Follow TV Tropes

Following

Leitmotif / Video Games

Go To

  • Several characters in Ace Attorney have their own leitmotifs; for example, Godot's "Fragrance of Dark Coffee", which was used quite cleverly later on.
  • Klavier's theme music, "Guilty Love", is actually heard by other characters, although it's justified: it's the no. 1 hit of his band, the Gavinners.
  • Ema's theme, "Turnabout Sisters 2005" is remixed and accompanies her every time she appears in a new game (renamed "The Scientific Detective" starting with Apollo Justice).
    • Despite being called a "2005" mix, the original "Turnabout Sisters" has a different melody and is used as the theme of Maya Fey (the original being called "Turnabout Sisters 2001" and also has "2002" and "2016" variations).
  • The "Objection!" theme of each game is considered the leitmotif of the main character; in Ace Attorney Investigations, Edgeworth's "Objection!" theme is a remix of his theme song, "Great Revival".
    • Dual Destinies gives three such themes, one for each playable character: "Objection!" for Phoenix, "A New Chapter of Trials" for Apollo, and "Courtroom Révolutionnaire" for Athena. Apollo and Athena also have non-court variations of their themes ("I'm Fine!" and "Let's Do This!", respectively) that play when interacted with outside the courtroom setting.
    • Phoenix is the only character in the game with two themes; "Objection! 2001" (his leitmotif from his first game) is his standard theme, while "Pursuit ~ Cornered" (which plays at the climax of a trial) is used when he enters Turnabout Mode.
  • Similarly, each of their "Pursuit" themes: the most outstanding is "Pursuit ~ Cornered" from the first game, which is synonymous with Phoenix Wright's feats of badassery.
Advertisement:
  • Often times, a character's theme will be remixed as a sadder theme to fit the mood. For example, Maya Fey's "Turnabout Sisters' Theme" becomes "Turnabout Sisters' Ballad," Shi-Long Lang's "Speak Up, Pup!" becomes "The Fall of the House of Lang," and Athena Cykes' "Courtroom Révolutionnaire" becomes "A Sad Memory."
  • Ace Combat Series:
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon has its own main theme song, "Gotta Stay Fly", which has a variety of brief and major appearances throughout the game, either in the rock portion or the orchestral theme. It is most notably used during Bishop's nightmare, then a different version when he actually is over Miami reliving his nightmare for real and facing it anyway, and finally the full song over the end credits.
    • Markov has a bit of his own leitmotif, a sad song that plays when he is first introduced and in full during your last dogfight with him. Its title is "Mrs. Krista Yoslav", who is kind of important. She was Markov's wife, who was killed by a botched NATO bombing run, leaving him a Broken Ace who just wants revenge. She is his leitmotif.
    • Advertisement:
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has short Spanish guitar pieces that signify the arrival of an enemy ace.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War's super-submarines Scinfaxi and Hrimfaxi have a recurring track, in "Ballistic Missile", "Scinfaxi", and "Hrimfaxi".
    • There is also a tune that appears in the tracks "8492", "Mask", and "Grabacr", alluding to the fact that the Osean "8492nd Squadron" are actually working for the Belkans, operating secretly as henchmen of the Grey Men who are masterminding the war between Osea and Yuktobania.
  • Every character in the Advance Wars series has his or her own theme music which plays during their turn. There's also (in Dual Strike) no less than six different power-up themes; which one plays depends on the power level (Normal, Super, or Tag) and which faction is using it (Allied Nations or Black Hole). If you use a Tag Power with an Allied CO and a Black Hole CO in Vs. or War Room mode, the theme will even change when they switch places.
    • Andy doesn't have a Theme. Andy has an ANTHEM.
  • In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, there's a musical cue that sounds when an enemy is near.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Assassin's Creed has the chase theme, written by Jesper Kyd where you better start running NOW.
    • Assassin's Creed II has "Ezio's Family." First played over the opening credits, remixed several times as "Earth" which plays when Ezio recovers his father's Assassin robes and then as "Venice Rooftops," which plays during chases, races and courier missions (occasionally). Played in all its glory over the credits of both II and Brotherhood.
  • Advertisement:
  • Asura's Wrath has several characters with one. Yasha however, stands out here.
  • In the Atelier franchise, Hagel and Pamela, the two big recurring characters of the series, both have their own respective themes, with a different twist in each game. Pamela's is known as "Ghost Girl," while the title of Hagel's tends to vary from game to game, but nevertheless keeps the same basic sound.
  • Aquaria has a specific twelve-note melody woven throughout almost all of its music. It turns out that it's part of what the Final Boss remembers of the song his mother sang to him before she died; it's probably also the literal source of the Verse that Naija taps into to change her form.
  • Every Awesomenauts character has a theme that plays upon selection, composed with their respective personalities and and character traits in mind. In addition, when a character gets three kills in a row without dying (a killing spree) a remix of their theme plays.
  • In the Backyard Sports series, every playable character has their own theme song.
  • Banjo-Kazooie series has two main motives, along other recurring themes, Banjo-Kazooie Main Theme, which appears in tracks such as Overture of the three main games, first game's Final Battle, Cloud Cukooland; and Gruntilda's lair, featured during the final battles and in tracks like in Grunty Industries or LOGBOX 720. Both also appeared in many games' cutscenes.
  • RPG Baten Kaitos features Leitmotifs for many characters.
    • The Malpercio has the impressive Ruler Of The Nine Skies.
    • Recurring boss Giacomo uses the very catchy theme Chaotic Dance, which has electric and acoustic versions.
    • In the prequel, a young Giacomo has the remixed Chaotic Dance 2.
    • Spiriters (or maybe it is the Guardian Spirit itself?) also get their own theme, as implied by Baten Kaitos Origins: The True Mirror, also known as the fancy battle theme music from Baten Kaitos.
  • BioShock has a somewhat unusual example. The main theme in the first game later went on to become Elanor's Lullaby in 2 which is the theme for your Little Sister in the game, Eleanor, and is the closing music for the game. Also of note is the track Cohen's Masterpiece, the theme for a Mad Artist which plays when he finishes his masterpiece (with your help)
  • In perhaps one of the first video game leitmotifs, Baron Von Blubba in Bubble Bobble is always accompanied by a short, ominous riff whenever he appears on screen.
  • BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle is a Crossover game featuring the casts of BlazBlue, Persona 4: Arena, Under Night In-Birth and, most unexpectedly, RWBY. Each character from the first three titles is represented by their theme from their home game, while the RWBY heroines get medley themes from the original RWBY soundtrack; Ruby for instance gets a mix of "This Will Be The Day" and "Red Like Roses Part II". Rivalry themes such as "Under Heaven Destruction" (Ragna/Jin) and "Nightmare Fiction" (Ragna/Hazama) also make a comeback as team themes. To top it all off, the main theme for the game "Crossing Fate" is set to have four distinct variations each done in the style of the four franchises' soundtracks.
  • Bloody Roar and Bloody Roar 2 for the PS1. You could choose whether the games played stage-specific songs from the arcade versions, or new character themes created for the console ports.
  • When you're being chased by a prefect or a cop in Bully you hear some music that lets you know some shit is going down. The various cliques in the game also each have their own tune that plays whenever one of them decides to fight you.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare had a particularly striking one used throughout the game (composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, which was sadly ignored by later composers for the series.
    • Modern Warfare 2 also had multiple striking Leitmotifs, such as the Opening Titles, Contingency (TF 141's theme), Extraction Point (Ranger theme), and the distinctive climax heard during Guerilla Tactics (Militia theme). Safeguard is also used for two notable chase sequences, the Snowmobile escape and the Jeep escape.
  • Castlevania tends to use "Vampire Killer" to represent Simon Belmont (from the very first game), although in Super Castlevania IV he got his own theme music, called "Theme of Simon". Dracula had to wait until Castlevania: Rondo of Blood to get his theme music, "Dance of Illusions". When you fight the original Castlevania bosses before Shaft in Rondo of Blood, the boss music from the first game, "Poison Mind", plays.
    • And "Bloodlines", which first appeared as the music for the first level of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, seems these days to be affiliated specifically with Richter Belmont's frequent appearances in the games.
    • Castlevania: Judgment was praised for its music, if not other things, and it took advantage of its fighting game setup to associate its characters with various themes from the series. It may not last, especially as each game introduces new heroes, but there's little reason not to think of "Iron Blue Intention" as Eric Lecarde's theme. Or give "Mad Forest" to Sypha Belnades.
  • In Cave Story, Quirky Miniboss Squad-member Balrog and Big Bad The Doctor each have their own theme that plays during their cutscenes: "Balrog's Theme" and "Tyrant" respectively. There's also "Jenka" which first pops up in Jenka's house, then serves as the music for the Labyrinth—this is the first clue the player is given that Jenka figures big in the island's backstory.
  • In Celeste, each of the characters has a distinct leitmotif. Madeleine has "First Steps", which is also the game's overall Recurring Riff; her Shadow Archetype "Badeline" has a Dark Reprise of said theme, first heard in "Resurrections"; the ghost Oshiro has a Theremin motif; and Theo has an acoustic guitar theme, prominently heard in "Madeline and Theo". A few locations, such as the Mirror Temple and the Core, also have their own themes. The Farewell DLC has "Joy of Remembrance" representing the old lady who Madeline dubbed "Granny," recently deceased.
  • In a great case of combining forces, Mitsuda and Uematsu co-composed Chrono Trigger, which has some of the most memorable Leitmotifs.
    • Chrono Trigger has a few of these, namely Frog's Theme, Magus's Theme, and Robo's Theme (which sounds strangely similar to a certain song by Rick Astley).
      • In said game, "Lucca's Theme" probably got played the most, as it starts up whenever anything science/awesome/awesome science-related happens. In fact, the track name is simply "Fanfare", and is adapted, in two separate versions, as the victory theme in the sequel, Chrono Cross. This doesn't mean it isn't Lucca's theme, though — it plays when you talk to her in the End of Time, the same way everyone else's theme does.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, the same haunting piece of music (a lone choirboy, backed by a deeper-voiced choir) plays whenever the mysterious child (who later turns out to be the Firstborn) appears during gameplay (with the exception of the boss fight against it).
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has some recurring themes, the most famous is "Windy", played in the hubworld and in musical tracks such as "Barn Boys", "Give us our money back, honey" and "The Ugga Bugga's". Ze professor Von Kriplespac's theme is played during the battle with The Little Girl, when Conker is in the Windy's harbor and during the second assault in the remake.
    • Live & Reloaded, remake of Bad Fur Day, also features a recurring theme, that plays during the game intro, and briefly as game over in the Chapter X, as well as in "Doon I" and in "The Ditch".
  • In Contra: Shattered Soldier, Lance Bean has Lance Lullaby while the Triumvirate has Senator.
  • Dark Souls doesn't have background music much, but it does have boss themes.
  • Dead Rising 2 used a guitar riff associated with Chuck Greene, and in the final-final boss battle an extended version of the riff is played for the fight theme. Both the riff and the fight theme can be classified as Awesome Music.
  • In the video game Def Jam: Icon, one of your character's weapons is the power to change the soundtrack to his own theme music which alters the world around you.
  • Detroit: Become Human has leitmotifs for each of its main characters, appropriately titled (Name)'s Theme that play during crucial moments involving the character.
    • In addition, Connor and Kara have both of their themes combined into one. Aptly, it plays during their scenes.
  • Devil May Cry 5 gave themes to each member of the Sparda family, which play whenever they are engaged in combat. Not only are they battle tracks, they are also lyrically a story for each character, explaining their psychology through motivation, trauma, and how they see the world. Musically, they also fit well with each character.
    • Devil Trigger, Nero’s theme, is a pop rock song that is very upbeat compared to the others. The lyrics and musicality convey how Nero is young and brash, often going into things head first as a way to prove himself to others around him.
    "Embrace the darkness that's within me / No hiding in the shadows anymore / When this wickedness consumes me / Nothing can save you and there's no way out"
    • Subhuman, Dante’s theme, is a stark contrast to the playful persona he wears. It is heavy in tone, musically, and lyrically, exposing the trauma that he tries to hide from.
    "I must not forget that I have bled / Felt no respect for the demons in my head / Something saved me, put me out of my destiny / And dropped me safely in this hell."
    • Crimson Cloud, V’s theme, constantly foreshadows that he is an aspect of Vergil and the repetition in his lyrics focuses on his one motivation, to survive.
    "Devil in my blood, living on the edge / Split myself in two, death is all around / Summoning the power / Drag myself through pain"
    • Bury the Light, Vergil’s theme, is also heavy and dark both musically and lyrically. It is a foil to Nero’s theme, and the parallels in the lyrics between the two also hint at the father-son relationship they have. Like Dante’s theme, Vergil’s theme also brings out his trauma and delves further into Vergil’s psychology, which isn’t something normally explained as Vergil is never the protagonist.
    "Bury the light deep within / Cast aside there's no coming home / We're burning chaos in the wind / Drifting in the ocean all alone"
  • If a piece of music in .hack has to do with the Phases, whether in the original or GU games, it will feature at least a few measures of a distinct and slightly creepy melody of bells at some point. You can hear it quite clearly about ten seconds into Gorre's original theme: here. The eighth Phase, Corbenik, has his own piano melody across the games, and snippets of Cubia's final music from the first games can be heard in his battle themes from GU.
    • Piros the 3rd, the Author Avatar of the game's creator, has a themesong involving upbeat tuba music that ALWAYS plays over the normal stage music whenever you invite him into your party. Only a few exceptions prevent this: When you're in a Root Town or fighting a Phase boss. No other party character in the game has theme music.
    • Azure Kite gets "Everything In These Hands" as his theme song. It is both fast-paced and dark, encompassing his mysteriousness and brutally efficient fighting methods, but also contains a calmer section reminiscient of Mac Anu's music, hinting at his true nature.
    • Several romantic scenes in G.U. have "Shino-Honeysuckle" playing in the background.
    • Every time you see Ovan, "The Epitaph is Told" plays.
    • Most funny scenes (excluding those with Piros) have the song "Troublesome Girl", which may or may not be originally intended more-or-less for Atoli, hence the "girl" part of the title.
  • Double Dragon Neon gives Skullmageddon one of these, which is actually a remix of one of the cave themes from the NES version of Double Dragon 1.
  • Dragon Age surprisingly only has a few.
    • Dragon Age: Origins has "Leliana's Song" (aka "In Uthenera"), which is Leliana's theme. All of the protagonist origins also have themes: "The Dalish", "Elves At the Mercy of Man", "Human Noblility", "The Common Dwarf", "The Dwarfen[sic] Nobles", and "Mages In Their Chantry".
    • Dragon Age II has "Hawke Family Theme" which is the theme for any of the Hawke children, but specifically the protagonist. Additionally, "Fenris Theme" and its lyrical variant, "Mage Pride", are both considered Fenris' motif.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition has none in the base game, but the DLC Trespasser has "Lost Elf Theme", a motif for Solas and "Dark Solas Theme" a variant of the former.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest IV: In the DS remake, each chapter has its own unique adventuring music, specific to the characters and their quest. Once you've assembled all eight of the chosen, changing the party leader will change whose adventuring music you hear.
    • Dragon Quest XI:
      • An upbeat tune called Olé! Sylvando! plays whenever the eponymous character makes a scene.
      • Cetacea, the legendary flying beast of Erdrea has Flying Whale Cetacea. In Act Three following Cetacea's upgrade, her main theme changes to Heavenly Flight.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Lu Bu's theme, an auditory Oh, Crap! if there ever was one. His Samurai Warriors counterpart Tadakatsu Honda also has a theme.
  • EarthBound's Dragon Pokey has a theme that follows him everywhere as do The Runaway Five, and the Sound Stone melody also acts as one for Ness and the journey as a whole after you've found all of its pieces. Paula also has a Leitmotif, but it's not heard as often.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the main character is a Dragonborn, and his leitmotif is suitably named Dragonborn. It plays as part of the main menu screen and, for added awesomeness, it often plays when a dragon attacks the player providing a nice musical backdrop for an epic dragon fight.
  • In Evil Genius, each of the five Super Agents has their own theme that plays when they arrive at the Island Base.
  • Fallout 4 has distinct leitmotifs for each of the four main factions, which in turn are incorporated into the "Quest Clear" jingle for their respective quests. There are also a number of regional motifs, such as the uileann pipes melody in Diamond City and Goodneighbor, and the accordion-based theme in swamp and coastal areas.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has 2 different entire soundtracks depending on your karma. If you do evil stuff, you get a dark brooding soundtrack, if you do good actions, you get an upbeat heroic sounding soundtrack. The major factions also have respective leitmotifs, which are integrated into the Final Dungeon theme depending on which side you have chosen.
    • In the Dead Money DLC, Dean Domino seems to have "Something's Gotta Give" as sung by Bing Crosby as his theme. "Begin Again", sung by Stephanie Dowling, is Vera's and possibly Christine's theme.
  • Alma gets her own leitmotif in the second Fear game, which also serves as the game's main theme.
  • The Final Fantasy series is in love with this trope. Nobuo Uematsu, the composer of much of its music, is known for creating memorable leitmotifs for characters, locations, and events.
    • Final Fantasy IV was the first game in the series where many different characters are given leitmotifs. Nearly all of the protagonists have one, as do some of the villains, most notably Golbez with "Clad in Black." Nothing says "Oh shit, I'm about to get my ass kicked by the Big Bad" quite like those Ominous Pipe Organs.
      • The "Theme of Love," Rosa and Cecil's relationship theme is so popular and well-known in Japan, it's now being included in many schools music books over there.
    • Gilgamesh of Final Fantasy V, from his second appearance on, is one of only two enemies in the game to get his own theme, "Battle on the Big Bridge" (also known as "Clash on the Big Bridge" or simply "Battle with Gilgamesh"). This one was so memorable that when Gilgamesh made a cameo in Final Fantasy XII, his theme came with him (in a well-done orchestration, at that) as well as a big bridge to fight on. This happened again in both Final Fantasy XIII-2's Coliseum and Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus, though the former's venue was, sadly, not a big bridge.
      • In addition to that, usage of the theme outside of battling Gilgamesh himself came during the fight against Necrophobe in V. The boss just doesn't seem to die, and then suddenly you hear the theme. Moment of Awesome for Gilgamesh.
    • Final Fantasy VI'', for example, almost all of the playable characters (and some of the villains) have their own leitmotif (with the exception of the twin brothers Edgar and Sabin/Mashe, who share one). Terra's leitmotif, which is also the Overworld Map theme, is effectively the Theme Tune for that entire game. Even more well-known, though, are the Recurring Riffs for concepts that span more than one game, such as the Crystal Theme/Prelude, the Final Fantasy Theme/Prologue, the (much-remixed) Chocobo Theme, the Moogle Theme, and the Victory Theme.
      • Terra's true character theme is "Awakening." Celes's character theme is the famous opera song "Aria Di Mezzo Carattere" played slower and more sad in tone.
      • "Dancing Mad," the music that plays during the party's final confrontation with Kefka Palazzo, incorporates numerous letmotifs that, when you sit down, listen to them, piece them together, and think about it sums up everything Kefka is so perfectly, it couldn't be the final boss music for anyone else but him.
    • [Final Fantasy VII Sephiroth]]'s leitmotif is "Those Chosen By the Planet," which is played during his slaughter of Nibleheim, not the immensely popular '"One-Winged Angel." Or rather, that was the case in VII, but due to its popularity, "One-Winged Angel" has become Sephiroth's leitmotif in all of his future appearances.
      • "One-Winged Angel" is a more complex and choir-accompanied rearrangement of "Those Chosen By the Planet" (not too dissimilar from how the 4th movement of "Dancing Mad" is primarily a battle piece rearrangement of Kefka's material).
      • "Those Chosen By the Planet" also appears in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children within the cue "Beyond the Wasteland" about one minute in. Ultimately, it has still remained as Sephiroth's character motif throughout the franchise's later entries, whereas "One-Winged Angel" is merely a battle rearrangement for him.
      • Perhaps compounding this is the fact that "Those Chosen By The Planet" is a rearrangement of "Sealed Book" from Final Fantasy V, used throughout to represent the Void.
      • Like Terra, Cloud shares his motif with the game itself ("Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII"), but used in a way that's somewhat more complicated. The sweet and upbeat B section of the main theme is slowed down and rearranged for guitar and strings for moments to do with Cloud's love life ("Interrupted by Fireworks"); the gloomy and plodding second half of the Main Theme is used for The Reveal; and the main A-section melody, in a minor key, is used for moments focusing on Cloud's Fake Memories. Of those uses, when Cloud is beginning to get an inkling something is wrong, the melody is broken down just to the distinctive interval leap and played on an echoing out-of-tune piano ("Who Are You?"); when Cloud is having a mental breakdown the full melody line plays in a psychedelic, irregular time signature ("Who am I?"). On top of that, the distinctive interval is a seventh.
  • Final Fantasy IX's soundtrack has so many leitmotif-using songs that it is actually one of the soundtrack's biggest criticisms (depending on whether you think they help tie things together, or simply make everything sound the same). Probably half of the 100+ songs in the game use the leitmotif of a previous song, and many of those that don't hail from earlier games in the series (the Crystal, Chocobo, and Moogle themes, for example).
    • Kuja's Theme, in one form or another, is guaranteed to show up any time that he does.
    • It also plays instead of the usual World Map theme when half the party travels to Oeilvert under his orders to save the other half. This, combined with the airship's eerie scripted flight, really drives home how dire things are.
    • "Melodies of Life," also from IX. This song appears everywhere, from when the game starts to the ending credits.
    • Beatrix has three versions of hers, and they double as Mood Motifs. Though one of the three doesn't resemble the other two as much.
    • The piece "Zidane's Theme" is an interesting case. While we never hear an arrangement of his material with the same jovial tune that opens the track, "Unrequited Love" winds up being a more melancholic rendition of his theme and has more frequent usage by comparison (even becoming a town theme later on in the game).
  • Tidus's theme in Final Fantasy X is remixed into a more upbeat and generic Blitzball theme.
    • Seymour has a rather creepy one, which plays over every one of his appearances in the first half of the game (and even after that). If his manner and appearance doesn't immediately tip you off to his being evil, this certainly will. It's even the theme music for his first battle.
    • Yuna's theme is a hopeful piece, which usually plays when the Calm, or her defeating Sin, is brought up. It becomes a Tear Jerker when it plays over Tidus's flashbacks of them together, when he discovers she'll die if she calls the Final Aeon.
  • Final Fantasy XII, on top of having the usual leitmotifs for the main characters, also had a short melody that appears in every track of the game at some point (besides tracks that are borrowed from other Final Fantasy soundtracks of course). The Final Battle actually becomes a small war between the Imperial and Heroic leitmotifs, with the latter eventually overwhelming the former.
    • The character themes are actually remixes location tracks special to the characters. For example, Ashe's theme is really the theme song of the creepy dungeon Giruvegin, and the Pharos, because that's where her ancestor placed the nethicite. You can also hear the theme of the Tomb of Raithwall.
  • The leitmotif for Final Fantasy XIII is "Fabula Nova Crystallis." Tracks containing this melody include two location themes, three event themes and a character theme with lyrics to boot.
    • Lightning's theme is also used as a battle theme, aptly named "Blinded by Light."
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest subtly pokes fun at the idea with the character of Tristam, whose leitmotif begins playing just before he appears on screen. The main character, Benjamin, apparently hears this music and begins looking around for him whenever it begins playing.
  • Luso's leitmotif in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is second to be the Theme Tune (the actual Theme Tune is "Summer Vacation") since the music was used in other songs.
  • The Fire Emblem series actually had a soundtrack release made up of character themes.
    • There's also a leitmotif attached to an act. "Together We Ride" is the name of the song that plays when you recruit a new unit in all but a handful of the games in the series, starting from the first game. This one is so tied to the series that it was the Fire Emblem character music in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • Absurdly used in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance with a trio of pirates with their own Leitmotif. Despite them being completely unimportant, to the point that they have less then half a dozen lines among them.
    • Several important characters in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have their own leitmotif that will play when they appear in conversations, including "Oliver's Fall," "Queen Elincia," "Empress Sanaki," and "Mind of Izuka." The powerful Laguz Royals and Oliver have their own battle themes as well.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has a number of recurring leitmotifs, though not all of them represent specific characters.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's gives the titular Freddy Fazbear a music-box rendition of "Toreador" from Carmen, which only plays when Freddy is on the move or all the lights have gone out and he's preparing to kill you horrificially.
    • The sequel has The Puppet, whose theme is a music box rendition of My Grandfather's Clock; should you let its music box run out, it's very quickly replaced with Pop Goes the Weasel.
  • Nearly everyone has one in Getter Love!! To quote the review:
    • A wide array of musical styles are present in Getter Love, and the songs match the personalities of the girls and the feel of the game to a tee. The popular cute girls [Ayumi and Natsuki] have peppy cheerful J-Pop tunes (luckily without the vocals). The classy girl [Makoto] has a smooth, jazzy piece, and Shizuku, whose name means “drop of water”, has a song that is serene like a trickling stream in the woods. My favorite song, belonging to my favorite girl Kiiro, has an almost Hindi feel to it complete with chanting melodic vocals. For those fond of Asian music, Meifa is stereotypically given a traditional Chinese song, gongs and all.
  • Godzilla: Unleashed has a unique theme for each character, with a matching general motif for each of the four monster factions (ex. lots of rock for the mechanical Global Defense Force).
  • GoldenEye (1997) on Nintendo 64. Many stage themes are borrowing leitmotifs from music common to the series.
  • The Golden Sun series, being chock full of Awesome Music, has a few Leitmotifs in use.
  • The enemies from Grabbed by the Ghoulies have their theme music used during challenges where they're the main/only threat (for example the skeleton theme and the zombie pirate theme).
  • Grim Fandango has numerous character themes, though they only ascend to leitmotif for a few characters. For example, there's: "Domino" (his introduction) and "Domino's In Charge" (after he's revealed to be a villain), as well as "Coaxing Meche" (she hates Manny) and "Manny and Meche" (during the ending).
  • Guilty Gear easily trumps everything else, though. Some characters have had the same theme, only differently arranged, from the first game, and every character has had the same theme since X, and every Updated Re-release of XX uses the rearrangements from the original XX. Xrd sadly replaces all the old themes with brand new ones, but Sol's new theme "Give Me a Break" (aka "Junkyard Dog") keeps little nods to "Keep Yourself Alive", such as playing the latter theme's characteristic opening riff at the end. The same goes for May, Chipp, and Baiken, whose themes ("Starry Story", "Flash Hider", and "-ROKUMON-") are deliberately modeled after their previous ones ("Blue Water Blue Sky", "Suck a Sage", and "Momentary Life"). In a twist, Axl's "A Slow Waker" is not based on "Make Oneself" from X and XX, but "March of the Wicked King," his original GG1 theme.
  • The above two traditions continue in the Spiritual Successor to Guilty Gear, BlazBlue: each character has their own unique theme, in addition to "relationship" themes, such as "Under Heaven Destruction" for Ragna vs. Jin and "Imperial Code" for Noel vs. Jin (which doubles as the theme of the organization they both work for). Should come as no surprise: Daisuke Ishiwatari is responsible for the music in both series.
  • The theme that plays when Carl and Relius Clover fight each other, the depressing and epic "X-Matic" ("Cross Matic"). Also, in Story Mode when a character appears on screen, their battle music usually plays (ex. Rachel is on screen and is not the player character, "Queen of Rose" plays).
  • In Halo games from Halo 4 onward, the Master Chief's leitmotif is "117". The melody shows up as a Recurring Riff in several different songs.
  • HarmoKnight has the first ten notes in the intro cutscene note  be repeated throughout almost the entire game. note 
  • Henry Stickmin Series: Every major faction has one- the Toppat Clan, the Government, and the Wall.
  • Hollow Knight uses multiple leitmotifs. Its two main leitmotifs are the main "Hollow Knight" theme from the menu screen, and the Pale King's theme ("White Palace"), both of which play throughout the soundtrack.
  • Each stalker from Haunting Ground has their own theme that's played when pursue the player and ends when they're successfully avoided.
  • Hot Wheels Velocity X Has the same note progression fanfare in most of the game's songs.
  • House of the Dead 1 and 2 feature the Magician boss leitmotif. The series also has the recurring "Game Over" and "Chapter Clear" ditties.
  • Kingdom Hearts also uses leitmotifs extensively, particularly in the sequels. Kairi has 4 different variations on her leitmotif, while Sora only has one. Bosses also have their own leitmotifs. If a character is fought as a boss at some point in the game, their battle music will be a remix of their theme. Nearly all of Organization XIII's battle themes use the piano and are entitled "The 13th (Noun)." "The Other Promise" and "Rage Awakened" are also remixes of Roxas and Terra's themes, respectively. Ventus's theme as well as Vanitas's battle theme in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep include strains of both Roxas and Sora's themes, due to their (rather intricate) connections to said characters.
  • Characters and concepts also have instruments and Recurring Riffs associated with them. Ominous Pipe Organs for the Heartless, mournful piano melodies for Nobodies, strings for Keyblade Wielders, chanting for the heart in general.
  • In the series, certain bosses' battle music will sound suspiciously familiar. Xion's boss music in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days has strands of Sora's. Kairi's, Naminé's and her own theme as well as "Dearly Beloved."
  • The soundtrack to the King's Quest II Fan Remake uses these to powerful effect. The soundtrack remixes and gives full MIDI treatment to not only music from the original game, but weaves in musical references to other games in the series at the Air Gem tests. It uses a couple internal ones, like an instrumental version of the Award-Bait Song for Valanice and integrating Grandma and Possum's themes when Graham is confronting the vampire.
  • It is very rare that a game in the Kirby series with King Dedede in it (as in, almost all of them) would fail to have his distinctive theme play when he's fought as a boss. And even if it doesn't play during his fight (or if he's not even fought), it will typically be used as the theme for the Boss Rush-style miniboss tower.
    • Green Greens, the music of the very first level in the series, pretty much became Kirby's leitmotif and has appeared in almost every game.
    • The theme of Gourmet Race from Kirby Super Star would also become a recurring leitmotif for Kirby, particularly when Kirby goes into battle.
  • Knights of the Old Republic uses Bastila's theme for foreshadowing as you approach the top of the Rakata temple.
    • A subtle example: the music that plays during the character select screen is distinctive, but not really noteworthy to a first-time player. It's not until the second playthrough that players recognize it as Revan's theme.
  • Every boss in La-Mulana has their own boss battle music, but they all share a similar starting motif, which seems to be the leitmotif of the Guardians. (Said motif also shows up in "Giant's Cry", the Graveyard of the Giants theme...) Several NPCs - namely Xelpud, Mulbruk, and the Fairy Queen - have their own themes, and Lemeza's own theme is the Surface theme.
  • In Left 4 Dead, the three Special Infected (zombies with special abilities) have unique themes that play when they are attacking the players, but the Boss Infected, the Tank and the Witch, have motifs that play constantly whenever they are in the field of play.
    • There are also quick little riffs that play when one of the three spawn. This builds subconscious associations among casual players and gives hardcore players (the ones who will poke around the games sound files to find these) something to listen for.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel and its sequel has for Crow Armbrust, "I'll remember you," the song played during the credits sequence following his death. The melody of it is used in several other pieces, including the piece "Remaining Glow" played during and following his death and even "The Decisive Collision," which is actually the final boss theme of the original game, played during the first battle between Rean/Valimar and Crow/Ordine. "New Companions" is actually used in the original Cold Steel to introduce both Millium Orion and Crow, but its perky nature fits the personality Millium displays and it's used in several other scenes involving her, including in Cold Steel II. Rean meanwhile gets Blue Destination as his theme in the second game.
  • The Legend of Zelda series has leitmotifs for most major characters, most notably "Zelda's Lullaby" (which first appears in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) and "Ganon's Theme" (which Ganondorf himself plays on an Ominous Pipe Organ in Ocarina of Time). In Twilight Princess, their themes are actually combined when Ganondorf possesses Zelda for a boss battle.
    • The main theme of the series, which was the overworld theme in the first game, came to be seen as Link's own theme. Remixed versions of it play when the Links of various Zelda games from The Wind Waker onward awaken to their destinies as heroes.
    • Link in II had the standard Legend of Zelda theme playing, but only when he was in the match on the Olympus Shrine stage. Additionally, the "Item Get" jingle played when he won instead of the standard victory theme.
    • There's also Midna's haunting theme from Twilight Princess, which she occasionally hums. The song has a few different variants that can be heard throughout the game when traveling the overworld, most notably "Midna's Lament".
    • Saria plays her own theme song, the self-titled "Saria's Song". When she stops playing her ocarina to speak with Link, the Lost Woods goes completely silent. A remix of the song gets recycled as the theme for the Lost Woods/Sacred Grove in Twilight Princess.
    • Majora's Mask, gives us the theme of the titular evil mask, which has a slew of variations that are heard in each of the four provinces of Termina, as well as the final boss fight.
  • The Master Sword has one that plays in some form or another when it is climatically drawn from its pedestal in each game it appears in. You know the one: "Dadadada dadadada dadadada dadadada daaaaah DAAAAAH DAAAAAH DAAAAAH!"
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, "Zelda's Theme" is not initially present, but Zelda has a different leitmotif that subtly evokes it. Ghirahim also has an ominous yet whimsical theme that mixes in a pipe organ. Exposition Fairy Fi also has a beautiful one.
    • And, of course, there's Groose, whose theme evolves along with his character and ends up as what many think is one of the best songs in Skyward Sword.
  • In the LittleBigPlanet games, there is a particular theme that is heard in the music for My Moon in the original game, the sequel and the Vita version.
  • The Lufia series has a few recurring themes through its games. Most notably "The Last Duel," for the Sinistrals' stronghold. "For The Savior" also gets a fair bit of use through some of the games when the Dual Blade comes into play.
  • MMORPG Mabinogi has thematic music for each city, most dungeons, and nearly every NPC, as well as the main game theme; variations of which are used in certain cutscenes from the mainstream storyline quests. The soundtrack recordings include about 120 different pieces of music.
  • Every party member (and even bosses) in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis and Mana-Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy have a distinctive theme. That way you have an idea of what kind of crazy stuff's about to go down.
  • In the Nintendo version of Maniac Mansion, each of the playable characters carried a CD player that basically played that character's theme. Razor's seems particularly popular with fans.
  • In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, every playable character has their own theme song.
  • In Mass Effect, the Normandy and Commander Shepard share many of the same musical cues and riffs in their respective themes, appearing in all three games, suitably heroic sounding for both of them. The second game features a variation of this theme called "Suicide Mission", appropriate for the game's darker tone. Shepard in particular has a recurring violin and brass riff associated with them, noticable in "Spectre Induction", "The Normandy Reborn", "The End Run" and "The Fleets Arrive".
    • Saren's leitmotif in the first game also doubles as the "Critical Mission Failure" music, subtly conditioning the player to hate him throughout the entire game!
    • "Vigil" from Mass Effect. In the first game it plays during the startup menu and when Vigil himself appears to tell you the fate of the Protheans, Sovereign's plan, and how Shepard can stop the Reapers from returning. In Mass Effect 2 it plays when Shepard briefly reunites with members of his squad from the first Normandy: a reminder of the sense of wonder the first game held, in direct contrast to the second game's much darker feel. It plays again in Mass Effect 3 after the genophage is cured, finally giving the Krogan hope, and when the Geth and Quarians reunite, if you managed to convince them to make peace. You can vaguely hear it in the War Room as well. And finally, it plays during the Distant Finale with the Stargazer telling Shepard's story to a young child.
    • Sovereign gets a theme that, besides from being ominous and quietly forceful, actually forms the base for several other tracks and is partially recycled for other Reaper music. It sounds like Dune music and perfectly describes up the Reaper threat until the third game.
    • In Mass Effect 2 the Collector ship that destroys the Normandy and kills Shepard has a distinct percussive, syncopated leitmotif that appears in every single track that features the Collectors.
      • Likewise it's been twisted and deepened but if you listen carefully you can hear Vigil's theme almost buried in the background of the collector's theme, hinting that the Collectors are Reaperised Protheans.
    • Songs that happen during the suicide mission share, in parts, a distinctive, dramatic, Awesome melody. This is most obvious in "Suicide Mission" and "The End Run".
    • Every squadmate in the second game has their own theme song, which form the primary background music during their recruitment and loyalty missions.
  • While not straight-up theme songs, each playable character in MDK2 has their own distinct collection of tracks with their own unique style. Kurt's is a mix of orchestral instruments and techno beats, Max's is hard techno with the occasional electric guitar, and Dr. Hawkins' is pure orchestral.
  • Medal of Honor series:
  • "Clipping Their Wings" (the Gotha facility theme in Frontline, also appears in "After the Drop" and near the end of "Kleveburg")
  • "Escaping Gotha", the second Gotha theme, which plays in the levels "Enemy Mine" and "Stealing the Show".
  • Whenever Proto Man shows up in the Mega Man games, his appearance is accompanied by a mysterious whistle. In fact, both the staff roll in Mega Man 3 and the credits arrangement of Proto Man's Battle & Chase theme begin with said whistle. In Mega Man 5 his doppelganger Dark Man has a off-key version of the whistle, an early hint that he isn't who he says he is.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network spin-offs often play a version of each game's theme song whenever a dramatic speech is being made by the main character. Many people were quite disappointed when the theme music changed in the fourth game because it wasn't nearly as suited to those scenes.
  • Melty Blood has used the same character themes since its debut. The most prolific ones are "The End of 1000 Years", used for Red Arcueid, and "For Crimson Air", used for Wallachia.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Snake and his Evil Counterpart are set up with opposing themes. "Theme of Solid Snake" is associated with Solid Snake, and the similar composition and secondary main theme "Zanzibar Breeze" is associated with Gray Fox.
    • Lampshaded in Metal Gear Solid, when Snake actually hears Psycho Mantis's leitmotif play. It's a manifestation of his mind control abilities.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2:
      • The soundtrack to Solid Snake's portion of the game incorporates the distinctive 90s synth-tom hit from the original Metal Gear Solid, and his alert and boss battle music contains the "dun, dun-dun-dun DA DA" motif used in the previous game's Alert music and Main Theme. The soundtrack to Raiden's portion of the game incorporates a distinctive jazz saxophone trill, and much tighter drumming in a then-ultramodern "Ninja Tune" style.
  • Snake's Theme from Metal Gear Solid plays when the S3 tells Raiden about how putting him through Shadow Moses has turned him into a soldier with all of Snake's gifts. Footage on the screen from the trailers, where Snake was placed into Raiden's shoes during key boss fights, play on the screen.
  • Also, two characters (Olga and the cyborg ninja) have similar theme music as a hint that they are really the same person.
  • Played straight with Snake's leitmotif in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It first plays when he's descending into Russia for Operation Snake Eater. It also plays for his reappearance in MGS4.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the characters's leitmotifs change in order to reflect their changing personalities. Therefore, it's really alarming when we first see Snake (leitmotif "Old Snake") in his "young" mask, and the music that plays is "Opening Infiltration", his leitmotif from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty When Raiden reminisces about Rose, his theme tune changes from "White Blood" to "Who Am I Really?", his theme from Metal Gear Solid 2. Naomi borrows her theme from Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes in her first encounter with Old Snake, and later she is accompanied by "Enclosure", Sniper Wolf's theme, when she is in a situation very similar to Wolf's.
  • "Appearance," the little riff that plays whenever Samus emerges from her spaceship/a save station when you start up the game in the Prime series, has been the customary "loading save/new game start" song since the very first Metroid game.
  • Metroid Prime has a leitmotif that plays at sacred Chozo sites such as the Artifact Temple and Hall of the Elders, and another for the Space Pirates in their research facilities.
  • Several exist in the Monkey Island series. Particularly prominent are the themes for LeChuck, the Voodoo Lady, Stan, and Largo LaGrande.
  • In Monster Hunter, most large monsters either play this trope straight with their own BGM tracks whenever they're present and engaged in combat with you, or avert it by having the standard map BGM or Mini-Boss BGM play instead. The Khezu, on the other hand, is notable for inverting this trope: To represent its inability to see its target, there is no music whenever you fight it, unless another large monster is fighting you at the same time.
  • Moshi Monsters:
    • An instrumental version of song "Big Bad Bill is a Woolly Blue Hoodoo" is sometimes used in the jungle and/or in scenes with the Woolly Blue Hoodoos, however, this is unreliable and sometimes a scene like that happens without the tune, especially during the mission "Monster Movie Mystery", which used a different theme.
    • "Super Moshi March" is an upbeat song and an instrumental of the chorus is sometimes (although not always) used in scenes introducing/focusing on the Super Moshis.
    • A jaunty sea-shanty type tune was used both when using the map in the mission "Voyage Under Potion Ocean" and when cleaning the ship.
    • C.L.O.N.C. (the group of main antagonists, it stands for Criminal League Of Naughty Critters) is sometimes associated with Dr Strangeglove's song "The Doctor Will See You Now", though not always.
    • The song "Welcome to Jollywood" is associated with most of the area Jollywood, the exceptions being the market (which has a strange, jaunty theme), the TV studio (which has another theme) and the retreat (which has slow flute music that's also used for the Walla Walla Watering Hole.)
    • One tune crops up a lot, often in stores. Bizarre Bazaar uses that tune played on "boing" sound effects, Rare 'n' Scare uses a gothic version of the song, etc. It was also used in an elevator and to summon Coco Loco.
    • A variation on the "Bongo Colada" song plays while making drinks at the Food Factory. The Food Factory also has the themes for making pizza, cupcakes and slopcorn, the former two of which sound kind of similar.
  • The soundtrack to Mother 3 is very heavily built on leitmotifs that recur in numerous variations throughout the game, including His Highness' Theme for scenes involving the Pigmask Army, the saxophone line in Magypsy's Home, Sweetie-Pie for the Magypsies (which actually serves as a Musical Spoiler later on in the game if you're paying attention), and, of course, the Love Theme, which will break your heart with its every appearance in the context of the game.
  • The Myst games are very fond of doing this, usually having themes for each villain (and for each age, in the later games). Also, Sirrus and Achenar, the evil brothers from the first game, have their themes return in Myst IV: Revelation, if only briefly.
    • There's the oft-interwoven Saavedro's Theme from Myst III: Exile and the use of the oboe to represent Gehn in Riven.
  • Need for Speed uses leitmotifs mostly for when police show up in-game and engage in a pursuit, replacing the in-game music tracks with composed pursuit music
    • Leitmotifs are much more prominent in Need for Speed: Carbon, where each type of car (tuner, muscle, or exotic types) has a certain genre of music play when you're driving that type of car (electronic, rock, and rap/hip-hop respectively). Each boss in the game also has a song that plays for them when they show up, with Angie (21st street crew) having Hurricane by Kyuss, Kenji (Bushido crew) with Fighting in Built up Areas by Ladytron, Wolf (TFK crew) with After Party by Dynamite MC, and Darius (Stacked Deck crew) with Hype Boys by Sway
  • In The Night of the Rabbit all of the Magician characters - de Hoto, Molena, and Zaroff - have a theme tune that is a variation on the main menu music.
  • No Straight Roads: Nearly every boss in the game has leitmotifs sprinkled into their stage music that later make a comeback during the actual boss theme, and later when you're helping them reclaim their districts.
  • Octopath Traveler: Each traveler has a personal melody, and a signature pre-boss battle song that uses elements of that melody. The game's towns share a few as well, and the theme from the title screen shows up in other songs throughout the game.
  • Ōkami has most major characters with one. Most notably, Rao has quite the, erm, suggestive theme.
  • Each main character (and some villains too) from Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams has his own theme. Soki's and Jubei's themes in particular are easily Awesome Music.
  • Ori and the Blind Forest's most prominent leitmotif is that of the Spirit Tree, which is also the main Recurring Riff. There are also themes for Ori themself("Ori, Lost in the Storm"), Naru ("Naru, Embracing The Light", whose motif is further elaborated upon in the backstory-exploring Bonus Dungeon from the Updated Re-release), Sein ("Finding Sein", and "The Ancestral Trees"), Kuro ("Kuro's Tale", "Facing The Dark", "Fleeing Kuro", and "The Sacrifice"), and Gumo ("Gumo's Hideout" and "Breaking Through The Trap"). Furthermore, most locations have leitmotifs, such as Swallow's Nest (which has a Dark Reprise when the forest falls to the decay and Naru dies), Sunken Glades, Moon Grotto ("Down The Moon Grotto" and the aforementioned "Gumo's Hideout"), the Ginso Tree ("Climbing The Ginso Tree" and "Restoring The Light"), the Misty Woods ("Lost In the Misty Woods" and "The Mists Cleared"), the Forlorn Ruins ("Home of the Gumon" and "Escaping The Ruins"), Sorrow Pass ("Riding The Wind" and "Completing The Circle"), and Mount Horu.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps, in addition to reusing the main theme (most prominently as a Theme Music Power-Up) and Ori's and Naru's leitmotifs from the first game, introduces new leitmotifs for characters and locations such as Ku ("Ku's First Flight", "Separated By The Storm", "Reunification"), Kwolok ("The Eyes of Kwolok", "Kwolok's Hollow", "Kwolok's Throne Room", "Kwolok's Malaise"), the Wellspring ("The Ancient Wellspring", "A Look Inside"), the Decay/Shriek ("Ash and Bone", "Escape With the Memory of the Forest", "Shriek's Tale", "Shriek and Ori"), the Wisps/Seir ("Amelioration", "Fading of the Light", "Escaping The Sandworm"), Baur ("Baur's Reach", "A Snowy Skirmish", "Baur's Peak"), the Luma Pools ("Luma Pools", "Resolution in Paradise"), and Mouldwood Depths/Mora ("Shadows of Mouldwood", "Mora the Spider", "The Darkness Lifted").
  • In Parodius, the player ships have their own dogfight themes, which would be played as they would fly in space in order to reach the next destination. The original characters (of Parodius) have their own original themes, while playable quest characters from other Konami-games would have their iconic tune implemented on their theme or it might be even be shortened remix of a theme from their games.
    • Same for the bosses too: for example the Hot Lips-boss is being always fought to 'Can Can'.
  • Video Game/Persona Series:
    • In the first two entries, every party member gets their own theme.
    • Persona 2: Innocent Sin had leitmotifs for every party member, with Maya's theme having the most variations.
    • Persona 3 specifically used about seven different versions of the Tartarus background music, representing the different blocks of the tower. The 'ground floor' rendition ends up more as the main soundtrack to the Dark Hour itself though. More notable, however, is the credits track, "Memories of You," wherein musical segments from "Your Memories" (one of the saddest-sounding songs in the game) and "Joy" (playing during some of the happiest scenes in the game) are both used. The game also used instrumental keys from the first verse of "Burn My Dread," and of "Memories Of You," for pivotal background themes. "Living With Determination" is the most noticeable example.
    • Persona 4 has two different versions of the regular battle theme that are used depending on the strength of the enemy. "I'll Face Myself" has two versions — one used during major boss fights, and one used for the scenes afterwards.
  • Elizabeth: Doesn't have a specific theme, so instead the final battle music from Persona 3, "Battle Hymn of the Soul," plays instead. Appropriate given she's the most powerful character in the story.
  • Additionally, "Poem for the Soul" has been the theme for the Velvet Room since Persona 1; however, 3 is notable for turning it into an insanely rocking boss theme.
  • Pikmin 2 handles this in a unique way. Olimar and Louie don't have signature themes; instead any music playing is rendered in a straight 4/4 beat whenever Olimar is in control, and in an off-kilter swing beat whenever Louie is in control.
    • Pikmin 3 has a few, more traditional leitmotifs for the various characters. The first seven notes of 2's main theme are associated with the Pikmin themselves, and the tune that was used for discoveries and gathered treasures has become indicative of Hocotate as a whole. The new protagonists from Koppai have their own motif, and finally, the final boss has one. Brittany, Charlie, and Louie each get their own theme when they are introduced, as well.
  • Unusually for a western RPG, Planescape: Torment gave leitmotivs to all the principal characters, including The Nameless One, all NPCs and all of the principal villains; all being variants on the same underlying theme used for every piece of music on the soundtrack.
  • Pokémon:
    • Approach a Trainer (or have them see you) in the games and their Leitmotif will play, indicating what kind of Trainer they are. In normal gameplay, they only go on for a couple of seconds, but if you pause the dialogue to listen to the music, you'll be surprised how long they go on for (and how they're arguably better composed than the BGM).
  • Whilst avoided in Portal, it is especially prominent in Portal 2. In fact, just about every character that was given a distinct personality in the game (meaning the exclusion of Chell and some throw-away comic relief characters) was given a Leitmotif to match.
    • Just about every track that was made for a scene featuring Wheatley contained at least a segment of a waltz-like minor piece. This tune is first heard in the background of The Courtesy Call, but is most commonly recognized as the climax of I AM NOT A MORON!, the track that plays in the scene where Wheatley becomes drunk with his newfound power of the mainframe and betrays you.
    • While "Music Of The Spheres" is initially presented with an eerie grandeur to support the ominous atmosphere of the old company ruins, the majority of its renditions take the form of laid-back bleepy-bloopy background music to the old test chambers. Most prominent examples of this would be "You are not Part of the Control Group" and "Forwarding the Cause of Science"; these, combined with "Incindiary Lemons", are key to Cave Johnson, Caroline, and the old chambers.
    • GlaDOS's Leitmotif can first be heard in the game's opening menu, and later as the first half of 'Don't Do It.' The song is a variation of the theme from "Music of the Spheres", which gives off a glimmer of the repressed Caroline personality. In addition, GlaDOS While still attached to Aperture's mainframe, has a distinct three note bass octave that sounds out whenever she has taken the upper hand.
    • The concept of destruction has its own theme that is first heard when GlaDOS tosses Chell down the incinerator to recover a dual portal gun. Notably the bass sequence of this theme often accompanies Wheatley's theme, hinting at his destructive nature.
    • The stalemate resolution button has its own leitmotif, an energetic, techno melody that can he heard at the end of "Don't Do It" and at the start of "Your Precious Moon".
    • The turrets also sort of have two different leitmotifs, once again, as a product of their duality. Especially notables as some of their themes foreshadow the "Carra Mia Addio" ending piece.
    • Doug Rattman is possibly the most confusing character of all when it comes to leitmotif, though he is almost immediately associated with is "Exile/Vilify" by National, an obscure song that can be found in the game, but only playing on a certain radio in a rat den of a specific level.
    • There is a track on the soundtrack titled "Reconstructing More Science" which briefly features practically all leitmotifs from the game; it is not used anywhere in the game, but instead is the third of three bonus tracks each found at the beginning of each volume of the soundtrack. It does get a small appearance at the end of "Caroline Deleted", also at the end of the game.
    • "9999999", used in the first version of the main menu and upon returning to GlaDOS' chamber after Wheatley's plan comes through, contains a somewhat sped-up version of the percussion heard in "Forwarding the Cause of Science" and "The Reunion".
    • "Concentration Enhancing Menu Initializer", not present in the game, is a techno version of "There She Is".
    • The music of the final battle, "Bombs for Throwing at You," Features GlaDOS and Wheatley's themes struggling for dominance over one another, while the baseline of the destruction theme is blazing over both of them.
  • Every character in Puyo Puyo Fever's 15th Anniversary gets some sort of Leitmotif. In Fever 1 and 2, a special song plays during the cutscene before facing the final boss; Phony Demon King for Popoi in Fever and Resurrection of the Ancient Spirit for Strange Klug in Fever 2. In the Normal Course of Fever 2, you hear this before facing the boss, Lemres.
  • The ‘’Resident Evil'' Series:
    • The first game had the mansion motif, which had different variations for the first and second floors, and further variations when you return to the mansion from the guest house, the haunting "bathroom theme", and also Tyrant's theme near the end of the game.
    • Resident Evil 2 had William Birkin's theme, which had a variation for each of his mutations.
      • Hunk's theme from the 4th Survivor scenario, which becomes more frantic the further you progress.
      • Sherry, Ada, and Tyrant also had their own musical themes.
    • In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the titular monster has many pieces of theme music, but the two most memorable ones are "Feel the Tense...", which plays whenever he is skulking around in the immediate area and is just made to make the player feel incredibly nervous, and "Nemesis' Theme", a much louder and more dramatic piece of music that plays whenever he enters the same room as Jill.
      • "Never Give Up The Escape", is the spooky music that plays exclusively in the "empty room".
    • Alexia's theme ("Berceuse") in Code: Veronica, which also had different variations for her One-Winged Angel forms.
    • Krauser also gets a theme in Resident Evil 4, in the Island Ganado battle theme, and during the quicktime event and boss fight with him.
    • Resident Evil 5 gives Wesker a leitmotif, which is heard whenever he appears on screen, and is combined with Jill's battle theme for the song "Two versus Two." Interestingly, Wesker loses his theme music when he transforms into his final form.
  • Romancing SaGa 1 and 3, SaGa Frontier and Unlimited Saga did this; each character having their own theme.
  • Saints Row IV appropriates the main menu theme from Saints Row: The Third, in various forms, throughout the game.
    • The Big Bad, Zinyak, whenever making a physical presence, tends to be accompanied by a booming theme with noise reminiscent of industrial work.
  • In Sengoku Basara, all the characters have a unique theme that plays whenever they're fought. There's also an item that replaces the stage BGM with the controlled character's theme when equipped. The themes range from heroic/ (Masamune, Yukimura, Ieyasu), villainous (Mitsunari, Tenkai, Nobunaga) or sometimes just plain silly (Yoshiaki or Hideaki).
  • Every single character from Senran Kagura has her own incredibly rockin' theme song.
  • All six guests get their own themes in The 7th Guest, and whenever two or more are present, their themes are blended together. For example, "Dolls of Doom" mixes Elinor's violin and piano motif with Temple's creepy circus organ track. The game's main theme, simply titled "The Game", has a metal cover on the OST with lyrics that describe the overall story, and it's used for a Simon-style music puzzle later on.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji has Tsumuji's childhood friend Peach singing her own song during certain cutscenes.
  • In Shovel Knight each boss has a battle theme, which is a remix of the music from the preceding level music. Plague Knight, who has his own story, has The Vital Vitriol, which gets remixed for his stage, Specter Knight's version of the stage, his hub world, and for his final boss, Plague of Shadows.
  • Creator/SNK has done this. Geese Howard's theme names always involve something "for Geese", but all of them are rearrangements of his theme from the original Fatal Fury, which was titled "A Kiss for Geese". Afterwards came "Soy Sauce for Geese" (Fatal Fury Special), "A Kiss for Geese - Cyber Dub Edit" (Art of Fighting 2), "One More Kiss for Geese" (Real Bout Fatal Fury), "A Stiff Neck for Geese" (The King of Fighters '96), "Soy Sauce for Geese -End of The First Nightmare-" (Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition), and finally concluding with... "Mustard for Geese" (The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match). The only exception to the name rule thus far is "Kiss Geese Once More", from KOF: Maximum Impact. Most games after '96 in which Geese is present, as well as his guest appearance in Tekken 7, have used remixes of "Soy Sauce For Geese", the most recognizable thanks to its flute.
    • Subverted with Iori Yagami, who had a new theme every game up till KOF 2000, but they all had a kickass saxophone solo. Most of said themes are either entitled "Arashi no Saxophone" ("Stormy Saxophone") note  or, in the case of 2003's "Cool Jam 2" (and possibly XIV's "Saxophone Under the Moon"), serve as an offshoot of the series.
  • The Sonic Adventure games used leitmotif liberally, having a theme for every playable character or character important to the plot. SA2's themes for Sonic, Tails and Knuckles used the same lyrics as their themes from SA1, but used different melodies.
    • Sonic Adventure 2 really pushed this with "Live and Learn"; its lyrics, beats, and melodies kept popping up all over the game. Sonic's first stage incorporates "Live and Learn" in the lyrics, the four note decrescendo from the chorus is used in songs such as "Supporting Me", etc.
    • On occasion, their leitmotifs are changed to a completely different theme. Shadow's has changed several times in particular. At first he had "Throw it All Away", then he had "This Machine" (shared with the other members of Team Dark, Rouge and Omega), followed by Sonic Team's attempt to give him six in one game depending on the path you took. Most agree the song "I Am All of Me" was the theme of that game (thanks it part to playing during the opening FMV and True Final Boss as well as aptly describing the nature of the game/Shadow's character arc), but the next game he's in decides to say it was the song from the good story of that game, "All Hail Shadow."
    • Sonic has had to deal with the theme from the original series, then two versions of "It Doesn't Matter", and finally a hojillion (read: seven) versions of "His World."
      • "It Doesn't Matter" has resurfaced triumphantly in Sonic and the Black Knight with two different renditions. Less so, Tails' theme from Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, "Believe in Myself" has been arranged as the theme of the Blacksmith (who is "played" by Tails).
    • In the original Sonic, in addition to the several versions of Sonic's theme (title screen, game over, continue, ending), Robotnik had two versions of his theme, one during the regular boss battles, the other, more intense version was played during the cutscene at the end of Scrap Brain Act 2, as well as the final battle.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles's mid-boss and main boss themes were variations on a common riff. In addition, there were two different versions of each stage theme for each act, sometimes, as in the case of Lava Reef Zone, sounding almost totally different. And the first half of the main boss theme was Suspiciously Similar Song to Robotnik's original theme (the games had a different composer than the first two).
      • This was topped by Sonic Advance 3, where each stage theme had no fewer than four variations — one for its map screen plus one for each of the three acts. Somehow it never seemed repetitive, either: the map's theme was more low-key and served to introduce the melodic material, and then each act was a progressively more intense version of the same theme. One of these themes, in fact, was the Green Hill Zone music from the original Sonic; all too appropriate for a stage (Sunset Hill) which was itself a sort of re-imagined and remixed version of that place.
    • Sonic Unleashed reuses Eggman's instrumental leitmotif from Sonic 2006 and manages to build a new boss music out of it. Speaking of 2006, each villain had his own leitmotif, each with several arrangements for cutscenes and boss battles.
    • The Saturn and PC versions of Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island have a variation of the game's title theme appearing in every main level's track as a chorus/bridge section, while Robotnik's theme is given a more intense remix for The Final Fight.
  • In the Soul Series, Maxi's theme appears to be Sail Over the Storm. It's used in both the first and third games, and the first 10 or so seconds appear again in the fifth game.
    • Mitsurugi's themes throughout the Soul Series tend to build up to a common motif, as heard in his themes in Soul Edge (50 seconds in), Soul Calibur (38 seconds in), Soul Calibur II (51 seconds in), Soul Calibur III (1:46 minutes in), and Soulcalibur V (41 seconds in).
      • The one in Soulcalibur II is technically Taki's theme, but the motif is most common with Mitsurugi's themes.
    • All characters in V have an assigned Leitmotif; the song select menu has the characters' pictures next to each title showing which ones.
  • The Space Channel 5 series has quite a few themes for certain characters, mainly Ulala, President Peace, Pine and Purge.
  • StarCraft I has a leitmotif in the form of the Ominous Latin Chanting heard during the first cutscene in its expansion Brood Wars, which foreshadows the UED abandoning a colony under attack by the zerg. This theme can be heard playing in the background of several scenes in the sequel, notably in the "betrayal" cutscene, which is a flashback to Mensk leaving Kerrigan to the zerg on Tarsonis
    • The Zerg get their own little theme in Starcraft II that is made up of two parts; in the Overture, the two play at the same time with the female solo voice doing one part and the low brass doing the second.
    • And later in the Heart of the Swarm expansion, the Zerg's new Leitmotif of the same title, featuring a heavy percussion beat and an electronic noise that is made to sound alien and grimy, befitting the Zerg. Some variation of it (at the very least featuring the drum beat) plays frequently in the campaign, often at the point in the mission where you're supposed to take your army and steamroll the enemy base.
  • In Star Control, at the end of each battle, the game would play a short "ditty" specifically belonging to the winning ship's species. This went much further in Star Control II where each (of over 20) species got its own theme music, accompanying any interaction with members of that species.
  • In the Star Fox series, the titular heroes and Star Wolf both get their own leitmotifs. Star Wolf's gets a little... over the top in later entries in the series, what with the vaguely flamenco beat and the blaring brass section.
    • Secondary characters Bill Grey and Katt Monroe both get their own leitmotifs whenever they show up in a level.
    • In the original, a common leitmotif is used in several of the planet musics, particularly Meteor, Titania, and Fortuna. Several themes are used for different types of boss battles, for example Corneria/Meteor, Outer Space, Venom, and the Atomic Cores(which is a rehash of the opening sequence music), as well as unique BGMs used by the planet bosses.
    • Hey, come on. The Assault version is really quite epic. Panther joined the group at that point, so maybe they had to Spanish it up a bit?
  • During Star Fox Adventures, Krystal and Fox had their own theme whenever they were on screen together. Given the nature of the two characters, it could be interpreted as a 'love theme'. A longer and more 'tribal' variation of the same theme was used in the Cape Claw location of the game.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario RPG The smithy gang has its motif recurring in four songs: The first use of the motif is in their own boss theme, where it is played by the oboe. The second theme with the motif plays in any town that is taken over by the Smithy gang, it consists solely of a slowed down version of their motif. The third theme has the motif played by the organ as an intro to Smithy's first boss fight theme. The last theme that contains the motif is played by the bass at the second and final boss battle with Smithy
    • Super Paper Mario has theme music for certain villains (Mr L, Count Bleck and Dimentio).
      • Super Paper Mario also features a remix of pretty much every song in it. Most notably, the music for the fight against the Big Bad is remixed during the fight against the TRUE final boss. Bonus points also go to Count Bleck's leitmotif for being a Musical Spoiler: It is a remix of the "Memory" theme.
  • Characters have their own themes in the Mario & Luigi series, such as Popple's unique boss music in the original, Bowser's Theme in some of the games, Fawful and Midbus' theme in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and probably quite a few more.
  • Everybody, both captains and sidekicks, get one in Mario Strikers Charged but while anyone who scores a goal will have their theme play, the captains will also have their themes play when they enter the field (if they're the home team) and when they win.
  • Similarly, while Yoshi has picked up a theme song of sorts with the title theme to Yoshi's Story, he's most often associated with a pair of bongo drums or a woodblock layered over whatever music is playing at the moment.
  • Super Robot Wars gives leitmotifs to all of its characters, usually based on the series they came from—for instance, if you've brought Getter-1 from Shin Getter Robo Armageddon with Ryoma at the controls, you often get a rendition of HEATS by Hironobu Kageyama, while Amuro Ray in the Nu Gundam from Char's Counterattack fights while the Char's Counterattack main theme plays in the background.
  • In the Super Smash Bros. series, each franchise has a victory fanfare. Franchises with multiple representatives tend to have several, giving fighters one based on their game of origin and/or their personality. For example, Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Daisy share a triumphant remix of the "Level Clear" theme from Super Mario Bros., while Bowser and Bowser Jr. utilize a powerful rock version of the song, and Rosalina has the outer space vibes of the Super Mario Galaxy theme.
    • The practice of multiple victory tunes per franchise began in Brawl, where Meta Knight was the only one to have his own unique fanfare (a rock version of the Kirby theme). Datamining suggests that it was intended for every character would have had their own unique fanfare, but most of them were cut before release, with future entries only somewhat using this idea, as previously noted.
    • Each game has its own overall theme song, with Melee arranging its theme song for the Battlefield stage and the ending theme of the original Nintendo 64 game (itself an arrangement of that game's opening theme) as the theme for Final Destination. Brawl featured a vocal theme song, performed in Latin, that was also remixed for Final Destination, a concept that would carry over into 3DS/Wii U and Ultimate, which would also have its own vocal theme performed in English and Japanese.
  • Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain has Logan's theme; a variation of the main Theme Tune, the Agency theme, Aramov's theme, Theme of Zeus, and Theme of Metaglobal, and each terrorist group has a characteristic battle theme.
  • Quite a number of music in Tales of Eternia that runs different version of the same motif for Van Eltia and Shileska. Add in all the FMVs one can probably find 20+ of them.
  • Every party member in Tales of Symphonia has their own theme music, and some have more than one. Zelos, for example, has an upbeat, samba-style tune that shows up when you first meet him, but if you take a certain plot path you'll hear an extremely sombre version of that exact same tune at one point. The Big Bad's theme music is also used for The Reveal at one point.
  • The Final Boss theme in the arcade game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time was also used in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project for the NES, which came around the same time.
  • In Time Crisis, we have Wild Dog's theme music and its arrangements in subsequent installments. It itself is a pastiche of the main series theme.
    • Time Crisis 2 also has General Diaz's theme, which appears in the musics for stage 2-1 and 3-3, the Final Boss battle, and the ending.
    • Time Crisis 3 has a different theme tune than the other games, but it still uses elements from the original theme, ala Suspiciously Similar Song.
    • The Terror Bites you fight in Time Crisis 4 has this ominous tune play whenever they appear.
  • To the Moon has the reoccurring "For River", a simple, repetitive piano piece written by the main character. It underpins virtually every song in the game, including "Everything's Alright."
  • Nearly every character of the large cast of the Touhou Project has their own leitmotif. In fact, many have more than one. This large influx of awesome music fuels not so much the fandom as it displaces it.
    • There's even a leitmotif for the overall series itself. The unused theme Theme of Eastern Story has been adapted into the opening themes of all the Windows-era mainline shooter games. Particular use was made of the series of running eigth-notes.
    • Another track of note is Kid's Festival ~ Innocent Treasures, which is the self-composed theme of ZUN, the one-man development team behind the entire Touhou Project.
      ZUN: This was the most difficult song for me to write out of everything I've written so far. I guess you could say it's because it's my own theme. It's the theme song that plays when I make my entrance on a talk show, so writing this song was somewhat embarrassing.
  • Many of the attendant themes in Touken Ranbu have bits of melody that sound similar, often of characters who are connected in one way or another. For example Namazuo's and Honebami's themes sound alike, and the two are close siblings.
  • Undertale has quite a few, though some of these are because a character will have conventional music and a Boss Remix of the aformentioned piece. Out of the 101 tracks on its soundtrack, only eleven do not contain some sort of leitmotif. The most widespread and truest leitmotif, however, would be the opening sequence song "Once Upon A Time', which appears in the tracks "Start Menu", "Home", "Hotel", "Can You Really Call This A Hotel I Didn't Receive A Mint On My Pillow Or Anything" and "Undertale". If you go for Golden Ending, "Hopes and Dreams", "SAVE the World", "Bring It In, Guys!" and "Last Goodbye" will appear.
  • Universe at War: Earth Assault has a different soundtrack for each of the three factions, each with its own theme: the Hierarchy have heavy rock tracks, Novus have a techno/electronica vibe, and Masari have an orchestral soundtrack with plenty of Ominous Latin Chanting. It's worth noting that all the music here was composed by Frank Klepacki.
  • Vector Thrust's main theme makes it into nearly every piece of music composed for the game.
  • Several characters in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune:
    • Akio Asakura: "Blue Blazes" (WMMT 1 and 2), "Phantom of Blue" (WMMT 3), "The Final Count Down" (WMMT 4), "Avatar of Speed" (WMMT 5), "Driving Instinct" (WMMT 6)
    • Tatsuya Shima: "Destination Blackout" (1 and 2), "Black Pressure" (3), "No Turning Back" (4), "Black Phoenix" (6)
    • Reina Akikawa: "Nothing Lives Forever" (1 and 2), "Feel the Moment" (3), "I'm Here For You" (6)
    • R200 Club: "Decoration for the Dement" (1 and 2), "Evil Association" (3), "Dark Side Style" (4), "Groove of Group" (6)
    • Koichi Kijima: "This is My Destiny" (1 and 2), "Cause You're Different" (3), "Madly Driving" (4), "Beatific Smile" (6)
    • And in the original Wangan Midnight game, more characters have their own theme music.
  • Warframe has leitmotifs both for the Stalker (which plays when he makes an appearance) and for the Operators which is played during the climax of the Second Dream quest and in the Transference Room in the Orbiter afterwards).
  • Wild AR Ms games naturally jump on the bandwagon. There's the series main theme, "Into the Wilderness," which plays once or twice at key moments in each game, usually the ending or introduction. In Wild AR Ms 1, Boomerang has his own theme, which is slowed down for a "funeral dirge" late in the game. In Wild AR Ms 3, Virginia has "Ready! Lady Gunner!" while the Schroedingers have "There's Only One Family Named Schrodinger." There are special boss themes for Janus and the Prophets.
    • This is brought to a head for the remake of Wild ARMs 1, where each major antagonist has their own theme, and they're all Awesome. (Though Zed's new theme is a bit less awesome then his old one.)
  • Wing Commander II has a number of prominent leitmotifs, most notably the grim, minor-key brass fanfare accompanying Prince Thrakhath, the syncopated piano motif for Jazz, and the theme that plays during the love scenes between Blair and Angel.
  • The melody of the main theme from The Witcher can be heard in several other tracks, both event specific and general background music.
  • Xenogears has leitmotifs for Bart (Bonds of Sea and Fire) and Chu-Chu (The Sky, the Clouds, and You) among others.
  • While X-Wing was not the first to use true Leitmotifs in a space simulator (with Wing Commander probably taking that honor), the iMuse system enabled using the various portions of the already huge Star Wars trilogy soundtrack and fitting them almost seamlessly into one another. For that reason, virtually any event that could occur during a mission had its own Leitmotif - to the point where it is possible to figure out roughly how a mission played out just by listening to a recording of its soundtrack.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report