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Need for Speed
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First era: 1994's
The Need for Speed to 2002's Hot Pursuit 2
Headless Horse, Pavlova, Heinerklingle and Sanoqoua from NFS II. Besides their perfect match with corresponding racing circuits, these tracks were clearly meant to be played while you are driving in high speeds. Some would find the rock/metal selections just as appropriate for similar or different reasons (take these numbers for examples).
Heck, even the tracks that last less then a minute are awesome, such as the themes in showcase videos from NFS II (like the McLaren F1, or Ford GT90).
The demonstration tracks in NFS III and High Stakes when the game is left on the menu for long enough.
Sirius 909 from
Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit Hydrus 606, Romulus 3, Whipped, Triton, Monster, Whacked, and Minotaur.
Rear Flutterblast #19, Little Sweaty Sow, Snow Bags, and especially Snorkeling Cactus Weasels.
Aquila 303, Cetus 808, Knossos, Pi.
Paradigm Shifter from NFS: High Stakes
The main menu songs for and NFS II .
Porsche Unleashed From Porsche Unleashed, we have Sub Zero, The UK Sound, Dr. Know, Sentient, and Twin.
Hot Pursuit 2 has a couple: Brakestand, Bundle of Clang, Sphere, Cone of Silence, and the stuff from the Buzzhorn, Bush, Course of Nature, and Rush.
The song used for the game's intro cinematic: "Going Down on It" by Hot Action Cop. If you get it, be careful though; the game version is insanely different, and worlds better, from the very dirty album version.
"Fever For The Flava", also by Hot Action Cop. Which is also much different from (and better than) the very dirty album version.
Second era: 2003's
Underground to 2008's Undercover
Third era: 2009's
Shift to 2011's The Run
Continuing the Pendulum focus from the previous folder, "Watercolour" and their remix of "Stay Too Long" by Plan B in Hot Pursuit 2010.
World's Safe House theme.
Criterion Games didn't waste a second invoking this trope in Hot Pursuit 2010, having invoked it- twice, no less!- in the reveal trailer. First, there's the Covered Up version of "Tainted Love" by Marilyn Manson, followed by "Edge of the Earth" by 30 Seconds to Mars.
All six of the pursuit themes are pretty epic on their own, although you'd be hard-pressed to listen to them outside of the game.
This trailer for the game features a catchy tune from a band called Pint Shot Riot called "Nothing From You (Redanka Remix)".
This trailer features a song from a band called !!! (yes, that's the name of the band) called "The Hammer". Criterion is good at picking music for their racers.
Also, "Bombshock" by Hadoken! and the two songs from the Klaxons ("Echoes" and "Twin Flames" off their 2011 release, Surfing the Void).
The menu theme as well. It has an intense, ominous feel to it.
Shift 2: Unleashed already has one: the exhaust note of the Pagani Huayra.
The Run gives us the orchestral track that plays during the final race. It's a fitting piece for the race that decides who wins the big prize.
Fourth era: 2012's
Most Wanted to the present
Criterion hasn't lost their touch, if Most Wanted 2012 is any indication. They sure nailed the opening video.
That song is Butterflies and Hurricanes by Muse. It's awesome on its own, but fits so well.
Other amazing songs from Most Wanted 2012? " Bonkers" by Dizzee Rascal, " The Power" by DJ Fresh and Dizzee Rascal, note Zedd's remix of "Breakn' a Sweat" by Skrillex and The Doors, Cato's remix of the legendary "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, and best of the best, " Galvanize" by The Chemical Brothers.
The chilling " Anjunabeach" by Above & Beyond will easily come in great use when you're driving at excess of 200 MPH and you need to chill out.
"You Ain't Pretty But You Got It Going On" by Band of Skulls and "Weatherman" by Dead Sara.
" Won't You (Be There)" by Nero. Really. Hear it if you love dubstep. You'll love it. You can also hear it as ending theme after beating the Koenigsegg Agera R.
" I Love It" by Icona Pop, which became a hit in the United States later on.
" A Light Goes Off (RuN RiOT Mix)" by RuN RiOT. The extended intro created specifically for the game makes it even better.
" Double Edge" by Flux Pavilion, Sway and P Money and " Contact" by Foreign Beggars and Noisia. Love dubstep? Love rap? You'll adore these songs.
" Cast Away" by Strange Talk. Very soft for Need for Speed's standards, still really awesome.
"Circles Around The Sun" by Dispatch and "Blue Ghosts" by Riverboat Gamblers also count.
"Unknow" by The Maccabees; haunting, yet atmospheric.
You know what? Here's the list. Pick one.
From Rivals, we have "Technicolor" by Madeon, who also provided "The City" from Most Wanted 2012.