You’ve spent hours fighting your way through dungeons. You’ve won countless battles, and foiled many an evil plot. At last, you’ve reached your final destination. Everything you’ve done has been building towards this moment.
And then some lame-o music kicks in and totally ruins the mood.
Ideally, a boss theme should make you feel like the ultimate badass. The best boss themes leave me feeling pumped long after I’ve put the game down. The right music makes a fight more epic, and makes your characters feel more powerful. But a weak piece of boss music can be incredibly anticlimactic, even if the fight itself is pretty good.
For me, the primary example of this has always been Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Its boss battles are genuinely challenging, but the main boss theme is ridiculous. It sounds like a parody metal song from a goofy comedy.
A boss theme doesn’t have to be bad to be disappointing. Final Fantasy IX‘s final fight has been lambasted by gamers, and I think that’s at least partially because of its music. Yes, Necron came out of nowhere and quoted Yoda, but the right theme could have made the fight feel like something special. “Grand Cross” is good once it gets going, but its strange start makes Necron feel even more out of place.
Even the worst boss music is usually listenable, but I hold boss fights to a higher standard. Good music is an essential component of great game, and boss themes are especially important.
Unless you’re Bebe’s Kids. Then you can get away with anything you want.