Hold onto your butts folks, we’ve finally made it to the Top 10 of the Top 25 NES Tracks!
Rest assured, while many of the entries on this list have been somewhat obscure, expect the majority of the remainder to consist of old favorites and themes from game series that are still going strong to this day.
That being said, let’s get to the first half of the Top 10!:
#10. Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode
“Golgo 13 Theme”
Remember when I said that you’d be familiar with all of the games in the Top 10?
Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode is a Vic Tokai espionage/action game based upon the massively epic manga series by Takao Saito, Golgo 13.
While I could bore you with a detailed description of the backstory of said manga, I find it’s easier to sum things up by saying this:
Golgo 13 is THE SHIT, and could give ROBERT FUCKING MULDOON a run for his money in terms of manliness and overall badassery.
Trust me, he’s seriously that fucking pimp…
THAT FUCKING PIMP.
Anyway, the NES version of Golgo 13, was neat game that I loved to play in my youth.
It was a serious game, with an involving and suitably “adult” storyline that really made you feel cool to be a part of, especially as a kid.
Basically, it felt good to play a game that had enough confidence in my intelligence to talk to me like a big kid and give me objectives that felt a little more mature than say, saving the goddamn princess.
Half of the fun I had with Golgo 13, came in the form of the game’s theme music, which conveniently enough, could be brought up at any time simply by hitting the pause button!
Being as Golgo 13 is essentially the Japanese equivalent to James Bond, (only 10 times more badass an amoral) it’s only appropriate that his theme music in the game be a rousing and shlocky tune that would be right at home on a Ventures album.
Not only that, the Japanese version of the title screen has lyrics that flash on the screen in time to music, karaoke style!
I can read about 95% of it, maybe I should try and sing the fuckin’ song someday…
I’ve never really been a Castlevania kid.
While I love Konami games, particularly of the 8 and 16-bit eras, Castlevania was perhaps the one flagship title in their library that I never really cared much for.
I never liked how the jumping system was heavily momentum based, so much so that mid-air adjustments were nigh impossible.
I hated the cheap, pitfall deaths that were just a constantly spawning flying medusa head away.
Oh you fuckin' bitch...
And I suppose it doesn’t help either that I don’t care much for Gothic art and design.
On the NES, the only Castlevania I ever played was the very first.
While I ended up walking away from the game feeling it was alright, but not great, the music was, and is, something that will always stick with me.
The Castlevania games are known throughout gaming circles for their incredible soundtracks, and rightfully so.
While many of the compositions of the early games have since gone on to be remixed, and usually improved, my favorite track from the original NES game was the first stage theme, “Vampire Killer.”
“Vampire Killer” survives to this day as the single most prominent theme in the series.
I love it’s light-hearted yet spooky feel, as right off the bat it cues you in on the fact that:
"This game is gonna' be all horror n'shit, but don't worry, it's still an action game!"
It’s a wonderful, timeless piece of gaming music history, and though I still don’t care much for Castlevania, any Castlevania; it still deserves it’s spot on this list.
#8. Super Mario Bros.
The Mario theme, placed at #8 on a Top 25 list!?
Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m surprised it’s ranked as low as it is too.
Truth of the matter is, I knew it had to go somewhere on here, but I ended up arbitrarily placing it “somewhere” in the Top 10 to satisfy my conscience, while at once ensuring that my true favorites got the justice they deserved.
The Super Mario Bros. Theme is game music.
Plain and simple.
It’s one of the most memorable and enduring arrangements in all of gaming history, and no force on Earth, no matter how hipster or counter-culture, could keep it from receiving a spot on any gaming music Top 10 list.
"Yeah, I don't care much for Mario, too mainstream. I only play obscure bullshit like Faria and Faxanadu... On my original NES... On a TV from 1982... While wearing a shirt from 1986..."
Mario games are something that I’d like to think can appeal to anyone.
They’re fun, straightforward, and typically blessed with a difficulty level that is appropriately challenging, but never punishingly so.
While I’ve always liked Mario games, in truth I never really played them that much.
My brother stomped the shit out of pretty much all of them up to Super Mario 64, but despite living in a household that owned most of said games, I spent most of my time playing other stuff.
Pictured: Other stuff.
I suppose I was too into beat ‘em ups in my youth to take the time to sit down and work my way through the platforming goodness of Mario.
Anyway, there’s nothing I can say about “World 1-1″ that hasn’t been said, so I won’t try.
I can’t say I fully agree with my placement of this particular track, but I’m happy with my Top 5, so I figure it all balances out.
#7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game
“Technodrome Stage Theme”
Okay, so we’re all in agreement that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the shit back in the early 90′s, right?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, was the NES version of the Konami Ninja Turtles arcade game found in virtually every arcade/pizza joint in America.
If I were very rich, and very stupid, I would own one of these...
While it lacked the graphical polish of the arcade version, much like in the case of Turtles in Time; I’ve always maintained that the console version was superior.
Aside from including 2 extra stages and unique boss characters, the console version also had better controls and a more manageable and less “quarter-munching” difficulty level.
Ninja Turtles 2 was easily one of the most played games in me and my brother’s NES library.
It was fun, it was a Ninja Turtles product, it had “two player simultaneous gameplay,” and did I mention it was the NINJA FUCKING TURTLES!!?
I remember bringing Ninja Turtles 2 over to my friend’s houses, playing it all fuckin’ day, and then sitting down and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze over and over again until my mom picked me up.
Y'know, back in the 5 minutes or so we all thought this guy was the coolest thing EVER.
THAT, my friends, is what childhood was all about.
The “Technodrome Stage Theme” is not only an incredible, and undeniably “Konami” piece of music, it was also something that was quite elusive to me in my youth.
Possessed of a rockin’ and moody quality that really jumps out to you as “last level” music, the “Technodrome Stage Theme” was a track that I didn’t get to hear that often because, well, Ninja Turtles 2 was actually kind of a hard game.
In many ways, me having only had a few opportunities to hear this track in my youth played a huge role in elevating this track to such a high spot on the list.
Oh yeah, that and the fact that it’s a fucking awesome piece of pulse-pounding, pizza-munching, teenage-mutant-ninja action music!
Turtle Power FOREVER.
#6. Blaster Master
“Stage 1 Theme”
After 3 of the bottom 5 of the tracks on this list came from Sunsoft products, did you really think there wouldn’t be at least one more game from them on here?
It’s true, I dig Sunsoft music, and when it comes to Sunsoft’s music library, I can think of no other game to better represent them than Blaster Master.
*Ahem!* That would be, "Master Blaster."
Blaster Master was a game I used to play at my barber’s house.
No, not the one that gave me a Nintendo Power, a different one.
Like most of the games on this list, I never really got anywhere in Blaster Master, but fuck man, I really wish I had…
I enjoyed every minute I played of the tank-hopping, grenade tossing action of the first stage in Blaster Master, and as always; a lot of my enjoyment came from the background music.
The “Stage 1 Theme” of Blaster Master is a terrific piece of music that really succeeds in capturing the colorful and adventurous spirit of the game and it’s setting.
It really feels like music you’d hear in a weird sci-fi world while patrolling the forests in a giant tank in search of your pet frog.
Hah! Thought I was kidding about the plot, didn't you?
That last sentence didn’t really make a whole lot of sense, so let me rephrase:
The “Stage 1 Theme” of Blaster Master is awesome, and it makes me smile, so therefore it is #6.
Well, folks, that does it for the first half of the Top 10!
Tomorrow we’ll finally be wrapping things up with the remaining Top 5, as well as the announcement of the #1 NES Track!
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