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June 24, 2008 10:33 AM   Subscribe

What video games feature in-game songs (with lyrics) related to the game itself? I'm thinking Portal's "Still Alive," not Rock Band.

I'm looking for games that have songs with a musical (i.e. stage musical) quality. Johnathan Coulton's "Still Alive" during the credits for Portal or MC Frontalot's "Final Boss" at the end of Rainslick Ep. 1 are exactly what I'm looking for.

Non-credits songs are fine too. Conker's Bad Fur Day featured a mini-opera from a titanic mound of crap (NSFW) and Curse of Monkey Island has the barber-y pirates singing. I'm perfectly happy with examples like this as well. These four are all I can think of, but I'm sure there have to be at least a few more.

What I'm not looking for are songs without lyrics or real world songs in games, so no Guitar Hero or Amplitude. Thanks hivemind!
posted by Nelsormensch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (37 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wario Ware Touched features a song w/ lyrics about one of the characters Ashely
posted by neustile at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2008

Katamari Damacy
posted by Otis at 10:41 AM on June 24, 2008

Parappa the Rapper.

And, oddly, GTAIV has some hip-hop songs with shoutouts to in-game locations.
posted by box at 10:42 AM on June 24, 2008

The DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64. It's so bad that it's....really bad.

The theme song from Clayfighter. Also bad.

The them song from Cruis'n USA. Yeah yeah. Whoa whoa whoa. Yeah yeah.
posted by iconomy at 10:50 AM on June 24, 2008

One of Yuna's new roles in Final Fantasy X-2 seems to be as a pop star, she performs 2 songs in the game (although the first is an impostor).

Here's the opening, and a mid game concert.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2008

Lt. Briggs raps about Call of Duty 4 during the end credits.


And the thing about Call of Duty 4 is that the developers, Infinity Ward, consider part 4 to be part 3, since the "official" part 3 was developed by Treyarch during an embarrassing episode where Activision was trying to snatch the franchise away from Infinity Ward. A reporter who saw the preview builds of CoD4 noted that the executable was labeled "cod3" on Infinity Ward's computers.

So, during the end credit song in CoD4, the game is repeatedly referred to as "the third installment."

posted by EatTheWeek at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2008

Coulton mentioned that he took his inspiration for 'Still Alive' from a song in Skullmonkeys.

Also see the delightfully bizarre You Have to Burn the Rope.
posted by mattholomew at 10:59 AM on June 24, 2008

Oh, I've got another (very obscure) one, I Want to Marry an Archeologist from Sierra's Laura Bow II - The Dagger of Amon Ra. An underappreciated classic, and I forgot about the song until just now. It is an original composition made for the game, although it has no real connection to the plot.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:02 AM on June 24, 2008

Sam & Max Hit the Road had a song performed in-game by the character Conroy Bumpus, although I can't seem to find a clip of it. It was included on the CD-ROM version as an audio track, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:06 AM on June 24, 2008

You can listen to the song from You Have to Burn the Rope here.
posted by mattholomew at 11:08 AM on June 24, 2008

Here's a short list of self-referential video game songs.
posted by iconomy at 11:12 AM on June 24, 2008

Snoop Dogg on Gran Turismo 3. Search for the complete lyrics.

"3! 2! 1! lets go!
foot to the pedal and the pedal to the floor
hurry up and take off, adjust my seat
everything cool cause I'm dippin to this beat
sliding, slippin', smashin' off
I take the lead while others crash the wall
doggy D-O-double G in the motherf@cking Gran Turismo 3"
posted by cuando at 11:19 AM on June 24, 2008

Totakeke/K.K. Slider, in the Animal Crossing games, has a wide repertoire.
posted by box at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2008

Rhapsody was an RPG-Musical on the Playstation. (Note the video is from the Japanese original.)

Napple Tale was a adventure/platformer for the Dreamcast which had musical interludes by Yoko Kanno and Maya Sakamoto. Unfortunately, it was never released outside of Japan.

And here's the ending theme from Panzer Dragoon Saga. Just because it rocks my face off.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2008

Final Fantasy VI (FF3 US) has a 12 minute or so operatic sequence. It's fairly astonishing.
posted by effugas at 11:43 AM on June 24, 2008

Sam and Max -- new, improved, and in episodic form! -- feature generally one song per episode. Some of them quite good. (None quite as good as "Still Alive" or the Katamari Damacy soundtrack.)
posted by dryad at 11:48 AM on June 24, 2008

Not sure if this meets your criteria, but Gears of War has a song over the end credits featuring samples from the game, which is a tribute to and perfectly captures the complex and nuanced character of Cole Train.
posted by Durhey at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2008

The aforementioned Final Fantasy 6 and X-2 do this, as do 8, 9, and 10 (although 10 at least restricts it to a rather pretty hymnal).

Honorable mention goes to the weird borderline racist "rap" that plays anytime you play a Donkey Kong stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
posted by greenland at 11:58 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Final Fantasy XII has one at the end, though it's barely audible because it clashes with the voiceover. They paid Nobuo to do that one song and then they make it invisible. Hmph. (The rest of the game's music was by some punk that thought an overactive percussion section makes for good listening.)

Marathon 2: Durandal's music at the intro screen technically counts, even though the only lyrics are 'MAR-A-THON!'

StarCraft: Brood War had a badass easter egg song. Type 'radio free zerg' when playing as Zerg.

The end of Suikoden I has a touching chorus (fast-forward to 2:00).

The ending of Xenogears has a song by Yasunori Mitsuda (of Chrono Trigger fame) called 'Broken Mirror' or somesuch that almost brings me to tears every time I hear it.
posted by spamguy at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2008

If memory serves the Seventh Guest ended with one of the creepy themes from the game transitioning into a full jazzy number. Man, the music was the best thing about that game.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2008

Steambot Chronicles.
posted by juv3nal at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 3 has a title theme, with lyrics.
posted by churl at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 3 featured a Bond-film-like track called "Snake Eater." Musically, it sounded pretty good. But if you listen to the lyrics, you can't help but laugh thanks to some lovely engrish.

But you're so supreme! and You feed on a tree frog . . .
posted by nemoorange at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Final Fantasy X has a song called "Suteki Da Ne."
posted by Nattie at 1:02 PM on June 24, 2008

Ok, I know I know I know you said no Guitar Hero, but the bonus song "Guitar Hero" by Monkey Steals the Peach was written and performed by a group of guys at Harmonix specifically for the original Guitar Hero game. It really does fit your criteria, even though the rest of the game does not.

You can hear it at their MySpace page.

...that's what I use star power for!!
posted by owtytrof at 1:14 PM on June 24, 2008

I remember several of these from Sierra games:

Shivers 2 is based on a fictional rock band called "Trip Cyclone" that disappears in a Southwestern town and leaves behind clues in their songs. The game came with a 5-track bonus CD with the full songs on it. (The fake band even has a last.fm page!)

Gabriel Knight 2 has a plotline revolving around a "lost" Richard Wagner opera, pieces of which are performed toward the end of the game. (youtube)

King's Quest 6 had a power-ballad called "Girl in the Tower" written specifically for it, and I even remember they included a sheet with the game encouraging you to request it on radio stations. It's available for download at the bottom of this page.

King's Quest 7 had a musical intro called "A Land Beyond Dreams," available for download in the middle of this page.

As mentioned above, The 7th Guest and its sequel The 11th Hour had original songs written for them ("Skeletons in My Closet" and "The Game" for 7th Guest, "Mr. Death" and "The 11th Hour" for 11th Hour).
posted by brookedel at 2:11 PM on June 24, 2008

The final credits of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a song with lyrics. (It's not so great, especially considering how shreddin' the rest of the soundtrack is.)
posted by ignignokt at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2008

The N64 game Mystical Ninja starring Goemon actually featured musical-theater-style song sequences.

Man, need to track that down and play through it again… such a fantastically wacky game.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:23 PM on June 24, 2008

You said nothing without lyrics, but I wanted to mention the Lucas Arts game Outlaws. It featured a great soundtrack through-out that was an homage to Ennio Morricone.
They released a music CD which was actually pretty listenable. Here's a sample.
posted by Eddie Mars at 3:52 PM on June 24, 2008

Jets N Guns, a most excellent side scrolling shooter, features a soundtrack by Machinae Supremacy. Most of the tracks are instrumental but there is one level, where you are strafing a Machinae Supremacy concert, where the song "Hero" is played with lyrics.
posted by Riemann at 4:10 PM on June 24, 2008

Yes wrote and performed Homeworld (The Ladder) for the closing credits of, well, Homeworld. It's quite a good song if you like Yes and it was a great ending to a great game.
posted by ulotrichous at 5:11 PM on June 24, 2008

Ooh, what about the opening theme of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, sometimes called 'Audi Famam Illius'? It's even in latin.
posted by ulotrichous at 5:22 PM on June 24, 2008

ICO's ending theme, inspired by "Scarborough Fair" clearly references the game's events and themes, and is probably supposed to be sung by ICO himself. It's lovely.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:31 PM on June 24, 2008

The Skullmonkeys song that Coulton was talking about is The Lil' Bonus Room. Klogg is Dead is the ending song of the same game. This series of claymation games sometimes tried to subsist on style alone, but hey - that made for some very distinctive music.

As dryad mentioned, Sam & Max also features a lot in this vein. Just You And Me (And Ted E. Bear) is particularly good.
posted by easyasy3k at 12:19 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's a bit meta, but Penny Arcade Adventures Ep1: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness has MC Frontalot's Final Boss over the end credits. youtube & lyrics
posted by slimepuppy at 8:07 AM on June 25, 2008

Neverhood and Skullmonkeys both had hilarious and wonderful music done by Terry Scott Taylor

I actually bought the CD "Imaginarium: Songs from the Neverhood" I liked the music so much.

Here's a link to the Skull Monkeys Bonus Level lyrics as an example.

very much recommended listening.
posted by mincus at 12:43 PM on June 25, 2008

I made the music for You Have to Burn the Rope . Now I'll soon be done with another song for (and about) a game. I've been working together with students from the Guildhall to make the credits for their graduation project. Have a look at my webpage at the start of next week to download the song.
posted by Reachground at 6:03 AM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

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