#10: Blood for Sex (LISA)
This song starts out desolate, with strange sounding synthesized moaning and growling. It starts to pick up by adding odd bouncy synth noises that are given the most prevalence, and it builds upon itself by slightly increasing the pitch of those noises. Then everything fades out except for the sounds of footsteps until it loops around again.
What really pushes this song onto the list is just how it is simultaneously abrasive yet ambient, as well as using the synthesizers to the song's advantage. It all gives off the vibe that something evil and grotesque is hiding in wait, and that you are in danger This is especially fitting given that this song plays in the ironically named Nice Neighborhood; a place made up of ruined houses, is infested with hideous, mutant, skeletal creatures known as creeps, and houses the Joy Lab that is home to a disturbing Revelation about said creeps. On top of all that, there is lower pitched slowed down version that is used in the game's ending that sounds even more horrifying both in context to the ending and on its own.
This lovely song is the ending credits theme for The Binding of Isaac that will replace the original credits theme, End Times, after completing enough playthroughs. This song takes the tune of the original Christian Hymn of the same name and twists it to sound not only creepy, but also very depressing in context. The song consists of what sounds like the voice of a young child, commonly assumed to be Isaac, singing in a very nervous tone while it echoes in a much lower more more demonic sounding pitch; all of this being backed by hypnotic ambient noises.
Considering that this is a game about a six year old trying to escape his fanatical Christian mother who is about to murder him because she heard God tell her to; it really captures a feeling of self loathing and loneliness. This song is something that one can easily imagine Isaac singing to desperately calm himself as he nervously walks alone through a basement infested with demons. It not only sounds disturbing, but is also very depressing when one thinks about it; especially if they are aware of some of the alternate endings of the game.
Okay just to clear something up quick, this song is NOT from Sonic the Hedgehog 3. This song instead comes from the Sonic.exe fangame, which was based off the creepypasta. To just get this out of the way, the Sonic.exe creepypasta is basically just poorly written horror fanfiction about how a demonic version of Sonic kills Tails, Knuckles, and Eggman in a game the narrator is playing, and then kills the narrator in real life. Despite the poor quality of this creepypasta, it still built enough of a fanbase for someone to actually create a game based off of it.
Most of the songs used in the game are taken from other games, but there is one original composition created for it, but it was actually used twice in the game, just in separate ways. The first version you hear when you start up the game is the song played in reverse. This already will give the song an unnatural corrupted vibe to the song, but what makes this one work is that there is still a semblance of melody to it. I evokes a strong foreboding atmosphere to it while also implying that something just isn't right, which is an appropriate feeling considering that the whole point of the game is playing upon familiarity and subverting it.
Of course, the Game itself still is not scary due to it's sheer absurdity, but there was effort in trying to set things up.
Something that should speak volumes about this song's effectiveness is the fact that it comes up as a related search suggestion when google searching "most creepy video game songs." The only other two that come up are River Twygz Bed from Super Paper Mario and the Giygas theme from Earthbound. Not only are those two songs from much more well known games, but both of them have been placed highly on numerous Disturbing VGM countdowns since 2008. This song I have only seen featured on one, and it is from a much more obscure game.
About the song itself, it is a very low pitched song featuring distorted synth and low guitar notes, creating what gives off a feeling of utter despair and hopelessness. There are a few piano notes and some percussion instruments kick in half way through, which makes this song the closest to feeling pleasurable in any way. The emotions it evokes, however, far outweigh any of that seeing as just how dark and depressing it sounds.
This song is especially effective given the context it is used in. The game's premise is about a boy who, after receiving damage to his brain in an accident, now sees all of his surroundings as horrifying gore and all people as Lovecraftian monsters. This causes him to become very withdrawn from his society, which fills him with complete despair and loneliness, in addition to viewing the hellish images around him. This song represents Fuminori's living nightmare perfectly.
A list about horror music just would not be complete without something from one of gaming's most famous horror series. I figured it would be fitting to go with something from the one that started it all; the basement theme from the original Resident Evil. Note I said the ORIGINAL as this song is not in the Director's Cut not is it in the Remake.
This song gives off the feeling that there is something lurking around the corner ready to strike at any second. There is a constant air of tension and suspense given off by this song with its icy sounding string instruments. And then there is THAT noise; you'll know it when you hear it, that sounds alien and just downright evil. It's actually an orchestra hit played in reverse, which is used to brilliant effect.
This is classic horror gaming music at its finest.
This song lives up to its name; it is pure terror. It is panic personified. It already starts out with ominous demonic moaning and horn notes that sound like it is building up to something horrible. Further in, however, it picks up the pace with added heartbeat noises, drums, and high string notes. Afterwards, it sinks back down to a slow pace with low pitched static like noises and ominous piano notes.
What makes this song so special is that it manages to make the simple act of walking down a looping corridor scary. As the music picks up faster and faster, you get more and more convinced that something is going to pop out and attack you. As it builds up, your own heart beats faster and faster until it reaches its highest point... and nothing happens.
This song is the game flat out messing with the player's head. It tricks the player into thinking that something is after you when there isn't. Of course there is still an ominous atmosphere present afterwards but also a sense of relief; even though you aren't quite finished yet.
The Giygas battle theme from Earthbound is probably the most well known song on this list. If you have seen any other "most creepy/disturbing/scary video games songs" countdown, then there is a pretty good chance that this song will either be number 1 or at least placed highly. Both this song, and the accompanying battle have been synonymous with disturbing or creepy aspects of gaming, and it is not hard to see why. Enough has already been said about the emotionally tense and draining battle with Giygas himself, so I'll focus on the song itself. It is similar to Final Fantasy VI's final boss theme, Dancing Mad, in that it is made up of various smaller parts that play depending on where you are in the battle but will also form one full song when you listen to them in sequential order outside of the game.
It starts out with ambient yet also ominous breathing sound effects that give off the feeling that something horrifying is about to awaken. However, things become notably dismal when you actually start the fight with him. The first phase music is some strange alien static noise that sounds somewhat calm, but so odd and foreign that it is hard to take it as such. In his later phases, the music becomes more fast paced but maintaining that static like sound. In the sequence where the various NPCs you encountered throughout the game send you their prayers, you have a short organ depressing organ piece where you can still hear higher pitched versions of the static you heard in the main battle. When Ness's mom send her prayers, the intro to Smiles and Tears plays, which is a short music box tune that creates an odd contrast to the rest of the song, and even more so to the next part.
The final phase has the music become much more chaotic and menacing, which fits the fact that Giygas has become destabilized and is in full panic mode. When the final blow lands, the music reaches its highest point as it then cuts to plain old white TV static at the end. The whole time, the song basically lacks a melody and is just all over the place. This creates a very disorienting piece that perfectly fits the boss it was created with. It's probably as unsettling you get while still being listenable. Not that the latter stopped the next three tracks that is.
From this point on, the songs on this list start to become so insane and demented that they are pretty much unlistenable. Hell I would not even call these songs music more so than just a series of unsettling and unpleasant noises. Well technically, the base melody is music. Specifically, it is a music box rendition of Brahms Waltz in A flat major, no. 15. Of course if it was just that, then this wouldn't be that creepy.
Unfortunately, the song also inserts the sounds of drill's, children screaming and crying, and of torn flesh at random parts of the track. This track is just pure insanity and sadism. It sounds like what you would hear inside the mind of a deranged serial killer who targets young children and tortures them, and the misleading nature of the base instrumental just makes everything so much more messed up.
Horrific screams and injuries are going to sound disturbing regardless of where they are placed, which already puts it ahead of everything else on this list by default. The surprise is that there are still two songs that beat it out simply by the feelings they evoke and without needing to use blood curdling screams and sound effects.
This song is probably the closest that music has come to outright threatening the player through its composition alone. It does not so much build up a scary atmosphere more so than it outright says "You're going to die!!!!" Hell it's right there in the title. There is no sense of harmony or rhythm, it is just a conglomeration of increasingly chaotic and unpleasant noises repeatedly stacked on top of each other.
You have increasing synth beats and percussion building up to demonic screaming. It does not feel like it is attempting to immerse the player in the game's atmosphere. It feels like the song just decides to cut out the middle man and target the player directly by assaulting his/her senses. Hearing this song makes me feel like I'm going to die. It is perhaps, horror gaming's most horrifying musical creation, and it should not be able to get any more terrifying than this.
Yep, I'm serious. This may sound like a joke entry, but it isn't. Don't believe me? Look it up for yourself, I'll give you a second. What you just heard was the theme for the third level of Lolipops, one of the many horrendously programed and glitchy games in the Action 52 compilation. No it does not fit the game it was meant to portray in the slightest and has no reasons to be there, but that does not stop it from sounding horrifying.
It consists of what is basically the same few notes repeating endlessly on loop, yet those few notes are so effective. It sounds like a very low pitched bell tolling if replicated in an NES sound chip. I'll Kill You makes me feel like I'm about to die, but this song makes me feel like I'm already dead and am a soulless husk. This song is entirely desolate and devoid of anything other than pure dread.
The worst part though, is that I'm just talking about the unaltered sound test version. The version that plays in game is even worse. Of course no one uploaded that version on its own so the only way to hear it is to watch a gameplay video or play up to that point yourself. Because Action 52 is such a wonderfully programmed and well tested game, the music on Lolipops stage 3 is a glitched out and corrupted version of the base song that sounds even more unpleasant and grating, even more so than I'll Kill You, which was intended to sound loud and unpleasant. Yet despite all of this, you can still hear some brief bits of the base song.
Fitting that the most terrifying tune in gaming is from the most terrifying game of them all, but both for all the wrong reasons.
Well there you have it. I know it's been a few weeks since Halloween, but I didn't get the idea for this countdown until shortly after, and writing the list takes a bit of time. Hopefully these songs don't cause you to lose too much sleep... or sanity.
Eversion: Level 8
Half Life 2: Radio
Tales of the Abyss: Mushroom Hill
Castlevania Symphony of the Night: Curse Zone
Super Paper Mario: River Twygz Bed
Undertale: The Fallen Child
Scratches: What You Waited For
Super Mario Sunshine: Corona Mountain
Mother 3: Battle Against the Masked Man
Ar Tonelico 3: XaaaCi
Ecco the Dolphin (Sega CD): Welcome to the Machine
List by Iyamtebist (11/14/2016)
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