theft Auto games and composed the songs by the fictional band Lovefist in GTA Vice City.

I think it perfectly captures the feeling of isolation, and of being in a bad place where you don't belong. It's ambient with a dash of John Carpenter-style synth music, and oh my god is it amazing. Keep in mind that this is a stealth game, so each track has a seperate calm/caution/danger version that it cross-fades between accordingly, so that's why each of the videos are so long. In the actual game, there's actually a fourth, even more intense track that they fade to when you take damage from one of the hunters, but alas, they are missing from these videos.

The tracks can range from more slick and cool tracks with a heavier John Carpenter influence:




To more droning and horrific:




And of course, a special shout out to the track from Deliverance, the level where you fight Piggsy, the best boss battle in a horror game ever, which I think reaches Silent Hill levels of distress and panic (note the chainsaw noises and pig squeals he incorporated into the caution and danger sections):



I could listen to this soundtrack all day. (and I have, on occasion. Also, don't fall asleep with headphones and the playlist on autoplay. It's happened to me a couple of times and my brain goes to...interesting places trying to interpret the sensory information)

Anyways, Craig Connor had previously composed the music for Grand Theft Auto (the first, top-down one), and an obscure shoot-em-up game for the Playstation called N2o, which also had several tracks by Crystal Method, so when Rockstar tapped him to compose an original score for Manhunt, he says (in a little sidebar in this interview) that he knew that music is the most important element for establishing a scary tone, so he watched every horror movie he could find to analyze and classify the elements of a good scary soundtrack, and to match the tone of the game, recorded it on a bunch of shitty old equipment and ran it through a bunch of processing to make it sound even more artificial. And oh my god, did he succeed.

He then went on to do the soundtrack to Manhunt 2 (ugh.) which was a disappointment compared to the first one, overall. But anyways, to match the completely different style of the story, he took the soundtrack in a completely different direction. Instead of the droning, artificial sound he went for in the first one, he opted for a more minimalistic approach with an increased focus on ambient sound. So, each level has a constant ambient sound track, and the "calm" music tracks just kind of come and go really subtly over it, and the "caution/danger" tracks are a lot more loud and cacophonous. For what it's worth, it works, but it's not nearly as distinctive as the first game's soundtrack, in my opinion, and doesn't capture the same mood nearly well enough. And it's a shame, since not only is the Manhunt soundtrack one of the best and scariest things anyone has ever done, but in that same interview from above, he said that he was glad to be done with it, since composing it took a really dark and unpleasant mental toll on him, and then he did the second game's soundtrack at some point after that (maybe that's why it wasn't as good as the first game's? Cause he didn't want to find the same muse a second time?), so I'm willing to bet that it's unlikely he'll ever do something similar again, which is a damn shame.

Anyways, the Manhunt series is something I could talk all day about, and all the things the first game did right and all the things the second game did wrong, but I'll cut this post mercifully short for your sake.

Eh, one more for good measure:

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matt
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by matt » Wed May 28, 2014 7:24 pm

My vote is for Silent Hill 2 or pretty much any of the Silent Hill games. Akira Yamaoka did such an amazing job with the music. When you listen to the music by itself, it almost feels different. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. I guess the music seems much less ambient than I expected it to, but when you are in Silent Hill, everything just fits.

I would also like to put in a vote for Neverending Nightmares. Skyler has really done an amazing job. When you put on the headphones, you are instantly transported to a terrifying and oppressive world, and I can't take credit for that. hahah
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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Wed May 28, 2014 9:08 pm

Oh man yeah, Silent Hill 2 hands down. I was trying to think of other games that have a memorable soundtrack and I drew a blank. Even my favorite horror games like Amnesia: Dark Descent and Outlast have music that's just kinda in the background and doesn't really come to mind. But I have all the soundtracks for SH2 I could get my hands on, including one that's just the ambient music from when you're walking around and stuff. You posted some of the great ones, JPrice, I'd add my favorites but I'd end up just listing them all.

I also have soundtracks from the other Silent Hill games, here are a few of my favorites. Akira Yamoaka really knows what he's doing, all the music he's done for the games is really memorable.









I was happy to see that some of these made it into the first Silent Hill movie, even though the movie itself was a mixed bag.

I really need to play Condemned: Criminal Origins. Also I have Manhunt but haven't played that yet. Those tracks sound great.

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gagaplex
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by gagaplex » Wed May 28, 2014 9:41 pm

Considering how dark and evil this game gets later on and how important dynamic lights are, I'm going to count it as a horror game!





It's just around the corner, in the shadows, waiting to use its screeching claws...
Is it rust... or blood?

Image

Then, of course, who could forget the System Shock series.











And, after all that, to help you relax...


Grabthehoopka
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by Grabthehoopka » Thu May 29, 2014 1:39 am

I was actually thinking about Silent Hill and the curious nature of its music a while ago, while I was listening to "You're Not Here" --



Besides the fact that it's such a kickass song (and I think fits Silent Hill 2 better, with the lyrics and all, and is a much better song than Theme of Laura in my opinion, but anyways-) it sort of struck me that it fits the tone of game so damn well, but if I were to play this song to someone who'd never heard of Silent Hill before and ask them to guess what genre of game it's from, the last thing they'd probably guess is a horror game. So why does it fit so well?

Well, the way I see it is that Silent Hill is unique in that they do horror so well (SO well), but at heart, they aren't horror games. They use horror as a means to tell an emotional story. They're scary, and they're sad. That's why they're so emotionally draining to play, I think. All of the people you see are basically at their wit's end, and so there's an element of tragedy and sadness when other characters are involved, but it doesn't seem like a mood whiplash because that's what the game is at its core, so even when the game is in horror mode, the sense of desolation and hopelessness that the characters feel still pervades everything.

But when someone talks about the Silent Hill soundtracks, of course, I don't think about the pretty, musical tracks. I think about the crazy as hell ambient tracks. They're so good it's almost unfair. They're perfect. They're too good. They're like a weaponized form of horror music. Like Akira Yamaoka used a scientific process to single out which sounds physically make us uncomfortable and evoke a panic response, boiled them down to their most pure, raw form, and then made "music" out of them. The game designers were looking over their levels and saw they wrote "on edge" for one of the rooms. "Hey, Akira," they said, "We need the player to feel on edge here. Akira nods, looks at his switch board, and flicks the one that says "on edge":

"Hey, Akira", they said, "We need the player to feel uncomfortable here." Akira nods, looks at his switch board, and flicks the one that says "uncomfortable":

"Hey, Akira," they said, "We need the player to feel panic here." He flips the switch that says "panic":


And all those songs are from like the first hour or so of the game. Guh!

Harry Sunderland
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by Harry Sunderland » Thu May 29, 2014 6:51 am

I always really liked the soundtrack for Parasite Eve. I can really only recall one song off the top of my head:



Other than that, I echo the sentiments of everyone else and agree that Yamaoka's Silent Hill soundtracks are second to none. It's a real shame that he is no longer involved with the games. I loved his mix of horrifying industrial music and chill alt rock with female vocals.

And promise from SH2 is so good. So so good.


Grabthehoopka
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by Grabthehoopka » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:15 pm

Harry Sunderland wrote:I always really liked the soundtrack for Parasite Eve.
Whoa, I've never played Parasite Eve, nor have I listened to the soundtrack before, but it's awesome!
gagaplex wrote:Considering how dark and evil this game gets later on and how important dynamic lights are, I'm going to count it as a horror game!
For some reason, these completely artificial beeps-and-boops kinds of soundtracks put me on edge a lot easier than more "traditional" ones.

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miumiaou
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Re: Favorite Horror Game Soundtracks of All Time

Post by miumiaou » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:21 am

My favourite soundtrack is probably this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak6Y4-pBpWw

It's kinda weird but I think it's calm before the storm

My second favourite is the one that play at the good end of Corpse Party If (I don't know it's name) this one really fit at this moment

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