10 of the Greatest RPG Normal Battle Themes
The RPG is a genre in which you spend a lot of time battling enemies as you adventure through some of the most fantastic worlds and inspiring stories. One way to make a battle more intense and more dynamic is to pump up your player with a great tune to get them into the fighting spirit. Many games are praised for their soundtracks, and often times we lift up the composers who came up with the musical beats we're listening to throughout our journeys. Below are just a few of the greatest examples of RPG normal battle themes, the songs that play during the majority of mundane encounters with monsters and minions alike.
The Man With the Machine Gun
Final Fantasy VIII
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Final Fantasy VIII is one of the least popular entries in the series when you discuss gameplay and story. No one seems to enjoy the Draw system -- which had you spending hours in combat repeatedly using the same command to steal magic spells from enemies -- but there are two things players seem to agree Final Fantasy VIII did right: card games, and Nobuo Uematsu's music.
"Man with the Machine Gun" is the battle theme for the duration of the time which you play as Laguna, a secondary protagonist of sorts. It's upbeat and energetic, it matches well with the eternal optimist that Laguna tends to be. I remember spending hours battling enemies in the caves of the Centra Excavation Site just so I could listen to this fantastic battle theme.
The War Bell Tolls
Bravely Second: End Layer
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Random encounters are generally a lackluster event in an RPG, typically lasting no more than a minute late into the game. However, in Bravely Second you'll find that with this battle anthem at your back, you're going to want to spend a lot more time in battle. The quick tempo, wailing guitar, and operatic vocals give every battle a feeling of urgency and heroism.
Spending time grinding EXP for your favorite jobs, or hunting for specific items is much less tedious when you have something great to listen to, and this song delivers. A small nod must be made to the amazing way the song will fade back in after using special attacks, which will cause a temporary song to play based on which character performed the attack. You may have the option to turn off Bravely Second's random encounters, but you might not want to if you really enjoy this song.
Battle! (Team Plasma)
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Pokemon games have a ton of different battle themes spanning generations of games. One of the best is when you encounter a Team Plasma Grunt in Pokemon Black or Pokemon White. The electronic style, the hyped up intro, and the sinister tone of the song all give battles with Team Plasma a very villainous feeling.
From the moment you encounter a Grunt and that pulse pounding intro begins, you'll be in it to win it against the enthusiastic yet misguided Pokemon Rights group who are attempting to "liberate" your Pokemon from you. I even used this song as my ringtone for a year or so, it was just that good. Next time you're adventuring in Black or White's Unova region crank up the volume and enjoy the music when you encounter Team Plasma.
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Baby baby baby baby! Persona 3's battle theme is sort of meme status among the fandom. The rock pop tune that plays whenever you enter battle against generic shadows is one of the most enthusiastic and positive things in the game. The blaring horns and the driving vocals, particularly during the chorus and bridge, are memorable and after a few fights you'll find yourself singing along and humming this tune for hours after it gets stuck in your head.
Series composer Shoji Meguro is well known for his thematic soundtracks, which are strikingly different with each game and constantly changing musical genres. This jazzy song just feels like it belongs in Persona 3 and quickly became one of the greatest and most well known battle themes in RPG history.
The Arrow Was Shot
Tales of the Abyss
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In a game which has a lot to do with Hymns and music, this tune is an upbeat and inspirational romp as you battle your way through countless enemies. While the Tales series features a ton of great music from series composer Motoi Sakuraba, this one stands out a bit above the others.
The combination of electronic harmony over the rhythmic drums and low guitar gives it a very heroic feeling. Even listening to this I can hear the sounds of battle in the back of my head as the heroes perform their various Strike Artes and Magic Artes, calling out names and shouting one liners. It's a particularly catchy tune that'll have you tapping your toes the entire time.
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
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Despite having a simple name, this battle theme from Nocturne really has a strangely eerie vibe to it. It really does a great job of emphasizing the unusual and unnatural situation the protagonist is in, wandering a demon infested version of his home, Tokyo.
The strange lyrical chanting over the looped electronic buzzing in the song adds to the creepiness, but in contrast the guitar and drums really pump you up for what is most certainly going to be a tough battle, considering the difficulty of the game. Get ready to engage in some odd conversations with the demonic entities you come across and bargain with them to join you or just leave you alone.
Fight Against Monsters
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
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Mario has a long line of RPGs to pick from now, between the Paper Mario series or his adventures on handhelds with his brother in the Mario & Luigi series. However, back in the Super Nintendo era the first Super Mario game to feature the mustached plumber in turn based combat was aptly titled Super Mario RPG. It was an instant classic, and this battle theme was born from it. It oozes that Mario vibe, from the drum roll at the beginning to the horns and melodic bridge. Each beat of this tune just feels right at home in the Mario series of games, and it has only gotten more iconic as time goes by.
Uploaded by Magnus619666
Another example of a battle theme that really makes you feel heroic as you battle your way through the various monsters and baddies you encounter. Golden Sun really hits the mark with this song, the instant a battle begins and you hear that build up at the beginning of the song you're nodding along to the beat and eager to unleash your favorite attacks on whatever unsuspecting creature has challenged you.
Fluctuating from amped up synth instruments over the drums to beautiful flute melody into low synth tones and finally mixing it up string instruments really gives this song variety and makes it memorable. Isaac's battle theme is easily one of the greatest in the series, and the entire RPG genre.
Uploaded by TheOSTcorner
This is another one of those songs with an unimaginative title, but are we really going to question Yasunori Mitsuda? If you're a fan of the game it's easy to see the mental image of Crono and the others bouncing in their combat stances to the smooth beat of the drums and bass in this song.
The quick beat is sure to get you bouncing your head to the rhythm in seconds as you're selecting the various Tech commands in whatever age you might be adventuring through at the time. The timeless tune -- pun very much intended -- really accentuates the style of the game, feeling right at home no matter what kind of monsters you're fighting or what visual setting the game throws at you. Thanks for this gem, Yasunori Mitsuda.
Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Uploaded by TheOstFan
Like many of the other songs I've shared with you, Shadow Hearts: Covenant's "Deep in Coma" is a perfect example of thematic tune. The eerie chanting over the guttural bass guitar and hectic drums really gets you unnerved in this horror RPG.
The unusual rhythm and tribal beat are fitting for a game where you can transform into a demon at any given moment. Despite this however, "Deep in Coma" does a great job of making battles feel exciting and breaks the norm at the same time, making it a very memorable song. As I wrote this article I couldn't help but want to pop Shadow Hearts into my PlayStation 2.
These are just ten examples of great RPG battle music. There are plenty of other amazing tunes out there to discover and listen to. Did your favorite make the list? Share your favorites in the comments.