View Full Version : What Do You Want in Your Boss Theme?

Forsaken Lover
02-03-2017, 04:11 PM
Been reflecting on this a lot lately because of my playthrough of various Shin Megami Tensei games....

With the power of music, there is a huge variety of "moods" one can set in a game. Few things are more pivotal than setting the right mood for a boss. Bosses are pretty much designed to be the most memorable aspect of a game's, well, gameplay.

But what is the "right" mood to set? What tone should they be going for?

Using just examples from SMT here's what I like and what I'm not so sure about.

Strange Journey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9IJ1Q74pKs) "The Heroic Struggle"

The first kind of great boss music is the heroic struggle as I dub it. It is about how you are all that stands against this monstrous force of evil. It's hard, it's grueling but you must endure and you must triumph.

Nocturne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR6pHaeRV3w) - "Battle with Pure Evil"

To contrast with the above theme and its intent, we have the boss theme that is all about the boss. Whereas the other track was about you and how awesome you are, this song is about how terrifying the boss is. It conveys a great atmosphere of danger and intimidation because bosses are supposed to be dangerous and intimidating.

Now, let's look at the other side of things with Persona 3's Master of Shadow (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idRhQsjc28c)

Please note that, if I had to list my favorite songs in P3, this would easily top the list along with Living with Determination.

And yet, what mood does it set? The Shadows are a threat to all mankind. (okay well they were probably less of a threat on their own but enough about endgame twists) and the game is literally built around these big stretches leading up to the inevitable boss confrontation with each of them. Shouldn't they be...I dunno, dangerous and intimidating?

Now, Innocent Sin's Boss Theme (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekjq2q9tEuw) is pretty intense I guess. I don't really think it fits either of my criteria earlier on though. It's sort of like Seymour Battle that way. That is another boss theme I absolutely adore but it doesn't really fit what I was talking about earlier either.

So, there you have it. My quandary. What do you all think? What should a good boss theme be doing?


And of course I recognize there are situational boss themes where the mood should be somber. I have no problem with those kinds of tracks.

02-04-2017, 03:11 PM
The perfect boss theme would be a country and western song about an elderly couple in love.

02-04-2017, 10:46 PM
"The Heroic Struggle" is my favorite kind of boss music.

The Makers Ruin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l69nQsEHxI) from FFXIV is the perfect example for it. As you can see from the video it plays during the first phase of the Ultima fight. Which comes at the end of A Realm Reborn. It plays again during an end fight of Heavensward too. Once more during a climatic fight during 3.3. It's like the Warrior of Lights ass kicking music. And it does it's job. It's gets you pumped up for the fight. And that's my answer. It should be getting you pumped up for the fight.

02-06-2017, 08:15 AM
In general, I really like tense boss themes, but the very best ones has that one part. The part that sounds more epic than the rest,is usually pretty high, probably played by woodwind or brass instruments. If you're as big a fan of FFIII's boss theme, you know what I mean.

02-19-2017, 07:34 PM
Ooh! I just remembered that I absolutely adore the Tumbling from KH Birth by Sleep!


Huckleberry Quin
02-21-2017, 05:14 PM
Something really pleasant, because I love the juxtaposition of lovely and horrifying. It would be really disconcerting for the player, I think.

02-24-2017, 05:18 PM
Something really pleasant, because I love the juxtaposition of lovely and horrifying. It would be really disconcerting for the player, I think.

The final boss of Ar Tonelico 2

Wolf Kanno
04-15-2017, 04:35 AM
I like boss themes that reflect the boss the best, especially if the boss is a bit of a subversion of what you think. So basically I gravitate towards rocking but ultimately melancholic themes.