We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.

A Night at the Symphonii

Trendy, Catchy, Weird as Heck

by Andrew Brown - December 24, 2012, 6:35 am EST

These games are known for their insanity, but their music rocks too!

The last few generations have shown us that video game music isn't all just beeps and boops (though chiptunes are still pretty awesome to hear when they're used in modern games—another point I'll make on this page), and some games even feature incredible vocal talent in their soundtracks. Reader discretion advised, the music in the choices below sometimes contains references to adult situations or language.

Like many great games of yesteryear, No More Heroes' soundtrack features one main recurring musical theme that's reiterated and remixed in a dozen different ways to suit the different levels it appears in. Unlike those games, this theme is less a full musical composition and more a small chunk of catchiness that's mixed into each of the level themes as a background beat, and the resulting song is unique enough to be considered a completely different tune altogether. In a quirky tribute to older games, several of the mini-game tunes are also presented in 8-bit chiptune style to match the artistic use of pixels and HUD text that the game throws up on your screen.

In this selection, I've tried to showcase the best of each type of music presented in the game, including my favorite boss theme—Speed Buster. Really though, the whole game is a work of art, not just the music. If you haven't played it, why not?

No More Heroes Main Theme
Rank Up
Speed Buster
Level 4

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle had a less memorable soundtrack than the first game, though it more than makes up for that with the inclusion of some extremely cool vocal pieces, including the first game's main theme all jazzed up with lyrics! Also listed below is a great track called Philistine, which was sung by one of the game's bosses during her assassin ranking battle—the lyrics contain plenty of smug insults aimed at Travis' otaku loner lifestyle. Pretty damn funny for something that's supposed to be performed on the fly in the midst of a fight to the death.

The version here is the one heard in the European and Japanese versions of the game, which has some speaker reverb effects added to the vocals and a spruced up instrumental accompaniment.

Kill Or Be Killed
Philistine (Japanese Version)
Let's Fight a New Boss
Beam Katana Chronicles 2

This game was a B-grade homage to grindhouse films, and it rocked. The characters were corny stereotypes that fit their respective roles like a glove, the dialogue was both hilarious and cheesy, and the levels were a lot of fun to play. Packed with adult content, more stomach-turning gore than you can shake a barf bag at, and a constant stream of expletives, this game was recently included in the Guinness Book of World Records for containing the most instances of the F-bomb in a video game.

Gleefully, the music lived up to the rest of the game as well, with a jazzy track list of tunes that came with and without lyrics. I've chosen the lyric versions, of course.

The tracks below contain mixed-in quips from the cast of characters and the particularly hilarious narrator, who often stole the show with his alliterative puns and unbridled enthusiasm. Once again, there's some very strong language present in this music—these songs are not for kids! My favorite track in the game, "Torn Out Twisted," was (according to the game, at least) performed by "Casey & the Creepy Feelings." Does that vocalist have a sexy voice or what?

Torn Out Twisted
HOTD Main Theme
Critic's Choice
Dim Sum For Papa

So that's my top 10 list, but the fun certainly doesn't end there. Coming up on the next page I've got some honorable mentions that didn't make it into the list. Listen on!


FreudianLemurDecember 20, 2012

You must have, at some point in this list, the soundtrack from FF Chrystal Chronicles (only the first one, on the GC).

Disco StuDecember 20, 2012

Oh man, the Puzzle Plank Galaxy music from SMG2 is the perfect, quintessential Mario music to me.

joshnickersonDecember 20, 2012

I'd love to hear the original Galaxy soundtrack someday, if only just to hear what could have been.

RazorkidDecember 20, 2012

I absolutely feel the same way about videogame music. It's a huge detriment to me if the music doesn't pop or add significantly to the experience. I haven't gone through your list Andrew, but I look forward to it. I'm always super curious about the tastes of other fellow videogame music lovers and whether mine overlaps at all.

Pixelated PixiesDecember 20, 2012

Some of my stand out soundtracks on Wii are Xenoblade (so good it hurts), the Galaxy games, Epic Yarn, Twilight Princess, House of the Dead: Overkill, the No More Heroes games, Metroid Prime 3, Muramasa, and of course Beat the Beat (Rhythm Heaven Fever).

On the digital front there's also the Bit.Trip games, Light Trax, the Lost Winds games, World of Goo, Cave Story, Mega Man 9 & 10, and Max & the Magic Marker (way underrated as a soundtrack).

I have to share this again. It's just too good. Too good I say!


Evan_BDecember 21, 2012

Hey, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers has fantastic music, too. The game is the Skyward Sword before Skyward Sword and jam-packed with minigames, but the themes hit just the right balance of that laid-back adventuresome idea and more classy, jazzy material.

joshnickersonDecember 21, 2012

All these articles are doing in making me wish Nintendo would make these soundtracks available to us in the states in one form or another! Y'know, instead of making me track down some rather shady online sources... :-X

I had no problem with Fi; I actually found her quite amusing, once I noticed similarities between her and Vulcans (constantly talking about percentages and logic). I was actually rather touched with her final scene towards the end of the game.

(I did think she looked a tad goofy singing, though ;) )

FreudianLemurDecember 24, 2012

When I listened to the Xenoblade title music, suddenly all my feelings of awe and wonder for the game came rushing back, and I realised how long it is since I last played it. I've not even finished it! Why do I do this with great games? I play a decent way in, and then for some reason I won't play it for ages, to the point where I almost forget about it. *facepalm*

azekeDecember 26, 2012

Judging from the list author hasn't played Rhythm Heaven Fever.

Because it would be #1 if he did.

LittleIrvesDecember 28, 2012

Great stuff, Andrew! Love the sepia-toned logos, too....  I'd add Kirby'd Epic Yarn to the list, and my own personal take on "Ode to Joy" from Wii Music, but I understand how you might have missed that one, ha.


I totally forgot to add Other M's Ridley theme in the Honorables too. Oh well, next time :D

EasyCureJanuary 04, 2013

I can't get the DKCR sound track on my mp3 player :( stupid formats...

Got a news tip? Send it in!