There are some video games that are just iconic and made history. There are some with unmistakable sound effects. Who doesn’t know the sound of Mario hitting a block or Link at the fairy fountain? Some games have a soundtrack just as haunting and unforgettable as the game itself and horror game soundtracks are the best of them all.
We’re going to look at games (and franchises) new and old with soundtracks that give us goosebumps and keep us up at night. In no particular order… onward through the dark.
Resident Evil (original PS1)
If you have read any of my Resident Evil articles in the past, you may already know how much the franchise means to me. Obviously I mean the game franchise and not the abomination that is the movie franchise (animated movies excluded) but I digress. This was my very first console game and my first encounter with zombies.
More than the (at the time) awesome graphics and environment and terrifying monsters, the soundtrack was eerie and set the mood properly. This same soundtrack wasn’t included in other versions I’ve seen or in the remastered game.
Whether shrill synthetics of the basement lab or the heavy cello of the mansion, the music was haunting and scared me in itself and is a classic in terms of horror game soundtracks.
Silent Hill Franchise
Talk about another game with haunting music. Silent Hill’s OST for all of their games is notable. Akira Yamaoka’s name is synonymous with Silent Hill and there are numerous songs that are creepy and kicky at the same time.
While I have a few favorites, “Room of Angel” from Silent Hill 4 is my top choice. The music is repetitive and simple and the breathy voice of the woman singing makes you look outside and almost see the ash falling.
Dying Light/ The Following
I love this game so much. I have beat it and re-played it so many times and with the announcement on multiple DLCs being released, it’s just another excuse to play it some more. I often describe this game as everything Dead Island wanted to be but just couldn’t.
The FIRST thing I noticed about this game was the music. It was unlike anything I had heard before. With a repetitive back tone and beautiful music paired with it, it was both scary and gorgeous. It makes me truly feel a part of the game and I feel like doing some parkour every time it comes on and is easily of the best horror game soundtracks.
When The Following came out, we were hit with music that was very different for the pastoral setting but still had elements that tied in so well to the original soundtrack, you knew it was the same game.
While not considered horror, the idea of a total nuclear apocalypse is in itself terrifying and we love the Fallout franchise here at iHorror. Fallout 3, New Vegas and Fallout 4 have easily some of the most recognizable and best soundtracks.
All made up of real music released between the 40’s through the 60’s, including the silly novelty songs about atom bomb babies and love in the fallout, the soundtracks can to be listened to daily and not get old. The YouTube channel Old World Radio-Boston frequently streams the soundtracks from all three games live with the DJ interludes included.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
I think I would have had to deal with a mob of angry readers if I didn’t include this one. I didn’t play Castlevania: SOTN as a child, but encountered it as an adult. In game formats like SOTN, anytime you’re in a new area, a different song will play on repeat and when you leave and return, you’ll hear it again.
Basically, you know where you are based on the music. While it does, in my opinion, definitely sound like game music, it is easy to hear on repeat and the music really is lovely. My personal favorite is the use of the organ, an instrument totally underrated in horror game soundtracks. If you’re a Castlevania fan, check out our review on the new series on Netflix.
The Evil Within
I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I found it slightly buggy and the story almost too strange to follow but I thought it was intensely scary. And with the voice of Jackie Earle Haley as Ruvik, the music and voices set a good tone.
“Clair de Lune” is used whenever a weird transport mirror is nearby which is eerie and misplaced. In such a dark and scary place, the song is delicate and calming and a great addition. The reason it makes this list is the music played by a deadly carousel.
Clowns and circuses freak me the hell out and you add a carousel with giant blades combined with creepy as shit music and you have a winner in my book. With the second game in the series coming out this year, I’m excited to see where they take the music.
If you like horror games, check out some of our favorites in indie horror gaming. What’s some of your favorite horror game soundtracks? Let us know in the comments.
(Featured image courtesy of Game Spot)