Video game music can be a beautiful thing. Using relatively primitive hardware (by today’s standards) composers in the 80’s helped transport us to far off worlds and created some of the most recognisable tunes in gaming.
However, in the wrong hands the sound chips of our old consoles can be used to create a cacophony worthy of a demon summoning. The silver lining of this is that most of these crappy games would have faded into obscurity if not for their ridiculous soundtracks and now they can live on forever in infamy.
5. Crazy Bus – Title Theme
Information is very scarce about this “game”. All the internet seems to know about it is that it’s Venezuelan, was made in 2004 and is horrible in every way. Not only is the audio unlistenable but the visuals are a chore to look at too. The “game” consists of you picking a bus you’d like to drive which you can then move forwards and backwards on the screen while you listen to this rockin’ tune… and that’s about it.
I don’t even know how to describe this track with words. It’s very possible that the notes have been chosen randomly because if someone actually composed this purposefully then that would actually be impressive. The reason this isn’t higher on my list is because it seems to have been created as a joke. There’s just no way something this repulsive could have been created unknowingly.
4. The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin – Swing Time
Composer: Mr. Big
Yes, the masters of guitar wankery with the lovely hair themselves.
Mr. Big were apparently commissioned to write a song about Spider-Man. Problem is, whoever wrote the lyrics didn’t seem to know a lot about him. Sure they got in plenty of web analogies but I’ve never heard Spider-Man described as “Flying for justice” or that he “Takes no prisoners”. Apparently there’s no mercy from your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man kids!
Overall this is just a bad rock song, unless you love Mr. Big (does such a person exist?) this is just embarrassing to listen to. Once developers got hold of CD technology they probably thought this would sound really cool but all it actually does is make this game sound like a ridiculous 90s relic.
3. American Idol Gameboy Advance – Whole Soundtrack
Now we’re getting into the good stuff. Just let that heavily compressed cover version of Jennifer Lopez’ “Waiting For Tonight” wash over you. Feel the off key auto tune penetrate your soul and gaze into the true face of fear!
I don’t know whose bright idea cramming a musical rhythm game onto a GBA cart was. If the music wasn’t so hilariously bad sounding you could even be a little impressed they managed to fit the whole game on there. Even if you perform the song flawlessly and don’t miss a note your monstrous singer still warbles aimlessly along with the backing track. This game fails in every way possible, unless they were trying to create the stupidest GBA game of all time.
2. The Adventures of Rad Gravity – Title Screen
Composer: David Warhol
I’ll admit I didn’t even know this game existed before I started researching this topic. I was happier in then. The Adventures of Rad Gravity is one of your run of the mill 2D platformers that sprung up after the success of Super Mario. You take control of Bruce Campbell wannabe Rad Gravity as he goes from planet to planet stabbing cyborg zombies and aliens with his off brand lightsaber. The game might be ok but you know what they say “you never get a second chance at a first impression” and Rad Gravity’s title screen music is just about the worst first impression in all of gaming.
The opening few seconds of this track are impressively bad. If anyone was ever curious what a descent into madness actually sounds like then I think this is the closest representation. The problem with this song is that it actually has a catchy rhythm underneath all the high pitched atonal nonsense, this is the part that infects you mind and will never go away. It…Just…Never…Stops….
The Chessmaster – Title Screen
Composer: Peter Stone
The Chessmaster theme is definitely in contention for one of the funniest songs ever created by the human race. It really is the crown jewel of bad video game music. It’s got everything: farting bass guitar, an atonal piano solo and drums that sound out of time which is almost impossible to do when you’re making digital music!
Chessmaster is exactly what it sounds like, a chess game. Can you imagine sitting down to a nice game of chess with a loved one accompanied to this track? Classical music would have been a better fit with the chess theme, not this experimental jazz-funk slop they came up with. Surely this song is some kind of joke by the developers and composer. I don’t believe that anyone could seriously create this and not be constantly laughing throughout the whole process. Even the eponymous Chessmaster himself looks pained by having to listen to this track.
And I don’t blame him.