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Battle Theme Music

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"I'm about to drop my latest hit... right on your smug little FACE!"
DJ Octavio, Splatoon 3

In video games, battles are typically indicated by upbeat or tense music to give a hint of danger. Battle music tends to pop up the most in Role Playing Games, where there are often battle screens separate from the rest of the action. Battle music doesn't usually appear in games where you fight and explore on the same plane of action, but it may Fade In when you get close to a threat, particularly in more recent games.

Several different types of battle music may appear:

Shifting Battle Music - Because you might get sick of the battle theme if it's the same throughout the game, some games may employ several different "normal" battle themes which change throughout the game.

These themes may be:

  • Progressional: As you progress through the game, the battle theme may change at certain milestones.
  • By Dungeon: If the battle music is merely a remix of the dungeon music, each dungeon may have its own music. This is fairly rare, through, because of the extra work involved.
  • Situational: A different, more tension-filled battle theme may play in different situations, such as getting ambushed by the enemies. See also Sad Battle Music.
  • Aversion: No battle music for separate enemy encounter except bosses. Often done out of realism or to invoke Nothing Is Scarier.

Boss Battle Music - Most games have a separate battle theme for the Boss Battle, including games which aren't RPGs. This is usually a tense, action-packed theme.

Different boss themes may play for:

  • Normal Boss Battle: The battle theme for 'normal' bosses or minibosses. Some games may have a few different 'normal' boss themes; otherwise, expect to hear it a lot at the end if there's a Boss Bonanza.
  • Major Boss Battle: A more dramatic theme for the more difficult or unique bosses. Usually used for a Climax Boss. May overlap with the Villain Battle Theme.
  • Villain Battle: The battle theme for major story villains, which may serve as their Leitmotif, or be a Boss Remix thereof. This is usually lighthearted and silly for the Goldfish Poop Gang or Quirky Miniboss Squad, but more serious bosses such as The Dragon or Big Bad will have more tension-filled battle themes.
  • Final Boss Battle: The battle theme for the Final Boss of the game. If the Final Boss has multiple forms (as they usually do), each form will have its own theme music. The first form may use the Major Boss or Villain Battle theme for that particular Big Bad, but later forms will be unique. The very last battle music may be marked by the use of live orchestra, organs, ominous choir, or extremely tense rock music or techno music. Or all of the above. Occasionally if the Final Boss is a Tragic Monster itself, Sad Battle Music may occur.
  • Different theme for each boss: Some games will go out of their way to give every boss, regardless of story relevance, its own theme. Exceptions may be made for minibosses, and Recurring Bosses may share a theme for all of their battles, but other than that, they will all be unique. Due to the extra work involved in making completely different themes for every boss, it's usually reserved for games with longer, more elaborate boss battles to help make each fight feel distinct and memorable, since it tends to result in Long Song, Short Scene if a minute-long theme is used exclusively to soundtrack a Warm-Up Boss that can be beaten in 20 seconds.

Battle Fanfare - The victory fanfare that plays at the end of the battle. Some games have no fanfare at all for normal battles, and switch back to the 'dungeon' music instantly on completion of the battle. These games may sometimes have them for completing the Boss Battle, though.

As for games with battle fanfares, they tend to come in two styles:

  • Final Fantasy style: The fanfare plays, followed by a triumphant theme which lasts until the 'battle screen' is exited.
  • Dragon Quest style: A short fanfare is played, after which the dungeon music starts up again.

See also Orchestral Bombing for the movie version.


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    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Averted in the first The Legend of Zelda. None of the enemies or bosses, not even Ganon who is the Final Boss, has a battle theme.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link set the tradition in itself and subsequent 2D (and eventually also 2.5D) Zelda games to play a tense, fast-paced battle music for all standard bosses, with the Final Boss having a smooth-but-ominous one. Notably, the Ganon battle theme in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past would be later used for Phantom Ganon (a Mini-Boss) in The Wind Waker.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has five boss battle themes. Two for the final battle, one for the bosses fought on Death Mountain (dungeons 2 and 5), one for the other bosses, and one for the minibosses. Interestingly, the Death Mountain boss theme was remixed for Stallord in Twilight Princess.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, despite being a 3D game, follows the pattern of 2D games by giving all regular bosses a tense music track and a smooth, yet menacing theme for the final boss. However, in 3D Zelda fashion, it does also have a dedicated battle theme for minibosses.
    • From The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker onwards, every (or almost every) boss in the 3D games has a unique boss theme, and the 2003 game also started the trend of featuring minibosses with unique themes (Phantom Ganon plays a remix of Ganon's theme from A Link to the Past, and the sea minibosses Cyclos and Big Octo share a unique track as well).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the boss battle music often gets a triumphant version of the game's overworld theme when you're in the process of exploiting the enemy's weak spot with some well-aimed sword strikes. It uses one song for the bosses before the fourth dungeon, and another for the ones after. The switch happens right in the middle of the fourth boss's fight. Also in the game, there is also a tense 'You're Losing' mix when Ganondorf seems to get the upper hand when you've locked blades with him. Regarding minibosses, several of them has unique themes that fit their nature or style, though a few still adhere to a general track (such as Darknut and Aeralfos).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is unique among the 2D and 2.5D Zelda games in that it features a larger-than-usual repertoire of music tracks for bosses. There is one for those from the odd-numbered temples (Forest, Ocean, Sand), one for the bosses from the even-numbered ones (Snow, Fire; the latter adds Variable Mix for when Link isn't riding the minecart necessary to damage the boss), one for the overworld miniboss Rocktite (Variable Mix is used depending on how close the monster is to the Spirit Train), one for all remaining minibosses, one for Climax Boss Byrne (a Boss Remix of his Leitmotif), one for superboss Dark Link (borrowed from the Ghost Ship from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass), one for the Demon Train, and three for Cole and Malladus (with the second being a Boss Remix of Cole's Leitmotif and the third being a upbeat reprise of the game's title screen theme).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features multiple boss tracks as usual, but there's also a special case: One of the bosses, The Imprisoned, has a sophisticated Variable Mix that comes into effect depending on the situation. There's the theme for the boss simply walking, one for when the player is controlling the Groosenator, one for when the boss is close to its destination, and one for when the player is controlling the Groosenator during that dangerous proximity.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: Among many other nods to A Link to the Past, the game brings back the classic boss theme from that game for the Hyrule bosses (except Yuga, who uses a Boss Remix of his Leitmotif for his boss fights), now with a modern remix. But in a twist, the Lorule bosses use a brand-new theme (though its instrumentation and some of its cadence are derived from the Hyrule boss music). The game also has a theme for the enemy ambushes in the dungeons, as well as one for the minibosses. In the first phase of the Final Boss battle, Yuga's merged form with Ganon gets a theme that merges the latter's A Link to the Past boss music with his own leitmotif; in the second phase, they get an extra theme that incorporates Zelda's Lullaby into the mix. Lastly, the Dark Link fights that can be obtained via StreetPass play a Boss Remix of the dungeon theme from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (which makes sense, as that was the debut game for Dark Link himself).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a battle theme for Calamity Ganon, which is remixed in a different way for each of the Blight Ganon entities fought in the Divine Beasts (in turn, each version of the theme has a second, higher-pitched version for its boss's second phase). With the exception of Stalnox, all bosses fought in the overworld (Talus, Hinox, Molduga and Master Kohga) have their own themes (Stalnox uses the same theme as Hinox). The boss fought at the end of The Champions' Ballad DLC (Monk Maz Koshia) has his own theme as well, being namely a Boss Remix of the shrine battle theme. Lastly, the Guardian Scout minibosses fought in the Test of Strength shrines uses a mildly altered version of the standard mini-Guardian enemy theme, and includes a special victory fanfare heard when the Scout is defeated.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, there's separate boss music for Julius (a combination of two old tunes, "Don't Wait Until Night" and "Heart of Fire"), and in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Soma uses Dracula's fight music, "Dance of Illusions". Aria of Sorrow also has a separate boss theme for fighting Graham, and Chaos, the final boss, had two battle themes. There is also both a regular boss theme used for most bosses, and a major boss theme used for Creaking Skull and Balore.
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, there is "Festival of Servants" for Normal boss battles, "Death Ballad" for Major boss battles like Death or Shaft, "Enchanted Banquet" for Medusa and Succubus, "Dance of Illusions" for Dracula in the intro, "Blood Relations" for Richter, and "Black Banquet" for the Final Boss fight against Dracula again.
    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has many boss themes, the titles of which reference previous games in the series. They are: a regular boss theme (Symphony of Battle), a theme for the more difficult bosses (and Jiang Shi) (Dissonant Courage), a theme for the bosses fought inside Dracula's Castle (Chamber of Ruin), two villain songs (Sorrow's Distortion and Lament to the Master), and the Dracula battle music (Order of the Demon).
    • Dracula usually has at least two boss themes, one for his normal form, and one or more for his One-Winged Angel forms.
  • Cave Story generally has one of two themes: The light, fast Normal boss theme ("Gravity") and the deep, heavy Major boss theme ("Eyes of Flame"). The normal final boss and the Perfect Run Final Boss both have "The Last Battle" as their theme. Only three bosses get their own unique themes: The Core ("Oppresion"), the Big Bad (which in turn has one for the One-Winged Angel form, the oddly playful and repetitive "Charge"; and "Zombie" which is played in the first form), and oddly enough a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere ("Run!", recycled as normal BGM during a couple of action scenes).
  • Used in Shadow of the Colossus; the music becomes a lot richer and more intense when you climb onto the titans. As the whole game consisted of boss battles, the change of music during the battle is one of the most memorable parts of the game.
  • Each boss in La-Mulana has a unique boss theme. One of the developers even references this, complaining about the fact that this was a lot of work, then humorously realizing he came up with the idea himself.
  • The SNES version of Prince of Persia has four battle themes: for Mooks(and the Boss Rush in Level 19), normal bosses(with two distinct entrance fanfares depending on the boss's difficulty), the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere in Level 17, and the Final Boss.
  • Magicka uses one theme for almost all bosses and minibosses. However, a few major bosses have their own themes.
  • Metroid:
    • In Metroid, Ridley and Kraid share a regular battle theme, leaving the third and last boss (Mother Brain) as the only one with its own theme. For Super Metroid, they received their own respective themes (and Ridley would play its in all subsequent appearances, even having a second theme in Zero Mission for its Mecha Ridley rematch, and another in Corruption for its Omega Ridley rematch). Ridley's theme is also borrowed by Draygon in Super, while Kraid's is shared with Crocomire and Phantoon; the mini-bosses all share a haunting battle theme.
    • Metroid II: Return of Samus (and, by extension, Metroid: Samus Returns) have different music for the evolved Metroid battles (also, unrelated to Villain and Boss, regular monsters that are more dangerous get an ominous theme). Samus Returns gives Diggernaut a modern remix of Arachnus's Metroid Fusion theme (Arachnus itself debuted in the original Metroid II and reappears here accordingly, but in both cases it uses a different track).
    • Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission spare themselves the music sharing conundrum from their predecessors by giving each boss its own theme (the former makes an exception with Serris and Yakuza, as both of them do share one theme).
    • The Metroid Prime Trilogy series has a unique theme for every major boss. Mini-bosses either share themes with each other or borrow enemy encounter themes (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption makes an exception with the corrupted hunters, as does Metroid Prime: Hunters with the rival hunters, giving each of them a special battle theme).
    • Metroid: Other M gives each boss and mini-boss a unique theme, except Phantoon (it reuses Metroid Queen's).
  • Ōkami:
    • The original game has a strange distribution of boss music. The theme that is first heard when fighting Crimson Helm (the second boss) is also heard in the fight against Blight (the fourth boss) as well as in nearly every Mini-Boss. But Waka, a miniboss himself, uses a special remix of that theme for his own battles against the protagonist, while Nagi, Susano's ancestor (the last miniboss introduced in the game) uses a different theme altogether. Also, the Fishing Minigame has a dedicated battle music heard whenever Amaterasu is helping a fisher capture a particularly strong fish (Whopper in Agata Forest, Cutlass Fish in Sei-an City and Marlin in West Ryoshima Coast). All remaining opponents (the dungeon bosses other than Crimson Helm and Blight), including the Final Boss, have their own respective tracks.
    • Ōkamiden, being a handheld game tailored for the Nintendo DS's lower capacity, gives all regular bosses (and the few minibosses present) the same battle music, while the last three bosses fought back to back in the climax (Kurow, Akuro and possessed Kuni) have one unique track each.
  • All bosses in No More Heroes and its sequels have their own battle themes. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle makes an exception with Ryuji, who borrows the music of Matt Helms ("Subuta 2"). Also of note is Henry's theme ("We Are Finally Cowboys"), which is heard during his True Final Boss battle against Travis at the end of the first game, and is remixed into a more dynamic version in the second game when he is fighting Mimmy.
  • Mystik Belle has the standard boss theme "Dance For a Hallowed Duel", and the Final Boss theme "The Witch's Fists of Science".

    Adventure Game 
  • Hype: The Time Quest has two themes used in boss battles. These tend to fade as the titular character moves farther away from the boss.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • God Hand goes the extra mile: all minibosses and regular bosses have their own theme music, and when you fight the demon forms of Elvis and Shannon, their regular boss music gets remixed.
  • MadWorld uses four themes for its regular bosses: "MADWORLD" (for Little Eddie, Jude the Dude, Shogun, and the Shamans), "Bang" (for Von Twirlenkiller, Frank, and the Masters), "Death and Honor" (for Yokozuna, Kojack, and Martin) and "You Don't Know Me" (for the female bosses Rin Rin and Elise). The final boss, the Black Baron, gets two Villain Song themes: "Look Pimpin'" for the first half and "So Cold" for the second.
  • Double Dragon:
    • The arcade version of the first game features a standard theme for the first three bosses. For the final boss, it plays the opening title theme instead. The NES version lacked the boss theme, but still plays the main theme during the final battle until Jimmy shows up (where it switches to the Mission 1 theme).
    • In the arcade version of Double Dragon II, each boss has a unique theme music. In the NES version, a generic boss theme (the same tune that was used for Abore, the Mission 2 boss, in the arcade version) is used for all the bosses, except the player's evil clone (who uses a different boss theme than the one in the arcade version, whose theme was instead used for Mission 6 in the NES version) and the True Final Boss (which was later used in the GBA version as the theme of Raymond, Willy's bodyguard). The Trilogy port uses "Night Sky Tension"(the Chopper stage theme from the NES version) for the first three bosses, and "Roar of the Double Dragons"(the aforementioned NES True Final Boss theme) for the climactic battle with Willy and his minions, but retains "Wicked God" for the Mirror Boss.
    • In both the arcade and NES versions of Double Dragon III, every boss has his own theme music as well, although some of the bosses in the NES version are different (namely the ones in Mission 2 and 4) and other bosses (like Ranzou and the final boss) have different theme music as well.
    • Double Dragon Neon had unique themes for each of the bosses in the game. The final boss battle against Giga Skullmageddon uses the remix of the original arcade game's theme that also plays the title screen.
  • River City Ransom has four distinct boss themes: a "middle boss" theme (the standard boss theme), a "big boss" theme (played only during two specific boss battles), the Dragon Twins theme (actually a rendition of the Double Dragon theme), and the final boss theme.
  • Streets of Rage:
    • The original game has "Attack the Barbarian" as the standard boss theme and "Big Boss" for the battle against Mr. X.
    • The second game has "Never Return Alive" for the standard bosses, "Max Man" for Shiva, and "Revenge of Mr. X" for the final battle.
  • The themes for the main cast in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan-made game My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic survive on YouTube even though Hasbro shut down their actual use in a fighting game.
  • Every boss in The Ninja Warriors Again has their own unique theme music. Phobos and Deimos' theme is a remix of Gigant's, which makes sense considering that they're custom-made versions of Gigant.

    Fighting Game 
  • As the Punch-Out!! series evolved, so did its relationship with this trope. None of the arcade games (Punch-Out!!, Super Punch-Out!!, Arm Wrestling) featured any music, the NES game (Punch-Out, both the Tyson version and the Mr. Dream version) has the same fighting music for all boxers you challenge (what does change is their intro fanfare), the SNES game (Super Punch-Out!!) has a theme for each of the four circuits, and the Wii game (Punch-Out!!) adds a battle theme for the Minor Circuit title bout (against King Hippo, used again in his rematch in Title Defense), another for the Major Circuit one (against Don Flamenco, used again in his rematch in Title Defense), and then one for every boxer when you face them in Exhibition mode (all of them are based on the series' main theme, albeit remixed to fit the cultural stereotypes of the boxers). In the Doc Louis game, only one theme is used, since your only opponent is Doc himself.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Traditionally, Master Hand and Crazy Hand use the battle music of Final Destination (said music changes from game to game). An exception for Crazy Hand occurs in the Boss Rush mode in Brawl, where it instead borrows the theme of Giga Bowser (which debuted in Melee alongside Giga Bowser himself).
    • Super Smash Bros. Melee: Metal Mario and Metal Luigi in Adventure Mode, as well as whichever character you face in Chrome Champion form in Classic Mode, all use a tense techno music during battle. This theme cannot be selected for play in the standard Vs. Matches.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Every boss in the Subspace Emissary mode uses a tense, dramatic theme from the universe they're representing (in the case of Ridley and Meta Ridley, it's their flagship battle theme from the Metroid series). Since Duon and Galleom are original bosses, they share a Boss Remix of the game's main theme instead. Tabuu, another original boss and the last one in the mode, uses a completely new theme.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U: The only new boss to have its own theme is Master Core, the True Final Boss of Classic Mode. The other new bosses, due to their default status as stage hazards (they only act as true bosses in the Event Matches as well as Smash Tour), simply use whatever music their stages they're currently playing.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Each regular boss in World of Light mode plays whichever theme it plays for them in its franchise of origin. The original boss themes incorporate elements of the game's main theme, "Lifelight". The theme of Galeem is fast-pased Orchestral Bombing reflective of the desperation the heroes contend with in fighting the Big Bad. In contrast, the theme of the Galeem's counterpart, Dharkon, is much slower and foreboding, mixing in rock guitars befitting the evil god. The True Final Boss theme against both Galeem and Dharkon at once strikes a balance between the two themes in its tempo while weaving in the chorus from "Lifelight" and a far more triumphant sound, as befitting the final battle of the game.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The approach of a tank in Left 4 Dead is accompanied by this track, and it continues playing until the fight is over. During a Finale, a slightly modified version of the Tank theme plays, called "taank". The second "Boss Infected", the witch, also has her own score. The other, less dangerous "Special Infected" have shorter leitmotifs that play when they spawn or when they pin a player. There's also a variety of drum themes that play during a horde attack, and a special "slayer" theme that is mixed in when the player is engaging a horde. For Left 4 Dead 2, the horde music is even played by different instruments depending on the campaign, and the Concert finale has two rock remixes of the Tank theme.
  • Rise of the Triad has "Hellero", shared among all episodic bosses (including the last one).
  • Turok 2 , has four boss battle themes: the first being used for Golden Eye in the Lair of the Blind Ones, the second shared between the Mantid Queen and the Primagen, the third for the Mother of the Flesh Eaters, and the fourth (titled "Dark Totem" on the official soundtrack) was intended for the Primagen but ended up a Cut Song.
    Light Gun Game 
  • Silent Scope has a standard battle theme for all bosses except the Tower Building battle with Scorpion and the Stadium battle with Cobra, which have their own themes, and the Climax Boss fight with Monica, which retains the stage's background music. In the second game, all bosses except the anticlimactic Final Boss use the same theme.
  • Time Crisis has a common boss theme for Moz and Sherudo, and Wild Dog's theme, which would be remixed in his subsequent reappearances, for the Final Boss battle with him. Most other bosses in the sequels have unique battle themes.
  • RuneScape has battle themes in dungeoneering. There are several different 'types' of dungeon (frost, abandoned, furnished, occult, warped). Every type of dungeon has 10 different battle themes, and a random track will play whenever you are in combat in daemonheim. On top of this, all of the 30 bosses for dungeoneering have their own theme tune, some of them are among the best music in the game. Also, both the standard combat themes and the boss music in daemonheim really suit the area/boss monster they play for. Quest bosses generally have their own music as well. They are usually better (or at least more intense) than most of the games' music.
  • Vindictus primarily saves its battle themes for boss battles.
  • Final Fantasy XIV features unique battle themes, often with lyrics, to accompany its boss battles. In the case of primal bosses, they cross over with Villain Song and Bragging Theme Tune. Several years and extensions later Soken, the game's composer, is still releasing a banger after banger (more on the extensive dedicated Awesome Music page). From the 2.0 version alone, we have:
    • "Primal Judgment", the theme of Ifrit. Orchestral Bombing ensues.
    • "Under the Weight", the theme of the final phase of the battle against Titan: a hard-hitting industrial theme with lyrics illustrating Titan's killer intent.
    • "Fallen Angel", the theme of Garuda. After a tense intro with a creepy organ, Garuda whispers "Now, fall!", and the electric guitars kick in.
    • "Good King Moggle Mog XII", the eponymous theme of the Good King Moggle Mog: a bragging theme for the Good King and his Moggleguard in a style reminiscent of "This is Halloween".
    • "Through the Maelstrom", the theme of Leviathan, a rock anthem with lyrics from Leviathan's devotees begging for deliverance.
    • "Thunder Rolls", the theme of Ramuh, opens with a One-Woman Wail before the song commences in earnest, slow and methodical as the Lord of Levin.
    • "Oblivion", the theme of Shiva: a full-blown punk rock theme with lyrics from the perspective of Shiva's summoner as she dispenses with her fear of death.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 is fantastic in this regard. Every single boss in the game has its own unique theme, and many of them use a dynamic soundtrack with variations of the themes depending on the current situation. For example, one of the first few bosses, Vol Dragon, has seven different variants of his theme depending on how enraged he is.

    Platform Game 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Donkey Kong:
  • Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel Banjo-Tooie do the Boss Remix variety whenever you take on a boss, with the battle music being a more intense version of level's background music. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, an interquel, uses the same theme for all bosses (albeit remixed for the Ghost Pirate's battle), being based on a part of Gruntilda's battle theme in the first game (which in turn is based on the level theme of Mad Monster Mansion). Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts only has Gruntilda as the final boss, and her theme is once again a remix of her leitmotif.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: Three bosses (the Wanka swarm, Haybot and Big Boiler a.k.a. The Big Big Guy) share a mainstream boss theme, and there is a rural-styled remix of it for the one fought in the ranch (Haybot), plus a military remix heard when Conker is fleeing from the Tediz island after defeating a boss. The rest, however, have their own themes, except for The Final Boss who averts the trope. When you fight him, all you hear is the wind being blown away towards the empty outer space.
  • Garfield's Nightmare: Each boss has a distinct battle music. The first one's is a mix of medieval and spooky flavor, the second one's is a frantic tune styled as marching music, the third one's is a more playful theme reminiscent of the boss fight tracks heard in the Crash Bandicoot games (especially 2 and Warped, thanks to the steel drums), and the fourth's is an electronic-styled theme (it's ironically the shortest too, considering the fourth boss is also the last).
  • The Mega Man (Classic) series is kind of a weird case: Each game has its own boss fight music for the robot masters, and depending upon the game, there may be additional boss fight musics for fortress bosses or the final boss. However, robot masters are usually associated with the theme music that plays during their stages rather than the boss fights themselves, possibly as a result of naming the stages after their bosses.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, the boss characters are mostly associated with the theme music that plays during their stages and the dialogue shared with them before their fights, rather than the boss fights themselves. Nevertheless, Rosenkreuzstilette had "Arima's Music No. 03" by AM3 for Freu as the opening stage boss and seven of the main bosses, "Arima's Music No. 22" by AM3 for Freu's second fight (which is the only boss theme actually associated with a boss other than Zeppelin and Iris), "Fighting Spirit" for the clash between Grolla as a player and Tia as a boss in Grolla's story, "Arima's Music No. 15" by AM3 for the Zeppelin Stage bosses, "Fighting Eternally" by Unlimited Hellest for Count Michael Zeppelin, "Closed Garden" by Unlimited Hellest for the Iris Stage bosses and the boss rematches at Iris Stage 3, "Pray to Muse For..." by Song! Cat Room: Unkolyn for the Iris Machine, and "Last Battle ~Requiem for Myself~" for the Iris Capsule and Seraphic Iris. In the sequel, Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel, we get "Attacking Game" by Takumi dot Net for Eifer as the opening stage boss and the eight RKS bosses, "Four Heavenly Kings" by DEAD END WONDER for the four Schwarzkreuz bosses and the boss rematches at Iris Stage 3 along with Karl in Pamela's story, "Blue Daemon" by Unlimited Hellest for Count Michael Zeppelin and Eifer as the Dark Devil, "The end of last age final destination" by Kamo King for the Iris Machine, and "Awakening the Profound Evil" by Wingless Seraph for a Brainwashed and Crazy Tia and Seraphic Iris.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 set the tradition in itself and subsequent 2D games of giving a common battle theme for both the bosses and the minibosses present, thus leaving the corresponding Final Boss (Wart in SMB2 itself, Bowser in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, Tatanga in Super Mario Land, Wario in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins) as the only one with a unique battle theme. In contrast, the very first game and by extension The Lost Levels avert the trope even in the final duel against Bowser (the Castle course theme still plays); this is rectified in the All-Stars remake for both games, which does add a battle theme for the regular Bowser encounters and another for the last ones. The trend also applies for all Yoshi's Island and New Super Mario Bros. games, though the minibosses do have a common separate theme in each of them.
    • Super Mario 64 has only three themes: A general track for regular bosses (minibosses like Big Boo and Chief Bully avert the trope), and two for Bowser (with the second being an Ominous Pipe Organ remix of his usual theme for the final battle).
    • Super Mario Sunshine improves upon its predecessor Super Mario 64 by having a general music theme for regular bosses, a theme for regular minibosses, a dedicated theme for Climax Boss Mecha Bowser, a Boss Remix of the classic Underground theme of the original Super Mario Bros. for Shadow Mario, and a suspenseful drum-and-piano track for Bowser in the final battle.
    • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a wide array of boss music, meaning that each theme will only be shared by three bosses max and some will be unique to only one. Galaxy is also the first 3D Mario game to incorporate Variable Mix in certain themes, like when Mario is throwing back a projectile from King Kaliente or viceversa or when Bowser is being stunned. The latter's theme evolves into full Ominous Latin Chanting during the last phase of the last battle, even without the need of variable mix.
    • Super Mario 3D Land only has three bosses, but each of them has their own theme, with Bowser gaining a second theme based on Orchestral Bombing for the final battle. The sequel Super Mario 3D World adds more bosses to the mix, with the Hisstocrats having a jazz-styled theme for themselves, Prince Bully borrowing the enemy blockade music (as he's fought in a blockade-type level) and the remaining regular bosses sharing a general orchestrated theme. Bowser now relies on Autobots, Rock Out! for his two themes.
    • In Super Mario Maker, the signature boss theme of each game style available can be implemented to any enemy or space, not just Bowser or Bowser Jr. (if it's put into Mario himself, it will be heard during the entirety of the level, negating the music from the areas used). Since the original Super Mario Bros. didn't have any battle theme, in Maker it borrows the enemy blockade music from Super Mario Bros. 3 instead. Super Mario Maker 2 adds a second theme for each game style, namely the Final Boss theme (again, the original SMB lacked any sort of boss music, so in Maker 2 it borrows the Bowser battle theme from SMB3); the game also has boss music (both regular and final) from Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, heard when the player's character triggers the boss music while using the SMB2 Mushroom and Master Sword respectively.
    • For Super Mario Odyssey, every regular boss has its own theme, while the Broodals (who are minibosses) share one. Madame Broode plays a stylized remix of her fellows' track, Knucklotec plays a theme that has strong Mayincatec vibes, Torkdrift plays a techno-inspired theme, Mechawiggler plays a theme reminiscent of the jazz-styled soundtrack of 3D World, Mollusque-Lanceur plays a French-inspired theme, Cookatiel plays a quirky track reminiscent of the Paper Mario series, the Ruined Dragon plays a very somber, ominous track, Robobrood plays a track that has a strong Japanese vibe (and includes Variable Mix for when the boss is incapacitated), and Bowser has once again two battle themes, with the first being based on Autobots, Rock Out! and the second on Orchestral Bombing.
    • Wario Land: Each boss has its own battle music in Wario World and Wario Land: Shake It!, while in Wario: Master of Disguise there are four battle themes: the normal boss theme, Count Cannoli's boss theme, Carpaccio's boss theme, and the final boss theme. All other Wario Land games use a common battle theme for regular bosses and another for the Final Boss.
  • The original three Metal Slug games (including Metal Slug X) have a particularly memorable Boss Battle theme—"Steel Beast"—that actually progresses from game-to-game. In the original, it is in 5/8 time; Metal Slug 2 and X use the 6/8 "6 Beets" version; Metal Slug 3 has its own 7/8 version. Sergeant McNeil appropriates the "Assault Theme" from the first game, and the "Final Attack" theme is widely used for the game's final boss.
  • Amagon has a Mid-Boss theme, a main end boss theme for Zones 1, 2, and 6, and a different theme for the end bosses of Zones 3 and 5, whilst Zone 4 continues the stage BGM during its boss battle.
  • Crash Bandicoot: Though every boss in the games has their own theme, there's an unusual trait both Nitrus Brio and Neo Cortex share in this regard: In the first game, they have their own bonus stages accessible from certain levels; while Tawna's bonus stages have a relaxing rural music, those of the mad scientists use the same music heard in their respective battles. This means Cortex's music has a triple function: It's a Leitmotif, a battle theme and a bonus stage theme, and somehow it fits at all times. Same with Brio's music.
  • In Hollow Knight, "Decisive Battle" is the standard boss theme, "Dream Battle" is used for Warrior Dream bosses (save for No Eyes, who sings her own song), minibosses usually use the heavier Variable Mixes of their dungeon themes, and major bosses have unique themes.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) uses one battle theme for Mini-Boss encounters, and another for all of the stage-end bosses including the Final Boss.

    Puzzle Games 
  • When Henry finally fights Sammy Lawrence in Bendy and the Ink Machine, music starts up that's a combination of various instruments found around the studio.
  • Hacknet provides the player with a change in music to an intense techno track for the assault on EnTech's backup server. This is justified in-universe as the player activates a music sequencer program to signal another hacker to connect them to the server in question.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy has the same battle theme for everyone, from common enemies to the final showdown with Chaos. Though when it was remade, they added a number of new pieces of music for Boss Fights, including a new Final Boss fight music for Chaos.
    • The Four Warriors of Light has additional "The Boss Turned Red" and "you're dying" music on top of the regular battle theme.
    • Final Fantasy XII has no 'normal' battle theme to speak of (the area music keeps playing), but goes crazy with the Boss Battle themes. There's 'Boss Battle', 'Clash of Swords', 'Battle Drum', 'A Speechless Battle', 'Esper Battle', 'Desperate Fight', and 'The Battle for Freedom'. There's also 'Upheaval', and 'Boss Battle' is chopped up, with different sections of it playing in different orders for almost every boss.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake, naturally, features a fresh arrangement of "Those Who Fight Further" for boss fights. The Airbuster, however, has a unique variation of the theme that mixes Orchestral Bombing and Ominous Latin Chanting with blaring rock guitars and heavy drums.
  • Dual Orb II has one battle theme, from the first fight to the Final Boss. And with its crazy-high encounter rate, you'll be hearing it a lot.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Has one for each of its Climax Bosses.
  • SaGa series:
  • Trials of Mana has no battle music for normal enemies at all as they just appear randomly on the screen, but it has separate songs for nearly all bosses (which may also be used elsewhere), and there are a lot of those.
  • Chrono Trigger had only one normal battle theme (not counting an unreleased track that didn't make it into the actual game), but had several boss themes. These included a Normal Boss, Major Boss, two Villain Battles (for Magus and Lavos, respectively), and two Final Boss Battles. The Ocean Palace, meanwhile, subverts this by not changing the music when a battle ensues.
  • The Pokémon Video Game series has developed this structure, including boss music tracks for Gym Leaders, Rivals, the villain teams, certain Legendary Pokémon, and the "final bosses" (the Elite Four and Champion battles). The number of different battle themes has exploded since the series' debut:
    • Red, Blue and Yellow have four: Wild Pokémon, Trainer, Gym Leader, Champion.
    • The remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, gave battle music to normal Legendaries, Mewtwo, and Deoxys, the former two being a rearrangement of the normal Wild Pokémon music. In addition, the Elite Four used the Gym Leader music instead of the Trainer music.
    • Gold and Silver have nine: Johto Wild Pokémon, Johto Trainer, Team Rocket, Johto Gym Leader/Elite Four, Rival, Champion, and rearrangements of the Wild Pokémon, Trainer and Gym Leader themes from Red, Blue and Yellow. Crystal added one for the legendary beasts (Raikou, Entei and Suicune). In addition, the Johto wild Pokémon theme has two arrangements, one for day time, and one for night time.
    • HeartGold and SoulSilver, the second set of Video Game Remakes, have sixteen: rearrangements of all nine aforementioned Gold and Silver battle themes, two new unique and remake-exclusive battle themes for Ho-oh and Lugia, three separate rearrangements for the beast trio, a rearrangement of the Hoenn Weather Trio theme, and the Frontier Brain theme from Platinum. The ten themes present in Crystal also have 8-bit remixes via the GB Sounds key item, for a grand total of 26 themes. Arceus' theme from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum also appears, but it is not used for any battles.
    • Ruby and Sapphire have ten: Wild Pokémon, Trainer, Team Magma/Aqua Grunt, Gym Leader, Rival, Archie/Maxie (Magma/Aqua Boss), Legendary Pokémon, Regi trio, Elite Four, and the Champion theme. Emerald also added three more: Frontier Brain, Deoxys (originally from FireRed and LeafGreen), and Mew (the last of these being the same as Mewtwo's battle theme from FireRed and LeafGreen).
    • Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have rearrangements of all battle themes from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, with the exception of Mew's battle theme (since Mew does not appear). In addition, there are now two versions of the version mascot battle theme, one for Groudon and Kyogre and one for Rayquaza, while the final battle with Wally has new music (a remix of his theme from the remakes, itself a remix of Verdanturf Town's music). Legendary Pokémon battle themes from previous games also appear for encounters with the Pokémon they were originally used for, albeit changed very little (if at all).
    • Diamond and Pearl have fourteen: Wild Pokémon, Trainer, Rival, Gym Leader, Team Galactic Grunt, Team Galactic Commander, Cyrus, Dialga/Palkia, Uxie/Mesprit/Azelf, Legendary Pokémon (Heatran/Regigigas/Diamond and Pearl Giratina), Elite Four, Champion, Arceusnote . Platinum gave battle themes to Giratina, the Regi trio (again, a rearrangement), and Sinnoh Frontier Brains.
    • Black and White have: Wild Pokémon, Trainer, Rival, Team Plasma, Gym Leader, Gym Leader's Last Pokémon (which is an arrangement of the main theme), N, Battle Trouble (a song that replaces the incessant beeping when your Pokémon's low on health), Elite Four, Reshiram/Zekrom, Kyurem (an arrangement of Reshiram/Zekrom's battle theme), Final Battle with N, Ghetsis, Battle Subway Trainer, Legendary Pokémon, Cynthia (which was imported from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum), Strong Wild Pokémon (an arrangement of the normal Wild Pokémon battle theme that's used for special battles, like Zoroark), Champion, and High Ranked Battle Subway Trainer (an arrangement of the Champion theme from RBY) — bringing the grand total to nineteen battle themes.
    • Black 2 and White 2 certainly deliver on that. In addition to the standard Unova Wild Pokemon/Trainer/Rival/Gym Leader/Elite Four/Champion themes and their variants from Black and White, it also contains remixes of every previous generation's Gym Leader and Champion theme, remixes of the Regi quartet and Uxie/Azelf/Mespirt themes, an additional theme for the World Tournament, and remixes for N, Ghetsis, and Team Plasma. Finally, there're new themes for Black and White Kyurem, Colress, and the new Champion Iris, for a whopping grand total of 33 themes.
    • X and Y have: Wild Pokémon, Trainer, Rivals, Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Champion, Team Flare (with a remix for Lysandre, the Version Legendaries and G1 Legendaries.
    • Sun and Moon do not disappoint, with unique battle themes for wild Pokémon, regular trainers, Hau, Team Skull grunts, Totem Pokémon, Kahunas, Gladion, Battle Royals, Ultra Beasts, Plumeria, Guzma, Aether Foundation grunts, Lusamine, Lusamine merged with the Nihilego, the version mascots, the Tapus, Elite Four members, and Champion fights, plus remixed themes from older games for Sina and Dexio, Anabel, Wally, Cynthia, Grimsley, Colress, and Red and Blue. That's 25 unique battle themes in all, plus a remix of the Champion battle music from Red and Blue that's reserved for official tournaments.
    • Pokémon Colosseum has Friendly Battle, Normal Battle, Cipher Peon Battle, Cipher Admin Battle, Miror B., Semifinal Battle, Final battle in a Colosseum (which is an arrangement of the Cipher Admin theme) and Final Battle. The battle with Nascour averts it though; no music plays.
  • In Chrono Cross, the theme when the player fights Miguel is the same morose music that is played during the exposition. The penultimate boss battle is also only the one with a unique theme (besides the above-mentioned Miguel and the battle with FATE at Chronopolis), while the actual final boss fight has no music at all and all the sound effects echo slightly.
  • Golden Sun has epic scores for its final bosses... and every other battle too.
  • The Baldur's Gate and other Infinity Engine games used Battle theme music several times, often having specific music for random encounters vs. plotted ones and so on. It also has an interesting example has a special song when fighting dragons. No other enemy type receives this particular kind of special score. Since Dragons are powerful and significant foes, they tend to warrant "boss" status, even if they aren't actually major parts of the story. (with one exception in ToB)
  • Icewind Dale is interesting in that the climactic final boss music plays during the Big Bad's initial human Mook Maker form (which is actually rather weak). The actual final battle, which takes place a few levels later and pits your party against a 15-foot tall demon, has no background music at all. Conversely, the final battle of the Heart of Winter expansion pack has extremely epic final boss music.
  • Neverwinter Nights had four different sets of battle music (3 standard and 1 boss theme) for each region type in the game (i.e. city, forest, etc) as well as unique boss themes for Dragons, Aribeth, and the final battle against Morag.
  • The entire Kingdom Hearts series has nearly as many Boss Themes as it does regular battle themes. This is especially prominent in Kingdom Hearts II, as the same boss theme is rarely played twice in a row.
    • Major Disney Villains have two themes that they generally use. Heartless and minor Disney villains (e.g. the Hydra) draw from a larger pool of themes. Organization XIII has three themes of their own, not counting the ones for Xemnas, Marluxia and Roxas.
    • Several major plot characters have their own themes: the final bosses of each game, Riku Replica, the Lingering Sentiment, and Roxas (a remix of his leitmotif) Riku-Ansem, appropriately, shares his theme with Ansem, er, Xehanort's Heartless himself.. Xion, like Roxas also has a remix of their leitmotif, and Vanitas has one that takes strong cues from the leitmotif of two related characters, going so far as to be a remix of them at times. Terra-Xehanort has one that mixes Fragments of Sorrow with yet another character's leitmotif.
    • Chernabog and Sephiroth, of course, have "Night on Bald Mountain" and "One-Winged Angel."
    • The final bosses of most of the games even use different themes for different phases of their battle (this being a series fond of marathon-length sequential final bosses.) Marluxia takes this further with three unique themes for his three-stage fight in Re:CoM.
    • The folks over at the Kingdom Hearts Wiki have put together a list of what music plays for what boss here.
  • Eternal Sonata did this well. Let's see... you got the battle theme, Four boss themes, The Villain theme, the next-to-last battle theme, the Final Battle theme (Which is a remake of Frederic Chopin's Revolution, with a ton of string instruments and an epic choir thrown in for the hell of it) and, for PS3 owners, there's an extra boss who has his own battle theme as well. That's 9 battle tracks in total. The battle fanfare, "Well Done", starts triumphant before transitioning into a lighter theme that just repeats until you get past the reward screen (and any level up screens that may have been triggered).
  • Phantasy Star IV has a normal boss battle theme, a boss battle song for Zio and Lashiec (Laughter) and a boss battle theme for the 3 forms of Dark Force.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 uses a shared boss battle theme for its weaker bosses, but all of the strong bosses get their own theme with only a few exceptions.
  • Almost every Tri Ace game plays some variation of the song Incarnation of the Devil for at least one of the battles with its special bosses.
  • Megami Tensei II has two boss themes: the regular one and the one used for Final Boss Satan and True Final Boss YHVH.
  • Shin Megami Tensei I only has one theme for every boss, from Orias at the beginning to Michael and Asura at the end.
  • Shin Megami Tensei II has two boss themes: one for regular bosses and one for climactic bosses starting with the Archangels and fake YHVH.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has a whole lot of them. There's the miniboss theme, the regular boss theme, the Fiend theme, Dante's theme, Beelzebub's theme, Metatron's theme, the Reason boss theme two themes for Kagutsuchi, and finally The Final Battle, used for Lucifer.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey has one for minibosses and Fiends, one for major bosses and superbosses, one for Judge Zelenin, one for Awake Jimenez, and one for Pillar Zelenin, Soil Jimenez, and Mem Aleph.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV has one for most optional bosses, one for minor required bosses, one for major required bosses and a few of the tougher superbosses, a remix of the Fiend theme from Nocturne for the Fiends, one for Isabeau, two for Merkabah, two for Lucifer, one for the Archangels, and one for Masakado. The Ancient of Days and Sanat reuse the first theme for Merkabah and Lucifer, respectively.
  • Persona 3:
    • The game has three boss themes: "Master of Shadow" for a Full Moon Shadow, "Master of Tartarus" for a Tartarus floor boss, and "Unavoidable Battle" for Strega members. Then comes the final boss battle and the near-legendary "Battle For Everyone's Souls", a Boss Remix of the Velvet Room theme "Poem For Everyone's Souls". And if you get the true ending, you get a remix of the game's opening theme while fighting the true final boss.
    • Persona 3 Portable adds the catchy "Danger Zone" battle theme for Tartarus Bosses while playing as the female protagonist.
    • The Answer adds two more: "Heartful Cry", for when the SEES members fight against each other to determine the proper course of action, and "Darkness", for the final boss Erebus.
  • Persona 4 has fewer boss themes than its predecessor. Mid-Bosses use a modified version of Reach Out To the Truth. Character Shadows and Secret Bosses all use I'll Face Myself. Kunino-sagri and Adachi use New World Fool. Ameno-sagiri uses The Almighty, and Izanami has Fog and The Genesis for her two forms.
  • Persona 5:
    • "Last Surprise" plays during regular battles, which has the thieves giving Badass Boasts about how their enemies are already finished. In Royal, every time the party ambushes an enemy "Take Over" will play instead.
    • Most Palace Rulers, who are the main storyline bosses, have "Blooming Villain" as their battle theme. "Rivers in the Desert" plays instead for some of the endgame Boss Battles, which has dueling verses by the heroes and villains about their Well-Intentioned Extremist desires to change the world.
    • There's also "Will Power", which plays for battles after characters first awaken to their Persona, in the mid-boss battles where the character first fights alongside the party. For other mid-bosses and most Mementos Targets the battle theme "Keeper of Lust", named after the first such enemy, is used.
    • Royal adds "Keep Your Faith" and "Throw Away Your Mask", sad and reflective songs that play against the True Final Boss. There's also "Prison Labor", a hard rock track that plays during the optional challenge battles.
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has "Light the Fire Up In The Night," but whoever's singing depends on whether it's the Persona 3 or Persona 4 side. "Laser Beam" plays for the bosses of the first three labyrinths, and "Friends" plays for the boss of the fourth. "Battle on the Clock Tower" and "The Infinite" are the themes for the first and second phases of the final boss battle, and the latter also plays in the fight against the Velvet Room attendants. "The Person Called Away From War" plays for the final fight with Elizabeth, while she's possessed by Zeus.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, has one theme for each group- P5's Phantom Thieves, P3 Portable's female protagonist, P4's Investigation Team and P3's S.E.E.S., as well as the standard themes for F.O.E.s, bosses, Velvet Room attendant battles and the final boss.
  • MARDEK has multiple Boss Battle themes, including, but not limited to, the basic Boss Battle, Muriance Battle, Saviours Battle, GdM Battle, Grand Boss, Secret Boss, Guardian Battle...
  • Baten Kaitos. Where do you even begin with this game? There's Chaotic Dance, which plays during the fights against Giacomo and his goons, Supreme Ruler of the Nine Heavens plays during the first two fights with Malpercio, Violent Storm for the final boss fight...and for all the other bosses, it alternates between Vitriolic a Stroke, The True Mirror ~ Guitar Version, Rumbling of the Earth, Condemnation of Darkness, and Glowing Cloud. Then there's the prequel, Origins, which has Chaotic Dance 2 for the Giacomo fights, Iconoclasm for the battles against the Dark Service officers, Poacher for the Afterling battles, Evidential Material for miscellaneous bosses, The Valedictory Elegy ~ Guitar Version for arena battles, Crystal Abyss for the fights against Wiseman, The True Mirror ~ Orchestral Version for the battle against Baelheit, Ruinous Commander plays during the fight against Verus. And finally, though it's not technically a boss theme, Le Ali Del Principio plays during the last part of the final boss battle.
  • The Last Remnant takes this trope and runs with it. There's plenty of bosses with personal themes, and there's around FIFTEEN battle themes. Just for the normal battles, you have two themes depending on whether you're in a cave/indoors area or outdoors, plus themes for when your morale is high or low. Then during the second half of the game the high and low morale themes change. And that's not counting the large amount of boss themes.
  • Demon's Souls doesn't have in game music aside from the bosses, who (save the Tower Knight and Penetrator) all have their own theme, including the Vanguard who serves as the tutorial boss.
  • Shadow Hearts games usually have a Normal Battle Theme and Boss Theme, which changes when the player reaches the halfway point (usually moving to another continent). Covenant also has unique, incidental themes for battles with enemies such as the Wolf Bouts or Astaroth, among others. Also, all battle songs have their own ''insane'' versions if at least one character's Sanity Meter drops below zero.
  • Skies of Arcadia had a very dynamic regular boss theme was suitably dark, serious and epic to match the situation but when you reached low health (where the characters you control become visibly weak) it becomes a much more tense, desperate and ominous tune to reflect the danger you're in. Recovering health to a normal state will bring back the original music. On the other hand, when the enemy is in danger (and you aren't of course) and nearing defeat the music will drastically soar to a grand and sweeping theme that's almost a reward in itself. This also occurs during the music for the Final Boss, though the themes that play there are noticeably different and more grandiose. The icing on the cake is that these changes that occur throughout the fight are virtually seamless!
  • The Last Story: Many standard bosses, usually non-sapient monsters, share the same theme (namely "Evil Beasts"); however, plot-critical opponents get a unique theme each: "Battle General Asthar" (self-explanatory, though it's also hear when Zael and Callista flee from the knighting protocol planned by Count Arganan), "Dance of Death" (Zepha and Zesha, though they later use a Sad Battle Music triggered following Lowell's temporary death), "Invitation to Madness" (Jirall), "Patina of the King" (Zangurak), and "The One Ruling Everything" (Dagran, in all his phases). Many of these themes invoke Autobots, Rock Out!, and are intentionally reminiscent of "Those Who Fight Further" of Final Fantasy VII fame, due to Nobuo Uematsu composing for both games. As for regular enemy battles, "Order and Chaos" is usually played.
  • Pandora's Tower: While all bosses in the game except the Final Boss use the same music (the Master Battle music), only the first five use the standard version (sung by male vocalists). The following five use a variant sung by female vocalists, while the Dual Boss governing the last two towers gets a unique, more tense rendition by both sexes. The final boss, Zeron, has a Boss Remix of the game's main theme.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Paper Mario series have a music for the minibosses and then a singular theme for each boss, overlapping with the Leifmotif for major bosses.
    • The Mario & Luigi games typically have one theme for the final boss and another for all the rest, but there are exceptions:
      • Superstar Saga gave Popple (and Rookie) a unique battle theme.
      • Partners in Time has a theme for the fight against Bowser and his past self. The final boss actually uses three separate themes, although only one is unique to that boss: Elder Princess Shroob's first phase uses her sister's battle music, shifting to her unique theme for her One-Winged Angel form, and borrowing the aforementioned Bowser theme for the Shrowser fight at the very end.
      • Bowser's Inside Story has two main boss themes: one for Giant fights (a remix of Bowser's Leitmotif) and one for regular boss fights.
      • Dream Team once again has separate battle themes for Giant fights versus regular fights. Exactly two bosses get unique themes: the final boss and the final fight against Antasma.
      • Paper Jam continues the trend, having one theme for regular bosses and another for Papercraft Battles; each Papercraft Battle does get its own unique melody for the integrated rhythm minigame, though. The final boss gets two different themes, one for each phase.
  • EXA_PICO frequently has Hymnos songs in the background of particularly major boss fights.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Each game has a battle theme for each area, and usually it's played regardless of the monsters fought in them, although some monsters have their own themes as well. For example, starting from the third generation, lower-rank large monsters (like Great Jaggi, Iodrome or Arzuros) have a soft-paced track that is different from the default stage battle theme (in the first two generations, the simply use the current stage's battle theme; the only exception is King Shakalaka in Freedom Unite, which does have its own theme). Various monsters that historically served as flagship creatures (like Nargacuga in Freedom Unite, Zinogre in Portable 3rd, Gore Magala in 4, etc.) are also accompanied by their own unique themes, as are Elder Dragons due to their importance and difficulty.note  Lastly, standard large monsters like Yian Garuga, Rajang, Deviljho, and Bazelgeuse have their own unique battle themes as well due to their nomadic nature and exceptional danger level.
    • In Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, there's a unique theme for monsters that reached the powerful Apex status. This theme has maximum Background Music Override privileges. There's a similar theme for Deviants in Monster Hunter Generations and its Ultimate expansion (except for the Diablos deviant, which has its own theme for being the latter's joint flagship monster alongside Valstrax).
    • One of the large monsters that appear recurringly in the series, Khezu, is notable for averting this trope: No music is heard when you fight it. Originally, this was because of the monster's blindness - in the very first game, monsters have to see the hunter so the fight proper starts, and thus the level's battle theme (or the monster's unique theme if it has it) is heard. Even though Khezu can sense the hunter via smell and fight against him/her, the game still won't play any music. Subsequent games changed the mechanic by having the music trigger when any large monster (including other blind monsters, such as Gigginox which traces its preys' internal heat) notices the player no matter how, but Khezu's battles remain silent for the sake of tradition.
  • Septerra Core has five battle themes, chosen randomly for each fight, which are slower and more march-like (except for one theme) than most other examples of this. They are also notable for being the only parts of the game other than the world map that have actual music instead of ambient sounds.
  • The Tales of RPG franchises were also known to have several changes in battle music themes. This would reflect the difficulty of the bosses and story progression. Most notably with Tales of Vesperia, Tales of the Abyss, and the two Xillia games (Tales of Xillia & Tales of Xillia 2)
  • Signs you are about to fight a dragon in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim include a rushing sound of huge wings, a deep roar, and music that changes to a choir chanting your praises in Dovahzul.
  • Child of Light has "Metal Gleamed in the Twilight" as the normal boss theme, "Serpent of the Twilight" (not released on the OST) for the Elemental Hydra and Umbra's daughters, and "Hymn of Light" for the Final Boss battle with Umbra herself. All three heavily use ominous choral chanting.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • Each main game in the series series has a set of battle themes for each type of opponent, with a few variations occuring from game to game: Three themes for enemy encounters (there are only two in The Drowned City), one theme for the Field-On Enemies (F.O.E.), one theme for the main stratum bosses, one theme for the Final Boss, one theme for the Elemental Dragons and other superbosses (this particular theme, "Scatter About", is present in all games except in the fifth), and in some games one for the True Final Boss that is fought in the postgame Bonus Dungeon (the ones that don't have this are games one, two and four: Primevil in the original reuses the standard boss music, Ur-Child in the second reuses the final boss music, and Warped Savior in the fourth uses both the regular boss theme in the first phase and the final boss theme in the second).
    • The first and second games, and by extension their Untold remakes, have each a special battle theme used for certain plot-critical human opponents ("Towering Pair" in the first game and Millenium Girl, "Guardians of the Sorrowful Ice" in the second game and Fafnir Knight). The third game has one such opponent as well (fought if the party joins one of the factions halfway through the story), but he uses the regular boss theme instead.
    • The Untold remakes have each two extra boss themes; the first one is heard when the bosses from the added dungeon (Gladsheim in Millenium Girl, Ginnungagap in Fafnir Knight) are fought, and the second one is heard with the last boss (M.I.K.E. in Millenium Girl, Yggdrasil Core in Fafnir Knight).
    • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: There is a separate battle theme for the fights in the sea ("End of the Raging Waves"). This theme is remixed in Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan for the now-frequent Mini-Boss battles (which are otherwise rare in the series), and once again in Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth for the superbosses (replacing "Scatter About" in that role).
    • Etrian Odyssey Nexus: Being a Megamix Game, it has many familiar tracks that correspond to the returning bosses, minibosses and F.O.E. from previous games; in addition, the otherwise new boss of the postgame stratum borrows the theme of the ultimate superboss from the third game ("Calling That Detestable Name"). However, it also has a new theme for the bosses fought in the first three Shrines (the fourth Shrine's boss borrows "Towering Pair" instead), as well as one for the Shrines' and overworld's F.O.E. and one for the standard Final Boss.
  • Games in the Xeno metaseries:
    • Xenogears has Knight of Fire as the standard boss music, and "Awakening" as the Final Boss music.
    • In Xenosaga Episode I, every boss has the same battle theme; in fact, every battle of the game, with the exception of the last battle, uses the exact same music. Episode II adds a Minor Boss theme to the mix. Conversely, in Episode III, almost every boss has his personal battle theme.
    • The majority of the story bosses in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 use the same theme, though the songs from the cutscenes preceding them sometimes carry on into the fight, then are replaced by the usual boss theme once they finish. Another boss theme is used for all of the unique monsters and some of the story bosses as well, usually in situations where the party is making a comeback after getting roughed up by the boss in the previous cutscene.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X has a lot of boss themes. Most of the Tyrants use 'Uncontrollable', the first few story bosses as well as most of the Sidequest bosses use 'z37b20a13t01t08le'note , several later story bosses use 'NO.EX01', the boss of Chapter 11 uses the first half of 'aBOreSSs'note (spoilers) , the boss of Chapter 10 uses the second half of 'aBOreSSs' in the first phase before switching to 'NO.EX01', the penultimate boss uses the first half of 'raTEoREkiSImeAra'note (major spoilers) , the Final Boss uses the first half of 'The key we've lost', several of the superbosses use the last third of CR17S19S8note , Yggralith Zero uses 'In the forest <X→Z ver.>', some of the Time Attack bosses use an instrumental version of 'Uncontrollable', while Telethia, the Endbringer, the strongest superboss in the game, uses the second half of 'raTEoREkiSImeAra'. Finally, both the final fight against Rexoskell (from the infamous Definian Downfall sidequest) and the fight against Interfearence (from Murderess's last affinity mission, Serial Thriller) use 'z30huri2ba0tt12le1110'.note 
  • Ys series: The later games and remakes tend to have multiple boss themes, eg, the dungeon end boss musics are different from the mid-bosses("Beasts as Black as Night" and "Shock of the Death God" in III), major or Climax Bosses have a special theme (e.g. "Chase of Shadow" in the first game's remake, "A Great Ordeal" in Ys IV: Mask of the Sun/Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys, "Pain Maker" in Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand, "Armored Bane" in Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, and "Black Wings" in Ys: Memories of Celceta), and The Dragon (e.g. Dalles in II Eternal), Quirky Miniboss Squad(e.g. the Mages in Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand), and the Big Bad usually have their own unique theme, with variations for multiple forms.

    Shoot 'em Up 

    Stealth Action Game 
  • Metal Gear:
    • The original game, Metal Gear, has the standard boss theme ("Mercenary"), one for Metal Gear ("TX-55 Metal Gear") and the final boss theme ("Beyond Big Boss").
    • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake has four different boss themes played at specific battles: "Killers", "Battle Against Time", "Mechanic" (played specifically against mechanical bosses) and Night Sight's theme (the only BGM not in the official soundtrack).
    • Metal Gear Solid uses "Duel" for all the boss battles and "Escape" during the second phase of the Metal Gear REX battle and for the jeep battle with Liquid. The GameCube version gave all of the bosses unique themes.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty uses a self-titled theme for the battle against Olga Gurlukovich, "Yell 'Dead Cell'" for all the boss battles in the Big Shell and "Father & Son" during the battle against the mass-produced RAYs and later against Solidus Snake.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has a unique theme for each of the Cobras (with the exception of The End, where only ambient noises are played), as well as Ocelot and Volgin. During the final battle against The Boss, an extended version of the intro theme, "Snake Eater", is played when the time limit is running out.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops has a unique theme for each boss. Null gets two boss themes, one for each battle with him.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots gives each boss a unique theme again. Gekkos get their own battle theme and Haven Troopers use a different theme during forced encounters. The fight against Suicide Gekkos uses the same theme as for the battle with Vamp. The final battle against Liquid Ocelot returns music from all the games (except Portable Ops) up to this point.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has a unique theme for each boss, with Peace Walker getting two themes, one for each encounter. One of these is the main theme.

    Survival Horror 
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 2: The musics for the battles with each of Birkin/G's forms share a recurring theme, becoming more intense the more grotesquely it transforms. Each version of the theme is titled "The ____ Malformation of 'G'", where the blank indicates the order of the form ("First", "Second" and "Third").
    • Other multi-forms bosses in the series, such as Nemesis in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Alexia in Code Veronica, also feature different renditions of their themes for their different forms.
    • Resident Evil 4: For bosses, many of them rely on foreboding ambient music to suit the game's mood, though Krauser in his last phase and Saddler when fought against Leon play more action-styled music.
  • Haunting Ground: Each stalker's chase music is remixed into a more aggressive version for their boss battle, named "Last [Insert Stalker Name Here]" on the soundtrack.
  • The Dead Rising games have unique themes for psychopaths, humans who have gone mad due to the zombie apocalypse.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Jet Force Gemini: All bosses in the game, including the Final Boss, share a common battle theme. The track does fit for all of them, since they're fought in a similar fashion.
  • The Mega Man Legends games have a unique song for every single boss fight.
  • WinBack uses a different boss theme for each of the games major areas (Office Building, Factory, and Control Center), another theme for the penultimate boss, and a Theme Music Power-Up for the Final Boss.
  • P.N.03 has two standard boss musics, one for robot bosses, the other for Reactor Bosses, and a few unique battle themes such as the Multi-Mook Melee at the end of Mission 4, Orchidee and Loewenzahn's One-Winged Angel forms, and the Final Boss's two forms.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Yggdra Union literally breeds battle themes. The game has a separate theme for ALL playable named characters and five generic ones that play for generic units, depending on their affiliation and rank. Which theme plays is decided by who is doing the attacking in the current battle. And then there's Blaze Union and Gloria Union, which do the same thing.
  • The Fire Emblem series generally uses the Normal, Major and Villain formula for boss themes, but Radiant Dawn deserves particular mention for having an absolute ton of Villain themes, with nearly every major storyline boss getting their own unique one, including an NPC you never get to fight outside of scripted cutscenes! It even inverts this by giving several late-joining (but extremely powerful) playable characters their own unique battle themes.


    Beat 'em Up 
  • Double Dragon I uses the Dragon Quest style of fanfare at the end of a Mission, whereas Double Dragon II uses the Final Fantasy style, leading into the Intermission theme. DD 1 was planned to use the FF type, but the post-fanfare cue, appropriately titled "After the Battle" on the OST, ended up being a Cut Song.

    Real-Time Strategy 

    Platform Game 

    Role-Playing Game 
  • The Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series employ their respective styles of fanfare.
  • The Mother series employs a more subdued version of the Final Fantasy style, with the first game going to silence after the fanfare and the other two going to a soft, ambient theme after the fanfare.
  • The victory tune for each Grandia game would change if you got a perfect battle, which means finishing battle without taking any damage.
  • Super Mario RPG and the Mario & Luigi series use the Final Fantasy style, while the Paper Mario games use the Dragon Quest style.
  • Pokémon has three variants of the Final Fantasy style, one for defeating and capturing wild Pokémon, one for defeating a Trainer, and one for defeating Gym Leaders and Elite Four. The console games (the Stadium series, Colosseum, XD, and Battle Revolution) exclusively use the Dragon Quest style, while Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet use a mix of both, depending on the situation; wild Pokémon battles now use the Dragon Quest style to transition more smoothly back to the overworld, while Trainer battles still use the Final Fantasy style. Later games also add a fanfare for defeating members of the villainous team.
  • There are two for MARDEK: one for after regular battles, and one for after boss battles.
  • The fanfare in Chrono Cross is a reworked version of Lucca's theme from Chrono Trigger. Defeating regular enemies plays the victory theme with a soft flute, while defeating a boss plays the same theme with loud brass horns and a percussive snare drum. A bit unusually, the same fanfare plays when you recruit characters and at certain (usually triumphant) events in the story.
  • RPG Maker games are set up to use the Dragon Quest style of fanfare by default. Prior to XP one could easily use a Final Fantasy-type fanfare in their game if they chose to, but afterwards the victory theme is designated as a Music Event which cannot be made to loop (although some scripting trickery will allow for a simulation of the Final Fantasy style anyway).
  • Fallout 4 has standard "Level Up" and "Quest Completed" fanfares in the style of Dragon Quest, plus fanfares based on the four story factions' leitmotifs when completing their respective quests.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Yggdra Union does this for the damage calculation screen.
  • All games in the Star Control series had victory fanfares for each type of ship (upwards of 30), giving a specific feel for each of the races. And of course, there's the (single) combat theme music in Star Control II.

Random Encounters

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Being an Action RPG, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has a dedicated theme for enemies fought during the overworld's random encounters. It is also heard when Link enters caves and certain field locations, even in those that have no enemies present.
    • Starting from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, 3D games deserve a mention for their normal battle music, which only activates gradually when an enemy is nearby. This gives it a secondary function of a sort of Spider Sense, if you will, since you'll sometimes know when an enemy is approaching even if you can't see it yet. Then it seamlessly transitions back to the regular music. Another thing to note is that often times the battle music is less intense until you the first blow is dealt (by the player or the enemy), then the music gets more intense.
    • Some of the 3D games have special battle themes heard during certain cases: Ocarina of Time has part of the evolving Hyrule Field theme sounding when an enemy is fought there. Twilight Princess, in addition to repeating the trend with its own Hyrule Field, adds the Shadow Beast battle theme (which in turn has a Boss Remix when fighting Twilit Bloat), as well as Variable Mixes of the local music themes. The night battle music in The Wind Waker, heard when sailing during night, differs from the regular enemy theme.
    • Both The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and the first three 2.5D games (Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks and A Link Between Worlds) have each a battle theme in the style of those of the console 3D games (with the one in Phantom Hourglass being borrowed from its predecessor The Wind Waker), but is only heard in dungeons when Link is ambushed by a group of enemies (note that they're not Mini-Boss battle themes, because those games already have music for actual minibosses).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has several enemy themes: There's the standard music for normal enemies (its intro is extended for when it's a Yiga or a Lynel), a techno-styled track for small Guardians, two piano tracks for the large Guardians (one for the static ones, and another for the ones walking as well as the flying Sentries), and a theme for the enemies that are generated from Calamity Ganon's malice (a remix of Ganon's Leitmotif).
  • The Splinter Cell series makes extensive use of situational music, supposing you're less than a perfect sneak. By the time Chaos Theory rolls around, there are three levels of music corresponding to the enemies' awareness of Sam (they know someone is lurking, they have spotted him, they have severely wounded him/boss battle), with clean tempo cuts between each. Otherwise, complete absence of melodic music is the norm.
  • Magicka generally uses a Variable Mix where the level theme becomes louder and more intense when enemies appear. However, for Hold the Line segments and other such larger battles, the music changes completely into a much faster and more intense track. Challenge Maps also all play a single music track.

    Adventure Game 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Besides the Boss Themes, the Metroid Prime Trilogy employs Villain Music quite often. Many of these themes are also used for minibosses.
    • Metroid Prime: Any time you're in a Space Pirate research facility (whether the one from Pendrana Drifts or the one from Phazon Mines), a drone ambient track starts playing, changing to a full-fledged "Space Pirate Battle" theme when the Pirates appear; another special battle theme is used for both the Chozo Ghosts in the Chozo Ruins and the Elite Pirates in the Phazon Mines.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has a theme for Ing battles and another to possessed Trooper confrontations.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has one per planet, with the one in Pirate Homeworld being the familiar "Space Pirate Battle" music.
  • Deus Ex shifted adeptly between regular music and battle music, with each location having its own.
  • Left 4 Dead uses distinct musical cues to alert players to the presence of the special Infected; as the game is presented as an interactive zombie movie, it's treated as the "score" adapting to the AI Director's sadism.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force 2 has this big time. You have the dinking around music, the scary suspenseful music, then the Scare Chord followed by the battle music. Also another Scare Chord for death and an "end the level" diddy.
  • In Borderlands the local dungeon music for each area gradually shifts into a more intense theme when in combat, then shifts back once everyone is dead.
  • Serious Sam has several different songs for every area, from a calm variant (no enemies) to tense battle themes that Fade In and out depending on whether there are enemies nearby.

    Mecha Game 
  • Super Robot Wars does this in a very unique way, as battle themes are mostly dependent on the character attacking, depending on which series they represent. For most characters this is usually their series' opening theme, but certain characters may also use different themes (minor pilots, for example, may use the series' Battle music), while a Special Attack or Finishing Move that has it's own theme in-series will use that. The Original Generation by series' developer Banpresto takes it one step further, where nearly every heroic and villainous character gets his or her own unique battle theme.

    MMORP Gs 
  • Final Fantasy XI is one of the few MMORPGs that change the music when you go into a battle. What's more, the music changes depending on whether or not you're on the overworld, in a dungeon or fighting a boss... and expansion regions have new versions of all of these. There are at least fifteen battle songs in all.
  • Final Fantasy XIV features a variety of different battle themes when in the field as well as in dungeons. In the 2.0 version, while the random battle theme for the overworld remained consistent, each region had different instrumentation, while areas introduced in 3.0 onwards had their own battle themes. Many of the early dungeons used a battle theme of their own, with later dungeons introducing Variable Mix between the dungeon's normal and battle themes, with the dungeons from 4.0 onward dispensing with unique battle music to use a unique Leitmotif throughout the entireity of their dungeons.
  • Aion is another MMORPG that has different music for when you go into battle, a different one for each sub zone. Some of them are orchestrated peiced, others are metal, but in the large pvp area, the Abyss , there are ten different techno themes that can play any where at any time when you battle.
  • World of Warcraft normally has nothing battle-specific (though some themes play specifically in the boss room) but seems to slowly get into the idea of it. The Trial of the Champion/Crusader dungeons, where you fight bosses one after another, play battle-oriented music, and the Gunship encounter in Icecrown Citadel has theme all of it's own, as do some of the bosses of the Frozen Hall dungeons. Note that there is an addon that lets you use MP3s for this purpose.
  • EverQuest II has dynamic music, where the music changes on how well you do you in a fight and there are several diffrent themes and even a victory/player death music.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 also gives each area its own battle theme when enemies appear, although unlike much of the game, field encounter themes are generally static, compared to the boss music, most of which have dynamic soundtracks.

    Platform Game 

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Shows up in a couple of Real-Time Strategy games - Homeworld has exactly three (excellent) battle-music tracks that play at certain scripted points in missions.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals uses a heavy metal remix of your faction's music whenever your troops are fighting.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars switches over to a faster, more upbeat track if there's shooting going on, even if you order one of your own units to shoot the ground. Presumably it is scripted to go off if any of your units are in the "shooting" state.
    • The series has some uplifting "Victory" Music as well as combat and "calm before the storm" themes for each faction, some games even have an version of the Enemy's theme intrude on you when they fire off their superweapon and a more epic theme for when you're winning and thus sacking their base.
  • In Homeworld 2, regular battles have upbeat tracks but boss battles have creepy ones. Keepers and Movers have their own battle tracks, here and here. The boss battle with Makaan goes to an eastern-sounding tune with Sanskrit lyrics (a remix of this plays during the credits as well) while the final battle goes with a really depressing one. Note that these tracks play during space battles. The original Homeworld avoids it entirely with the entire soundtrack including battle musics being composed of monotone, Middle East-style music. A little sample...
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron has a lot of different battle tunes.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Atelier Rorona and Atelier Totori both feature your standard battle themes with a catch: If it's your first time fighting a strong random encounter enemy, the battle themes in both will switch to a more off-tune, violent and overall chaotic version of the normal battle theme. You'll know it when you hear it, and god help you if you didn't bring enough healing items...
  • Beast Signer got 6 different battle themes and the game is not even done yet.
  • Breath of Fire IV gives you two battle, boss, and victory musics apiece, three for the eastern side of the world, and the same for the west. The eastern side music is your typical RPG high-fantasy epic-adventure fare, but the western side music consists of Chinese-influenced drum-n-bass pieces.
  • Child of Light has three location-based mook battle themes: "Dark Creatures" for the Mahthildis Forest and Greater Lemuria, "Jupiter's Lightning" for the Plains of Rambert and Cliffs of Erin, and "Sword of Mars" (not on the OST) for the Flooded Lands and Cynbel Sea.
  • Dark Cloud: most of the battle music early on was the same, but in the later parts of the game the battle music was removed entirely in favour of dungeon-specific music. This was very welcome seeing as the normal battle music sounded like someone throwing marbles at a xylophone.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, you'll know you're about to fight Darkspawn when this theme starts playing.
  • In Dragon's Dogma, depending on your character level, enemies you encountered and your health, the instruments of the battle theme varies.
  • There's a special case in the Japanese RPG Dual Orb 2, which has one battle theme. ONE. For EVERY BATTLE, from the first all the way to the final battle. And given the skewed chances for a random encounter, you'll be sick of it far before then.
  • In Endless Frontier, each character has a battle theme associated with them, and whenever the player gets into a random encounter, one of those themes were selected at random for that battle. The sequel, however, had so many playable and assist characters that the game only selected battle themes from your active party and their supports... and since certain characters had two battle themes associated with them in that game, you could have a pool of ten battle themes used in random encounters. Out of twenty-one.
  • Eroica contains 20 different battle themes that are used depending on the locale the battles take place. The field battle themes for the story mode are also accompanied by field exploration themes that allow for seamless transition between field to battle themes and vice versa. The fanfare, however, plays when you finish a stage instead of at the end of every battle.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The games, with one exception, have each three music themes for the enemy encounters: The standard battle theme, heard during the first 60% of the main campaign (the first three strata); the music for encounters that take place in the fourth and fifth strata (in Legends of the Titan, this music is also used in the portions of the previous strata that are unveiled near the end of the game); and the music for encounters inside the resident Bonus Dungeon. The Drowned City lacks a third battle theme, meaning it keeps using the second one for its secret stratum. The two Untold remakes each add one extra battle theme to their catalogue, heard in the extra dungeon.
    • Etrian Odyssey Nexus has one new enemy theme (heard in the Shrine dungeons), another new one for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and several old themes that correspond to the returning dungeons (plus another old theme for the Bonus Dungeon).
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the latter having more dynamic changes between ambient and battle themes. FNV's battle music also changes between good and evil karma levels.
    • Fallout 4's three situational battle themes are based on the game's own main theme, the FNV theme, and the Minutemen settlement theme. Similar to the above examples, dungeon encounter music is usually preceded by a "tension" variation.
  • The Final Fantasy series, obviously. The themes reference each other a bit, as you can hear in this here retrospective covering ones from the main series up to number ten.
  • Fire Emblem has a Battle Theme for both the player and enemy army, Boss Theme and Big Bad Theme until the third game. From the fourth game on there is also a Villain Theme and a special theme for enemy units that could be recruited was only present in the fourth game. Path of Radiance mixed things up by giving new battle themes for both sides midway through the game and Radiant Dawn added battle themes for each army present in the game.
  • Freelancer has different background music for Liberty, Bretonia, Rheinland, Kusari, and the Independent, Border, Outer and Edge Worlds. The battle theme for each of these is a faster-paced Variable Mix of the normal BGM.
  • For a GBA game, Golden Sun has quite a few battle themes. As of Golden Sun: The Lost Age we have the battle themes of Isaac, Felix, Jenna; the first and second boss themes; the battle themes of Saturos, Saturos and Menardi, Fusion Dragon, Doom Dragon, Linked, Colosso, Ship, Karst and Agatio's, the Dragons, and 'finally the "non-adept" battle theme.
  • Outside of boss battles, every battle theme in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a more intense remix of the theme for whichever area the battle was taking place in.
  • Haven (2020) has "Ready When You Are" for standard encounters,"Now Or Never" for stronger mooks and bosses, and "Blooting Hornets" for well, Hornets.
  • The Kingdom Hearts games feature separate battle themes for each world. It activates when an enemy is nearby even if you can't see it.
  • Almost every LucasArts game with both combat and non-combat sections ever, since the creation of iMUSE. Including, but not limited to, the many Star Wars space simulators, where original Star Wars themes were worked into each other so that the music escalated from one famous tune to another, more upbeat one, as the combat situation evolved.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis features at least three different random battle themes, one for every grade the characters are in, plus several boss battle themes; most of them are incredibly catchy. The sequel has three more themes for random battles, with a much greater emphasis on guitar. It's also possible to change the random battle music from the second playthrough on, with choices including most of the first game's battle themes.
  • MARDEK 's normal combat music carries a more classical feel to it, though still engaging and epic, and feels right for a combat theme. Word of God says that this theme will change with the latter half of the series, though.
  • The Mother series has different themes depending on what kind of monsters you fight, including the bosses. It's worth noting that EarthBound (1994)'s sequel, Mother 3, has an absolutely astounding number of different battle themes, not counting remixes (for the purposes of the rhythm-based battle system). And they cover a stunningly wide variety of musical genres, from rock to blues to jazz to Latin to orchestral to techno and back again.
  • The RPG Maker game OFF uses Pepper Steak as the main battle theme for most of the game, until you get to a certain point, at which it starts using this nightmare straight out of Silent Hill as the battle music.
  • Paper Mario:
    • Paper Mario: Color Splash introduces two alternate versions of the regular battle theme: the chiptune-inspired one in the Green Energy Plant and the warped version in the parallel world. There's also a completely original ragtime track during the Unique Enemy Boss Rush in the Emerald Circus.
    • In Paper Mario: The Origami King, the regular battle music depends on which streamer area you're in. Each streamer generally has one track, although blue streamer has two: one for Autumn Mountain and the other for Shogun Studios. There's also a unique "Unsettling Area" theme for Bonehead Island, Bowser's Castle, and The Princess Peach. The Vellumental areas have their own ominuous regular battle music as well.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 3 has the rather catchy "Mass Destruction"note  as its normal battle theme. Persona 3 FES adds a heavier remix for the Playable Epilogue. Persona 3 Portable adds a new theme, "Wiping All Out", for the female main character.
    • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has "Light the Fire Up In The Night", which is not only arranged differently depending on whether you pick the main character from Persona 3 or Persona 4, but also features a different female vocalist from that character's gamenote .
  • Phantasy Star III has four different Random Encounter themes. The first one plays when you see the enemies appear. Once the battle actually starts, the game plays one of three other themes. Which one is played depends on how well your party was doing. If your party is at a major advantage, or has just surprised the enemy, upbeat, optimistic music plays. If neither side has a major advantage, tense music plays. If you're ambushed or in trouble, the music will reflect this very clearly with a 'You're in trouble now' soundtrack. The music changes between these 3 themes in battle to reflect how well you're doing (or not).
  • Every Pokémon game after and starting with Crystal typically have different music than the normal encounter theme when you go up against a legendary Pokémon. Sometimes, a legendary Pokémon that roams around the game world will have a unique encounter theme. In Pokémon Gold and Silver there is an additional battle theme for the regular encounters in Kanto. In Pokémon Black and White, there is an additional theme for the Pokémon fought in Victory Road, or just special encounters in other areas.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Along with having different themes for each area you fight in those themes also have different solos to keep it fresh
  • Skies of Arcadia had a number of battle themes. The music would even change in boss battles between "normal", "crisis" when the party had low HP, and "triumphant" when the party had high HP and the enemy had low HP. Hearing the switch from one to another when using a particularly meaty special move is very satisfying.
  • Star Ocean: The Last Hope had a standard battle theme used for most worlds with two exceptions. The battle music for Roak is a remix of the first game's battle music, while the battle music for EnII is remix of the second game's battle music. And Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has a standard battle theme which is essentially a remix of the second game's battle system with some original notes, and have some boss battle themes that are from other tri-Ace games.
  • Suikoden:
    • Suikoden II has a variant - when the plot takes you to the country where the first game was set, the battle music changes to a remix of the original Suikoden battle theme.
    • In Suikoden V, having certain characters in your active party would change the battle music. Having the conductor would change it to a stirring orchestral piece, having the rock star would invoke an Ys-style heavy metal remix, and having the flutist would change it to a flute-heavy arrangement.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story's regular battle music changes depending on whether you're playing as Mario and Luigi or Bowser.
    • Dream Team featured different battle themes for the Real World and the Dream World.
    • Paper Jam featured two battle themes. One of the being a remix of the battle theme from Superstar Saga and the other being a new one for when Paper Mario joins the party.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Eternia and Tales of Symphonia had a battle theme for each world. Symphonia, in particular, went nuts with this: it had separate battle themes for Sylvarant, Tethealla, the Renegades, the Desian Grand Cardinals, angels, Summon Spirits, Kratos and Yggdrasil, as well as a separate theme for the battles with party members.
    • Tales of Hearts has thirteen battle themes. Several for different stages of the game, separate subclasses for dealing with normal and boss-type Zerom, and some more for dealing with regular bosses, a couple for The Rival, one for The Dragon, one for each phase of the final boss...
    • Symphonia's sequel similarly has a ton of battle themes - one for Sylvarant areas, one for Tethe'alla areas, one for new areas, one for the Coliseum/Ginnungagap, two general boss themes, one for the Vanguard, one for Richter, one for Lloyd and Marta, and one for Emil/Ratatosk.
    • Tales of Vesperia gave us four regular battle themes (one for each third of the game and one for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon), one for the coliseum, the major boss theme, the Entelexia battle theme, and a battle theme for various major characters: Zagi, Flynn, Estelle, Alexei, Duke, and the cameo fights each have their own battle themes. Yeager is given one as well in the Updated Re-release.
    • Tales of Xillia ups the ante further with six regular battle themes: depending on whether you chose Jude or Milla as the "main" character at the start of the game, you get a different set of three battle themes (one for each third of the game) and a seventh for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Jude's battle themes use electric guitar as their main instrument, while Milla's use the violin.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Starting with Morrowind, the series typically has "exploration" themes, which are softer and make for nice background music. When a nearby enemy is aggro'd, the music will shift to a sharper "battle theme". Starting with Oblivion, a "tension theme" is also present. This plays when enemies are nearby, but have not yet detected you and are not aggro'd. As an aside, when modders tried to disable audio track shifting to improve game speed, the game threw a fit.
  • The Last Remnant has different battle themes for indoors and outdoors areas. Additionally, the music can change mid-battle if your morale meter drops too low or gets high enough.
  • The World Ends with You has a soundtrack that it picks from at random for each random encounter. Has the effect of keeping all of the music fresh, since you never get one single tune repeated ad nauseum.
  • Wild ARMs AlterCodeF does something interesting with random battle music. If you have less than a full party (due to plot-related circumstances), then it plays a remix version of the standard battle music. And if you're in control of Calamity Jane (due to plot-related circumstances), it plays her music as battle music.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • The battle themes in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 differ based on whether you or the enemy takes the initiative in the starting the battle. There's a pair of themes used for the majority of the game, a pair that's only played in the Mechonis areas, and a theme that's used exclusively for the enemies fought past the Point of No Return on the way to the final boss. Save for a few exceptions, all of the battle themes, be they boss or otherwise, can also be overridden by one of two other themes; one that plays when you change the future, and one that plays when your party is in low spirits.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles X has one battle theme for fighting wild beasts, one for fighting hostile sentients, and then another two for engaging each type of foe while piloting a Skell. Unlike the previous game, an enemy getting the drop on you results in a tense riff that transitions into the main battle theme instead of an entirely separate track.

    Simulation Game 
  • When enemy ships approach in Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator, the music changes from sweeping strings & synth to blaring horn fanfares.
  • Freespace generally has very slow, quiet themes for its missions, that almost seamlessly switch to more upbeat battle themes whenever enemies show up using a Variable Mix. All of its soundtracks have three different battle themes, varying in intensity, to use accordingly with how much action is currently taking place.
  • Wing Commander's use of situational music was part of what made Sound Blaster a home name in computer gaming. Special mention goes to WC2, when you target a capital ship and arm a torpedo. It has a unique tune that's timed to play differently with each stage of a typical torpedo run.
  • In Star Trek: Bridge Commander, the music shifts depending on how well you're doing. If you and your allies outnumber and out-match the enemy, an almost fanfare-like, optimistic theme plays. But do poorly, or be totally outmatched (like going up against a Borg Cube alone) and the music turns deadly. It should be noted that Borg Cubes don't exist in the original game, but the "This Is Gonna Suck" theme plays anyway WITHOUT any extra scripting or programing due to the Cube having a higher HP total than your ship.

    Survival Horror 
  • In the original Alone in the Dark (1992), a Scare Chord plays and the music gets creepier when an enemy appears.
  • The classic Resident Evil games and their remakes use a variety of "Terror" themes for scripted enemy ambushes.
  • In Resident Evil 4, mooks, especially Ganados, have various creepy battle musics depending on the location. Picked up again in Resident Evil 5, one of the most notable examples is the prologue level, when Sheva and Chris are holed up in a shack fighting an endless horde, then the "second stage" begins and the Executioner shows up accompanied by his own heart-pumping terror-inducing theme.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • In the Syphon Filter series, each mission's theme has a more intense Variable Mix. Omega Strain, in addition to variations of the local music, has special battle themes for the leaders of each terrorist faction.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • As battle is separate from other screens, the Heroes of Might and Magic games naturally have battle music, randomly selected from a handful of tracks.

    Web Animation