I love me some retro video games and even though I don’t really like music I do like my video game music. When I originally did did the Top 5 NES Tunes post I had a clear idea on which ones to pick. With this Top 5 I had a hard time though. There are so many good songs. So I kinda resolved to cheating.While I have made a top 5 of pieces of music which I will tell you about, I will also give you an alternative rom the same game or series. Basically this is both a top 5 of SNES tunes as well as it is a Top 5 soundtracks. I made sure not to pick just the most iconic songs as well otherwise would just keep ending up with main themes. Which oftenly carries over consoles. I made this top 5 based on how much they impacted me and will consist out of a bit of everything.
SNES Tune Number 5 :Mega Man X – Central Highway
While this game is mostly hailed for the theme to Spark Mandrill’s stage, which is my honourable mention for this pick, I would have to rule in favor of the Intro Stage. While Mega Man 2’s Wiley castle had the best boss music, I feel that Mega Man X had one of the most epic , badass introduction stages ever. It sold everything that Mega Man X was about , and how X differed from the original Mega. When X charges his blasters, it seems to harmonise with this stage. The way explosions and the sound effects blend in this stage music. Mega Man X has a lot more story to tell, it’s the first time the blue bomber had a real story throughout. It felt darker and more mature, themes of betrayal and an added dash of cyber punk. Central Highway makes this very clear from the get go. There’s high stakes in this one. There is no light hearted stages, this is Megaman X, it’s a hard game, but the pace is also a lot faster than your used to, so you better get good! Better so you can rival your pal Zero and defeat Sigma. It’s all there. In a way it’s fitting that one of the best opening stage themes of all times opens this list. It’s a weird thing how this song is on the bottom of my list because it’s almost too fitting, it’s such a good match that I never felt surprised it just felt right! Yet these other tracks went even above.
Honorable Mention : Spark Mandrill Stage
SNES tune Number 4: Final Fantasy III/VI : Aria di Mezzo Carattere
Final Fantasy IV is with some distance my favorite final fantasy game. The story, the locations, the journey, it was all so amazing. To no-one’s surprise the music of the game is amazing. While Terra’s theme, which is my honorable mention might be my favorite track of the game, arguable Aria di Mezzo Carattere is even better. In Final Fantasy VI you visit and participate in the opera and never had I seen anything like that. The complexity of this song is unsurpassed. The way the music gets bigger as the song progresses, shifts tone several times it feels so well thought out. The way it reflects not only the story of Draco and Mario, the main characters of the musical, but also the journey of Celes, the character whom you play as during the musical scene. This song is deep , it came unexpected and it’s unlike other SNES tunes. When I attended the dissonant worlds concert and heard it performed by real opera voices for the very first time I was blown away. Somehow hearing it live did not make me thing… so that’s how it would sound when sung in real life. The 16 bit version somehow sold that to me already. In the theater I could just close my eyes, smile and nod! Yes that’s right! This takes me back, as if I was listening to the original rendition.
Also the foundations of Aerith’s theme may come from those opening notes.
Honorable mention: Terra’s theme
SNES Tune Number 3 : Tutrles in Time -Sewer Surfin
This one might be a bit of a cheat song. It featured in the arcade first after all. Yet as a Turtle fan, I simply could not ignore the best song from the best turtle game. And Since I am already cheating, no honorable mention for this one! Instead a super special remix awaits you that I absolutely adore. When I was little I would never be able to go to the arcade, mostly because we didn’t have any close by but also because I would be bullied off. Since I was a wimpy kid even for girl I could really dig the games where I felt bad-ass for a while and nothing was as badass as the Ninja turtles. Not only where you a ninja badass, you were also super cool. The Sewer Surfin Stage was the coolest video game stage a six or seven year old could wish for. Not only were we doing ninja stuff we were also surfing , dodging traps and hurting our feet! We looked so cool! Taking down robots and aliens like it was nothing only to face of with the dreadful rat king at the end. The music of this stage was breezy , energetic and just good old fun. It sets the pace for the level and it totally feels Ninja turtles. Some of the notes of the turtles main theme are even snuck in there for good measure. This piece of music understood very well it’s a turtles song. While the evil looking aliens and deadly hazards in this stage might require something with more gravitas in this game it fits because it’s just ninja turtles and it leaves you hungry for more. Now I am hungry as well I guess tonight I will dine on turtle soup… and for some reason I also really feel like tacos!
Snes Tune Number 2: Donkey Kong Country – Gang Plank Galleon
While to me there was no doubt that Donkey Kong Country would make this list , I had such a hard time to pick out the song I liked best. Aquatic Ambiance just got bumped of the list and my honorable mention is going to have to be Stickerbrush Symphony from Donkey Kong Country 2. It’s just so serene and ..kinda like Aquatic Ambience.. but less overplayed I guess so yes I stick by my choice. My favorite track is Gang-Plank Galleon though. the final boss fight theme. It starts out with a simple sea shanty that feels kinda underwhelming. But when King K Rool the pirate king comes running at you. After I took down the king the subtitles appeared and I was cheering and trampling in my little plastic chair with joy. I found it a funny joke that they made the credits to be all Kremlins so I giggled as I trampled a bit as the music began to swell. The End appeared… with a question mark….huh! The soundtrack then got rudely interrupted by me losing a life.
‘NAAAAANIII!!!’ Little me did not comprehend what had happened my childlike brain to small to get it. The second time around I was ready and i realised the real boss battle had just begun. This was amazing! I buckled down.. and game-overed. This song tricked me, it taught me to be suspicious, that music could give clues on games. It made me a better gamer and that’s why it should be on this list.
Honorable Mention: Stickerbush Symphony
SNES Tune Number 1: Chrono Trigger – Frog’s Theme
Ducktales is one of the contenders of my best video games ever, but Chrono Trigger is a serious contender. I finished this game so many times on so many different platforms. I am pretty sure I got all the endings at least once, Most of the time I eat the cake…it’s a good looking cake.. and it doesn’t matter inthe end anyway so I ‘d be a fool not to eat it. While Chrono’s theme is obviously the most epic song that really fits the theme of time travel, I really prefer the theme of my man Frog. I love how epic this song begins and how heroic it sounds, as a symbol for your journey. Then it becomes something so tiny and cute, yet still so brave. Just like you are a bunch of kids, a silly robot and a frog on an adventure. Yet it is also the perfect music for you as a gamer. When we first played this we were but a tiny kid. Never did we take on such an epic adventure, sure we have saved princesses before , gathered 4 crystals of the elements. Never have we saved multiple times or timelines before! Never had we played a game with so many possible endings. Not only did this song emote the journey of frog it connected us as the player to the characters. We were all in this together. Just a bunch of kids on an adventure together in way over their heads. We grew together we fought together and we even cried together. When they played Frog’s theme at that Distant Worlds concert I went misty eyed. Thinking about those wonderful friends I made on that journey and each time I hear it I want to play the game again and that makes it a perfect game tune.
Honorable Mention: Chrono’s Theme