The Ninjabot

Best of Video Game Soundtracks – NES Edition

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm by Stephen Janes

Chiptune Corner - NES Edition

Best of Video Game Soundtracks – NES Edition

For as long as I have been playing video games, I have had a sick obsession with video game soundtracks. After going through my Google Music library, I realized that nearly half of my music was from video games, so I wanted to do a series of features that discuss some of my personal favorite soundtracks from most major consoles. This will be an ongoing feature where I highlight a different console each time.

With that being said, let’s dive right into . Keep in mind, these aren’t in any particular order. I will also highlight the composer responsible for the soundtrack within the game.

Mega Man 2; composed by Takashi Tateishi

Whenever I try to imagine what nostalgia sounds like, the first thing that pops into my head is the intro from Mega Man 2. Beginning with a calm and cool chime, the game quickly flips the table and brings in this heavy chiptune that gets everybody excited to play some Mega Man. The Mega Man franchise always had the best music, but this specific title takes the mega buster when it comes to the best. Aside from one of the greatest intro tracks, each stage has its own unique life to it, providing more unique value to the game. For further proof, refer to the Flash Man and Metal Man Stages, not to mention the heart-pounding vigor you get from the Wily Stages. This soundtrack was way ahead of its time and is great to listen to in any situation. Plus, every track in the game makes for a great ringtone to really add vivacity to your incoming phone calls.

Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest; composed by Kenichi Matsubara

For the longest time I was going to write in the original Castlevania soundtrack in this place, but my mind kept getting dragged over to Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest. The obvious reason for this was the “Bloody Tears” track, which to me symbolizes the Castlevania franchise. Probably the earliest example of heavy metal being used in a video game, the Castlevania II soundtrack keeps the player alert and hyped with its thumping bass lines and tempo changes between tracks. The track “Bloody Tears” never gets old and revitalizes the player upon every playback and despite the annoying nature behind “Monster Dance,” the track still has a great sound and provide an eerie uncomfortable feeling, perfectly fitting the horror of this game.

Ninja Gaiden; composed by More Yamasan, B.B. and Hasake

Ninja Gaiden is often listed as one of the most difficult games in the NES library and rightfully so. Every level is just a plethora of projectiles and mass amounts of enemies that make this game unbelievably frustrating. The soundtrack fits perfectly with the chaotic and “look at all this crap” nature of this game. What makes the soundtrack so special is how it fits with the cinematic value of the game. Showing cut-scenes was not normal for a game, but the way Ninja Gaiden executed them was perfect for an NES game. I think this game has more tracks for cut scenes than actual levels, which is interesting to note because they both have their own exclusive theme.  The music during the cut scenes are usually ominous and dark tones to help tell the story, while the gameplay music is more up beat and hectic, as mentioned before.

Metroid; composed by Hirokazu Tanaka

If an article is talking about the best video game soundtracks, it cannot be taken seriously if Metroid is not on the list. I often equate the Metroid game franchise with the Alien film franchise with its many similarities. What I love about the Metroid soundtrack is how simple each track is and how that simplicity strikes so many different feelings and emotions. Unlike Ninja Gaiden, which had a fast paced and hectic soundtrack, Metroid uses slower tones and songs in order to provide that scare factor. I’d like to imagine that this soundtrack could easily be lifted for an orchestration and inserted into any horror movie. Seriously, take a listen. This stuff is amazingly creepy but easy enough to listen without having the crap scared out of you.

The Legend of Zelda; composed by Koji Kondo

The first video game I ever fell in love with was The Legend of Zelda. Immediately upon hearing the opening theme for the game, I knew I was in for a grand adventure. I still to this day get chills upon hearing the intro sequence for The Legend of Zelda. The overworld theme perfectly captures the grand scale of your adventure with a simple loop, and the ending theme is potent enough that it brought a tear to my eye as a child. Compared to the other soundtracks on this list, the number of different song in the Legend of Zelda are pretty low, but each one carries so much weight with it that it deserved to be on this list. This is another game with an amazing soundtrack.

Thank you for checking into the inaugural Best of Video Game Soundtrack feature. Keep checking back as we will be featuring a different console each time. Until then, I’d love to hear your opinions and comments regarding this list. Again, this isn’t the ‘list to end all list’ sort of ordeal.

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