Hotline Miami came out back in late 2012 and was crowned as one of the best fuck-em’ up games of this generation. It incorporates gameplay elements of top-down beat-em ups, mixed with the speed and mentality of a frightening drug trip. Clearly something needed to be done to soundtrack to step up the game of this already, brutal game. Thankfully, the developers at Dennaton Games have incredibly good taste in music. This taste in music adds a massive layer to the atmosphere of Hotline Miami and cements it’s foundations in the neo-80s feel that the game offers along the fucked-up trip of a story.
The soundtrack boasts 9/10 different artists (depending on how you classify featuring artists) and each of the musicians offer a unique twist on the tracks provided. The soundtrack mostly gives listeners this neo-80s synth sound to everything, but there are a few occasions where you’re presented with maybe more industrial laden tracks and even a few rock ones. All of which aggressively bookmark where you are in the game. Whether Scattle’s Knock Knock has you erupting onto the scene and caving in the heads of Russian mobsters, or Sun Araw’s Deep Cover brings you back to your increasingly grimy and surreal digs. The artists do their jobs with great talent.
What these artists do right with the entire soundtrack is mark that tension and deep feelings of visceral unease. Turf, by El Huervo, creates this incredibly brutal track that initially has no placement or direction until it contorts and twists with these messy beats into something more disturbing and vicious. The beats get larger, angrier and messier. The perfect track for Hotline Miami. We also get someone that I’ve heard of before! You also get to see another side of El Huervo with the chill track Daisuke, which just sounds like it was designed for lounging around before you destroy a gang of gents and their apartment. It’s got some really laid-back piano and great relaxing rhythms that would be right at home in a neon lounge club. Or a porn.
Jasper Byrne, who’s also worked on the indie game, Lone Survivor; a game about, well, a lone survivor that takes a deathly Silent Hill approach to mood and gameplay. Jasper has, in both cases, created wonderfully suited music for each game, which shows off this gentlemans ability to adapt to the game; Mr Byrne is no one trick horse!
What’s important to remember about this soundtrack is that it works best with it’s playable counter-part, but what makes it so strong, is that almost all of the tracks you can listen to individually. That being said, I can’t listen to Horse Steppin’ or Deep Cover for too long, if only because I begin to feel more and more like the protagonist as the track goes on; uncontrollably mental.
Tracks like Perturbator’s Miami Disco and M.O.O.N.’s Crystals stand alone well enough to warrant multiple listens. Turns out they also work fantastically well for studying; they get you pumped in such a way that you need to take a break, just because you’ve done so much! Or just started writing complete nonsense. M.O.O.N.’s tracks seem to be mostly focused towards the levels of extreme violence and chaos, which is fine, since it suits him down to a tee. Hydrogen is worrying; the lead that it uses is fraught with chaos and intensity that fits the ultra-violence you dish out as the protagonist.
Overall, this soundtrack does it’s job and there are very few tracks that I’ll actually skip when they pop up on my music player. They all change how you see the world around you, for the worse, so be considerate with your usage and be aware of your mentality at all times.
Does it stay in the collection?
Yes, it might beat me up otherwise.
P.S. very excited for Hotline Miami 2.