Top 10 Character Themes,
5.) Old Snake (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
I knew I would be including a song from Metal Gear Solid when I started making this list, but I almost forgot about this one until I was about to write it. Old Snake is a theme that very much fits with Snake’s character focus at this point in his life and manages to be a great song besides. To put it as simply as possible, Old Snake is a very poignant song. It starts out slightly off-sounding and quickly transitions into a small sneaking tune punctuated with strong plucks of a stringed instrument, which shows how, although Snake is old and weakened, he still has to perform his duty one last time.
The theme next transitions into a very triumphant section, with horns and strings that give a sense of adventure, showing the exciting trials and triumphs Snake will go through throughout the game. After winding down a bit, the theme transitions back to very light background music with the strong plucks from earlier being even more heightened, showing that after everything is said and done, Snake is still weak and this adventure hasn’t changed that. I really appreciate how the theme perfectly demonstrates Snake’s changing situation and character development throughout his mission while still being a beautiful piece of music in its own right.
4.) Terra’s Theme (Final Fantasy VI)
There are many good character themes to be found in the Final Fantasy series, but Terra’s Theme still stands out from amongst the crowd, for me at least. It is a basic and lonely sounding theme that manages to perfectly convey the emotions of the character in question perfectly. The background of the theme is a short, simple melody played again and again while a series of sad whistles form the main part of the theme. After a period of time however, the theme momentarily loses the whistles and sounds a fair amount happier before transitioning back to the standard section.
It’s a tad difficult to explain why this theme sounds as good as it does, but, at its core, it’s simply a lovely song. It also fits Terra’s character very well because, due to her amnesia, she feels fairly lonely at times. Despite this, she still goes along with the party to help everyone, akin to the song normally sounding melancholic and lonely with a small, happier section in the middle. This song does well with everything it tries to do and I always love to give it a listen when the mood strikes me.
3.) Albedo’s Theme (Xenosaga I: Der Wille Zur Macht)
As I have said in a previous list, Albedo is a very creepy guy. He laughs like a maniac and does tons of insane things. To fit that kind of character, his theme is also creepy and effective in setting up the kind of insanity he revels in. Albedo’s theme starts out with four strong notes being repeated along with a slow, off-sounding melody that gives a sense of intimidation and the feeling that something is very wrong. As some tortured souls start adding their wails to the chorus in the background, that uncomfortable mood is heightened to the breaking point. Just as it reaches that peak, a very loud voice comes in that almost seems to yell with stringed instruments accentuating it.
This is, in my opinion, the best partof the piece due to the intimidation and threats implied with the beginning coming to fruition through the intensity granted by the noise. It finishes off with a light piano melody that gives the sense that, although the worst may be over for now, he will come back and the threat will never fully go away. Honestly, I couldn’t see Albedo having a theme that better fits him, making this genuinely creepy song an amazing character theme.
2.) Ventus’ Theme (Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep)
The Kingdom Hearts series has always had a great soundtrack thanks to composer Yoko Shimomura, and Birth by Sleep is definitely no exception to that rule. This particular theme is a slow, sad song that combines a simple melody with very nice instrumentation to fit the character of Ventus to perfection. It starts out with a beautiful piano melody accompanied by a melancholic horned instrument to convey a real sense of sadness. After going through the aforementioned melody and additional buildup, stringed instruments are added to give the song more weight behind every note, which just makes the song all the more powerful. This sad overtone fits Ventus very well because, although Ventus himself is generally a hopeful and optimistic character, the circumstances surrounding him are terrible, just as the horns and strings surround the main piano melody of the song.
I also appreciate how, due to Ventus’ connection to Roxas and Sora, parts of the song sound very similar to Roxas’ and Sora’s themes. Tying themes together like this is something that the Kingdom Hearts series has always done and I love how the connections are present in every facet of their presentation, even the music. I’m fond of orchestrated songs in general, and the fact that this song is both beautiful and extremely fitting for its character propels it to this position in my list.
1.) Frog’s Theme (Chrono Trigger)
When I first decided to make this list, the first theme that came into my head was this one, and it stayed in the forefront the entire time. Chrono Trigger is believed by many people to have the greatest music any video game ever made and while I’m not so sure I agree with that, this theme’s quality is undeniable. Frog is a fallen knight for the Guardia kingdom who was turned into a frog after he and his master tried and failed to defeat the fiendlord Magus . Despite such a setback and the honor he feels he lost due to what happened, he is still very loyal to queen and kingdom, as this theme exemplifies by sounding grand and honorable. The main part of this theme is a heroic flute melody with drums forming a backbeat and horns to accompany the most impactful sections of the tune. However, while the main part of the theme is great, the introduction is what firmly sets this particular entry as my favorite from any game.
The intro is a series of horns, accentuated with the drums and flutes, that builds up perfectly to someone astoundingly important appearing, with all the regal glory that generally accompanies such a person. The song shows how, despite any misgivings Frog may have about himself, he has always remained the honorable person who became one of the greatest knights in his kingdom. I loved this song from the moment I heard it and it has always retained that love no matter how my musical tastes change over time. I simply can’t think of a more deserving song to take my top spot in this list.
Well, that was my list of my favorite character themes from video games. Just from the difficulty of narrowing down my list to 10 themes and the divisiveness of music in general, I know there are many more wonderful character themes out there. So, please share your favorites and any opinions on the list in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.