News Article

News Article

Lock, Stock, and Rock: Musicians in Horror Gaming

Grasshopper Manufacture's upcoming zombie-basher Lollipop Chainsaw features a fairly meaty cast of voice talent, ranging from Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) to Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer).  One of the more unique and unexpected voices is provided by Jimmy Urine, lead singer of the infamous band Mindless Self Indulgence.  His vocal contribution got us thinking about the history of musicians lending their talents, both musical and otherwise, to the darker side of gaming.  After some thorough research and reminiscing, we came up with the following list of musical personalities whose skills were instrumental (pun intended) to the games that they worked on.  Check out the list after the break.

Mike Patton (The Darkness/The Darkness II/Left 4 Dead/Left 4 Dead 2)

I could cover Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/Fantomas/Tomahawk frontman Mike Patton's contributions to gaming in its own article.  His notoriously strange vocal talents have been lent from everything from Valve's first-person puzzler Portal (in which he played the shrieking Anger Sphere) to Capcom's fizzling reboot Bionic Commando.  However, we best know him as The Darkness from the games of the same name, a snarling, eternal entity that torments its host with a series of shrieking taunts and demands.  Watching the video below is a frightening experience when you realize that Patton is delivering his arrhythmic lines with a minimum of filtering (what are that man's vocal cords made of?), but it's even more disturbing to think that he is responsible for the majority of the voices of the zombies in Valve's Left 4 Dead series.  All this, and he's the frontman for around a zillion different bands?  What is this guy on…and can I have some?

Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister, Lita Ford, and Rob Halford (Brütal Legend)

DoubleFine's Brütal Legend was a love letter to heavy metal as a whole, electroplating its world with chrome and dousing it with fire.  Who better to cement that love than classic metal royalty?  How Tim Schafer managed to score such rock gods as Rob Halford, Lemmy Kilmister, Lita Ford, and Ozzy fucking Osbourne shall remain a mystery for the ages.  All we know is that their vocal stylings added immensely to headbanging tale of a roadie trapped in an alternate reality ruled by the ferocity of metal and clad in leather and steel.

Trent Reznor (Quake)

While Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor may not have lent his overt vocal talents to id's lead-spraying classic, his contribution to the soundtrack and sound effects are no less notable.  Riding at the height of NIN's fame, Trent teamed up with id Software to lend his sonic abilities to their groundbreaking title, giving eerily ambient tracks as well as crunching industrial numbers as the score for you to slaughter your foes.  He also provided the sparse sound effects, which are still firmly imprinted in gaming memory to this day: any gamer that had a powerful enough PC in '97 will surely remember the distinctive grunt of Quake's space-marine character as he jumped.  Even NIN's iconic, symmetrical logo made an appearance on ammo crates for the game's two nailgun weapons, reminding us every time we reloaded our arsenal just who was behind all the sonic craziness we were experiencing.

KISS (Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child)

We love KISS over here at FEARnet in spite of (or probably because of) their incredible pretentiousness at times.  Nothing signifies that pretentiousness quite like KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child, a delightfully heavy-handed FPS released by the long-defunct GOD Games for the PC and Sega Dreamcast.  Set in the same universe as the absurd Todd McFarlane comic, which took cues from KISS' infamous concept album Songs from "The Elder," as well as the titular Psycho Circus, it let players step into the platform boots of the four members of KISS (or at least their absurd avatars) in order to stop the rise of the Psycho Circus and the monster-fetus (literally) dubbed The Nightmare Child.  While KISS only lent their greasepaint likenesses, occasional song, and ridiculous backstory to the proceedings, it's the sort of self-indulgent musical insanity that has defined KISS for decades.  Seriously, what other game would cast you as Peter Criss…sorry, "The Beast King"… and have you dismembering killer clowns with feral talons and cosmic rocket launchers?