Retro Respawn – Good Examples of Licensed Music in Retro Games

I’ve sadly not been able to complete my full third season yet in my FIFA 20 Manager Career Mode, but I should have it by next week’s article and, rest assured, I’ll have plenty to tell you about. I’ve been enjoying a couple of the menu music in FIFA 20, however, and it got me thinking about how licensed music can really add to a video game experience sometimes. I wracked my memory banks and came up with some retro games that made the most of some licensed tracks to enrich their overall appeal.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3

You could use any of the first four Tony Hawk games as good examples of a video game getting the most out of its licensed soundtrack, but I’ve gone with the third game in the series because it introduced me to “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones for the very first time in my life, which is still one of my favourite songs. There are also some other great tracks on here as well, including “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead and “96 Quite Bitter Beings” from CKY. You may enjoy one of the other Tony Hawk game soundtracks more, but this is the one that I get the most kick out of. At the end of the day though, there’s plenty of great music to be found in most of the games, and I don’t doubt that it helped the series’ popularity with video game enthusiasts.


Crazy Taxi

I should be specific in this case and point out that I mean the original OST from the arcade and Dreamcast version of the game. Crazy Taxi eventually got a re-release after the Dreamcast sadly bit the dust, but by then, the soundtrack had been changed due to rights issues. My favourite track from the original Crazy Taxi soundtrack will be of no surprise to most of you as it is a track that is pretty much synonymous with the game itself for anyone who played it originally back in the day. I’d never been a particularly huge fan of The Offspring (although I do think “Smash” is an excellent album), but I can confidently say that I’d happily listen to “All I Want” every day for the rest of my sad sack existence. It’s that good!


Duke Nukem: Time To Kill

TTK is probably the Duke adventure I have put the most time into over the years, and it instantly gets you jazzed for some PIG Cop roasting by delivering a thoroughly bottom-kicking intro for your famished eyes and ears. The video features the Duke’s trusty ride getting turned into a little girl’s tricycle by the villains, thus causing him to pull out a selection of gnarly weaponry to blow them to kingdom come. What makes this such a pulsating opening salvo though is the fantastic musical accompaniment of “The Thing I Hate” by Stabbing Westward. I’ve never listened to any of their other stuff, but this track is what I believe all the cool kids call a “banger”, and it does an excellent job of making you want to bring the pain to some alien scum!


WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It

In the year 2000, wrestling character The Undertaker had a bit of a makeover that saw him go from an undead occult zombie to a motorbike-straddling, tobacco-chewing redneck who was looking to crack some skulls. Not surprisingly, the WWF decided that the new look Undertaker would need some new music to go with his new attitude, with Kid Rock’s “American Badass” getting the gig originally. However, the WWF never cared to actually pay the eye-watering fees that Mr. Rock demanded for the music to appear in a game, and thus, Taker was given generic music in both WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role and WWF No Mercy. However, as 2000 drew to a close, the WWF decided to give Undertaker new music in the form of “Rollin'” by Limp Bizkit. Thankfully, Fred Durst was more reasonable about letting his track get used in Just Bring It, provided that he got himself a sneaky cameo as an unlockable playable character, of course. Thus, Undertaker had his real entrance theme for the first time in a while, something that popped me big back in the day.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

If, like me, you enjoy 80s music, then you’ll no doubt be head over heels for Vice City’s fantastic soundtrack. I honestly can’t think of a better set list of licensed music in the history of video gaming. They are all there, from Michael Jackson to Gary Numan, to Motley Crue to The Human League, to Grandmaster Flash to many, many more. Chances are that if you love a track from the 80s, then there’s an excellent chance that Vice City has it in its virtual jukebox. Sometimes I’d just drive around the city listening to all the different radio stations whilst the sun went down and came up again. This soundtrack is the dog’s unmentionables and is a fantastic way to close us out.

I hope you all had fun taking that trip down memory lane. I’ll hopefully see you all next week for more tales from my FIFA 20 Career Mode.

Stay safe out there.

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