Best Boss Fight Theme Contest FINAL RESULTS


Some tough match ups today.

Also, Lady Maria is probably the first Bloodborne boss track I’ve heard that stands on its own, which is weird because Dark Souls is nothing but amazing boss tracks.


I could not disagree with this take more. The Bloodborne Soundtrack is almost unanimously better to me than anything before Dark Souls 3, and even then the fact that they didn’t record at the same level of quality really hampers how that soundtrack comes together.

Plus, y’know, any number of deep-dive analyses you want me to do to construct better arguments for just about any Bloodborne track, since that whole thing is such a great love-letter-to/ironic-take-down-of Catholicism.

Anyway, Maria’s theme is amazing y’all, it’s this huge ebb-and-flow using whole-tone motifs to elicit that otherworldy quality and that flies so so so amazingly well with what that boss area’s location represents PLUS it’s got all the timey-wimey-chimey bits and works way better as a Holst ripoff than the Living Failures theme and UGH


BAH. Missed the vote. Wasn’t on the forums yesterday.

Here’s hoping these win:
The Other Promise (not a Dancing Mad fan)
Battle with Magus (this still gives me chills everytime I listen to it)
The Sun Rises (my favourite to win the whole thing)
I’m My Own Master Now (always vote MGR)

If any of them tie/lose by one vote, I’ll be kicking myself for days. Okay, just the last three.


if mgr loses by two votes we can both kick each other


I mean, I’ll back Metal Gear Rising’s soundtrack any day. But Lady Maria Can Not Lose.

She Will Not Lose.


Most of my other nominations are out and I’m not even mad, but Maria? I will know exactly how many people voting didn’t go through that boss fight based on how many votes it doesn’t get.


There’s just one problem: Very little of the Bloodborne soundtrack works if you don’t have the context for when a track plays, and that goes especially for boss tracks. As someone who’s never played either Bloodborne or a Dark Souls game, the Dark Souls soundtracks all stick out more and stay with me just on a casual listen. Too much of the Bloodborne musical style is downplayed, or it lacks an easily recognizable emotional state. It works great in context, where you see all the clever tricks they pull to tell a story through audio, but it doesn’t really stand out without that context and the flow of the fight. Meanwhile, Dark Souls wears the emotional state of the fight on its sleeve, from threatening to tragic, and you can get a good idea of what the angle is from just the first few seconds.

This is something that’s been bugging me about this tourney, because a lot of people nominated a lot of tracks that don’t work that well without context, while the point of this contest seems to be voting for tracks that stand on their own.


I’m now digging into my nominations to see what ones I choose primarily on the context moreso then the music.

Ys 8 - Crimson Fighter I haven’t played this but I love it’s music
Nier - Shadowlord I think more on the boss fight then maybe just a song that can stand on it’s own. I’d need an opinion from somebody who might not have played that boss.
Bravely Default - That Person’s Name Is I listen to this while training and it’s butt rock is just soo good. I think it can stand on it’s own.
Bayonetta - Battle for the Umbran Throne Half and Half, I do think the funkiness off this stands on it’s own but the boss fight as well was an excellent pair for it.
Splatoon 2 - Spicy Calamari Inkantation I haven’t touched the main story (I don’t like the levels) but I love this song


Agreed, in part - my argument about “not having played the fight” is pretty dismissive, ultimately, and the same is easy to leverage against many of my own votes. That said…

I still disagree with this point, too - the Dark Souls tracks on their own all fall completely flat for me. I only liked Gwyn’s theme once I had the lore background, for instance, whereas I can immediately draw a case for the general shape and structure of Bloodborne tracks like The First Hunter. Hail the Nightmare is itself an amazing track for me outside of context in part because there is NO known context to it when it’s first encountered in-game.

Obviously there is no objectivity to the emotions we feel from music, which is part of what makes a lot of competitions like this frustrating. It’s very difficult in many cases to understand why someone doesn’t share your experiences with certain pieces - in my case, for example, the realization that Lady Maria’s theme outside of its boss fight is a version of Holst’s Saturn that I always wished existed, something with similar thematic elements (acoustically, mind, not within lore) of time and space, that also created a tension through a faster texture underpinning those moments. In many ways, the specific love I have for Bloodborne’s soundtrack, even out of context, stems from my personal relationship with the Catholic Mass settings that it draws clear inspiration from in its lyrical content and orchestration. It’s nothing new to write 20 Dies Irae segments for a string of boss themes, but Bloodborne’s is the first set to truly sound authentic to me. Dark Souls 3 comes close with the Dancer and Prince Lothric, among a few others, but again the quality of the instrumentation just doesn’t let them stand out to me (and don’t even get me started on that misguided application of harpsichord).

OK I’m cutting myself off I am VERY PASSIONATE about these things and am more than happy to offer a defense of almost any Bloodborne track relative to the rest of Souls, but it’s also impossible for me to convey the depth of emotional experience that the medium of choral-orchestral music has for me.


Day 6 Results

Dancing Mad (Final Fantasy VI) over The Other Promise (Kingdom Hearts 2) 12-5
Battle with Magus (Chrono Trigger) over Hepatica (Xenosaga Episode III) 18-2
The Sun Rises (Okami) over Lakshmi ~ Beauty’s Wicked Wiles (FinalFantasy XIV) 18-2
Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower (Bloodborne) over I’m My Own Master Now (Metal Gear Rising) 10-8

Day 7 Matches

Boss Battle (Chrono Cross) vs The Marvelous Duo (Mario & Luigi)

Possessed by Disease (Nier: Automata) vs Hopes and Dreams + Save the World (Undertale)

Solaris Phase 2 (Sonic 2006) vs Shadowlord (Nier)

Zero (Ace Combat Zero) vs A Despair-filled Farewell (Shadow of the Colossus)

Vote here!


Where do you want your kick? I would like it in the nuts cause I deserve it.


For the record, I did not sabotage that vote total.


I mean I also missed the vote on that one and was going to vote for Lady Maria. If that makes you feel any better? Probably not?


Aw dunk, my fav NieR boss theme is up against Hope and Dreams?! Sigh maaaaaan this bracket is rigged against my noms, dang

At least Maria won, she’s my only horse left in this race at this point D:


kick my goddamn brain through my skull jfc


I voted against SotC again, but in my defense, Ace Combat has some incredible music. It was a TOUGH call. Also, I much prefer Shadowlord’s build over Sonic 06’s Solaris Phase 2. Kind of bugged by how instrumentally simple that piece is.


Nostalgia’s a helluva drug.


Hepatica was one of mine but I’m not as surprised now as I was with losing Sphilia.


Eh, in this case, Hepatica didn’t leave much of an impact on me without context.

Now, if it was Promised Pain…


Yeah, I know right?

Two people actually voted for Xenosaga.