The Five Worst Uses of Music in Video Games
The Five Worst Uses of Music in Video Games
As a sequel of sorts to my Top 5 Music Moments article, I thought I’d take the time to explore the other end of the musical spectrum: the stuff that just shouldn’t have been there. We’ve all been there — a song kicks in midway through a level, or pops up during at a title screen that just makes you want to tear your hair out. It’s especially fun when a secularist (non-gaming girlfriend/friend/relative) is in the room with you when this happens, and that look that reads ‘What the fuck do you do with your spare time?’ crosses their face.
In contrast to my other article, I’m not limiting this to songs or musical moments — the only criteria to make it on this list is that the music sucks. I’m depressed to report that, unlike the ‘Good’ list, which took me awhile to complete, this list took me almost no time at all to compile. Only one conclusion can be drawn from this: shitty music runs rampant throughout the gaming industry. Prepare your ears for pain, and let’s dive in.
Honorable Mention: Silent Hill 2 – Dog Song
This one is only honorably mentioned because I’m not sure if it’s the worst song in the history of gaming, or if I should go back, revamp my ‘Good music’ list, and put this at #1. Silent Hill 2 — my all-time favorite survival horror game — has a multitude of bizarre endings. Players willing to work for it (it’s only available upon replay) were treated with a ridiculous one in which it turns out the events of the game were orchestrated by a cute little puppy. But once the credits roll — the sinister dog treats the player to a brilliantly silly synth tune that I’m pretty sure was inspired by the commercial from Halloween III: Season of the Witch — the true horror begins:
5. Dong Kong Country 64 – DK Rap
This is why nobody likes white people. The inclusion of this introductory rap at the beginning of DK64 (a game I haven’t played in years, but retain fond memories of) is more confusing than anything. It contains lines like, “He can handstand/when he needs to/and stretch his arms out/just for you,” (describing Lanky Kong) and, “His coconut gun/can fire in spurts/If he shoots ya/it’s gonna hurt” (describing Donkey himself). Both these lyrical snippets, aside from easily being interpreted as gay come-ons, are only a sliver of a song that can only be described as a very, very poor decision on the part of Rare. Or at least it would be, if this song hadn’t been included in two more games (Donkey Konga and Super Smash Bros. Melee).
4. Jet Set Radio Future: Birthday Cake – Cibbo Matto
I’ve never played Jet Set Radio, or its sequel, and I came across this song in my studies. Normally I’d be opposed to including a song I hadn’t personally experienced playing the game, but I’m making an exception for this song because A) it’s truly terrible and B) the band behind it, Cibbo Matto, isn’t usually that bad:
This song, like the DK rap, sounds like it was composed in a couple of hours before production wrapped on the game. Obnoxious lyrics and a bland synth line might characterize the song as merely forgettable — if it weren’t for the prepubescent vocals:
3. Dead Island – Who Do You Voodoo, Bitch
Dead Island is a great first-person zombie survivathon, I love turning on my system and putting the game in to engage in some relaxing (or thrilling depending on my mood) zombie re-killing spree. But one thing that I absolutely hate about Dead Island is the game’s opening video song called “Who do You Voodoo?” A fictional song by fictional one-hit wonder rapper and Dead Island protagonist Sam B, Who Do You Voodoo is enough reason to skip the game opening because after hearing it more than once, it’s sure to make you want to off yourself by either a) decapitation, b) gunshot to the head, c) electrocution, or d) all of the above.
2. Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night – I Am The Wind
How do you ruin an otherwise perfect game? By ending it with a song that should have been in a cheaply produced porn video. Symphony of the Night’s I am The Wind encapsulates the weird Japanese fetish for featuring the weirdest songs on games or even movie trailers that add nothing to the experience; when in fact it only brings it down a few notches. If Castlevania had a porn spoof video, this song should definitely be featured on it. Opening up with the most Kenny G – like saxophone screech, this elevator song might have been the reason why Alucard wanted to kill his father. Dracula’s taste in music was quite a hideous monster as well. This song should’ve been left on the cutting room floor.
1. Final Fantasy VIII – Eyes On Me
Love it or hate it, Final Fantasy VIII featured one of the more interesting romance stories from Square-Enix. Now I’m not saying that it’s Shakespearean good, but it’s curious enough to entice players to continue playing to find out what happens to Rinoa and Squall’s on-again, off-again bond. There’s all this built up feelings between the two that when the romance climaxes we expected big Love Actually, touchy-feely spot. Yet what we got instead was a flat, uninteresting, and borderline annoying romantic sequence highlighted (or lowlighted if you’d so prefer) by Faye Wong’s “Eyes On Me.” This nerdbait of a song is ripe with amateurish lyrics and forced english accents, I was surprised it got FF music composer Nobuo Uematsu’s signature of approval. Yikes.