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#TuneTuesday No. 71: The Darkness Theme


This week's #TuneTuesday comes from one of my favourite PS3 games and is quite possibly one of the most underrated games on the previous generation. It is the theme from 'The Darkness', composed by Gustaf Grefberg. But first, some context as to how I discovered this game that is loosely based on the comic of the same name.

I didn't use the internet that much during school. All the games I would ever hear about either came up in playground conversation, adverts, magazine reviews, or that one program on Bravo that I would watch, before both the show and program were discontinued. It was only during the end of teens that I began to use YouTube as a source of game news and reviews, which was how I discovered 'The Darkness' during my first year at college. This was through a Watch Mojo Top 10 list on the most violent video games, the game's sequel being on that list.

The game (and the comics it is based on) follows Jackie Estacado, a former hit-man in The Mafia, was targeted for assassination on the eve of his 21st birthday by the don of the New York mafia, "Uncle" Paulie Franchetti, following a failed task to retrieve money for the latter. While hiding in a cemetery bathroom, The Darkness, an ancient force that has inhabited his family for several generations, awakens within Jackie, becoming the possessor of unholy demonic abilities that feed off the dark.

As for the music for the game, you explore a fictionalised New York, with no UI/HUD to help you. You explore different districts, each one has their own sinister ambient 'pad' that plays. Like ogres, each district cue has layers that are mixed in and out depending on what is happening on the screen.

One version is an ambient one when there are no enemies around. The other is a stealth one, which has more tension, as there are enemies present that you are either sneaking around or hiding from. The third is a combat version, where you are fighting enemies, and there are metal guitars and drums in your face as your popping caps like a badass and ripping people's heads off with these weird Darkness snakeheads. In game audio, this technique is known as 'Vertical Layering', as they are literally stacking on top of each other.

The theme itself has never heard isn't entirely in the game (believe me, I've checked!) but you hear the loud chorus at various points, usually during climactic moments with The Darkness, who is voiced by fucking Mike Patton of Faith No More!

I believe there is no piece of music for a film, game etc. more important then it's the main theme, as the sets the tone of what to expect when enjoying this piece of media. Much of the theme is very dark, borderline the Satanic (which makes it a brilliant tool for scaring of Jehovah's Witness) with brilliantly unpredictable harmony that just somehow works, almost in a tonal sense. There is a slightly faster section towards the large climatic chorus, which I suppose represents the rush and excitement of being an indestructible daemonic force, decapitating Mafia gunman, and sending Gatlin-gun-wielding gremlins to fuck shit up further.

If you do own a PS3 still, I would recommend you playing this game and its sequel. That being said, despite being incredibly more violent and faster than it's predecessor, it does not have the same sinister tone and you may be a tad disappointed with the ending like I was.

 



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