lets Let the music play on.
We love music here at The X Button. All kinds of music, from country to rap to jazz to dance to rock to dubstep. Well, maybe not all of those, but you get the idea. And one thing we particularly like are soundtracks.
Which is why this week we’re couinting down our top 5 sci-fi themes. To qualify for this list, the track must be the theme music (not just any old piece of music from the soundtrack) of a game with a sci-fi storyline or setting- and there is some truly fantastic music out there, which made compiling this list pretty damn hard. But nevertheless, we persevered. For you.
So, without further ado, we present our Top 5 Sci-fi game theme.s
5: Hope Runs Deep
Steve Jablonsky, Gears of War 2
The Gears of War series has been blessed with some fantastic music, and I’m a big fan of Kevin Riepl’s work on the original game in particular. But Gears of War 2 composer Steve Jablonksy crafted a masterpiece with his title theme for Gears of War 2, Hope Runs Deep. It has throwbacks to the original Gears theme and it’s alternately haunting and bombastic fare. But it goes much further, slowly building into an epic choral arrangement that perfectly sets the tone for the grander scale of the second game. It makes for a powerful theme.
4: Suicide Mission
Jack Wall & Sam Hulick, Mass Effect
Mass Effect is another series notable for its exceptional music, but for me the highlight is here, with the main theme from the very first game. Jack Wall’s work has echoes of the work of Vangelis and a hint of Christopher Franke, but has an identity all of it’s own. The synth-heavy theme carries with it an element of wonder and mystery, perfect accompaniments to the game but recognisable in their own right. Even now the theme gives me goosebumps.
3: Metal Gear Solid 2 Main Theme
TAPPY / Harry Gregson-Williams, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
The difference in sound between Rika Muranaka’s Metal Gear Solid OST and Harry Gregson-Williams’ work on the later Metal Gear Solid titles is quite pronounced, and both have their merits. But the MGS2 Main Theme is a perfect blend of both; a Harry Gregson-Williams rearrangement of TAPPY’s original Metal Gear theme that bridges the gap between the two superbly. It has the thematic strength of the very best of the Metal Gear Solid soundtracks, but brings a more cinematic edge to the composition. And it’s superb.
Michael McCann, Deus Ex: Human Revolution
How do you sum up a game in a theme? We don’t know, but composer Michael McCann apparently does, judging by his work on Square Enix’s excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The main theme, Icarus, conjures up plenty of imagery with it’s name alone, but the blend of futuristic electronica and haunting vocal arrangement create a striking and stirring composition, epic but tinted with sadness and a faint sense of foreboding. Powerful stuff.
Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo is a game that will be long remembered for many things, but one of it's most striking features was always the soundtrack. Whereas most sci-fi action games are content to settle for a bombastic orchestral fare - Killzone, I'm looking at you - Halo dared to be different, opting instead for a haunting choral piece that lent the game an air of mystery and majesty.
Especially notable about the theme from the original game is the way that the choral opening gives way to the faster-paced action score which, with its unusual medley of tribal drumbeats, guitar riffs and string orchestra stands out as some of the finest, more original music in gaming as a whole, let alone for sci-fi games. It's rare for a piece of music to be haunting, stirring, and pulse-quickening, but the Halo theme has it all.