Monday, July 20, 2009

Top 5 Songs from Games' Closing Credits

Yes, a top 5 list. Someone call the internet cliche police, I've hit rock bottom. At least we can only go up from here.

I have made it a habit of watching the entirety of the credits roll at the end of every game I finish. I'm not sure when I started doing this, but I like to think of it as a mark of respect to the developers, even though the odds on me remembering even a single name from the list are less than remote. Accordingly, I've listened to a lot of closing themes in games. Most of them don't stick with me, even in games which I've really enjoyed, but there have been a few which have, and here are five (or six) of them:

5. Final Fantasy X - Suteki Da Ne (Rikki/Nobuo Uematsu)
Final Fantasy X, which is incidentally the only Final Fantasy I've completed, was a game which annoyed me almost as much as it enthralled me. It was like everything that was wrong as well as right in JRPGs. One thing I couldn't fault, though, was the music. From the tinkly opening theme in the start menu, to the soaring crescendos in the CGI scenes, it was superb, emotive stuff. The closing theme, which Youtube informs me is called Suteki Da Ne, is a poignant way of ending the game, although I think the real standout theme in the game was the Hymn of the Fayth, which was used at several points in the game (there are apparently 11 versions of it on the FFX OST).

4. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - Straight Out of Line (Godsmack)
Much has been said about how the Prince's badassitude in Warrior Within was a step back from the more likeable persona created in Sands of Time, and I agree with most of it. By the end of the game, however, you had probably at least come to terms with the new, but not improved, angry prince, and even though the soundtrack lost the delicacy and mystery of the first game, at least it did rock. Ubisoft's selection of Godsmack's Straight out of Line to go with the shifting, burning imagery of the credits roll was a good one, closing the game off on an appropriately badass note.

3. Mass Effect - M4 Part II (Faunts)
Mass Effect is a game I enjoyed tremendously, and after the game's cataclysmic ending it drops to an amazing, spacey bit of indie rock as the credits come up, which I was really taken with. Turns out, the song is M4 (part II) from a band called Faunts. At more than 8 minutes, it's also the ideal song for a long set of credits. I enjoyed it so much that I actually ended up buying the band's EP, and you can too, from Friendly Fire Records.

2. Gears of War - Cole's Rap (Lester Speight, presumably mixed together by the Gears audio team)
Gears' credits start with a more atmospheric piece, but halfway through switches to a rap song presumably put together by Epic's audio team using Augustus "Cole Train" Cole's voice samples from the game, no doubt with a few extra ones recorded by voice actor Lester Speight. Much like Cole's character in the game, it's horrendously cliched and over the top, but manages to get away with it by not pretending to be anything else. In fact, if it weren't for number one on this list, it would probably be the greatest piece of closing music in a game ever. Yeah! Woo! Bring it on sucka! Dis my kinda shit!

1. Portal - Still Alive (GlaDOS, or more accurately, Jonathan Coulton)
Valve's quirky puzzle game succeeded as much due to the humour as it did to the problem solving, with the undisputed star of the game being the deranged AI, GlaDOS. Completing the game rewarded you with this brilliant, oddly touching song during the credits, during which the lyrics popped from text prompts and guaranteed that nobody was going to read the names of any of the poor souls who worked on the game. If you managed to watch the entire song after completing Portal without smiling, then you'd better check your pulse, because you might very well be dead.

Special Mention: Mirror's Edge - Still Alive (Lisa Miskovsky)
The closing track in Mirror's Edge is a really beautiful song, its austere Scandanavian-ness complementing the games aesthetic very nicely. It didn't make the list, though, because I couldn't very well put two songs called Still Alive on it, could I?


  1. Oy Norval! Go back to your roots! You've forgotten the 90's dude! ANOTHER WORLD, GODS, and XENON2: THE MEGABLAST... come on!!

  2. I haven't forgotten, but I'm not sure any of those are good examples. Another World was written by a single person, with one other person composing the music. The ending was quite dramatic, but did it even have closing credits? I finished playing it again only a month or so ago, so you'd think I'd remember. As for Gods, I recall it was the intro music that was impressive, and then only if you had a sound card, which I didn't at the time. And finally, Xenon 2 was a 90's shmup, which means nobody has ever completed it (without a cheat code).