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Awesome Music / Half-Life

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    Black Mesa Incident era (Half Life 1, Opposing Force, Blue Shift, Decay
  • "Vague Voices" sounds while riding the tram to the Anomalous Materials laboratory. It sets the perfect atmosphere to watch all the different parts of Black Mesa the tram passes by, which all together make the player wonder "What kind of place is this?".
  • "Klaxon Beat" is a short yet catchy techno song that plays when Gordon puts on the H.E.V. MK IV suit.
  • "Diabolical Adrenaline Guitar", the fast-paced techno song that plays during your first real battle with the HECU in "We've Got Hostiles". It's arguably the moment where Gordon Freeman stops being a weedy scientist and becomes The One Free Man.
  • The army's bombing the crap out of your place, and the way back is locked out. Enter "Adrenaline Horror", a fast-paced and intense electronic song that urges you to get out as soon as possible.
  • "Nepal Monastery", the Tentacle's leitmotif, may initially seem like a case of Soundtrack Dissonance. It's a calm, relaxing song in a soundtrack full of otherwise tense, unsettling music, that seems strange for playing around a giant killer alien claw. However, it's actually a case of Fridge Brilliance. The Tentacle detects its pray using sound, and the player must stay quiet aroundit so as not to alert it. In this case, it's as if the soundtrack itself is trying to stay quiet to avoid disturbing the Tentacle. The end result is a song unlike anything else in any Half-Life game, but definitely worth listening to.
  • "Drums and Riffs", playing after you launch the missile into space, is simply soul-healing. After making the long trip through the rail system, you're finally making some progress in fixing all that mess, and this song emphasizes that.
  • "Military Precision" is a techno song with military overtones that is perfect for marching right into battle. Bonus points for being adopted as the theme tune of Freeman's Mind.
  • "Nuclear Mission Jam" opens up with horror, then segues into a synthesizer-lead piece that captures the atmosphere of fighting your way through Black Mesa while attempting to escape. Originally playing right after acquiring the Tau cannon, one of the most emblematic weapons from the first game, it proceeds (like a few other memorable tracks) to make a return in the sequel.
  • The Valve theme song, also known as "Hazardous Environments", gives the feeling of exploring uncharted territory, not knowing what awaits you. Its first appearance was in a pseudo-boss in "Surface Tension", in which you must scale a thin cliffside while facing off against a turret, HECU, and an Apache. It's especially awesome when the extended version is played when Gordon gets his HEV Suit back in Half-Life 2.
  • "Electric Guitar Ambiance" exudes loneliness. Interestingly, each time it's used, it has a different meaning. In Half-Life 1, it plays when a security guard dies because of HECU snipers; Gordon is completely alone, surrounded by enemies. In Half-Life 2, it plays when Gordon reaches Black Mesa East; Gordon is alone, but not for much longer.
  • "Hard Technology Rock" is one of the heaviest tracks in the game, combining hard guitar riffs and loud industrial beats into one awesome tune.
  • "Dimensionless Deepness", which plays once you enter the cave in the first area of Xen, is Alien Scenery Porn for the ears.
  • Half-Life's credits theme and its remix in Half-Life 2. Both tracks are still fairly oddball, but actually have a somewhat jovial mood and, uniquely, human vocals. It's the perfect way to celebrate Gordon's accomplishments and cast a hopeful light on the state of humanity, which offsets the weight of each game's suspenseful and ambiguous endings.
  • "Danger Rises", which plays when first entering Xen, both in Opposing Force and Blue Shift. It manages to capture that same feeling of "vast expanse of space" that "Dimensionless Deepness" transmitted so well. Bonus points for predating Halo and its soundtrack by two years.
  • The final boss theme for Opposing Force, "Alien Forces", has a lot of stopping power. The alien things have mustered a huge portal underneath Black Mesa, there's a titanic living WMD about to crawl through to our world and it hinges on you to stop it. Now put on your war face and march, Corporal. You have an alien god to punish.

    City 17 era (Half Life 2, 2: Episode One, 2: Episode Two, Alyx
  • The little signature Half-Life motif which appears when you regain your HEV suit, as mentioned above. Goosebumps right there.
  • "Apprehension and Evasion", for when you're being chased by bullets through a train yard, armed with only a crowbar. Always just as tight, no matter how many times that one scene is played. Even better, it plays again when you and a swarm of antlions raid Nova Prospekt; the first time, you could nothing but run, while the second time, it's time to turn the tables in a sort of D-Day recreation.
  • How about some "CP Violation"? It's not just head-rockingly awesome, but it aptly reflects how the CP units (and by extension, the trans-humans in the games) are a fusion of familiar and alien concepts.
  • "You're Not Supposed To Be Here", which plays after getting the chopper machine gun on your airboat, is a full blown trance techno track that you'd swear Rom Di Prisco composed.
  • "Ravenholm Reprise". Short but sweet.
  • ...And even after you're about to leave the condemned Ravenholm, "Requiem for Ravenholm" will ensure it never leaves you.
  • "Triage at Dawn", an unexpectedly beautiful yet solemn piece that makes your escape from Ravenholm feel all the more rewarding.
    • The remixes trump the original version many times over.
    • Also, it was featured on Lambda Generation. See the top 5 remixes here.
    • The moment this song was played was made especially unforgettable by the fact that it is the first time you see allies after long, dark and gory adventure through ghost town and demon mine.
  • "Calabi-Yau Model", first playing in the Resistance base near Nova Prospekt where several Vortigaunts are hiding, and replaying in a flooded building infested with zombies, gives a feeling of uneasyness indicative of all the damage the Combine has caused.
  • "LG Orbifold", the music for the chapter "Follow Freeman!", when our crowbar-happy hero is back and leading the revolution.
  • "Combine Harvester", though sadly not used in the games, is intended to be the anthem for the Combine, playing inside the Citadel. It's Music to Invade Poland to mixed with haunting alien noises.
  • Episode One had its own share of awesome themes. "Guard Down" happens as soon as you kill the Antlion Guard after escaping the underground. And then, the music leaves you feeling like you literally let your guard down, and that this moment of calm will only be met with more firefights.
  • To Metalheads and fans of Industrial alike, there is "What Kind of Hospital is This", during the hospital section.
  • The awesomeness of the obligatory strider battle of Episode One is multiplied by "Penultimatum".
  • "Vortal Combat" from Half-Life 2: Episode 2 is coupled with a Moment of Awesome, when you make a final stand against the invading antlions with the help of some Vortigaunts.
  • "Shu'ulathoi" from Half-Life 2: Episode Two, played during the scene with the Barn Advisor, is creepy, unsettling and foreboding, all fitting for the first face-to-face encounter with one of the Combine's psychic alien overlords.
  • Nothing says "the vehicle sections in Episode Two are so much more awesome than Highway 17 was" than "Sector Sweep". This synth and guitar-filled driving music was also used as the PS3 XMB menu music for its port of The Orange Box to build up the player's anticipation.
  • "Last Legs" for the final boss battle against the towering Striders! Autobots, Rock Out!!
  • "Dark Interval" from Half-Life 2: Episode Two. The first half makes the Combine Advisors' unexpected attack seem all the more terrifying... and then, halfway through, it punches you in the gut with a haunting, mournful melody that plays over the credits.
  • "Thirty Seven After Six" from Half-Life: Alyx, which plays on Russell's radio in his apartment. An atmospheric, nostalgic yet haunting tune. To quote one YouTube comment:
    YouTube Commentor: To me this music just screams of a mix between trying to be desperately happy and failing, falling into misery, it's the low notes combined with the high that give it such an offputting feeeling. It makes you feel as though you're never safe.
  • "Anti-Citizen" underlines the first real combat encounter against the Combine in Half-Life: Alyx. To many, it's the track that convinced them that Mike Morasky was a worthy successor to Kelly Bailey, blending Morasky's electronics with the industrial guitars and drums that are iconic to the series.
  • The atmosphere-filled "HIRE" plays during the credits roll. It starts off slowly, with a haunting piano piece mixed with synths, but picks up past near the 2 minute mark with frantic and more hopeful guitars and drums overtaking the piano. The choice of instrumentation helps in enforcing both what happened before and during The Stinger: The piano piece represents Alyx, her uncertainty and tension laid bare in the chords, while the guitars that follow represent the Freeman himself, his hope in bringing her back with the help of Eli clear.

  • Black Mesa
    • The main theme is very different from the usual electronic music you listen in the games, but it fits perfectly when you think how bleak Gordon's situation during the resonance cascade incident is - he doesn't know if his friends are alive, he has to fight constantly and even against those who were supposed to be the survivors' saviors, and things just get worse no matter what he does. It just pictures him having time to take a break, sit down, and think of everything that has happened, and still is.
    • The gorgeous second part of the credits, the music that plays as soldiers bust in through the ceiling in Questionable Ethics (though you might be hearing that one over and over again...) and the eerie Inbound suite that plays on the tram ride through the facility. Joel Nielsen did a fantastic job of keeping the spirit of the music of the main series while adding some great atmosphere and some really great tunes as well. You might notice more than a bit of influence from the Halo soundtracks.
    • Blast Pit 2 and On A Rail 1, a pair of eerie yet soothingly beautiful piano pieces.
    • Blast Pit 3 is a little too good. For a part of the game where you are required to be slow and quiet, when this song kicks in, you are filled with the overwhelming urge to throw caution to the wind and run out into the blast pit bellowing a battle cry with guns blazing. The piano parts at the opening and close are both very beautiful as well.
    • Surface Tension 3 perfectly sets the mood. When it opens slowly and mysteriously, you know something is waiting for you at the end of these underground parking tunnels... and once the hard rock kicks in as the Gargantua makes its entrance, you know that it's time to run like you've never run before! Also made for a great soundtrack in the mod's first trailer.
    • Surface Tension 4. That laser tripmine room may be frustratingly difficult, but this song makes it worth it.
    • We've Got Hostiles, like "Surface Tension 3", is perfect for setting the mood. When the song begins, you just know that something is waiting for you at the top of the elevator lift... then, like "Blast Pit 3", the rock kicks in and you find yourself charging out into the battlefield guns blazing. This song becomes even more effective if you go into the bunker just as the song gets quiet again, because then it intensifies one more time just as soldiers start dropping into the bunker. Considering that the soundtrack of Black Mesa is not a Variable Mix, it can be very exciting to the gamer when the music syncs up so well like that.
    • Forget About Freeman plays during the last big time confrontation Gordon has with the HECU, which takes place during a gorgeous sunset overlooking the desert, with Harrier jets being chased by Xen Mantas in a close dogfight. It starts off energetic and only gets more frantic from there, in tune with coming out of the sewer drain, picking up supplies and moving to the open area to meet up with the Marines and their fully operational M1 Abrams, showing that while the military failed completely to meet their objectives in the facility and are in full retreat, they're still very much dangerous. This is a big example of the mod's Adaptation Expansion: the correspondent area in the original game was the bottom of a simple rocky gorge, run through with an asphalt road connecting two base doors, where the one leading to progress is guarded by two troopers and a much weaker, stationary tank. There wasn't even an aerial fight, and the sky was the regular blue texture.
    • The first piece of music that plays after arriving in Xen? Transcendent, playing over your first glimpse of the color-soaked, starry vistas that make up the first hour or so of the Borderworld.
    • Ascension plays during the last major fight before reaching the Nihilanth's portal. Armed with an unlimited supply of health, energy, and ammo for your Gluon Gun, you ride an elevator through a creepy red shaft, taking down Controllers left and right who are desperate to stop you, but powerless to. The way the music swells toward the end of the track is just breathtaking. Also a great case of Meaningful Name as, when the Controllers fall one by one, the Vortigaunts realize that Gordon is not just that one human who just won't die, but The Freeman prophetized to save them from Nihilanth.