In my last post I used a conversation of Alpha Protocol as an example, which got me to thinking about the preceding boss fight, and how it’s a fantastic example of how great music can enhance sections of a game.
The boss fights of Alpha Protocol, much like the boss fights in other games, force the player to take arms against a powerful enemy in a decidedly combat focused situation. Unfortunately, Alpha Protocol is a game where choice of character and a stealthy approach are touted as major aspects of gameplay, meaning that a given player might not focus on combat skills and have a much harder time being forced into combat. Predictably this means that the boss fights of Alpha Protocol have taken a lot of particularly deserved flak, as players don’t like to feel they have created a poor or sub-optimal character. One particular boss fight, the aftermath of which I used as an example in my post on LA Noire, showcases a particularly good example of how using a fitting piece of music can enhance sections of a game.
Your opponent, Konstantin Brayko, is character surrounded by tacky 80s culture, which is reflected in the soundtrack to the fight; Autograph’s Turn up the Radio. The song plays throughout the battle, appropriately set in a disco-like area, and truly highlights the gaudy over-the-top nature of both Brayko’s character and where he lives.
Essentially, by utilising such a famous, well-known piece of music, as well as one so vividly different to the rest of the game’s soundtrack, this boss fight becomes one of the most memorable moments of the game (I see way more people talking about how completely awesome the music was here, compared to any other part of the game). Isn’t that what boss fights are supposed to be about; providing a crescendo of awesomeness to finish a section of gameplay? I think that if a different piece of music had been used here, the whole Brayko’s mansion level would have come of worse, simply because playing a poorly designed, overly hard fight would have been much more frustrating without cheesy 80s metal blaring at you.