Story aside, one of the most important elements in creating an engaging video game is having a killer soundtrack. This is because music alone adds dimension to a game’s atmosphere. Game developers work tirelessly with their sound departments to fully immerse their players into a new world and allow them to be easily recognized outside of iconography.
Personally, I love a good fighting game. Turn-based role-playing games (RPGs) or platform fighters have always had some of the best soundtracks. Being in a heated fight with an insane battle track in the background elevates the whole experience. My friends and I have even created special playlists full of our favorite video game music! Here are a few examples of fighting game music I’d play in the background if I ever got into a heated situation or battle.
Asterisk Battle Theme – Bravely Default
The Bravely Default developers knew exactly what they were doing when they created their battle theme. The game follows a band of newly found friends as they set out on an adventure to restore balance in the world of Luxendarc. The scene when one fights against the mini bosses includes a special battle track that is an absolute masterpiece. A mix of the fast tempo and string ensemble builds pressure as you’re trying to defeat the enemy boss. The sheer drama and elegance this song encapsulates made the turn-based JRPG experience unlike any other.
Character Selection – Skullgirls
It can’t be considered a fighting game if there isn’t a character selection screen! The selection screen soundtrack for the indie game Skullgirls creates a groovy and melodic beat that’s perfect to listen to before battle. The soundtrack for this game is credited to Michiru Yamane, Brenton Kossak, and Blaine McGurty – their insane ability to carefully craft a series of hits alongside their immersive fighting game deserves every award possible. The soundtrack perfectly matches the overall aesthetic of the game, which combines cute character designs with a hard edge.
OpeNing Theme – Mortal Kombat
Nothing can beat the classics, and Mortal Kombat is a prime example. Released in 1992, this iconic arcade style fighting game made record shattering numbers due to its high popularity. The opening theme for this game puts a time stamp on the period of its release. Its techno sound and heavy influences from Belgium’s Eurobeat scene combines two popular genres to create the perfect blend. The heavy use of the synthesizer and sound effects heavily push the classic arcade style of music. On top of that, who can forget the iconic “MORTAL KOMBAT” yell by Kyle Watt? Overall, Mortal Kombat stands as one of video game’s most recognizable titles for its gameplay, character design, and killer opening.
Last SurpRise – Persona 5
You know a song from a video game is good when you listen to it before even playing the game. “Last Surprise” from Persona 5 takes musical elements from acid jazz and goes full send. It was composed by Shoji Meguro with the vocals by Lyn Inaizumi in 2016, and is heard throughout the game including the opening and battle scenes. The entire soundtrack follows the same groovy rhythm and is one of my all-time favorite collections from a video game series. Just because I do not own Persona 5 does not mean I cannot enjoy the music!
Smell of The Game – Guilty Gear
Something about a hardcore rock ‘n’ roll track in a fighting game feels like a match made in heaven. “Smell of The Game” opens as the main theme song for Guilty Gear Strive. When released in June 2021, the creators knew exactly what they were giving us. When you hear the guitar shredding and drum smashing, it makes you want to mosh! It’s an intense song that goes perfectly for a visually stunning fighting game. I remember my friend loading Guilty Gear Strive up for the first time and being in complete shock when I heard the sound of the guitar shred. Naoki Hashimoto absolutely destroyed the vocals too – it’s definitely a song that takes me back to my punk rock phase in middle school.
Despite being an absolute pacifist, I can’t resist a good fighting game. Maybe it’s something in the music that makes me want to brawl out. These songs definitely get me pumped when I’m at the gym or trying to focus on my work. Have any other music from video games that you absolutely love to listen to? Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments!