It’s been a helluva’ a wait, but we’ve finally reached the Top 5 of the Best NES Tracks!
Despite the awesomeness of all that has come before, you may as well consider the past 20 entries on this list a prelude to the sheer epic-ness of the music about to grace your ears.
Seriously man, every track from this point on is guaranteed, 100% 8-bit gold.
So, without further ado, I present to you the cream of the crop, the pimpest of the pimp, the God-tier of the Top 25 NES Tracks:
#5. Double Dragon 2: The Revenge
“Roar of the Double Dragons”
That’s right kids, no the “Double Dragon Theme” didn’t make the list.
The truth is, while the Double Dragon Theme music is downright amazing, (in all of it’s iterations) in my opinion the Double Dragon 2 version of “Roar of the Double Dragons” trumps it by inches.
Well, that post, and all of the nostalgic goodness found within it pretty much sum up both why a Double Dragon game is ranked so high on this list, as well as why “Roar of the Double Dragons” in particular is my favorite track from the franchise.
I shit you not, watching my brother start to get the upper hand on the final boss of the game, only to have this adrenaline pumping theme of awesomeness suddenly pop up and put a big fat crescendo on the drama of the situation, was a gaming memory I will treasure forever.
In my opinion, “Roar of the Double Dragons” is easily one the best boss tracks ever.
Not only that, it’s just about the perfect final boss theme for a Double Dragon game, so much so that one could consider it a sort of sub-theme music of the series.
Whether the Double Dragons are fighting Machine Gun Willie, the Shadow Master, or even the fuckin’ Dark Queen alongside the Battletoads; the music I will always hear playing in my head is “Roar of the Double Dragons.”
Wow, I just realized Technos has a lot of games on this list…
For veterans of gaming music, this one was a no-brainer.
Well, call me conformist if you will, but godddamnit; “The Moon” really is that fucking good.
I love the pace of it, how it starts from a slow build, and then explodes into a beautifully electric and catchy tune that never lets up.
Let it be known, this is one piece of music that actually benefits from the tinniness and technical limitations of 8-bit sound quality, as it lends the track a sort of retro space age-y charm.
A huge success of “The Moon,” and indeed most Capcom games of the time, (Ducktales included) was how well the music went with the setting of the stage.
Sure the mine stage had suitably subterranean sounding music, sure the jungle level’s background music was, uh, “jungle-y,” but “The Moon” really fucking sounded like what the 5 year old me thought music on the Moon would sound like.
Yes, I am aware that sound waves don’t propogate in a vacuum.
Fuck you, I WAS 5.
#3. Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu
Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m cheating a little with this one.
Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, (Hot-Blooded Fighting Legend) while technically an 8-bit game compatible with NES hardware, is actually a Japanese exclusive Famicom game.
Personally, I consider them basically the same system, but I see how this one could piss some people off, especially since it’s so high on the list.
Either way, it’s my list, so:
*Ahem!* Kakutou Densetsu is yet another Technos game that stars the companies flagship character, Kunio-kun.
For those that are unaware, Kunio is a high school tough guy that starred in many of Technos’ games, among which were a few entries on this list, namely the Japanese versions of River City Ransom and Super Dodge Ball.
Anyway, Kakutou Densetsu was a game I stumbled across through “untraditional means” sometime in high school.
As soon as the “Title Theme” hit my ears, I was In Like mother-fuckin’ Flint.
Being produced in 1992, fairly late in the NES’ lifespan, the fidelity of the music for Kakutou Densetsu was a step above what I was accustomed to hearing from the system.
In short, every piece of music in Kakutou Densetsu was amazingly good, with the “Title Theme” easily being the best of the bunch.
Not only that, the game itself was unbelievably complex, graphically impressive, and good fun all rolled into 1.
While many of my friends took to playing arcade games through “untraditional means” in their high school years, I just couldn’t get enough of Kakutou Densetsu.
I loved the birthday and blood-type based character creation.
I loved the complexity of the fighting system.
And I fuckin’ loved Toraji and Toraichi.
If you haven’t played Kakutou Densetsu, I suggest you give it a try, if not for the amazing music, then for the kick-ass Technos style fighting action!
#2. Ninja Gaiden 2: The Dark Sword of Chaos
“A Long Way to Go”
Ah, Ninja Gaiden, yet another game series that shit on me in my youth.
It’s no mystery that Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden series is well known for it’s extreme difficulty level, and while Ninja Gaiden 2 on the NES is far from the toughest of the series, I’ll always be proud of myself for beating it back in the day.
Make no mistake, I lost many hours and days of my youth to Ninja Gaiden 2.
While living with the knowledge that I had beat the game was more than reward enough, imagine my surprise when “A Long Way to Go” hit my ears.
“A Long Way to Go” is, in my opinion; one of the finest ending themes for a game ever.
While it doesn’t go the RPG route and revisit all of the major musical motifs of the game over a span of, oh, 10-15 minutes; “A Long Way to Go” is an awe-inspiring piece of music with a title that perfectly captures the emotions it evokes.
Whenever I hear it, images come to mind of a battle worn hero reaching the end of an epic journey, only to set out on another immediately afterwards; the tiniest glimmer of giddy excitement and enthusiasm drawing across his face as he does.
Okay, maybe the real ending just consisted of a slide-show of sorts, but give me a break, I have a wild imagination…
“A Long Way to Go” was a satisfying reward for my time served with Ninja Gaiden 2, and I’ll always treasure it as one of my favorite pieces of music in gaming.
Now that we’ve got the first 24 down, it’s time to move onto the ‘ole numero uno…
The big kahuna…
The big cheese…
The dancing destroyer…
The Count of Monte Fisto…
The BEST Track in NES history…
#1. Mega Man 3
In the realm of 8-bit music, Mega Man is king.
Few could argue that the Mega Man series has yielded some of the finest and most memorable 8-bit tunes in history, if not in terms of sheer quality of product; then at least in terms of sheer volume.
While the debate will forever rage as to which game in the series is best, 2 or 3; (I think 2, but obviously 3 has an edge in terms of music…) for my money the “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is the best musical arrangement produced by any entry in the series.
Being as it is also #1 on this list, I suppose that also means I think it’s the best piece of music from any game on the NES.
The “Title Theme” of Mega Man 3 is a musical revelation.
Like Capcom’s own “The Moon” from Ducktales, it begins with a slow build.
I love how it starts out oh so mellow, stringing you along with it’s jazzy and borderline melancholy tune.
From there, the tune rapidly increases in pitch, reaches a crescendo and then…
And then you jizz in your pants because your ears just got raped by the golden cocks of pack of musical Japanese angels.
To attempt to illustrate the majesty of this track any further, is to struggle with the futility of the fact that there simply aren’t any words in the English language awesome enough to describe it.
The “Title Theme” and “Dr. Wily’s Castle #1” tracks from Mega Man 2, while definitely listed among the runner-ups of the top-tier, don’t come anywhere near the majesty of the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” in my eyes.
I’ve said it before on this blog, but the careful arrangement of this list only serves to reiterate that the Mega Man 3 “Title Theme” is my favorite piece of NES music, and is therefore the Best NES Track of all time.
Tune in tomorrow, when we’ll peruse a handful of the runner-ups!
If you had a favorite that wasn’t on the Top 25, hopefully they’ll make an appearance tomorrow.
Please feel free to post your opinions!