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Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.
Game: Silent Hill 2
Song: Theme of Laura
Composer: Akira Yamaoka
Above: Theme of Laura from Silent Hill 2
This week's release of Alan Wake has stirred up discussion as to how it stacks up against Silent Hill 2, arguably the best game in that series and one of the strongest survival horror titles of all time. Naturally the arguments teeter back and forth (even in the comments of our review), but there's one thing Alan Wake doesn't have, and that's Akira Yamaoka's consistently moving music.
Yamaoka produced dozens of memorable songs across several games, but this Silent Hill 2 opening still ranks near the top for me. I'm no expert when it comes to music terminology or even accurate analysis. But my primitive brain can say the song is deeply emotional, conveying James Sunderland's sense of loss and frustration, all with a feeling of ominous dread and crushing sadness. Yet, it remains upbeat and catchy, and that lead riff is just amazing. Sounds like a first-rate Hollywood theme song.
There it is in context. Fantastic opening, and the start of one of the best videogame stories there is. If you're eager for more Yamaoka, I interviewed him back in 2008 to discuss his role in Silent Hill Homecoming and his past work on the SNES and Dance Dance Revolution. In there he confirms that this exact song was created in just three days, a musical feat that blows my mind. I assume stuff like this takes forever to pull together.
Yamaoka has since left Konami and Silent Hill (after 16 years) and is now working with Suda 51 on another horror title. At least we know the music's destined for greatness.
Game music of the day: Twisted Metal 2
Los Angeles theme by Geary and Turner
Game music of the day: Super Adventure Island
Chillaxin' beats from Yuzo Koshiro
Game music of the day: Golf Power
I promise this doesn't suck