Selection of video games with musical themes so incredible in the main menu that you always want to listen to them before you start playing
The premiere a few weeks ago of the definitive editions of Mafia II and Xenoblade Chronicles has reminded us of something they have in common. How? You may be wondering. Stop racking your brains looking for matches between two such different titles, what we want to highlight happens before even pressing any button. Once we start both games, there is something on the Press Start screen that prevents us from starting to play. Yes, we are referring to the magnificent musical themes that we can hear on these mere traffic screens. In the following report we rescue these and other examples of masterful compositions that hold our finger on the button that will start the game.
And we started with the modern classic of Monolith Soft that was reaching the whole world between 2010 and 2012. We knew, from its launch trailer and the glories shown in the specialized press, that in Xenoblade Chronicles an unparalleled adventure awaited us, and yet When we finally put the disc in our Wii, more than one of us endured the enormous desire to start the game.
A strange sword stuck in the plain. It is daytime, the breeze lightly rocks the grass and the lazy clouds move over the stage. A melody begins that unfolds slowly and nostalgically through the keys of a piano. Instruments are added, and the strings enter the scene next to the orange of the sunset. The rhythm of the music increases, also its intensity, while the rays of the sun, which gradually die, make the side of the sword shine, which seems to require us to be wielded. But we keep waiting, because we keep listening. When the night comes Monado, which is what the sword is called, glows with its own energy under the starry sky. The rhythm drops again, there is only one violin left, which gives way again to the nostalgic piano closing the perfect circle while the first lights of dawn appear again. Now yes, we press the button that opens the doors to one of the greatest trips of our lives.
He didn’t skimp on the Mafia 2 soundtrack. This classic American gangster story spanning several decades deserved incidental music to match, and boy did it. The excellent compositions were recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which for a time was surprised how video games knocked on their door to soundly adorn the ears of future players.
The opening notes of Mafia 2 seem like the summary of something, a conclusion, the slap on the back for what has been lived. Then it starts with verve, riding but at the same time contained, and explodes in a central part that drags us gently and rocks us. The choirs enter, which are added to the strings in the Leonard Bernstein style. Afterwards, everything softens, and the music talks to us again as if we were already an old friend for her. Sublime.
Ori and the Blind Forest
We could have chosen Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the brilliant second part of this great game, but we were left with the impression that this first experience caused us. He tricks the delicate melody, which hides behind him a demanding metroidvania. Not so the background postcard, in tune with a huge artistic direction. And we not only love that wonderful audiovisual picture. Here we leave you with a loop, of no less than ten hours, of someone who surpasses us in obsession.
The case of the precious and delicate title of Tequila Works is different. Here the problem to press Start comes after having advanced until the end of the game. Rime reveals its secret as we go along and each chapter highlights it with its title (we are not going to spoil it here, don’t worry). The case is that The song of the sea, the wonderful song that puts a brilliant end point, we will keep it in mind on the start screen of the second round. All the cards are on the table, there is nothing to hide anymore, and the delicacy of the melody and the voice reinforce the tremendous emotion we feel at the end of our journey. It is a song that you will not only want to hear in its entirety at that time, we assure you that on more than one occasion you will look for it on Spotify or Youtube. It is not only that it is very good, it is that every time you listen to it you will have there condensed in less than three minutes the emotion of what was lived and felt in that adventure that is also a receptacle of memory, which is also already, I remember.
But there is more. The funny thing is that we have two versions of the song composed by David García. Mirella Díez Morán interprets the neat version of the final credits. Let’s say the star theme of a soundtrack that is already tremendous from start to finish. The version that we can hear on the home screen has the voice of Silvia Guillem Cofreces, who is accompanied in turn by a different instrumentation. It is a more racial interpretation, slightly flamenco if you like, away from the perfection of the main theme. Let’s say that one is the version that we could hear in a Disney animated film, and the other the one that would delight us in a small live room. You do not have to choose one, on the contrary, you should thank them for both. Here they are both in a single video, first that of Mirella Díez, and from minute 2’46 ” that of Silvia Gillem.
In Fallout 4 we were shown a workshop with an Enclave power armor around it, a lot of details recognizable by the legion of fans that emerged from Fallout 3. From the first second we recognized the piano bass notes that accompany the scene, because they also accompany our feelings and memories of what we experienced in the previous title. There is solemnity in those notes, and they make us feel at home, we know ourselves back again, and we gloat contemplating and listening knowingly that after pressing Start, the long-awaited past sensations will shine again.
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time
The opening of this masterpiece is a moving sequence without an explicit narrative. In addition, the music that plays in these scenes is also not exceptional for its sound notes. Of course, it is a melody that perfectly reflects what we see on screen: the intimate awakening of a world. We must therefore put ourselves in context. Turning on the Nintendo 64 for the first time with Ocarina was epiphanic. It was the jump to three dimensions of one of the great video game franchises. A jump that turned out to be sublime and for posterity. But then we did not know that we were facing one of the best games of all time. We probably did know from the press that we were starting our adventure as a child. So, watching in those opening scenes an adult Link riding Epona was something to admire. Several games would pass until we could perform that action by ourselves, so it became a ritual to let that sequence pass completely, with his Press Start pleading to be pressed in his blink, until we finally put on our adult boots in this unforgettable adventure.
Final Fantasy X
It puzzled the first time we saw the Final Fantasy X home screen. Because of the impressive graphic leap of the franchise on PS2 compared to PSX, but above all because it showed us a scene that we did not know its meaning. To Zanarkand, Nobuo Uematsu’s sublime piano theme, greeted us with sensitive piano notes. They were sad notes, and the general atmosphere of the leading group, sitting crestfallen around a bonfire, also heralded harsh events. It turned out that most of the game was moving in flashback looking for that scene. By the time we reached that point in history after many hours in front of the screen, we too were imbued with that sadness. It all fit perfectly into an emotionally complex and tragic story that would mark us for the rest of our lives.
World of warcraft
We change the intimate environments to get fully into the epic, and among the possible examples, in the greatest of all. The World of Warcraft Login screens anticipated the entrance to another world that would become for many their second home. Thousands of hours spent with friends in the fantastic Azeroth, living infinity of experiences that would be embedded in the memories of a whole generation of players throughout its more than fifteen years of existence.
Atlus’s impressive game has been hard-earned out of the cult titles niche to finally embrace broader audiences. The class and dynamism of Persona 5 are seen in its fantastic design, but it is also heard. The soundtrack is a non-stop of hits, well-understood modernity and good vibes.
Medal of Honor Frontline
The Michael Giacchino main theme for Medal of Honor is surprising. This series of war video games set in World War II, promoted by a Steven Spielberg who had just delivered in cinemas Saving Private Ryan, gave us in the initial menu a song that was extremely sensitive and respectful of the historical legacy. It could be said that even heavenly, as a heartfelt tribute to the millions of souls lost in the conflict. Choruses and winds fly us into times of pain and sacrifice. Also to the cinematographic tradition of the time, watered with great deeds that would be impregnated in the collective imagination of generations above the same reality, much rougher and more prosaic than the neat face of a movie star. It is not surprising that this composition appears regularly among the countless video game music concerts that take place around the world.
My Brother Rabbit
We say goodbye making room for a small game, which not only live our ears with big names. This delightful graphic adventure with the visual tone of a classic children’s story (its court drawings seem to come out of illustrated books from many decades ago) welcomes us with a lullaby of dreamy notes whose voice cradles us not without a bit of strangeness. The collaboration between Arkadiusz Reikowski (Layers of Fear, Kholat, Observer) and Emi Evans (NieR: Automata, Dark Souls) searches for their identity in children’s imagination, in their fears, dreams and desires. Delicious.
We didn’t want to say goodbye without doing a couple of paragraphs. On the one hand, mentioning a couple of titles whose home screen does not do justice to the treasure of their soundtracks: Virginia, a video game with a comic aesthetic and Lynchian atmosphere that makes a spectacular and radical use of fragmented film montage; and Everybody´s Gone to the Rapture, a walking simulator with mysterious shades where Jessica Curry creates a sacred balm for the soul with choirs.
Secondly, thank you when the developers introduce a jukebox in the game to enjoy the full soundtrack. Going back to the beginning of the report, the Switch version of Xenoblade Chronicles lacks this option, which was present in the New Nintendo 3DS (remember, a vitamin version of the laptop that exclusively allowed to run this demanding title). It has special meaning because the magnificent video game by Monolith Soft, in which an effort was made to introduce the theater mode, would have benefited from the work that has been the remastering of the soundtrack. It would have been a pleasure to have the original and the current one in a playlist where you could alternate them both at pleasure. Fortunately, there are studies that do pamper this detail. Puzzling Dream brings us 30 songs on The Way. In this pixelated futuristic story, the protagonist visits a remote planet with the intention of bringing his deceased wife back to life. The notes on the keyboard are lengthened as much as the distance between Earth and that mysterious place … or the distance between the protagonist and his lost love.
Finally, we want to claim the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate jukebox from Switch. In such a huge game it’s easy to lose perspective. It contains so much material that it would be a crime not to pay attention to this authentic and enormous treasure. No less than more than 900 songs, more than 30 hours of music that covers a good part of the history of video games. Classified by sagas (those of Nintendo like Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Metroid, Kirby, Fire Emblem, Kid Icarus, Splatoon, Animal Crossing, Xenoblade, Pokemon, Pikmin, Donkey Kong … but also Castlevania, Banjo Kazooie, Persona 5, Mega Man, Street Figthter, MEtal Gear Solid, Dragon Quest, Sonic, Final Fantasy VII, Pac Man, Bayonetta, the King of Fury DLC with 50 SNK themes …) is not limited to putting together classic themes one behind other. Many of them contain new arrangements, which shows the care and effort behind this section. The jukebox also allows us to create our lists and listen to everything linearly or randomly with the console screen turned off, as if it were an MP3 player. It is overwhelming, essential for video game lovers in general, and is in itself one more reason to get hold of this gem.
We are sure that while you were reading and listening to this report, a thousand more classic and modern examples of yesterday and today will have come to mind. Do not hesitate to share them with us on social networks. Let’s see if we all create a thread of essential Press Start screens. Those that include songs so wonderful that they were able to prevent us from starting to play.