Welcome to my Retro Game Music blog. As an avid game geek and music nerd, I decided to start a very simple blog about what I'm passionate about: Classic video game tunes. Put on some headphones and relax.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Its been awhile hasn't it? I recently got a little caught up in playing Megaman X Command Mission on the PS2. Its a Megaman JRPG and its pretty fun.

SO HEY! Let's get the back back rolling with a little Paper Mario! Paper Mario was a slick N64 RPG that didn't disappoint in being a sequel to Mario RPG on the SNES (I'll have to post about that later). There was also a second Paper Mario on Gamecube, but I just couldn't really enjoy it as much. I really felt like it dragged out too long for a game that was more of the same.

So take Paper Mario for what it is: An original RPG on a console that was starved for them. At a hint of platforming and some really nice looking settings, you've got a fun game. If I had to pick one song that had lasting appeal on me, it had to be The Koopa Bros Theme. The first REAL boss of the game, you and your partner gotta take on 4 badass Koopas dressed up like Ninja Turtles. The best part is that its a sick remix of the original Hammer Troopa theme in Mario 3. All the bosses got their own theme, which was pretty awesome.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Battle for Evermore

Secret of Evermore was made by a North American division of Squaresoft. When Japan got Seiken Densetsu 3 (Secret of Mana 3), we got Secret of Evermore. Both were really good games, and both countries should have got both games, but instead we were all divided. Personally, I think we came out on top with this one, because Secret of Evermore was a subtly amazing game.

Ever notice how I mention 'atmosphere' in a lot of music? Well, that's what I've seen SoE do that no other game has been able to top. When lost in an odd and curious world, going somewhere new actually felt like honest exploration. The game is just so eerie and lonely, and the music captures it perfectly. This game was made by an amateur composer, his time working on a video game before. But he knew exactly how to play his cards: Not trying for a simple catchy style, he tries to fit the game, adding to what makes SoE such a unique experience. Literally half the game is just ambiance, no music, and its just so powerfully done.

There were 4 worlds you could visit in this game: The dinosaur world, the Egyptian world, the Victorian Gothic, and the robot world. My personal favorite was the Gothic one for the music.

Then there's the Boss Track #1, which feels fitting for the whole game. I love the tribal-esque sound of the drums, the, once again, atmospheric 'aaaahs', and that string instrument which you'd hear in the egyptian or goth world. It kinda of fuses them all together for a hard hitting track that tells you shit is going down.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I find it funny how people were mentioning Banjo-Kazooie in the comments of my last post, since I was planning on putting up a BK song today. I'm sure you all know Banjo-Kazooie was made by Rare (RIP) and of course you know by now that Rare is no stranger to amazing composers.

Anywho, Banjo-Tooie was a great sequel, but I can't really think of many songs off the top of my head, aside from Isle O' Hags and Glitter Gulch Mine (My favorite level in the BK games). BK had a much simpler yet catchier soundtrack and I've gotta play a few here.

I've got 2 favorite levels, mostly because of their music too. Firstly is Freezeazy Peak, the fun snow level. I love Winter-themed levels.

MAN, I love this song. When little trumpet boy (That's actually probably Robin Beanland) pops in at 0:26, the song really kicks into high gear. Its got the winter theme going on without being slowly drawn out like you might expect. Upbeat and atmospheric, it makes a great tune for the level.

My other favorite level had to be Click Clock Wood, for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, its a pretty big level. And then the level is multiplied by 4, one for each season, each one with a fitting remake of the theme for its season. My personal favorite on this one has to be the spring theme, probably because of how modest the beginning is.

You can hear the fallout of the Donkey Kong inspiration with that drum at the beginning. Then at 0:40 it gets really fleshed out into a really joyful and exciting track.

Man. What a good game. I miss you Rare.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best video game name ever

The last game I completed was Quest 64 for the first time. Shit bro, that game was awesome. What's better is that apparently the entire world thinks its the worst game ever (protip: its not), when its really a solid game you can beat in a couple sittings. There's the fun combat system, and the magic leveling system that adds an element of customization and replay value. I dunno what everyone else is talking about, I had a blast the whole way through. I'd like to see someone somewhere make a spiritual sequel to this poor sand-covered gem.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

shitty shmups

Earth Defense Force had good music. No, not THAT Earth Defense Force, I mean Super Earth Defense Force on the SNES! It was a Gradius-esque SHMUP where I guess you fly a plane and shoot aliens or something. I don't know, it wasn't a very good game. BUT THE MUSIC WAS GOOD! Here's the song from the first level, its pretty fitting for the setting of flying high above the clouds speeding past you in the background. And foreground. Anyway, its a pretty slick tune so have at it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh man, Mana

I owned Secret of Mana as a kid. My two brothers always dragged me into playing it, and I absolutely LOATHED it. When I play Secret of Mana music, its all just so terrible to me, I can't stand it.

We still got Legend of Mana on PS1 when we got the console. I decided to give it a shot since the watercolor-style artwork was really nice, and since I got to play as a chick who punches and suplexes everything to death. The game was subpar at best. But the music was definitely one of the better soundtracks. I prefer to take unbiased approaches at everything, and while I didn't enjoy Legend of Mana, the music was DAMN good. This song is aptly titled "The Wind Sings of a Journey" which seems to describe it quite well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A quick hiatus

Narcissism always wins in the end. Today I want to take a break from the video game tunes to talk a little about myself and my other music interests.

Surely enough, if you looked at my iTunes, you wouldn't find nothing but video game music. Actually you'd find close to none. In fact I would absolutely HATE for anyone to think the only music I listen to is from video games. Ever since high school I've been a pretty anti-mainstream guy and took an interest to mainly stuff like punk rock and ska. I was the "I listen to music you've never heard of" guy, always wearing semi-obscure band shirts all day erry day. I was a hipster BEFORE it was cool. Here's some songs from my personal favorite bands:

The Lawrence Arms, and absolutely brilliant 3-piece band from Chicago that holds high regards for poetic lyrics backed by fairly simple powerchords.

And Streetlight Manifesto, who have been starting to rise in popularity by being genuinely good (which is pretty rare these days). They've definitely lost steam after their first album, Everything Goes Numb (Which is absolutely FLAWLESS, mind you. And I don't say that much), but as far as talented bands they're one of the best.

Relation I have with this music to video games? Uh, none. Well maybe all those years I spent humming Earthbound tracks, they've got a kind of ska influence in them. Well, there's Bomb The Music Industry! which is one of the most influential bands I've listened to. If you aren't into those loud shouting types of music (I wasn't either before listening to them) you should still give them a listen. Mostly just one guy with a laptop making punk rock with some 8-bit sounds here and there, all of it free at http://quoteunquoterecords.com/. Represent.

Ain't I a sexy one. I'll be back tomorrow with a little something from Legend of Mana.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy, as a series, is different for everyone. I was one of the very few North American gamers who's first Final Fantasy was the first, on the NES. Thief is totally the best, by the way. Now if only Square would make a new FF where you get to choose the classes of your party without a job system, that's would be great.

I feel everybody has one Final Fantasy they connect with. With most people, this was Final Fantasy 7. To anyone who played the series before 7, its universally agreed that 6 was the best. I'm a fan of 6 no doubt (5 makes a close second, but the music pales in comparison), and that's because it has one of the best music scores in video games that 7 just didn't quite get. I've played 6 over and over, and anyone can agree its dated and pretty average for a game, I keep coming back because the music just hits home so well. The main theme throughout the series is Terra's Theme, which gets played as you wander the world map.

The game has something like 13 characters you can have in your party, which is a lot, but not overdose like Chrono Cross. They also emphasize using each member equally, which I find really breaks the repetition, because in FF7 you can pick 3 members and play the game like that, and woop-dee-doo I'm bored by the Golden Saucer. What really shines is everyone's theme, each one is just an amazing piece of music, and if you don't mind I'm posting a handful of songs.

Each one captivates the characters well. Locke, the thief--Er, I mean, "treasure hunter" fights for a woman he lost, and has a very inspirational piece that gives that feeling of "keep on fighting, things will look up eventually", while still keeping a theme of adventure.

Celes has a much somber theme. One more of romance, desperation, and sadness, which I find strikingly similar to the scene where Aeris dies (SPOILER!!!). A lot of people call that the best Final Fantasy scene, other will say the Opera Scene in 6 where this song plays. The sad romance of a woman who lost her loved one in war, yet the song works just as well when Celes loses everything and drives herself to suicide via cliff.

And lastly, the windswept tune of a warrior who lost his wife, son, and entire castle to a psycho who poisoned the water supply. A song of wandering loneliness really gives you a feel for the poor man. Now if only the translation didn't turn him into a comic relief character 10 minutes later, they could have captured emotions better. But eh. Take it for what it is, a really good song.

Thanks for listening!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Winter is coming

Wanna know a real good multiplayer racing game back from the N64 days? The Snowboard Kids games. Not that fuckugly reboot they did on the DS, that doesn't count. I'm talking about the classics, doing flips and grabs and shooting giant hands of coin stealing death at one another.

But what about the music? Well, the music SLAYS. I was playing Snowboard Kids 2 again recently and probably the most standout track to me was the first course's, Sunny Mountain. Its just so much fun, and has this element of catchiness that just isn't in video games anymore. And I don't mean 'oh hey that's kinda catchy' NO I FUCKING MEAN YOU'LL BE SINGING ALONG BY THE END OF THE MATCH. ON EVERY COURSE.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remember yesterday...

Yesterday I mentioned how the start of a game needs good music to lift the game off the ground, yeah? Well here's a solid game, one of my favorites actually: Mystical Ninja 64. Its and adventure platforming game, and while dated, I really recommend everyone reading this blog to someday play it. Why?

Well, I've played hundreds, hell thousands of video games. And I don't believe I can come up with a single game that has a better soundtrack. I present to you "The Journey Begins on Mt. Fuji Road".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The starting music

You just got a new game. You tear the game out of its box, sit your ass cross-legged on the floor while you slam the game into your SNES. Maybe you have a brother or a friend with you, you tell him you just got a sweet new 2-player game and you wanna play together.

The intro shines on. Oooh, ahhh. The start screen. In your childlike excitement you frantically hit the start button until you're playing the game. The screen fades to black, and fades back in and you see Kirby. And the music just screams "You're beginning a huge and exciting adventure."

The first level's music has to be really gripping, because this paves the road for the rest of the game's music...And atmosphere.

Mega Man

Awhile ago someone asked for some Megaman. That sounds fine by me actually. I could easily pick the obvious answers like Crash Man or something, but nah. Through the original Mega Man series if I had to pick one favorite, it would have to go to the first stage I ever played in Mega Man 9.

Mega Man 9 was great. They really nailed the NES style on it (despite being a 2009 game) and the moment I turned it on my face was bright as a sunday morning. For retro gamers such as myself, I'm glad that there's still developers that care about us.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There's two kinds of people in this world: People with loaded guns, and people who dig. You dig.

I love Cowboys. Some people are scifi geeks, some are fantasy geeks, I'm a Wild West geek. The only thing that makes cowboys better are Android cowboys. That's my geek fetish. Robot Cowboys. So you can probably guess I get a raging boner for Weird West/Steampunk stuff.

Anyway, where am I going with this? Timesplitters 2 was a solid game. It was made through the fallout of the Goldeneye/Perfect Dark dev team, so there's some ties to Rare. Specifically, I'm looking at Graeme Norgate, a solid composer who did some work for Rare in David Wise's shadow.

But Norgate did the whole score for Timesplitters 2, which has an INCREDIBLY varied soundtrack, taking fitting music for respective eras (For, say, the 1930's Chicago Mobster era, for example) and spinning it into something incredibly fitting for a kind of dance/techno soundtrack. But here's the Wild West theme, it really takes on a sort of 'epic' feel to it. Give it a listen, the slow start builds into something truly fierce.


Someone mentioned I should get some Donkey Kong Country on here. That, my good man, sounds like a great idea. My last post, Icefire Mountain, was composed by David Wise of classic Rare. And he is, without a ghost of a doubt, my favorite composer. He did work on a lot of memorable games, including DKC. And a lot of people would probably agree that DKC2 was the best of the series, music-wise or not. And here's my personal favorite:

The part right at the 0:36 mark gets me every time. Just so good.

But hey! As an added bonus, here's another boss theme from the first game: Gankplank Galleon. This is definitely one of my favorite SNES tracks out there, and even one of the first songs I learned to play on bass. Nifty?

I've always had plans of covering Gangplank Galleon, actually. A kind of Punk Rock cover, but that will have to wait until my equipment is ready for recording ANYTHING.

Icefire Mountain

Here's a solid one from my favorite NES series, Wizards & Warriors. This is a really happy and upbeat songs, even for a final boss theme. It really gives a nice feel of "Yeah alright I'm coming to the end of my adventure". Its really simple and short, but just so catchy, so give it a listen.

Edge of Phendrana

Does Metroid Prime count as retro? I mean, its not this gen so anything before counts as retro I guess. Also its made by Retro studios, right? Who cares, this song is amazing.

New Blog

Welcome to the Retro Game Music blog, were I post some rad classic tunes daily.  No blah blah blah, no bullshit, just music all day baby.

And check out this crazy good remix: