Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was an exhausting endeavour; and now I find myself unsure of which game I should play next. Pretty much anything sitting in my collection that has gone unconsumed is a third-person action game of some description: Vanquish, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Epic Mickey, Crackdown 2, and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom. Rather than move onto these titles straight away, I'd like to reminisce a little bit; let's talk about the marriage of music and games. Not in a conventional sense though, I'm not referring to the increasing quality of original videogame soundtracks, or even licensed ones for that matter: sometimes the best soundtrack is the one you create yourself.
This goes back to the days of the Sega Mega Drive, when my older brother and I completed the classic Role Playing Game, Shining Force to the soundtrack of Madonna: The Immaculate Collection. That's right dear readers, each time I banished a skeleton warrior to the netherworld, old Madge would pipe in with the likes of "Holiday," and "Like a Virgin." There was something about the her chirpy, flirtatious sound that made saving the world all the more satisfying. This particular habit became all the more bizarre when I played Star Wars: Tie Fighter to the sound of Michael Jackson's twin album opus, History. While I was a huge Star Wars fan, and a lover of Williams' classic score, "Earth Song," and "Stranger in Moscow," accentuated the drama in LucasArts' classic flight sim.
Note: Play both clips together so you get the improvised soundtrack and the classic videogame action. You'll need to mute the game footage (even though in the case of Shining Force, you may not want to).
There were times when the music seemed to fit the action on-screen, such as when a friend and I played multiple sessions of Grand Theft Auto III to the dulcet tones of System of a Down. Try hitting one of the many stunt jumps with "Spiders," playing in the background. I get goose-bumps even thinking about it. If that doesn't suit your taste, you could always try a flamethrower rampage with "Sugar," blowing out your speakers. System of a Down was also on constant rotation when I played Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil 4. Sometimes it looked as though the chainsaw-wielding gonados were dancing to "Old-School Hollywood."
Recently (not too recently, mind you), I have found some winning combinations. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Gears of War with a soundtrack of Bruce Springstein, Prince and Mastodon. "Sleeping Giant," fits the crumbling vistas and wreckage found in the fiendishly-designed multiplayer maps so brilliantly, and I always loved to have "1999," to compliment a victory. In 2009, I spent many hours playing Battlefield: Bad Company to the sounds of Jay Dee (aka J Dilla); specifically the album titled, Donuts. I loved every moment of it, with the mash-ups of soul tunes adding to the impact of every structure-shattering explosion. I'd thoroughly recommend the combination, as it is one of the most memorable.
What about you guys? Has there been a time where a game's aural component has failed to measure up to your record collection? If you find the time, boot up Bad Company and J Dilla - "Stop." You will not regret it.
Also, what game should I play next? Do any of the above tickle your fancy, or should I just bite the bullet and play my first MMO, DC Universe Online?