The ideal "final level" music

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Reactor
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Reactor »

I found many of these soundtracks really enthralling :) If they hadn't been used in a game, I would surely put them into good use. It's really hard to compose a fitting and enjoyable music, let alone an entire album, even Doom has less desirable music pieces (for instance, the music for E1M3: Toxin Refinery sounds pretty dull and never fascinated me in any ways). Usually, if I fix together a music, I take the environment, the setting and the importance of the level into account. Key levels - for instance, bossfights - get the best songs.
(This does NOT mean that "filler" levels should have crappy soundtrack!)

Uh...this might be a dumb question, folks...but what's the concept or the meaning behind the tradition of "making the final level song very sad and depressing". As I wrote earlier, I have noticed this phenomenon at quite a few games, I firmly believe this is some kind of tradition, and must have some sort of concept behind this, but I just don't seem to grasp it. Can you supply me with a few of your thoughts about this, so I can understand it better?
Last edited by Reactor on Sun May 15, 2016 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
shotfan
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by shotfan »

Zanieon wrote:Just a reminder of awesomeness back in 2005

Probably the best battle theme from that game.
But to stay on topic, the final boss battle of DMC3 is worthy of a mention here. It is more akin to the "sad" category, but not depressing really - it just signifies the tragedy of the main antagonist, that he is unredeemable, no matter how much his brother (and the protagonist) would want to save him. It is the melody of the inevitable destiny that must be realized if Hell is to be kept apart from the human world. And so, what has to be done will be done. (TL; DR: the song for a "bittersweet" finale).

Also, myself I have some weird fascination not with the final level theme, but the penultimate level theme. If we are to talk about action games, I imagine that such level should be something in a vein of a last "beef gate" set against a sunset background where you get swarmed by every enemy, every obstacle and every challenge the game has to offer that you must beat in order to proceed to the last bad guy left. Examples:
- Doom I E1M6, Central Processing
- Doom II map28, The Spirit World (its BGM is even called "Getting Too Tense")
- TNT Evilution map29, River of Styx
- Shadow Warrior 2013 Chapter 16 (not distinct music here, though)

Also, here is a synthwave track that I think would work well in a type of level I described: Carpenter Brut - Turbo Killer. As I imagine, it is pretty much a non-stop adrenaline surge that carries you through fierce battle against all odds. Just perfect for the one last big bloodbath.

Reactor wrote:Uh...this might be a dumb question, folks...but what's the concept or the meaning behind the tradition of "making the final level song very sad and depressing". As I wrote earlier, I have noticed this phenomenon at quite a few games, I firmly believe this is some kind of tradition, and must have some sort of concept behind this, but I just don't seem to grasp it. Can you supply me with a few of your thoughts about this, so I can understand it better?

Not a dumb question at all.
This may be just a fad. We are supposed to live in postmodern/decadentic/nihilistic times where nothing has any meaning and everything is futile... or somesuch. Ironically, I would not look too much into it, because I believe there is no deeper meaning in this trend. Maybe it is simply a consequence of authors thinking that edgy games sell better. I do not care, hence I mostly play Doom and don the armour of incredibly heroic badass that takes on the ultimate evil by himself. So I would say to not bother with this and just create whatever you wish.

Reactor wrote:the music for E1M4: Toxin Refinery sounds pretty dull and never fascinated me in any ways

You mean, E1M3?
Last edited by shotfan on Sun May 15, 2016 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by NeuralStunner »

Reactor wrote:what's the concept or the meaning behind the tradition of "making the final level song very sad and depressing".
Usually, because the kingdom/world/universe/whatever is falling apart by this point, and you're the last hope. Depending on how (un)idealistic the game is, there might already be extensive damage that can only be fixed with time. Anyway, the focus shifts from "if you win, everything is safe again" to "if you fail, everything is gone". It depends on which provides the stronger motivator for your narrative.
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Nevander »

A perfect example is the E1M8 to E2M1 transition. The way I've always seen it (and the mood of the music can justify this) is that the music for E1M8 is more moody and a more grim sound to it because Phobos is basically destroyed at this point, demons everywhere, and the hope appears lost. You manage to defeat the two Barons, and now you're in Hell/Deimos kicking some Demon ass, and thus we get the E2M1 which is much more upbeat and that type of music that gives you that "kicking ass" feeling.

TL;DR: E1M8 = all hope is lost, E2M1 = nevermind, I can just kill every demon no problem.
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Reactor
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Reactor »

I think I start to understand. I'm not sure if it's just a fashion-fad among developers, since great many games decided to utilize this "depressing music for the final level". Just like in most games, the first level song is always fast-paced, action-packed and fierce. Take E1M1: Hangar, or Wolfenstein 3-D Episide 1 Level 1. Or as you said, E2M1: Deimos Anomaly. The first level's song is never sad or depressing, it's the polar opposite! Once you start a first level, and hear the tune, you immediately think "Hot DAMN it, this music is RAD! Hell, man, this is ACTION! Aces! Ye, take that you zombie! Time to kick ass!". I guess this is the game's way of saying hello to you. The very sad depressing music can signify that the game says farewell, maybe? :)
(also it can reflect the programmers' state of mind - by the time they finish the project, they damn the whole thing to hell)

It is also very possible what NeuralStunner just said: by the end of the game, the events escalate to a point, where you're the good guys' only hope, and if you fail, then everything is ruined. The final level tune surely symbolizes this burden, very well I must say.
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Freaklore1
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Freaklore1 »

Orchestral music are better when you want to build the tension before a boss fight.

As for the boss fights,it's better to have a fast paced action theme.
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by darkhog »

I think most of power metal tracks would make a great sound track for Doom. Perhaps other kinds of metal too, but mostly power metal as it goes really well with killing enemies. Actually would gladly put my personal favs in myfirst.wad but I'm kinda worried about people not wanting to download big wad because of mp3s (midis of tracks I want to use either doesn't exist or don't sound well with Doom soundfont).
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by arookas »

I think SS:TSE's Grand Cathedral theme is a great example of perfect final level music. It is driving, but not upbeat. Tense, but not sad. And the marching rhythm and bells make the song right at home with the feel and theme of the level.

Sometimes the final boss music being a solo instrument or an otherwise completely different style from the rest of the music can be an interesting surprise and help make it memorable. SM64 and Dark Souls do this to amazing effect.
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Big C
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Big C »

Alien Vendetta's MAP30 music made a very competently done but otherwise standard Icon of Sin map absolutely terrifying, along with the crush-enemy SFX and pitch-deepened Romerohead speech.
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Gez »

For fun, try something like this:



:P
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Reactor
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Reactor »

To be honest, I never found the music of MAP30: Icon of Sin fitting, for the fighting part,that is. For the small room at the beginning, it's perfect, however, it's much too tranquil for a climatic battle like that. There are very few final levels, especially with bossfights, where a low, tranquil, tenseless song would fit. A slow but scarry song would have been a bit better, like in the final stage of "Spear of Destiny" (the Angel of Death level).
This is where the "unusually calm song at the end, action-packed fast music at the fight" scheme I was yappin' about would work perfectly. The song for E3M8: Dis was pretty sweet, albeit a little bit too short.
If the game has multiple bossfights, the developer will run out bossfight-songs sooner than he might have imagined. In this case, I'd surely use a sad and depressing song for the very last level, bossfight or not :)
Last edited by Reactor on Fri May 20, 2016 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Zanieon »

If sadness is required, then this is required too:
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RSSwizard
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by RSSwizard »

MAP07 from Memento Mori 1.
Or the E1M8 (and E3M4) music from Doom 1.
I do think the nutcracker suite from Memento Mori 2's final map was absolutely killer.

These have that perfect mix of atmospheric danger, teetering on the edge of death, and wistfulness.

Not so much the "action" and "juggling enemies" and getting in the groove sorta thing (like E3M3 Pandemonium). These music tracks were serious and at times intimidating.

This goes along with my recent post about what a Final Map should really be, a Magnum Opus of maps, a Barad Dur of hell's fortress, rather than just some direct showdown.
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Freaklore1
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Freaklore1 »

I dont mind something more ambient and dramatic like E1M8,but i still think that a boss fight should be upbeat to keep the player filled with excitement during the fight.
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Reactor
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Re: The ideal "final level" music

Post by Reactor »

Yuh, this is why I asked that which would be the ideal music for the very final level. And I'm glad there is a way to use more than one tracks for a level, a dramatic one before the bossfight (and after the bossfight maybe), and an upbeat track during the actual fight.
If the final level does not involve any bosses, then the whole track can be slow and depressive.

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