Game music of the dead: Terminator 2

Game: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Song: The Hospital

Composer: Tim and Geoff Follin

Above: The Hospital from Terminator 2

Day three of our weeklong tribute to scary game music comes from an unlikely source - the NES tie-in to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The movie, while undeniably amazing, isn't overtly frightening, and the game is a typical side scrolling run and jumper, so how is it these two things come together to form a surprisingly eerie piece of game music?

First, you get the talented Follin brothers to score your game. Second, you let them run wild with bizarre NES effects and weird whistling noises that sound more like a haunted house than 8-bit videogame. Throw in a simple backbeat and you've got a remarkably unsettling piece of VGM that plays over an equally creepy hospital level. Something about the opening... I picture some kind of legless horror floating outside my window, peering in, ready to crack through the glass and eat my face.

Above: More icky awesomeness from T2. As with Hospital, it starts with inhuman noise and then turns into a pretty catchy tune (and then back to psychadelic clatter)

Above: A kickassOverClocked ReMixversion thatcombines the classic Terminator theme and the first level of the NES game

It's really surprising how effective these 8-bit songs are at creating an oppressive, moody environment. Makes me wish they were in a game that was actually trying to be scary and not another movie crossover title. In the right context, these songs could have made an NES game some kind of landmark frightfest - instead they're just forgotten relics from the NES-SNES transitional period. But that's why we have Game Music of the Day!

October 27, 2010

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Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.