Before the dust settles on the epic event that was the unveiling of the Azn Badger’s list of the Top 25 NES Tracks, I feel it’s my duty to take a moment to discuss some of the tracks that almost made it on the list.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, today we’re going to be talking about the:
“Top 10 Runner-Ups of The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks.”
Epic fucking title, am I right?
Anyway, hopefully the following ruminations will help shed some light on my process for selecting the tracks for this list, as well as hopefully uncover a few hidden gems for the less game music savvy among us.
That being said, let’s get to it!:
Zanac is a vertical scrolling shoot ’em up that I received as a gift in my pre-teen years.
You see, despite the Playstation and Nintendo 64 already having risen to prominence by this time, my father; good intentioned thrift store shopper that he is, saw fit to give me NES games up until around my 13th birthday, when I’m pretty sure he gave up giving me gifts altogether.
While this was admittedly kind of strange, looking back I think it helped me to better appreciate the older generation of games, not to mention my dad’s yearly efforts to go out and get me something unique and different every birthday.
Thanks dad, for, uh, bein’ my dad, and filling my room with goofy outdated shit that only you and I can appreciate.
Anyway, Zanac is a game I know nothing about, other than the fact that I played it a lot during middle school.
Anyway, the details of Zanac are a mystery to me, but it was tons of fun and “Stage 1” had awesome music that was this close to making the lower-tier of the Top 25.
#9. R.B.I. Baseball
“Game Music 1”
A neighbor of ours owned the Tengen “black cart” version of the game (my dad also gifted it to me at some point…) and most of my memories of the first 5 or 6 years of my life involve watching my brother play it.
In fact, despite being able to play it at our neighbor’s house basically whenever he wanted, I can actually recall several instances where my brother went out and rented it.
Let it be known boys and girls, my brother loves him some baseball.
I never really played R.B.I. Baseball.
Something about robots playing baseball just tickles my fancy…
Anyway, up until Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball on the Super NES, I can recall no other sports game that had my brother so engrossed.
Perhaps the best memory I took away from R.B.I. Baseball, was the music, which would loop constantly throughout every game.
That and the delightfully rotund players, whose husky builds and slow-footed nature fit the music perfectly.
It may not be the most intricate or bombastic of tunes, but nostalgia goes a long way…
Even if your only experience with the game consisted solely of watching it over your older brother’s shoulder.
This one was suggested by a friend of mine.
Honestly, I’ve never actually played Gauntlet on the NES.
I own Gauntlet 2, (another random gift from dad) but I never liked or played it much.
I played a lot of Gauntlet Legends in the arcade, mostly because it was fuckin’ hilarious; but that’s a story for another day…
Anyway, while I was compiling this list, I took the time to look up the Gauntlet “Title Theme,” as I honestly couldn”t recall the melody.
To my surprise, my buddy made a pretty good pick.
It’s a nice little diddy, reminiscent of a medieval minstrel’s tune, making it all-too appropriate for a sword and sorcery game like Gauntlet.
I actually had this one on the Top 25 up until my final revision, where I removed it in favor Super Dodge Ball.
Listening to them side by side, I feel I made the better decision…
Sorry buddy, had to go with my gut on this one.
#7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project
“Super Shredder’s Theme”
The reason for this particular track being on the Top 10 Runner-Ups list is kind of silly.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project was a game I played exclusively at one of my spoiled friend’s houses, and just happens to be the game with the longest fucking title on this list.
While in many ways superior to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game, Turtles III was the unfortunate victim of being released around the time most of us were just starting to jump platforms to the, at the time; brand spankin’ new Super NES.
Like I said though, it’s a great game, actually better than #2, it just didn’t get enough exposure is all.
Anyway, the reasoning behind the selection of this track for the Runner-Ups being silly, is the fact that it’s only on here because it’s the original version of “Super Shredder’s Theme,” which would go on to be remixed for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time.
“Super Shredder’s Theme” from the Super NES version of Turtles in Time is HANDS DOWN one of my favorite boss themes of all time, making the original 8-bit version, while in fact vastly inferior; still pretty fuckin’ good.
Here’s the Turtles in Time version for reference:
Anyway, it’s not deserving of a spot on the Top 25, but it laid the ground work for what would become one of my favorite pieces of game music EVER, and as such such it gets a nod in the form of a spot among the Runner-Ups.
#6. Little Nemo: The Dream Master
I fuckin’ loved Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland back in the day.
The world was colorful and inviting, the songs were pretty decent, and Nightmare Land and all of it’s denizens were suitably creepy and stunningly well-imagined to boot.
Because of my love for the movie, naturally I went out and rented the game at some point.
While the game was not nearly the work of genius that the movie was, it was a pretty solid platformer nonetheless.
The monster costume gimmick was cutesy and fun, and the scepter was very much a thinly veiled Mega Buster, but the thing I remember most; was the music!
The music was, like the movie, whimsical and grand in scale to an extent that few NES games aspired to, let alone movie tie-in platformers.
While the Nightmare world theme and the Final Boss themes were pretty fuckin’ spankin’, like most memorable game tracks, the best piece was from the first stage, the “Mushroom Forest.”
Don’t be surprised if you see a Let’s Play of Little Nemo posted here someday…
Wow! This post ended up being a whole helluva’ lot more involved than I was expecting it to!
That being said, I’ve decided to split it in half, so tune in tomorrow for the Top 5 Runner-Ups, as well as the ultimate, absolute and final post in the Top 25 NES Tracks series!