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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Games That Should Have Been in the NES Classic Edition But Weren't

There are some fine games on the NES Classic Edition console. But let's be real here: not every game on the thing is a hit and plenty more titles could have been included. I'm sure Nintendo has their reasons for capping the game list at 30 and for excluding games. Whether those reason are good or not is still up in the air, but in the meantime, here's my list of NES games that I think should have been installed into the NES Classic Edition.

Contra


What is Konami's deal with not re-releasing the NES version of Contra? Super C and Castlevania I-III have been re-released numerous times but the game that made the Konami code popular, strangely can't seem to get any love. Perhaps it is yet another way Konami has chosen to give console gamers the shaft. Regardless, the NES version of Contra is a shining example of how a home port should be done. This run and gun title is so famous that it has become more known than the arcade game that it originated from.

DuckTales


A great TV show that had a game that didn't suck? Yes, that actually was a thing back in the day. As Scrooge McDuck, you travel the world searching for treasures and money to increase your already enormous wealth. Taking a page out of Mega Man's book, the stages can be selected in any order of your choosing. The pogocane gameplay mechanic allows you to travel across spiked terrain without being harmed as well as elevate Scrooge's jump. I'm guessing Gyro Gearloose made that cane because it stands up to a lot of abuse. The thing is also great to taking out enemies. DuckTales omission is obviously a licensing issue. Heck, the original NES DuckTales game wasn't even included in DuckTales Remastered due to Capcom owning the game and Disney owning the characters.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I-III



Please do not listen to the critics. The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, while difficult and different from the two titles that would follow, is not the garbage game they say it is. TMNTII is a great port of the TMNT arcade game with two exclusive levels and TMNTIII could definitely use some more recognition. Outside of Double Dragon and River City Ransom, the Turtles couldn't be beat when it came to beat 'em up action on the NES. Licensing issues strike again.

Mega Man 1, 3-6



I wasn't surprised to see Mega Man 2 be included on the NES Classic Edition. What surprised me is that it was the only game out of six to make the cut. Yes, Mega Man 2 is one of the best games of the six, but it is far and away from being the only one worth gamer's time. The first Mega Man game is rough around the edge but still a good start, Mega Man 3 is for a lot of fans, the pinnacle of the series and Mega Man 4-6 are not bad titles in spite of what some critics would have you believe.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse



I didn't peek the full list of NES games in the NES Classic Edition when it was revealed  but upon release, I was quite surprised to find that Castlevania III wasn't on the list. Including the Castlevania NES trilogy just seems like a duh thing to me. The trilogy is on the Wii, Wii U and 3DS, so why stop at Castlevania II? Yes, Castlevania III is soul shatteringly difficult but the first game isn't exactly a cake walk and it's included. It just feels odd having two of the three NES Castlevanias on the system.

Life Force



Gradius on the NES is a decent port of the arcade game, but if I'm honest (and you know I am), Life Force is unquestionably the better of the two NES ports. Life Force offers two player support, better music, has side scrolling and top down levels and is just an overall more satisfying experience. You also get way better mileage out of the Konami Code with this game. Yes, the NES Classic Edition comes with built in cheats, but still.

Bionic Commando



This action platforming game is like no other: you cannot jump. And therein lies the brilliance of this NES classic. Using your bionic grappling arm to reach greateer heights and clear gaps, you're forced to go about situations you normaly would easy peasy in a whole new way. Now you aren't helpless. That cool grapling arm is great for getting away and you are packing some heat, which you can upgrade to superior fire power. Bionic Commando is more a of a slower paced action platformer and while it can be pretty difficult, the game is still beatable. The big dad of this game, despite going under a different name is clearly Adolf Hitler and when you meat him, he actually drops a D-bomb. Cussing, in an NES game? Who would have thought. Oh, but that isn't even the gritty part! Upon defeat, Hitler's character portrait actually explodes in quite detailed, gory fashion. I suppose those things could be why Bionic Commando didn't make the cut.

Ice Hockey


While Baseball and Tennis on the NES suck, Ice Hockey is one of Nintendo's best early NES sports titles. It isn't like team licenses were an issue because the game has no official teams to speak of. There are six teams but the three player types are what really make the game. The skinny guys are fast, the medium guys are average, and the fat guys are powerful, great for wrestling the puck away from opposing players. The game even has fights! For simple, fun, arcade style hockey, Ice Hockey is king of the rink.

Dragon Quest I-IV


Outside of Final Fantasy, the NES Classic Edition is starving for more RPGs. (The unit's Japanese counterpart not only got Final Fantasy, but Final Fantasy III as well.) Square Enix has been buddy buddy with Nintendo for some time now. Dragon Quest IV-VI were all re-released on the DS in enhanced remake form and Dragon Quest VII saw a re-released on the 3DS. Outside of the first Dragon Quest game, Dragon Quest II-IV are not easy to come by in their original 8-bit forms.

Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos



The first Ninja Gaiden is certainly no walk in the park. Ninja Gaiden II is by no means easy but it is an easier title than than the first one. Sticking to walls in the first game was cool and all but Ninja Gaiden II lets you stick to as well as climb up walls, which makes wall jumping so much better. Ryu is also packing more ninja artillery this time around, with the best move being the Phantom Shadow, an orange clone that follows Ryu, copying his every move. Ninja Gaiden II also packs more of those killer cut scenes, stunning environments and a sick soundtrack.

River City Ransom 



"BARF!" That is enough to send waves of nostalgia rocketing down any retro gamer's spine. Most beat 'em ups in arcades and home consoles were content with having you walk right and pound on anyone dumb enough to walk into your first. Many of the goons you whale on in River City Ransome often have some final words to impart before they get KO'd. It helps give the thugs a bit more personality. But River City Ransom has more than laugh out loud dialog from the bad guys. Everyone to drop like a brick has money on them and you can take your cash into town to spend on numerous things like good, books and snacks to increase your character's stats. River City Ransom's RPG elements along with it's catchy soundtrack and funny baddies made it a cult favorite. Our friends in Japan actually received River City Ransom on the Japanese version of the NES Classic Edition while everyone was left out in the cold.

Monday, November 28, 2016

UNDERTALE: The Untouched Radio


Another Undertale remix album? Why, yes, it is. It even says so on the album cover. Speaking of which, isn't that some badawesome album art? That right there is the kinda stuff that intrigues someone from the get go. Had I never heard of Undertale, I would still be inclined to at least see what this album was about based off the artwork alone. Thankfully, the arrangements in UNDERTALE: The Untouched Radio are just as amazing as the cover art.

Remixed by DM DOKURO, this name your price digital album is a companion album to UNDERTALE: The Underground Radio that released earlier this year. This music in Untouched Radio would have been included with Underground Radio but time constraints ultimately split the album in two. DM DOKURO's remixes sound like they would fit right in with the official Undertale Soundtrack. The man does place his own take on each track, but you can still hear the original theme in these tracks.

At 20 tracks, this UNDERTALE: The Untouched Radio clocks in at over over an hour's worth of music. This baby is available in multiple formates including MP3, FLAC, WAV and numerous others. It is set at a name your price download, so you can get it for free. But if you want to throw some money towards it, DM DOKURO is certainly more than deserving of it.

UNDERTALE: The Untouched Radio

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Favorite Tunes #164: Racing Monkeys

It has been a busy November. Nintendo revealed the Switch, for better or for worse, we know who our next president will be, the NES Classic Edition launch was a disaster and players that pirated Pokemon Sun/Moon are really feeling the butthurt. Whew. Welp, now that that's all said and done, let's get down to the latest Favorite Tunes. This week's jams including music from Ninja Warriors, Pulseman and Diddy Kong Racing to name half the list.

Character Select - Diddy Kong Racing (N64, DS)



A fan favorite on the N64, Diddy Kong Racing saw Diddy breaking away from his pal DK to race around with a bunch of cute animal critters in what is considered one of the system's best titles. This theme has it all. A killer baseline, a banjo and even a freaking harmonica!

7AM - Animal Crossing (GCN)



Growing trees, pulling weeds, fishing, running errands for your lazy neighbors. On paper, that may sound like a snorefest of a game but Animal Crossing makes it work. Even dealing with the necessary evil that is Tom Nook pays off in the end when your home is nice and sizable with loads of stuff in it. I can still hear the AM themes from this game in my head.


Boss 1 - Ninja Warriors (SNES)



Also known as Ninja Warriors Again in Japan, this SNES beat 'em up is not a port of the arcade game but a new title. Ninjas seem like a natural fit for a beat 'em up and this game well received upon it's 1994 release. The lack of two player support did not hold it down and the music was pretty rad stuff.

Planet Ratis - Life Force 2 (ARC, SAT)



Life Force 2 has one of my favorite arcade soundtracks ever. Upholding Gradius tradition and contrasting other shooter scores, the music in Life Force 2 is peppy and upbeat but isn't afraid to get on the serious side. Complete Life Force 2 and go for a second play through immediately after and you're treated to a wonderful arrangement of the original Life Force tunes. In Japan, Life Force is known as Salamander.

Stonecarving City - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)



While I certainly would have loved to see more music from Wario Land: Shake It! in Smash 4, I'm glad that game got any sort of musical recognition at all. I can't argue against the singular choice of this track, even though it does under a different title in Smash (Ruins). If you haven't checked out Shake It! You really should. The Wii is swimming in quality platformers and Shake It was among them.

Blank Structure - Pulseman (GEN)



Before Pokemon become what Game Freak would be primarily known for, they developed a few lesser known hits such as Pulseman. Pulseman really pushed the Genesis to its limits, showing off some of the best visuals the system has ever seen. The music is also on point, scored by Junichi Masuda. Some of his later Pokemon music reflects what you hear in Pulseman.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pokémon Sun/Moon Pirates (Unsurprisingly) Salty Over Being Banned



Hello, Pokemon Sun/Moon players. Are you enjoying the sixth generation of Pokemon? Catching all kinds of new Pokemon, exploring the new region, enjoying those sweet new battle themes. It sure is a great time to be a Pokemon fan. Unless you were one of those players that couldn't wait until the game released. For such impatient thieves, Nintendo used BAN and it was super effective. No, I am not at all sorry for making that joke.

As I'm sure you've heard, someone somehow got a copy of Pokemon Sun/Moon a week or so early and leaked it onto the internet. Rather than wait for the game to release, plenty of people opted for a pirated copy of the game. Nintendo responded to this behavior by bringing down a swift, ultra super mega ban hammer to anyone playing a pirated copy of Sun/Moon. These users cannot go online with the game, nor can they access the eShop.

As you've expected, these pirate Sun/Moon players are suffering one nasty case of butthurt while the rest of us are sitting smug, laughing at their stupidity. Did these people really, really think there would be no consequences for pirating Sun/Moon? This is one of Nintendo's biggest releases this year, arguably the company's biggest release of 2016. And these people honestly thought Nintendo would not issue some form of punishment? That, my fellow gamers, is freaking hilarious. But not as hilarious at all these pirates freaking out over their bans.




These people are furious over Nintendo banning them for pirating a game. How dare Nintendo do such a thing. These whinny, entitled pukebags are all huffy because of the actions that were taken against them because of their illegal activities. They are claiming that they will never buy anything from Nintendo again, which is ironic because not buying Sun/Moon is what got them where they are in the first place.

Now some are speculating that the ban is only temporary, but it is sounding like this ban is permanent, which I think is justice well served. Lifting the ban would send the wrong kind of message. These pirates crapped the bed and now they gotta sleep in it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Remix of the Week: Rainbow Road (Super Mario Kart)

You know what Remix of the Week was in desperate need of? More Rainbow Road Remixes! OK, this is actually the first Rainbow Road Remix to be featured here, but it certainly won't be the last. Back in 2011, King Meteor Studios uploaded this incredibly sick funk style remix of Super Mario Kart's Rainbow Road theme. May the funk be with you.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

S3: Sensational SNES Soundtracks Part 2

The Super Nintendo is widely regarded as Nintendo's best console and arguably the greatest console of all time. It's an outstanding game machine with a hefty amount of games, visuals that still hold up well today and much of the music in SNES games is nothing short of amazing. SNES music is what we're here to discuss in S3, highlighting some of my favorite SNES soundtracks.

Super Mario World


Composer: Koji Kondo

Back in the day, we used to have system launches with pack in games. The game that came packed with the SNES? Super Mario World. Hot dog! This game was the reason myself and many others wanted Nintendo's 16-bit machine and Super Mario World did not dissapoint. For a lot of gamers, this is the greatest 2D Mario game. Like the previous Super Marios before it, the music in Super Mario World favors quality over quantity and Super Mario World's music is pretty darn good. Koji Kondo uses variations of a single theme for most of the game's music but keeps one distinct. The Underground theme has an echo sound to it, the Athletic theme very energetic and piano crazy and the Castle theme is dark and forboding. If you find or bring Yoshi into a level, you get the addition of bongo drums, a very nice touch. The final battle with Bowser treats us to a sick rock theme that was arranged in Super Mario Kart and then decades later in Fortune Street. Super Mario World may have been one of the earliest games to release on the SNES, but it still has one of the best soundtracks the system has to offer.

Title
Underground
Athletic
Castle
The Evil Koopa King
Ending

Donkey Kong Country


Composers: David Wise, Eveline Novakovic, Robin Beanland

1994 was the year DK made his big comeback. First there was Donkey Kong on the GB which played like the classic 1981 co-op game while adding tons of new levels and gameplay elements, and then there was the mindblowing SNES platformer Donkey Kong Country that boasted visuals and sounds that were thought to be impossible on the system. Donkey Kong Country has a soundtrack so rich that many a player has paused the game just to listen to the music. The soothing sounds of Aquatic Ambiance, the calm turned frantic pace of Northern Hemispheres and that pumping final boss music that is Gang-Plank Galleon, Donkey Kong Country has a soundtrack that is a feast for your ears.

DK Island Swing
Aquatic Ambience
Forest Frenzy
Northern Hemispheres
Fear Factory
Gang-Plank Galleon  

Chrono Trigger


Composers: Yasunroi Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu

A memorable cast of characters, a time travel plot that's easy to grasp yet interesting, no random battles, charater designs by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama and an superb soundtrack make Chrono Trigger a masterpiece. This is the game that put Yasunori Mitsuda on the map for game soundtracks. Nobuo Uematsu contributed a some trakcs but Mitsuda did the lion's share of it. All of the wonderful things I could say about Chrono Trigger's soundtrack have already been said. One need only look into the number of arrangements Chrono Trigger's soundtrack has received to see how much the video game music fans adore it. Chrono Trigger can hold it's own to the SNES trilogy of Final Fantasy titles and many current RPGs in many respects, especially music. If you haven't heard this game's score, give it a listen and if you have, hear it again. I know I'm due for another go.

Green Memories
The Trial
Boss Battle 2
Factory Ruins
Showdown with Magus
World Revolution

Contra III: The Alien Wars


Composers: Miki Higashino, Masanroi Adachi, Tappi Iwase

The aliens have had their skin handed to them twice over. That's enough to make anyone feel butthurt. For the third strike, the launch an all out assault on the human race, starting by turning an entire city to ruins with one attack. Kinda sends the message that they are done screwing around. Since the world has pretty much been transformed into scorched Earth, the soundtrack reflects the hellish wasteland the aliens have created. Clocking in at only six stages, Contra III is on the short side, but it does a lot in those six levels and with each one have their own music track, Contra III delivers an apocalyptic score you won't soon forget.

It's Time For Revenge
Bloody Storm
Battle Runner
Hell Messanger 
Go Forward Under Fire
The Showdown

ActRaiser


Composer: Yuzo Koshiro

Some games give off a vibe so undeniably strong that you know you're in for a good time before you start playing. ActRaiser is such a game, combining city building simulation elements with side scrolling action into one incredible package. ActRaiser's beautiful musical score is the icing on an already delicious cake. From that breath-taking Opening to the pumping themes of Fillmoa and Blood Pool~Casandora, ActRaiser wows your ears time and again.

Opening
Fillmoa
Blood Pool~Casandora
North Wall
Sacrifices
Birth of the People

Street Fighter II



Composers: Yoko Shimomura, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, Tetsuya Nishimura

For a while, the SNES was the system to own if you wanted to throw down with a buddy in Street Fighter II without dropping some quarters. It was by no means a perfect port, but it got so much right that it was like having the arcade game in your living room. I love the CPS-I version of Street Fighter II's music, but I was exposed to Street Fighter II on the SNES and as such, I love this versions soundtrack equally as much as the arcade version. In fact, I think some themes honestly sound better on the SNES like Sagat's theme, a tune, I didn't think was bad, but never really grabbe me when I heard it on CPS-I hardware. That SNES sound chip really brings out the roar of those trumpets in Sagat, Blanka, Guile and Vega's stage themes. The bassline in Sagat's theme is absolutely sick as is that guitar solo at the 1:18 mark.

Ryu Stage
Chun-Li Stage
Blanka Stage
Guile Stage
Vega Stage
Sagat Stage

Monday, November 14, 2016

NES Classic Edition: The Waiting Game



This past Friday, the NES Classic Edition released at long last. I've been looking forward to this thing for months. Sure, the NES Classic is nothing new. We've seen dozens of systems like this before with built in games. But the NES Classic is one of the few to have care put into it. The games run well and sound great. Sure, not all of the 30 games on the NES Classic are masterpieces, but packing Super Mario Bros. 1-3, Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Pac-Man, and Bubble Bobble into the same box for $60 is a pretty sweet deal. You know what would be even sweeter? If people could actually get their hands on the darn thing.

Nintendo, showing us that they have learned absolutely nothing from the amiibo craze two years go supplied retailers with a very small amount of NES Classic Edition Units. And of course scalpers rolled out in full force, snatching what units were available up and then reselling them online for insane prices. There are those that are reselling it for over $300 and such. But you've also got money hungry fools asking for over $1000 for the thing. But they give you free shipping, so that makes them a saint, right?



You've heard the saying "Don't feed the trolls." Well, don't feel the scalpers. You might want to get your kid, friend or significant other an NES Classic Edition for Christmas but I doubt they'd want you to spend an absurd amount of cash to get one. Eventually, more will become available, you need only be patient. There are plenty of other retro options available to you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Remix of the Week: Let the Battles Begin! (Final Fantasy VII)

This week's remix is from Bulby, a master of NES chiptune craft. Treat your ears to a sweet rendition of Final Fantasy VII's standard battle theme, Let the Battles Begin! This track is also known as Fighting and Those Who Fight.




Let The Battles Begin! 8-bit

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Mike Haggar, The Greatest Politician of All Time



Politicians, in a word, suck. In a few more words, they talk a lot, but more often than not, they are talking from the hole that crap comes out of. Mike Haggar is known for many things. He was a former professional wrestler. He once did a pile driver on a shark. As insane as that last one might sound, most surprising is that Haggar is a politician. Haggar is the mayor of Metro City, which is basically Final Fight's version of Gotham City but without criminals with gimmicks. Metro City's biggest problem is the Mad Gear gang. One day the Mad Gears decide to kidnap Haggar's lovely daughter Jessica to sway the mayor into letting the continue to run around the city like a bunch of unsupervised thugs. Haggar is not like other city officials. Rather than do what most political figures would do like hold a press conference that's a long winded way of saying the city won't give in to terrorism, Haggar takes to the mean streets to dismantle every member of the Mad Gear gang with his bare, gigantic hands. Haggar is not just a politician, he's a really freaking good one.

Uh, dudes, your boy over there is laid out and Haggar's
fists look they they aren't nearly done crushing skulls. Why haven't
you made your backs small?

Further separating himself from many other politicians, Haggar doesn't surround himself in the company of incompetent boobs. Jessica's boyfriend, Cody, a seasoned fighter, and Cody's friend Guy, a shinobi, accompany Haggar on his journey through Metro City. So that's a muscled out, peeved poppa wolf, a highly skilled martial artist and angry boyfriend and a freaking ninja all on the same team. The Mad Gears are so screwed.

Any good mayor should be tough on crime but you really gotta admire Haggar for not being afraid to do the job himself. OK, so he has a personal stake in sticking it to the Mad Gears since they (foolishly) took his daughter. But the original Final Fight was far from being the only time Haggar had to show do some hands on work outside of the office.

In Final Fight 2, the Mad Gears had the balls to take Maki's father and Guy's fiance prisoner so he travel across the globe with Maki and Carlos just to punch them in the face. With the Mad Gear gang gone in Final Fight 3, a new gang emerges under the Skull Cross name and begin an assault on Metro City. Guy returns to fight at Haggar's side with newcomers Dean and Lucia and the Skull Cross gang are promptly put down.

Perhaps it is due to his time in the ring as a wrestler that Haggar prefers the direct approach to crime, but any mayor that as badawesome at the job as he is definitely has my vote. If more politicians were like him, the world would be a much better place. He may not be the politician we deserve, but he is unquestionably the one we need.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Favorite Tunes #163: Election Day Eve

How's that for a topical title? I've never been big on politics. Simply discussing it is a quick way to spark arguments with your friends and total strangers. I'm just ready to have this election overwith. This week, we've got tunes ranging from the SNES, Genesis, Game Boy and PS. Enjoy.

Dr. Light Lab 1 - Mega Man IV (GB)



Often labeled incorrectly as ports of the NES games, in Japan Mega Man's GB games went under the title of Rockman World and were far from being mere handheld versions of the console titles. Mega Man IV was notable for introducing shops to the entire series, an adrenaline filled final showdown with Dr. Wily and some nice GB versions of NES tracks from Mega Man 4 and 5 as well as original compositions. I personally prefer this version of Dr. Light Lab over the second.

Temple ~ DK Island Swing - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)



Collect the Kong letters of every stage a world houses and you unlock a Kong level. In a game that already throws everything and five kitchen sinks at you, the K levels will make you want to curl up in a corner and cry. These levels are lengthy and checkpoint starvation is in full effect. On the plus side, each K level has this jazzy remix of DK Island Swing. Gotta hold on to what's left of your sanity somehow.

Sucker Punch - Splatoon (Wii U)



I've really been enjoying Chugga Conroy's LP of Splatoon. He's gotten me to try out weapons I probably wouldn't have touched otherwise. Turns out I actually like the Squiffer. Anyhoo, anyone that's played Splatoon knows the multiplayer jams are the bee's knee. Sucker Punch isn't my favorite (Ink or Sink and Friend List have that honor) but it's still a joy to ears.

Under Pressure - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)



What it lacked in four player support, it made up for with exclusive bosses, new modes and extra stages. The SNES home conversion of Turtles in Time is often considered to be superior than the arcade original. I think it also benefited from the SNES sound chip. While the title might make you think of a classic song, Under Pressure is an original tune made just for the SNES version of Turtles in Time's Time Attack mode.

Attack the Barbarian - Streets of Rage (GEN)



The SNES may have had Final Fight but it lacked two player support. Streets of Rage didn't have this problem so it was another thing Genesis owners could rub in SNES owner's faces. Another plus for the Genesis crowed was Yuzo Koshiro's killer soundtrack. Am I supposed to beat up the boss or bust a move?

Irene - Street Fighter EX2 Plus (PS)



Just as Street Fighter EX + alpha had new features over it's arcade cousin, Street Fighter EX 2 Plus had some benefits over the stand up version. The PS version had some amazing arranged tracks done up by the same team that worked on the arcade game's music. Really, both soundtracks are gold, but EX2 Plus gets some exclusive music such as this beauty of a theme.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, November 4, 2016

S3: Sensational SNES Soundtracks Part 1

The Super Nintendo is widely reguarded as Nintendo's best console and arguably the greatest console of all time. It's an outstanding game machine with a hefty amount of games, visuals that still hold up well today and much of the music in SNES games is nothing short of amazing. SNES music is what we're here to discuss in S3, highlighting some of my favorite SNES soundtracks.

F-ZERO



Composers: Yumiko Kanki, Naoto Ishida

When you launch a new console, it really is a good idea to showcase what the new hardware is capable of. The tech under the SNES hood allowed for some spectacular Mode-7 scrolling visuals. Pilotwings, one of the launch titles for Nintendo's 16-bit baby was big on Mode-7 but it took things a bit slow. Nothing wrong with that. But if you wanted Mode-7 with some serious kick, F-ZERO was where it was at. The speed you could reach in this game was, at the time, mind blowing. Not only was it fast, it looked good, futuristic (a given with the time period the game was set in) and it sounded superb. Still does. F-ZERO's music has some of the strongest use of baselines and trumpets in any SNES game. These days the F-ZERO games are known for their abundance of rock music and while you can certainly hear some rock in F-ZERO on the SNES, you might find this soundtrack on the quiet side compared to F-ZERO X, F-ZERO GX and everything else that followed this one. Those aforementioned trumpets and baselines are heavily dominant in this soundtrack and after being exposed to them, you'll be begging for more.

Mute City
Big Blue
Sand Ocean
Port Town
Fire Field
Silence

The Magical Quest Staring Mickey Mouse



Comopser: Mari Yamaguchi

Emperor Pete is up to no good. He's kidnapped Mickey's pal, Pluto. Well, golly, that's not swell at all. I know a lot of people think of the Genesis when it comes to 16-bit Mickey Mouse adventures, but Capcom's The Magical Quest is what comes to my mind. With the various costumes Mickey wears, this game has a very classic Mickey vibe going on. Mari's work includes, Mega Man 5, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and the SNES conversion of U.N. Squadron. The similarities between the music in this game and Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts are very noticeable. There's lots of brass and tons upon tons of wood wind intruments used throughout this soundtrack and it sounds so dang good. I just love the sound font Capcom used to make flutes and tubas on the SNES. They make for some excellent tension. Some of the music in The Magical Quest is just begging for live orchestral arrangements especially Dark Forest and Fire Grotto.

Treetops
Dark Forest
Fire Grotto
Pete's Peak
Boss 2
Pete's Castle

Mega Man X



Composers: Setsuo Yamamoto, Yuki Iwai, Makoto Tomozawa
Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horriyama

Fans anxiously awaited Mega Man to hit Nintendo's 16-bit system. By the time Mega Man arrived on the SNES, the console had been on the market for more than two years. And when he did come, he was not the Blue Bomber we were expecting. In fact, he was a whole new Mega Man in more ways than one. Mega Man X was a totally different beast from his 8-bit counter part. He was taller, a lot more powerful and edgier. Folks tend to freak out when a series dips into that last one, but Mega Man X came along at just the right time. While the classic games weren't getting bad by any means, after five games, things were begining to get stagnent. Mega Man X was a much needed shake up and the truth is, lots of spin-off titles wish the could make such a strong showing as X. The tone of Mega Man X's music is set from the intro stage. X is going to rock your ears and your socks right off. From those killer drum rolls in Spark Mandrill's theme to those sick electric guitar riffs in Flame Mammoth and Armored Armadillio's stage, this game's soundtrack has something for every fan of 16-bit rock or just rock music in general.

Opening Stage
Storm Eagle Stage
Flame Mammoth Stage
Spark Mandrill Stage
Armored Armadillo Stage
Sigma Stage 1

Super Castlevania IV



Composers: Masanori Adachi, Taro Kudou

Plenty of games that made the jump from the NES to the SNES benefited a great deal and Castlevania was no exception. As much as I enjoy the NES Castlevania games, I was not sad to see the stiff movements on those games get the axe in Super Castlevania IV. Simon isn't super mobile, but you could influence the direction of his jump a bit and multi directional whipping is the best. That SNES sound chip did a wealth of good for Super Castlevania IV because this game has one of the best freaking soundtracks of the series and for a franchise with such highly touted music, that's saying a lot. True, the music has a dreary feel to it as it should, but it also sounds highly atmospheric. There's even some jazz in there with The Submerged City (3-3) that has a super sexy baseline. This game gave us the iconic Theme of Simon (take that, Richter!) which has a chilling organ start up and I've always loved the uneasy vibe that Clockwork Mansion (4-1) gives off. Super Castlevania IV also has what is without question the best version of Bloody Tears, the second most memorable Castlevania tune, right behind Vampire Killer, which is also in this game. But real talk? Bloody Tears in this game crushes Vampire Killer. Still a good beat, though.

Theme of Simon
The Cave (3-1)
The Submerged City (3-3)
Clockwork Mansion (4-1)
Bloody Tears (A-1)
Vampire Killer (B-1)

Final Fantasy IV



Composer: Nobuo Uematsu

Originally released in America as Final Fantasy II at a time when RPGs were a niche genre in the west and it was actually the second title in the series to hit our shores, the number nonsense with the Final Fantasy series has since been sorted out and RPGs are big business over here now. After composing soundtracks for three Final Fantasy titles on the NES, I can only imagine Nobuo Uematsu's excitement to write a score on the SNES sound chip. The Prelude theme sounds richer than ever and this is the game that added more to the theme with some impressive flute work. It wouldn't be a Final Fantasy without a main theme but for the first time, the series introduced a reoccurring main theme in Final Fantasy IV that could be heard in numerous tracks. Of course my favorite version of it is the default Main Theme that plays on the world map as it sounds so freaking lovely. The game has a number of different themes for dungeons but if I had to pick a favorite from the bunch, my vote goes for Within the Giant. It is such an encouraging, uplifting song and it even plays as you get closer to the final boss. Speaking of which, the game is packing one epic final fight track. Yes, the word epic is overused in gaming related discussions but I really can't think of any other way to describe it. I feel like I've commited a crime by only linking to six songs from Final Fantasy IV because I really haven't scratched the surface of the game's soundtrack. With tracks ranging from beautiful, melancholy and upbeat, there's a song for every occasion and I still say this is some of Uematsu's best work on the Final Fantasy franchise.


Prelude
Main Theme
Troian Beauty
The Dreadful Fight
Within the Giant
Final Battle

Super Adventure Island 



Composer: Yuzo Koshiro

A platformer with girl trouble. That's original. Well, at least she wasn't kidnapped in this game. She was turned to stone. OK, so that isn't much better. If Super Adventure Island is your first entry in the series, I feel kinda bad for you because it really isn't the best place to start. Even if you're looking for a challenge, Super Adventure Island is unfairly cruel with it's level design, cheap hits the enemy can get on you and limited continues. The reason I'm glad I came across this game as a kid was the incredible soundtrack. Super Adventure Island's music screams early 1990s. It has voice samples that are instantly recognizable in a few of the tracks and much of the music has an overall jovial mood. Blue Blue Moon is a super soothing jazz beat and one of my earliest exposures to jazz in video games. Given that the game's score was written by Yuzo Koshiro, who was heavily influenced by western music, it comes as not surprise that Super Adventure Island's soundtrack turned out the way it did.

Follow Wind
The Island of Everlasting Summer
Hot Step and Jazzy Beats
Blue Blue Moon
Hot Reception 
Jungle Chase