Illustration for article titled Heaven or Hell? The Awesome Music of Guilty Gear Xrd

Greetings! For this week’s TAY theme week, we’re covering our favorite video games and their accompanied soundtracks. I had actually been planning to write about a few of my favorite games and their original scores, but never really got around to it when I joined TAY. Seeing as I don’t actually have a “favorite” game, the challenge became narrowing it down to a smaller pool of titles and then actually giving myself enough time to sit down and write. The other factor was how difficult it would be to actually write. I actually had another game in mind (Persona 3), but I wasn’t happy with the rough draft and realized I have something bigger in mind when I cover that game. For my first article, I figured I’d select a game that’s fresh off my mind and has a kickass soundtrack: Guilty Gear Xrd.

My introduction to the Guilty Gear series was sparked by a close friend of mine this year when he gifted me with his copy of Xrd. Having grown up with fighting games, I developed a deep love for them early on, despite not being that good at them. Recently I’ve been kind of burned out from the genre as my free time decreased, my few gaming friends lost interest or don’t play the same games, and my patience to learn the mechanics decreased. The one exception was Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, which I was playing regularly until support ended. Of course, this didn’t mean I was completely through with fighters; think of it more as a long break. With that in mind, I decided to give it a try and see what the precursor to BlazBlue was like.


Like any good fighting game, a slick character roster and solid gameplay are two of the most crucial components to help differentiate itself from the endless supply of fighters today. But where Guilty Gear shines brightest is its music, and I’m not just referring to the soundtrack. The whole series in many ways is a tribute to music, specifically Rock and Metal. Many of the characters and their moveset names reference real life musicians, bands, and hit songs. I chuckled the first time I heard Ky Kiske shout “Ride the Lightning!,” a reference to Metallica’s first album and song of the same name. Slayer, who is a vampire named after the same metal band (gotta love these character names!), has a special move called Dead on Time, a song by the rock band, Queen. I-No’s theme music in Guilty Gear X2 is practically their variation on X Japan’s Kurenai.

For comparison, here is the original:

These are just a few examples, but it is clear that series creator Daisuke Ishiwatari has a deep passion for music; he did compose the music for the series after all! His latest games, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, and its successor, -Revelator-, continue the trend set by its predecessors. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite tracks from the games.

As the title indicated, I’ll be focusing primarily on the Xrd games.

10. Big Blast Sonic


Although “Heavy Day” was the better choice as the first game’s opening, I thought “Big Blast Sonic” was the better standalone song. Almost all of the songs in the game feature some intricate guitar work, but this stands out particularly for its ability to get me pumped up, whether it be fighting games or just out and about in the world.

9. Ride the Fire!


This theme plays when you use Sol Badguy’s (seriously, this is too metal!) Dragon Install transformation move. The full version listed above is even better. If there is one thing other fighting games could take from Guilty Gear, it would be including separate themes for these one time transformations. Granted, it might be too much work for 26 or so characters, but nothing feels quite as badass as whipping out the Dragon Install and laying waste to your opponent, or even if you are on the receiving end

8. Ky (Damaged)


So we’re getting to the character themes at this point. I was debating between this or Ky’s main theme, “Magnolia Eclair,” but I gave the edge to this track since I love symphonic music (I’m a huge power metal fan). If you enjoyed Blazblue’s more classical tracks, you’ll love this.

7. Destructive Goodwill (Faust’s Theme)


Again, love the piano portions. Actually, as you are probably beginning to notice the deeper this list goes, a lot of my picks include more than just guitar. While I’m mostly a metal/rock guy, I enjoy a mix of instrumental music.

6. Diva of Despair (Ramlethal’s Theme)


Sign’s arcade actually had different final bosses depending on your character, but most end up fighting Ramlethal. This definitely fit the feel of the character as well as serving as a great theme as far as final arcade boss fights go; even after failing for the 20th time (I told you I suck at these games!).

5. Communication (Sin vs Ky Theme)

Okay, I’m cheating with this one (this originated from Guilty Gear 2 Overture), but it’s included in the game as an unlockable track, so I’m including it. It’s just an awesome track overall and highlights what came before Xrd if this is your first Guilty Gear game like it was for me.


4. Sky Should be High (Vocal Version)


Another vocal track! This time, the final boss fight for Revelator. I haven’t actually played Revelator yet, but that didn’t stop me from nabbing the soundtrack for it. I probably would have filled most of this list with the vocal collection from both games, but I wanted to post a fair mix of songs.

3. Jack-a-Dandy (Slayer’s Theme)


Guilty Gear may be mostly a rock and metal mix, but I loved the touch of jazz and piano throughout the track.

Now’s a good time to bring this up, but I absolutely dig the game’s instant kill moves. Take a look at Slayer’s:

2. Starry Story (May’s Theme)


Is it weird my penultimate track is something that’s more upbeat than the rest of what I’ve picked so far? That being said, this is still very much a Guilty Gear track. Listen to that sick transition starting at 2:22.

1. Credits (Lily, Icarus, Freesia, and All I Can Do)

Ha ha! I’m cheating again with this one. My favorite tracks from both games are oddly enough the more melodic tracks. Daisuke Ishiwatari’s favorite band is Queen, and it shows greatly in these tracks. Honestly, I can’t do it justice; just listen.


I know I missed several themes and neglected posting more of the vocal collection (which could have been its own article), but that’s were you come in. What were your favorite themes in Guilty Gear, or any other fighting games? Sound off in the comments and let me know how I did with my first published post!


This technically being the last day for TAY Theme week, I just want to give a personal shout out to everyone who contributed as well as any possible late entries today. I’ve enjoyed reading your entries and hope you got a kick out of reading mine. Rock on!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter