For as long as the technology allowed sound to be produced, video games have done their best to implement it. Starting with the most archaic beeps and blips, evolving into having full-blown orchestras score their games, the world of video game soundtracks has come a long way since the Atari days. If used effectively, a video games soundtrack can elicit feelings, draw us closer to the action, or make our stomachs knot up in suspense. Having a well-made soundtrack is the secret to having players really connect with your game, as Super Mario, the Dark Souls series, and countless others can tell you.
Then, there are games whose soundtracks are so awful, so gut-wrenchingly poorly composed, that they force you to turn the game off, or at worst, jam the nearest sharp object into your ears to make the pain stop. These are Fifteen of The Worst Video Game Soundtracks ever made that will have you wondering how anyone with ears and a soul let it get out into the world. Not even Nickelback would touch these with a ten-foot pole.
15 Resident Evil’s Composer Let Their Cat Walk Across The Keyboard
If you look at my bio for TheGamer.com, you’ll see that I am a fan of the Resident Evil series. I understand that what makes the first Resident Evil so excellent is its blend of campy, sometimes awful, voice acting, live action intro, and a soundtrack mixed with genuine panic when trying to survive, is a large part of its appeal. But take the soundtrack out of context and listen to it on its own. Most of it is pretty awful; not all of it mind you! But the majority of it is pretty bad.
The mansion basement music sounds like a drunken man is trying his best to play the keyboard with one foot, while using the other to try and knock quarreling ferrets off the keys with the other. I understand that it’s supposed to cause discomfort, which it certainly does, just not the kind I’d associate with being scared.
14 Cruis’n USA’s Vocalist Has A Seizure Halfway Through The Track
A pretty awful arcade soundtrack that got worse when it was ported over to the N64. The titular music track is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard in general, inside or outside of a video game. Besides assaulting your ears with a synth rock/pop onslaught of mediocrity, this dude “sings” and it’s just the worst.
He starts with “CRUIS’NNNN YEAH YEAH THE USA, YEAH,” and it devolves into moaning and caterwauling that can barely be described as “singing,” let alone “noises a human being makes.” It’s just that slappy synth bass and this dude interjecting, “Oh,” “Yeah,” and really going out on a limb with the occasional, “Oh yeah!” It’s god awful, and enough to make me turn my N64 off, making the only place this game is going cruis’n is straight into the garbage.
13 The Terminator’s Soundtrack Is A Test In Patience
An awful game in general for the NES, the soundtrack is among one of the worst in video games. You may site technical limitations of a system as old as the NES for the reason that the soundtrack was left lacking. Well, no, the game sucks and the soundtrack is equivalent to someone trying to play an oboe with their butt. Plus, if the hardware is what limited the soundtrack from being great, how do you get classic soundtracks like Mario and Battletoads on the same system?
The worst track has to be the sewer level. An ear shredding combination of metallic bleeps and blips that are so agonizingly annoying after a single minute, you’d think it’s just a loop of the same fifteen-second clip. You’d be wrong; the track never loops once, it’s just nine minutes long.
12 A Boy And His Blob Soundtrack Is A Repetitive Rip Off
An odd game with an even odder soundtrack, A Boy And His Blob consists of feeding jellybeans to a sentient beanbag chair so that it turns into other objects that shouldn’t have faces on them. The soundtrack begins with what you think is the Indiana Jones theme, until it degrades into something much worse.
The music throughout repeats on this one ripped off theme, with maybe a slight differentiation in tempo or effects. And that’s it; the monotony of the same song playing the entire game while you figure out what piece of furniture the boy should turn his blob into should be enough to make it a deal breaker for any gamer considering giving it a run.
11 Deadly Premonition Tries To Be Unsettling, But Instead, Whistles
Described as “Twin Peaks the game” by pretty much every gaming outlet and gamer who played it, Deadly Premonition was a mediocre third-person survival horror game. It featured, for the most part, a tolerable soundtrack made up of acoustic guitar and odd vocal play. The game goes for making you feel unsettled, which it does do every once in a while. However, a few of the tracks are just a complete miss for a survival horror game.
Some of the tracks, especially “Life Is Beautiful,” sounds like it could be used in a commercial for Pringles or Fed-Ex. I know that mixing cheery, happy music with disturbing or ultra violent scenes can be more disturbing than making the music reflect the action present on-screen. But this just makes me want to turn the volume down. All the way down.
10 Quake 2 Is A Nu Metal Fans Dream, That Is To Say, It’s Awful
Quake 2 is an excellent shooter that harkens back to the days before the series became an arena shooter. You know, before it tried to go back to its roots with the extremely underwhelming Quake 4. As is typical of most id Software games, Quake 2 has a soundtrack that would be considered “heavy” music by most. Some might even say that it’s metal. Well, you’re right and wrong; —it isn’t heavy in the least, but it is metal ... the most lacking, hollow, butt metal that exists: Nu Metal.
Yes, Nu Metal sucks. For all you Korn, Mudvayne, and Limp Bizkit fans, your bands are incredibly awful. This is not to be argued, it is a fact; your music is trash. If you do like any of the aforementioned bands, the Quake 2 soundtrack is all you. If lacking riffs, mundane drums, and shallow song structure are your musical forte, look no further.
9 Back To The Future Is the Same 5 Second Sample Over And Over...
Apart from this game being a gigantic piece of dog poop quality wise —with awful gameplay, shoddy graphics, and a disappointing lack of tie-ins to any of the movies— the soundtrack is absolutely abysmal to the point of being migraine inducing. It just keeps going and going and going…and there is never any respite; it just continues until you inevitably turn the game off or pass out due to the amount of blood pouring out of your ears.
Video games based off of movies are rarely very good, but Back To The Future is just something special thanks to the inspired soundtrack. This game makes a better balance for a wobbly table leg than it does a video game.
8 Bases Loaded II Has A Nest Of Baby Birds As Back Up Singers
Bases Loaded II’s soundtrack wouldn’t have made this list if it wasn’t for that ear numbing chirp that serves at the tempo for the rest of music. Most of the soundtrack are generic NES chip tunes, but for some unknown reason, the developers thought it was appropriate to lace every song with a mind melting chirp that makes each song worse than the one before it. There is similarly tortuous as listening to the soundtrack in Bases Loaded II — it is basically equal to driving railroad spikes into your head. A decent NES baseball game that is best played with the speakers unplugged.
7 Sonic R Is J-pop Done Wrong
There is nothing wrong with having some J-pop in your video game, heck J-pop can be pretty darn catchy and add some bubbly happiness to a game, really setting the mood and making the game an overall extremely pleasant experience to play. Some games do J-pop right, while others seem like they finger painted their lyrics on used toiler paper before hopping in the recording booth.
The tracks may start simple enough, maybe even leading you to believe that this is some of that magical J-pop I mentioned before; happy, warming, catchy. But no, it quickly devolves into some of the most infuriatingly annoying, simplistic, ear-achinglygly bad lyrics ever put to a beat. No, I can’t feel the sunshine and I don’t want to, especially with this poor excuse for a song playing.
6 Yoshi’s New Island Sounds Like A Serial Killer’s Attempt At A Lullaby
What in the actual *bleep* am I listening to? It’s a disjointed play on, what I’m guessing is supposed to be children’s song, fraught with weird Yoshi noises and grunts. The whole game is like this, music that sounds like a room full of toddlers with cymbals tied to their hands, and a subdued Yoshi with a bunch of harmonicas forced into its mouth. For a game that was released in 2014, you’d think they would have figured out what sounded like music and what sounded like the soundtrack to escaping some sicko’s death maze.
The game is a generic platformer, but that soundtrack, that ever present, awful soundtrack, degrades it to being unplayable.
5 Kings Quest V’s Town Track Will Make You Stay In The Woods
In an adventure RPG, it’s pretty typical that players can expect to spend some time in town, as towns usually serve as the hub for buying and selling, finding interesting clues or dialogue, and for finding possible quests or party members. So yes, town is a place where you’ll probably spend a healthy amount of time wandering around.
So why then, would you make the town music sound like it was performed by a meth smoking orangutan playing the organ with their feet and scratching knives on plates with their hands? It is easily the worst town music in the history of adventure games, and one of the worst video game tracks ever composed. The rest of the soundtrack rates from lackluster to acceptable, but the town music will override any capacity you may have to play the rest of the game.
4 Doom’s Soundtrack Is Composed Of Farts On Some Systems
Most of the original Doom’s soundtrack was influenced by Metallica, Pantera, and Slayer songs, which, as a metal head, I have to say it pretty cool. They were great heavy metal inspired songs that provided an excellent ambiance for blasting shotgun zombies and cacodemons into paste. With Doom’s popularity skyrocketing in the 90s, every home console and computer clambered to port it to their systems. However, due to limited sound generating hardware on some of these systems, the heavy metal soundtrack turned into cryptic static that sound nothing like the originals.
Even the SNES version of Doom had a somewhat faithful rendition of the soundtrack, at the cost of gameplay and graphics of course, but still. The 32X version of the soundtrack sounds like they recreated every classic track using a broken harpsichord and farts. It sounds better played on a printer for god’s sake.
3 1942’s Soundtrack Was Definitely An Afterthought
This may be the worst NES soundtrack ever made, or the worst excuse for a soundtrack ever made for a video game in general. The quality of the soundtrack makes it seem like the developers totally forgot that music was a requirement. In a last ditch effort, one of them sat down and started to hit the same high-pitched bleat over and over, to the tune of a nonexistent melody. “Almost,” they said. He then hit a random key, which happened to be a drum effect. Mixing these two spasmodically, he looked to the others for approval. Exchanging glances, they got to work, and the soundtrack for 1942 was born.
And that’s it. The game features a variation or two on the tried and true method of a high-pitched squeal, accompanied by random drum rolls. If you’re going to play 1942, I’d suggest doing it with the T.V. on mute.
2 Night Trap’s Party Scene Will Make Your Mind Melt It’s So 90s
One of the oddest Sega CD and 3DO games ever made, Night Trap was a game that put players in the role of, and I couldn’t make this up, “a special agent tasked with watching over teenage girls visiting a house which, unbeknownst to them, is full of danger.” That’s bananas, that’s what that is. The fact that this game got made in the first place, and was full motion video no less, is a miraculous thing.
The soundtrack is almost non-existent, with the exception of some cheesy guitar music when Augers, dudes that slink around the house in gimp suits, are present on the screen. And then, there’s the party scene. Oh, my sweet, tap dancing J-man, the party scene. I cannot portray to you the insane amount of 90s present in the song, this scene, and this god awful game in general. This may actually be more 90s than the Saved By The Bell episode where the girls form a musical group called Hot Sundae and make a music video in a gym. I just can’t with this one.
1 Crazy Bus Is Akin To Psychological Warfare
DEAR GOD, MAKE IT STOP! No one deserves to have to listen to this, no one. Thankfully the only song present in the game, the Crazy Bus title music is ear- splittingly awful. For a bootleg Venezuelan tech demo that entirely consists of moving a bus back and forth with the d-pad and honking the horn, they could have at least gotten the music to not sound like a schizophrenic DJ’s rave mix.
There are a lot of inhumane and awful ways to torture human beings; waterboarding, electrocution, or being stretched out on the racks are all terrifying and dehumanizing methods to inflict pain and suffering on a person. I would rather have all three of these done to me at the same time as opposed to listening to another minute of Crazy Bus’s sole musical track.