Halloween is just over a week away. While not necessarily my favorite holiday, I still find myself watching my favorite horror movies throughout the month. This year I wanted to do something a little different and share playlists of spooky-themed music from a variety of my favorite games. If there’s one thing I love as much as gaming, it’s the music that makes said games come alive for our listening pleasure. So, if you’re feeling festive, put on your headphones and treat yourself to some memorable Halloween gaming music to celebrate the coming holiday.
Gruntilda’s Lair – Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Kazooie is one of my favorite platformers of all time. The memorable adventure of the bear and bird drew me in with its brilliant use of color and buddy-up style of gameplay. With the talented Grant Kirkhope behind the game’s soundtrack, Banjo-Kazooie’s music is already at legendary status. The main hub of the game takes place inside Gruntilda’s lair, the wicked witch trying to steal Tootie’s (Banjo’s little sister) youth and beauty. The theme of the lair makes Banjo and Kazooie’s efforts to stop Grunty all the more convincing. The theme is also dynamic in that it would morph its sound to match the next world you were about to explore, like marimbas for a beach, organs for a haunted house, and xylophone for a snowy mountain.
Shifty Boo Mansion – Super Mario 3D World
When it comes to Mario, I know there might be more memorable themes for the iconic Ghost House from previous games in the plumber’s past. However, the first time I played Super Mario 3D World, I, for lack of a better term, couldn’t help but feel the theme of this game’s Ghost House to be so haunting. The brilliant use of strings made this theme really stand out. If the Ghost House theme from Super Mario World induced feelings of perpetual dread, the theme from Super Mario 3D World conjures feelings of melancholy and makes you lament for the poor Boos that must’ve met an unfortunate fate to haunt such a place as this.
Dracula’s Castle – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
When a game makes you feel like the ultimate badass from the get-go, you need a powerful and heart-pounding theme to make your heroic entrance all the more magnificent. That’s what happens when Alucard storms into the imposing castle of Dracula himself. As Alucard begins slaying werewolves, bats, and all manner of ghastly creatures, players get the feeling that they’re an unstoppable force. That is, until you have your abilities ripped from you and you’re tasked with restoring your power from scratch. Nonetheless, you can’t deny that Symphony of the Night made for one memorable opening to a Castlevania game.
Jaws of Darkness – Crash Bandicoot
In the mid-90s I was enjoying the time of the original PlayStation. You bet I was playing the Crash Bandicoot series of games at the time as well. The original Crash Bandicoot saw the marsupial on a mission to save his girlfriend from the clutches of Dr. Neo Cortex. Crash journeyed through ruins, rivers, rainforests, but one of my favorite settings was when Crash had to trek through dark and foreboding crypts underground. In these levels the music went minimalistic and featured eerie strings and thumping drums to make the snakes, bats, and bottomless pits seems very creepy. It works perfectly. Always look before you leap, I’d say, otherwise you will be swallowed whole by something in the dark.
Shadow Temple – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
When I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time as a kid, I remember harboring an intense feeling of dread when I first experienced the Shadow Temple. The fact that the temple’s entrance lies within a graveyard is unnerving enough. For this entry I decided to go with a track from Zelda Reorchestrated (ZREO), which I think better captures the terror of the dangers lurking in the shadows. If you listen closely you can hear the muted screams and wailing of the tortured souls from some unseen place within the temple. Surely gamers will recall that several rooms in the temple have wooden beams with chains, as if to crucify someone. The horrible thought is supported with the fact that there’s pools of blood at the base of these structures. The majority of the track also features drums from the deep, a clever touch that Bongo Bongo, the temple’s boss, lurks deep under the temple, waiting for Link’s coming.
That’s it for Vol. 1 of our Halloween-themed gaming music playlist. Keep your eyes on Mammoth Gamers for additional playlists as we creep closer to Halloween! Until then, enjoy the music, and have a frightfully good day!