Well, here is part 2. The last 13 entries have started out fairly tame but creepy before getting to downright freaky. I will say that each of the top 10 in particular could have worked as the number one spot and it was NOT easy picking the order, but I managed, and I think I have got some fairly solid reasoning. Well anyway, here are the final 12.
12: “KIZAMI” (Corpse Party: Blood Covered)
This one is admittedly kind of badass and would be considered more scary than disturbing, but the unique instrumentation and structure is just so fitting for Kizami’s psychotic and horrific personality. This song serves as a chase theme in a scene where you are a little girl being chased by someone who is basically a serial killer. If he catches you, he is going to chain you up and torture you. He also happens to have that Ted Bundy like personality of the attractive and cute boy that all the girls want, but has a seriously fucked up mind behind all of it. As if Heavenly Host wasn’t demented enough, you have this freak to contend with.
You know a song is well arranged when it makes a bongo drum sound threatening and dire. That piano scale and the base rift at the beginning let you know that if he catches you, you’re fucked! The song starts to increase in pitch the further it goes along until you have the screeching electric guitar that, in any other song, would be head bang worthy. Instead it represents the escalating fear and tension that occurs the longer one is put under extreme duress. The Corpse Party series has a ton of blood curdling and horrific tracks, but it is hard to think of one more chilling then this. Ironic that it represents a human being and has nothing to do with the nirvana. Perhaps it is a metaphor for something.
11: “Submerged Castle” (Pikmin 2)
This one is just flat out freaky. I never thought it was possible for a melody to sound off key with only one instrument playing, but I swear that is what that fucking percussion beat sounds like. It alone is already so cringe inducing and discomforting that I shudder and contort just listening to it, then that fucking chorus. It is not harmonic in the slightest, and just sound creepy as fuck while also being unbearably irritating.
Everything about this track sounds alien and odd. It captures that odd feeling of the the Pikmin series, but it is also incredibly fitting given just how fucking unsettling and disturbing the water wraith is. How the fuck did something like that end up in a cute game like Pikmin, and since when did Pikmin 2 go from lite RTS to survival horror? This song plays in the dungeon while you know that this monstrosity may drop down from the ceiling any moment. The only reason this one isn’t in the top ten is because, as unsettling and alien it sounds, it doesn’t have much atmospheric effect, but it still works a lot better than “Mushroom Road” does.
10: “Breakdown” (Doom 64)
And here I thought that Doom’s music was all kickass heavy metal. What the fuck happened to that? Instead, the Nintendo 64 version of Doom has mostly creepy and atmospheric tracks. I suppose that is fitting for a game where you are surrounded by the demons of hell. Well, I haven’t played any Doom game so I wouldn’t know. I looked this one up after listening to the “Dark Citadel” track, and people saying that this one was creepier.
Right away, this track does not even feel like a song more so than a sequence of unbearably baleful sounds. Those demonic growls give off the feeling that one is surrounded by hellish demons… which they are. There are those icy string notes that randomly cut out. Later on you have what sounds like bees buzzing and eventually… a baby crying. Not even loudly, just softly, like it is too scared to even call for mother. This track just oozes helplessness, fear, and utter hell.
9: “Confusion” (Eversion)
Usually, the track from Eversion that appears on this list is the world 8 track “Induction,” but I’m never the one to take the obvious route. Out of context, Induction sounds much worse and Confusion just sounds like atonal noise. In context, things are much different. The first thing to note is that this track is a horribly altered and distorted of the world 2 theme “Deception.” Eversion’s schtick is that it starts out looking upbeat and happy, but you need to swap between 8 worlds to alter the stages Link to the Past style (only there are 8 of them instead of 2) and each world starts to get progressively darker in design AND in music.
“Deception” is a track that is not as upbeat and happy as the world one theme “Flower Kingdom” or the title theme, but is still happy and sweet sounding with a slight bit of emotion to it. “Confusion” on the other hand, is the theme for world 6, and it signifies where the game starts to get REALLY fucked up. The themes for world 4 and 5 were both ominous and creepy, but still melodic and listenable. “Confusion” starts up when you pass by a certain point and you are thrown in unexpectedly. You start being chased by a deadly mist when this chaotic music starts up. It signifies both its namesake and the danger that is present. When you realize it is the level 2 theme, it also represents the decay you are seeing between each world and the ever increasing paranoia and insanity. Also of note, my brother overheard this track and said it sounded like a demonic version of a Rugrats song.
8: “Final Hours” (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
This one is also more harmonic than the rest of the songs in the top 10. Sound wise, it is more depressing than disturbing, but the emotions that it evokes go way beyond typical sadness. There is also an air of suspense and fear that makes one’s spine chill. This track plays during the last 12 hours that you have left to live, and that everyone else has. For those unaware, Majora’s Mask operates on an in game timer, and the player has three days to complete the game, or else the moon will crash into Termina and it is the end of the world.
This track will play no matter where you are in the game (except maybe in some dungeons or boss fights, I’m unsure). It captures the feeling of despair as the people around you know they are about to meet their end. Rather than panic, they have accepted their fate and slowly wait until the end. I am unsure what instrument is used for that ethereal sound that the song opens up with; I am thinking a glass harmonica but I know they typically make higher sounds. The way that the prominence shifts between that sound and the melody continue to paint a picture of fear and despair, and those bells signify that the end is nigh. It may sound pretty, but I can never feel calm while listening to it.
Also is it just me or does anyone else hear parts of Ganon’s theme in this track?
7: “Kill Yourself” (Cry of Fear) *TW: Suicide*
At first, this track sounds like incoherent noise that this list has explicitly banned from entry. Yet again, context is everything. I have heard Cry of Fear described as Yume Nikki if it were an FPS. It is a game about a man with suicidal depression, and this track is meant to represent his mental decay. I have not only suffered from frequent suicidal thoughts, I have felt them within the last weak. They are a regular occurrence to me, so despite having not played this game, I can say that this track pretty much sums them up.
The track is clouded with the sound of alarms and static, similarly to how depressives’s minds are clouded by strong pain and muffled by numbness; all of which convinces you that this is all normal and that YOU are the monster. That you are sick, fucked up, and were not meant to be alive. That you are unstable and insane. The sounds of someone saying what sounds like “I’m sick,” “I’m so fucked up,” or “I’m sorry” continue to persist throughout the entire track along with heavy breathing. The title of the track is true to its name as it simulates the feeling that all of your peers and all that are around you want you to die.
Normally, a track like this would be reserved for the number one spot. How exactly can you get more disturbing than the sound of suicidal depression and anxiety? Well, that is just a testament to how demented these remaining tracks and the themes they represent are.
6: “Drought” (Pokemon Ruby)
Yes, Pokemon makes the list twice, and neither of them are “Lavender Town!” I first heard of this in Caddicarus’s creepiest game songs countdown, a video that was remarkably well shot and written (something not common for Caddy). However, this track was placed a lot lower than it should have been, as I found it to be more unsettling than anything else on the list (except for maybe “My Heaven”, which I have considered including but I didn’t want to since a better track from the same game was on my previous countdown). I often hear people proclaim something along the lines of “how was a track this unsettling allowed in a kid’s game, this sounds more fitting for something like Silent Hill” whenever a kid’s game has a creepy or unnerving song in it. It often comes across as cringeworthy seeing as how instrumental music can’t receive an ESRB rating. It also helps emphasize atmosphere and tension more strongly, helping a scenario that doesn’t sound notably intense connect on an emotional level.
This track plays when the legendary ground type Groudon is awakened and fucks with the suns rays, which dries up all the water on the planet. This spells certain death unless you can defeat him and drive him back underground… even though if he was powerful enough to affect the sun’s rays then going underground wouldn’t help. Oh well, willing suspension of disbelief it is. This track is very dry, perfectly befitting its name. It is intentionally simplistic and repetitive, and my lips start to dry up just from listening to it. There is nothing but these repeating, buzzing sounds that could probably be done on the original Gameboy. It sounds as if the drought is so intense that even all sense of harmony or energy has dried up, and that listening almost anything else afterwards will feel like jumping into a pool. Note that this entry is not including the Omega Ruby version since that one lessened the effect by making it more harmonic.
5: “Brutality” (Euphoria) *TW: Rape*
This track makes my heart sink from the second I hear those first few notes. I don’t think I have ever heard any composition capture such a twisted and unsettling tone. If there was one word I needed to use to describe this track, it would be “evil.” Those off key drum beats, that ticking sound, and those low piano notes at the start just scream that something fucked up is happening. Truthfully, that intro is the key reason the song is on the list. The rest of the song is kinda creepy to but dear god that intro. I can barely describe how horrified it makes me. No matter how low I have the volume, my blood runs cold the moment I hear it.
Perhaps it is because that aggressive percussion beat makes me think of someone being beaten and abused, and that the abuser takes a sick pleasure in doing so. Considering that a majority of the scenes this track plays in are violent rape scenes, in indicates that not only is one’s body in pain, but also their mind. It slowly becomes more melodic as it goes along, almost as if to represent that the victim is adjusting to the rape, or to represent Keisuke’s sexual excitement given that he is a sadist after all. Of course, the ones this sticks out during the most are during the class rep’s electrocution and when Keisuke violently beats Nemu to the point that her face is bloodied. Euphoria is without a doubt the darkest game to appear on this list (I hope at least), and this track demonstrates why.
4: ” Midboss Desperation I – Melt Down” (Shadow Hearts)
Well, this track is what the last one sounds like without any harmony. Only a few uncomfortable drilling sound effects, these screechy whistling notes, and what sound like a bunch of other random machine sounds. There are also what sound like distant screams, demonic mumbling, and whatever that percussive noise is. This track is pretty similar to “Kill Yourself” in that it is trying to sum up the feeling of mental decay and insanity via music, only I feel this one does so better. Shadow Hearts is a pretty typical JRPG (Gameplay wise at least, story wise it is dark AF), with the twist that you have a sanity points system. Every turn you are alive, you lose a sanity point, and if a character runs out, they lose control and basically get the confused status, except this can only be restored by healing SP. Oh and it goes into the negatives if you don’t restore them quick enough.
If one couldn’t guess, the music changes when a character goes insane and does not change back until they are healed. The inharmonious nature of the track not only does an excellent job as at capturing the feeling of a complete mental breakdown, but also prompting the player to restore SP as soon as possible, representing that the worse that you leave someone under inadequate mental care, the worse shape they become. If everyone heard this track upon entering the vicinity of someone with poor mental care, then humanity would have ensured that no one ever suffers a melt down again.
3: “Welcome to Hell” (LISA: The Painful)
Starts off sounding like a more creepy harmonic track, but that doesn’t last long. Those drums are absolutely horrifying, and that rumbling noise… WTF is that? Is it a chainsaw or a motor? And that buzzing sound and guitar. This track knows just how much to relent and when to go all out. It’s the final form of what was attempted in number five; it’s fucked up and nightmarish all the way through. The key feeling that I get from listening to this is, “I’m going to die,” and I don’t even know what context this plays in. I’ve only played a little bit of LISA and I know that it is a pretty gruesome game, so I know that the game isn’t going to be fucking around when it has something like this. Hell supposedly there were multiple variations of this track but this one is just too much for me all on its own.
It was a huge mistake putting “Blood for Sex” over this on the last countdown, this one is much more uncomfortable and it has just enough harmony to let you perceive the horror you are about to witness, but not enough to let you derive any pleasure from it. It is utterly horrific, twisted, and overall genius. Okay yes I cut this description short because I need to stop listening to this, I’m getting a headache.
2: “Scattered Future” (Mother: Cognitive Dissonance)
“Scattered Future” is much more on the subtle side than the last three tracks. There is actually a fair bit of harmony to it and it isn’t just a mess of unpleasant noises meant to assault your sense. Of course, I always value subtlety, so I’m going to perceive this as more discomforting. If one did not catch on yet, Cognitive Dissonance is an Earthbound fangame, and this is Onett’s theme warped beyond recognition. Cognitive Dissonance takes place between the events of Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound, but this track plays when the apple chasers traveled to Earth in the future where Giygas won. None of the player characters in Cognitive Dissonance are from Earth, but if one is to play this game, then they likely played Earthbound. However, the song is warped enough that it may take a little while to recognize it is Onett’s theme, which just makes it hit that much harder when it does.
That repeating four note pattern is already ominous in and of itself, and those distorted strings used for most of the melody makes it sound as if the landscape is crying out in anguish. The outro specifically hits the hardest in how something that originally signified the start of a big adventure is now turned mournful and depressing. Additionally, the sheer fact that Onett’s theme still plays in this area in its corrupted form just sets a depressing precedent; that this IS reality now. Giygas was not stopped, and you now see Ness’s hometown and all who inhabit it destroyed; but the ruins still remained. Similar to a nuclear wasteland that was once a thriving locale, but is now reduced to dust and ash. The sheer horror of what is implied by this track and how fucked up everything is what puts it this high. I was originally planning on having this be my number one, but I found something worse, and surprisingly, it was hidden in plain sight.
1: “Too Much” & “In My Way” (Undertale)
Yes, number one is a tie between two songs from the same game, both of which are very similar in the emotions they invoke, and because both are the most uncomfortable songs I have heard in a video game.
If one listens to these tracks expecting to be scared, it won’t sound like much, but in game is a different story. The genocide route of Undertale is the route where you choose to kill every enemy in the game, including your (former) friends. It is made to be as uncomfortable and emotionally numbing as possible, as if to tell you that you are a terrible person for doing so for no other reason than because you can, and that because the game allows it to happen, that you HAVE to do it.
“Too much,” otherwise known as “But Nobody Came” plays after you have ground out every enemy in an area, and you now wander it as it is bereft of life. It starts playing when you are taken to the random encounter screen, but instead of an enemy, you get the text “…but nobody came.” Not only is that a recurring phrase throughout the game, but it is actually a reference to Earthbound, which had similar text when an enemy calls for back up and no one comes. The low pitched horn note that is dragged out so much that you can’t tell when the song loops. It makes one feel that they are completely alone in an area bereft of life, with no hint of any emotion.
“In My Way” is very similar. It plays during a scene where you are about to murder a defenseless child for no reason other than free exp, and in a scene in the final dungeon where even Flowey, the game’s sadistic and genocidal main villain, starts to fear for his life when he sees you. This song symbolizes how emotionally dead someone must be that they can see those powerless in front of them frozen in fear, and feel nothing. Between the beeping that sounds like someone flat lining on a hospital bed, combined with the sounds of footsteps, it represents someone who is dead in mind and soul, but still walks, and will kill anything in their path for no reason except for a vein attempt at feeling something.
These songs are very similar to the number one entry on my previous list in that they make one feel dead inside while listening to them, and it wasn’t until listening to them more closely that I decided they both belonged at number one. The reason why is because the other songs on this list may feel uncomfortable or frightening, and may invoke stronger emotions, but they at least make me feel something. Part of the reason most of us love the horror genre so much is because the scares provide an adrenaline rush, which makes us feel alive. These songs do the opposite; they not only sound empty and desolate, but they make ME feel dead and desolate inside as well. And unlike number one on my previous list, this was intentional.
They are not only representing the barren setting and atmosphere, but also the mental state of the player. And yes, I said the player, not the player character. The entire point of the Genocide route is to essentially put you in the shoes of a serial killer. One playing a Genocide route is essentially someone who goes through these appalling and horrific actions in an attempt to extract as much from the game as they can because they’ve already seen everything else the game has to offer, very similarly to how Flowey became a murderous psychopath due to an absence of emotions, and similarly to what I assume may be the case with some actual serial killers; and because of it, you feel no remorse or empathy for those in front of you.
You desensitize yourself and eventually you no longer feel these connections; and it becomes easier and easier to kill. Sure, you may remind yourself that it’s just a game, but the entire point of a game like Undertale is to form an emotional connection with the player; that is arguably the point of the game in general. The sheer act that you need to force yourself to remember that it is just a game signifies that you are capable of this; that ANYONE is capable of this. Quite simply put, NOTHING can get more disturbing than this realization. I could not choose between these two tracks simply because doing so would be redundant when the same can be said about both with only slight differences. I likely have made it clear that Undertale is my favorite game soundtrack of all time, and the brilliance of these two tracks is just another reason why.
Well, this countdown is finally over, and I’m kind of glad it is over to be honest. Listening to these songs for long periods of time has not been good for me. Not only is my mood utter shit but I also have started to get headaches from repeatedly listening to the top 5 while writing the blurbs. Apparently, one needs to suffer for their art, although I suppose it’s debatable whether or not clickbait countdowns about game music count as art. However, I am glad I managed to accomplish this, because I can’t see myself covering much more on disturbing game music for quite a long time. Anyway I hope you enjoyed this countdown, and happy belated Halloween.
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