Queen is undeniably rock and roll royalty. Their influence has been far-reaching and longstanding. So then, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that video games, to this day, reference Queen. These references can be as subtle as a costume, take the form of a tattoo, or are tethered to characters who are, at least partially, based on members of the band.
It’s funny how love is, and love is the only way you can describe how some of these developers clearly feel about this band. No matter what your opinion of Queen may be, you cannot deny the mark they have left on the people who make the games we cherish.
10 Queen: The Eye
Queen: The Eye is a trippy adventure game that was released in 1998. Melding Myst-like puzzles with a surprisingly nuanced combat engine, this is a title that certainly broke free from conventions. Unfortunately, despite being unquestionably ambitious, it was a bit of a misfire.
Queen: The Eye is one of those games that you probably haven’t heard of, which is a bit of a shock to the heart given that it is a collaborative project with one of the most popular bands to have ever existed. As a direct result, the game’s soundtrack is filled with Queen tracks. Moreover, their music acts as a loose, conceptual underpinning for its world. The Eye may not have taken the world by storm, but it is still a deeply interesting experiment.
9 Wayne’s World
Wayne’s World, on the Super Nintendo, is a troubled movie tie-in game that doesn’t control particularly well and has confusingly designed stages. However, there is a truly, magnificently ambitious, and ill-advised moment that makes this game notable. Wayne’s World attempts to recreate the car scene from the movie through a series of still images, and a stripped-down chiptune version of Bohemian Rhapsody. And, Jesus, it is rough. Yet… oddly entrancing.
For those looking for a better example of a Queen song being translated into a game, there is a Highlander title for the C64 that features a chiptune version of A Kind Of Magic. That one is genuinely a bop. Though, oddly enough, Princes Of The Universe is not present here (despite having become the theme song for the Highlander series as a whole).
8th Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo’s Enemies are a talkative bunch. They are known to reference everything from The Lord of the Rings to Of Mice And Men. However, when these baddies aren’t reading about the ring, they are apparently jamming out to classic rock. In the first Halo title, grunts will occasionally sing We Are The Champions after killing you.
It isn’t a great rendition, but it is spirited. It is also noteworthy that the Master Chief Collection was advertised with a commercial where they crafted We Will Rock You using sound effects from the game. Which, you know, is pretty neat.
7 Street Fighter
Street Fighter is a series known for referencing famous figures. However, they have specifically referenced Freddie Mercury more often than maybe any other famous person. Dudley wears Mercury’s iconic Wembley Concert outfit. Birdie also wears a costume that references a famous Freddie Mercury outfit he wore in the music video for The Miracle.
Fans have long speculated on the Freddie Mercury influence for both Haggar and Eagle. However, while the Haggar reference seems very speculative, the Eagle connection is much stronger. Eagle does bear a passing resemblance to a blond Freddie Mercury, but beyond that, he references multiple Queen songs. During battle, Eagle says “No time for losers” and “The show must go on”.
6 Days Gone
Days Gone appearing here may surprise some people, but there are an oddly high number of references to Queen in this game. For starters, there are four achievements that reference Queen’s song Don’t Stop Me Now. These trophies are Don’t Stop Me Now, I’m Out of Control, There’s No Stopping Me, and Mr. Fahrenheit. There is also a skill in the game named Under Pressure.
Another, even more notable, nod is the protagonist’s name. In Days Gone you play as Deacon St. John; those familiar with Queen’s band members will know that the band’s bassist is John Deacon. Given the amount of Queen references already in the game, it is hard to believe that this isn’t intentional. What is most surprising is that Deacon doesn’t frequently reference how much he likes to ride his bike. Now that is a Queen reference that would have fit this game like a glove.
5 Final Fantasy Series
A number of the Final Fantasy games set in Ivalice have made references to Queen. Final Fantasy Tactics notably includes a chapter titled Somebody to Love. In multiple languages, Final Fantasy 12’s Hashmal has an attack named “Rock you”, but the translators decided to get memey and change it to Roxxor for the English release.
It is also worth mentioning that Vagrant Story, which is set in the world of Ivalice, starts its protagonist, Ashely Riot, off with a sword named Fandango, which is notably the dance referenced in Bohemian Rhapsody. A lot of these feel vague enough that they could pass as coincidental. However, all these games also share the same writer and director: Yasumi Matsuno. Who is not shy about his love of Queen.
4 resident Evil
Capcom clearly considers themselves dear friends to Queen, as we have yet another Capcom franchise that references the band heavily in Resident Evil. In the first game, Chris has an unlockable biker jacket that has Made In Heaven (which is, of course, a Queen song) embroidered on the back. It appears that he and Claire share a similar button in music, as her primary look in Resident Evil 2 features a similar jacket (though this time in red). She also has an alternate jacket with Let Me Live embroidered on it.
As a follow-up, Resident Evil Zero’s Billy Coen has a Mother Love tattoo. If Resident Evil is set in an alternative version of our world it is more than abundantly clear that Queen is even bigger there than they are here.
3 Mortal Kombat 11
So, everyone’s favorite purple ninja (quite possibly the only purple ninja) is based on Prince (a Purple Rain reference). However, NetherRealm Studios took a musical detour in Mortal Kombat 11. When Rain performs his second fatality, which has him shoot beams of pressurized water at his foe (putting them under pressure), he will briefly take Freddie Mercury’s pose from the Bohemian Rhapsody music Video.
As the coup de grace, the other band member’s positions are filled by Ermac, Reptile, and Smoke. To be fair, Rain did just kill a man, so the song reference fits well enough. Either way, it’s nice to see Rain spread his wings a little and branch off into referencing other bands.
2 Guilty Gear
Of course, the Guilty Gear series is notorious for being filled with music references. However, Sol Badguy being one giant homage to Queen has to be one of the best examples of this phenomenon. Sol’s real name is Fredrick Bulsara. Bulsara is Freddie Mercury’s original family name.
But it isn’t just the name, Sol’s original theme song is Keep Yourself Alive, which is also the name of a Queen track. Sol’s headband also has “rock you” inscribed on it, another clear reference. And the cherry on top, Freddie Mercury’s solo album is titled Mr. Badguy. We see what you did there, Daisuke.
1 Ogre Battle Series
Matsuno is back again with more Queen references. The title of the Playstation version of the first game is literally just two Queen songs strung together: Ogre Battle and March Of The Black Queen. The blatant references in Ogre Battle game names don’t stop there, though. The PSP version of Tactics Ogre also includes the subtitle Let Us Cling Together, which is another Queen song.
Slust is one of the primary characters in March of the Black Queen and comes with a sword named Zanzibar, which just so happens to be where Freddie Mercury was born. Lastly, the name of the sea in the Ogre Battle world, the Rhyan Sea, is inspired by Queen’s song The Seven Seas of Rhye. It really feels like with every flick of his wrist Matsuno references Queen in some way.
Next: All Yasumi Matsuno Games, Ranked
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