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OpEd

Heavy Metal In Video Games Part 5: Old And New

Photo of Lacuna Coil

Band Photo: Lacuna Coil (?)

Heavy metal and video games are such an obvious combination that its baffling the collision doesn't happen more often. Despite four decades of games to work through, the number of titles that specifically revolve around metal themes or use heavy metal soundtracks is just abysmally low.

Today we're going to take another look at the limited options available, covering some old and some new entries that should be sitting on your shelf or taking up space in your Steam library.

For those who missed our previous three articles discussing various games with heavy metal soundtracks, be sure to go back and check 'em out (and let us know if you end up playing or re-playing any of these gems!):

Part 1: the amazing Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Part 3 (the retro edition!): Rock And Roll Racing, Beavis And Butthead, F-Zero X, Earthbound, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix

Part 4: the return of music games with Rock Band in addition to Carmageddon, NeverDead, and NeverGone.

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines

A triumph of roleplaying of the early 2000's from the ill-fated Troika, Bloodlines offered a much truer Vampire: The Masquerade experience than its action RPG predecessor. It's a shame we don't get too many games in this style anymore, as there are plenty of tabletop games other than Vampire that would do well in this format.

Very heavy on the gothic side, obviously, bands like Tiamat and Lacuna Coil are present on the soundtrack, as those groups were big with the goth crowd in the late '90s and early '00s back when White Wolf and Vampire: The Masquerade had more of a cult following.

There were some interesting diversions from that genre though, like Al Jourgensen's Ministry composing and recording the title track "Bloodlines." There's also an overall industrial dance vibe to the whole thing, which makes sense considering the locations and types of characters the story revolves around. The game's music was strong enough that the soundtrack was even released as a separate CD in an era well before digital platforms like GOG were routinely offering soundtracks with the game.

Metal Tales: Fury Of The Guitar Gods

A very new offering, this nifty little indie gem just dropped in November of 2016 via Steam and is notable for the inclusion of an all-underground metal soundtrack. While saving the souls of metal heads at a local club, a festival campground, and even the depths of hell itself you'll hear tunes from Diego Teksuo, Despite, Persefone, A Breach of Silence, Striker, Hyperion, Hyde Abbey, Legacy of Brutality, and Nameless Day Ritual.

Seeing that track listing for the first time when the game was announced was a particularly proud moment for us here at Metalunderground, considering we've been covering quite a few of those bands for years. For a fun top-down diversion with a pulse-pounding backing soundtrack, you can't really go wrong here. Check out our full review of the PC game right here.

Death Goat

The amazingly titled Death Goat (which is probably also a band name, or if it isn't yet, it should be) is another one with a killer soundtrack that will strongly appeal to our readers in particular.

This simple indie entry launched in the summer of 2016 and splashes just absolutely bucket after bucket of blood with twin-stick shooter gameplay.

Byzantine, Holy Grail, Between The Buried And Me, Brutai, and a whole lot more appear in the tack listing, and it's amusing that the soundtrack - at the cost of a full CD - actually costs more than the game itself, which is up for grabs for a piddly $2.99!

Be warned if you give it a try though - this one's punishingly hard in a very old school way and has some serious grind if you want to get all the achievements.

The Metronomicon

An amusing blend of RPG and rhythm music game (think DDR, but minus the dancing and while battling enemies), much of the Metronomicon's music is more on the dance club side, but there are reasons for metal fans to check it out (beyond cross-genre interest).

Darkwave groups that straddle the metal line like Gost and Perturbator are both present while you utilize “rhythmic combat arts” to wage musical warfare against a multitude of dance-mongering fiends.

Fallout Brotherhood of Steel

Diverging from the typical Fallout experience of more recent games that stick with '40s and '50s music to evoke an old timey feel, the console spin-off Brotherhood Of Steel was notable for including tracks from Skinlab, Meshuggah, Slipknot, Chimaira, and Killswitch Engage.

It may not have gone over well with series fans in the review department, but the musical score was on point. Although not particularly metal, the ambient soundtrack to the lesser known Fallout Tactics will also be of interest to metal fans, with some truly chilling combat and exploration music.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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