4 OSTs that redefined the gaming experience

If you are a gamer you probably have been exposed to some really crazy pieces of music which you probably missed amongst the action and the adrenaline rushes. On the other hand, the songs that we come across in games add to the feel of it and are actually tailored to fit the scenario or situation that you find yourself in. Songs and soundtracks in games are as important as music is to a movie, as the tunes actually help in weaving the storyline as well as the overall feel of the game. They are meticulously designed and composed in intricate ways so as to compliment each battle, slash, huddle, chase, kill or whatever other situation you may find yourself in. The music also gives you an overall feel of what the game is about, building upon the overall face value of the game itself. One wisp of the soundtrack can give you a glimpse of the intensity of the gameplay that awaits you, be it an industrial metal song for the suburbs of a futuristic city, or an Arabian melody for the sand dunes of a desert, or the haunting tunes of a dark electronic tune interspersed with vocal samples for the frozen terrains of a FPS multiplayer.

Here are some of my favorite game soundtracks which deserve recognition owing to the immense amount of musicianship and level of composition and detail that has gone into their creation. We ought to listen to the musicians behind the graphics and acknowledge their part in creating a wholesome gaming experience.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within- Stuart Chatwood, Inon Zur and Godsmack

This is one game that got me interested in the insanely subtle and beautiful sport of Parkour. Other than the fact that you have the reins of a prince who is a traceur (an individual who practices Parkour) of the superhuman level, blasting deadly combos with dual swords and tearing enemies to pieces, your storyline is dotted with some excellent pieces of music. This is the kind of stuff that makes you hold on to your console or keyboard in anticipation, as the drum roll starts, the distortion kicks in and your enemies surround you from all sides. Consisting of a teeth-grinding combo of metal music interspersed with traditional percussion instruments from the Middle East at some crucial parts, while the haunting echoes of Arabian chants flow ceaselessly over the musical chaos created by the distorted tones of the guitar and the rhythmic patterns of the drums. Stuart Chatwood and Inon Zur are to be credited for the in-your-face intensity as well as the subtle poetry that the music weaves around the bloody battles and chases in the game. Moreover, the band Godsmack has also contributed two songs for the game, namely “I Stand Alone” and “Straight Out of Line”, making it a game fit for a metalhead looking to travel back in time and reclaim his fate.

Doom 3- Tweaker

Imagine yourself in a high-tech facility on Mars which has been overrun by forces from hell, resulting in everyone but you being transformed into zombies that are looking to tear a piece out of you as soon as they eye you from the corner of a dark corridor. Now what kind of music would go with this kind of scenario, where the player runs through hordes of creatures as they wait to jump out of nowhere to give you the scare of your life. Due to the jumpscare factor as well as the oodles of suspense that are a part of the build up in the game, there is no soundtrack during the gameplay as the developers wanted to create an eerie atmosphere that is designed to make you shit your pants in the pitch black darkness as you hear someone, or something, breathing close to you. On the other hand, the game has one of the most intense theme songs of its time, created by the dark-ambient, shoegaze, progressive rock band known as Tweaker. For this game, they decided to create a piece that would exude the atmosphere and intensity of the game and thus, they came up with a raw, trash metalish instrumental that gave rise to rumors that Tool was responsible for the theme song. Give it a hear, here:

Crysis 2: Hans Zimmer

The choir of angels sing through the violins as the bass takes form in torrents of intense rhythmic pulses as Hans Zimmer thrusts us into the world of Crysis 2. Unlike our above examples, this one exudes epicness in the form of atmosphere and feel, as you can see the build up evolve into a crescendo of melodic synchronicity, which is then replaced by a suspenseful start from scratch as the violins take over and begin their ascent into a place where the tune and tones merge into a synesthesia of ebb and flow of notes, until the echoes at the end are all that remain. The music composer who blew us away with hits from movies like The Dark Knight and Inception, curates us a trip through the overgrown wilderness of a city overrun by enemies, as you stealthily creep up behind an adversary and break his neck while having your invisibility cloak momentarily distorted while you place the body to the ground. Welcome to Crysis!

Halo 1, 2, 3- Michael O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori

As the coir of angels starts, and the drums in heaven start to roll in their welcome, amidst the stars and the darkness of space you see a large circle floating, suspended as if by invisible strings. Suddenly, a large spaceship emerges through the top of the screen, right in time for the crescendo as it builds up amidst the sounds of female vocalizations, which guide the drums and the symphony to a level of intensity where the voices and the music become one. The hypnotic tribal touch which the drums bring to the haunting chorus ascends into the dark of space, as you are carried away for a moment before you click the “New Campaign” button in the menu, afraid that if you do, you will miss out on the journey that the drums, the symphonies and the vocalizations have started to take you away. Michael O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori are the names who have been associated with one of the most renowned musical scores for a game, a fitting one at that.

About Ashwin Ramesh

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