Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Top 10 Runner-Ups of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, Part I!

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!:

#10. Zanac

“Stage 1”


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.

 

 

Pictured: Birthday's at the Azn Badger's house...

 

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Thanks dad, for, uh, bein’ my dad, and filling my room with goofy outdated shit that only you and I can appreciate.

 

 

Dad's most recent random gift: A VHS-C camcorder!

 

Anyway, Zanac is a game I know nothing about, other than the fact that I played it a lot during middle school.

It’s reminiscent of Space Megaforce on the Super NES, with sharp graphics and a surprisingly action-packed experience despite the limitations of the NES hardware.

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”

*TUNE TO :23 FOR THE PART OF THE MUSIC THAT MADE THE LIST*

My brother LOVED R.B.I. Baseball.

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.

 

 

A logical hobby for him given that he fuckin' IS baseball.

 

I never really played R.B.I. Baseball.

To be honest, I’ve never really played any baseball videogames besides the occasional game of Base Wars or Super Baseball 2020.

 

Boobies, Robots and Baseball: FUCK YEAH.

 

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.

 

 

SOOOOO FAT!!!!

 

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.

#8. Gauntlet

“Title Theme”


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…

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the heroes of Gauntlet Legends!

 

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.

 

 

"Bummer dudes! Your game came out 2 years too late!"

 

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.

 

 

2nd Best Beat 'Em Up EVER.

 

“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

“Mushroom Forest”


I fuckin’ loved Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland back in the day.

I didn’t find out about the old comic series, or Winsor McKay until sometime in middle school, but regardless; that was a great fucking movie.

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.

 

 

Jesus fuck this guy was awesome...

 

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!

Advertisements

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #5-1

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.

Remember that fatty ass post I made about how I used to play Double Dragon 2 with my brother all the time?

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.

 

 

It was pretty much the gaming equivalent to this.

 

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…

#4. Ducktales

“The Moon”


For veterans of gaming music, this one was a no-brainer.

Seriously man, look up any compilation of the “best NES music,” and you’re bound to find “The Moon” from Capcom’s Ducktales game among the top of the list.

Well, call me conformist if you will, but godddamnit; “The Moon” really is that fucking good.

 

We're talkin' Moon Pie 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.

 

 

Pictured: 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

“Title Theme”


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.

 

 

Yes, he will in fact straight up wreck your shit.

 

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.

 

Yes, I heard the title theme and was suddenly turned into James Coburn and surrounded by beautiful women.

 

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.

 

Let it be known, fan-translations are not always 100% accurate...

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.

 

Pictured: The inspiration for 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.

 

Unlike this pile of ass...

 

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

“Title Theme”


In the realm of 8-bit music, Mega Man is king.

 

 

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.

 

Like this, but with Japanese angel rape.

 

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!

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #15-11

After 2 days and 10 tracks of preliminaries, today we finally get to the real meat of the Top 25 NES Tracks!

That’s right folks, today we’ve reached: THE MIDDLE-TIER.

 

Pictured: The Middle-Tier.

 

That being said, what say we get to the crazy-awesome music, eh?:

#15. Shadowgate

“Main Theme of Shadowgate”


Shadowgate represents one of the very few point-and-click adventures that I ever really got into.

You remember that one scene in the movie Big where the young Tom Hanks character gets pwned by the wizard for attempting a seemingly logical course of action?

Hey, I would've said "melt wizard" too if I were playing...

Well, for the most part; that scene was indicative of my experience with adventure games as a child.

In fact, pretty much every graphic adventure game made prior to the revolutionary LucasArts SCUMM interface was simply too cryptic for me to grasp.

Shadowgate, while indeed released sometime after Maniac Mansion and it’s SCUMM system, was a graphic and text based adventure game that really drew me in, clunky interface and all.

I find it's always a good idea to "Hit" EVERYTHING. Y'know, just in case...

While most of my memories of the game were of dieing seemingly unfair, and unwarranted; deaths, I honestly never felt any frustration over this.

Shadowgate was a game that set out to be creepy and moody, and in the eyes of my very young self; it accomplished this in spades.

Playing a huge part in this accomplishment, was of course the haunting soundtrack of the game.

While there actually weren’t that many tracks to be heard throughout the course of the game, the overarching “Main Theme” of Shadowgate was a track that you never got tired of.

Equal parts foreboding, energetic, and mystifying; the “Main Theme” of Shadowgate is a wonderful piece of gaming music that, once heard, will never be forgotten.

Especially when you’ve died to it 40 billion times…

40. BILLION. TIMES.

#14. Super Dodge Ball

“Doppleganger Match”


Super Dodge Ball is yet another SUPREMELY BADASS effort from the folks over at Technos.

Like many games on this list, Super Dodge ball was a game that my brother used to rent quite frequently.

I remember getting my ass pwned by him in Bean Ball games over and over and over again, largely because, like any good older brother; he never taught me how to do the Super Shots.

Kind of hard to tell from the pic, but those 2 guys in the air? Yeah, they just got knocked across the ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET with a dodge ball.

Anyway, Super Dodge Ball was a crazy-fun game, that while a little bit too easy for it’s own good, played host to one of the coolest final battles in NES history.

Essentially, the final match of the game has your team USA pitted against the COMMUNIST and therefore, EVIL dodge ball team from the USSR.

After a (presumably) epic match, the sky suddenly turns a devilish shade of purple while the court is occupied by dopplegangers of your team!

EPIC.

Despite the game being based around fucking dodge ball, for whatever reason I thought this final battle was just about the coolest thing ever when I first saw my brother get to it.

Maybe it’s just ’cause I was there to see and listen to it with my brother, but this match, and this piece of music will always stick with me as one of my favorite NES boss themes.

#13. Bionic Commando

“Area 1 Theme”


Bionic Commando was a great ass game that I wish I had gotten a chance to have played more of as a kid.

I loved the main character’s design, and his bionic arm, so much so that I used to draw him on my place mat in elementary school.

No, you don’t get a pic for that one…

The problem was, I only ever got to play the game when I was at my neighbors house across the street, however most of the time I’d get kicked off the NES so they could play Sid Meier’s Pirates.

Arr!!! Shiver me timbers! Yo, ho! A Pirate's life for... I fuckin' hate pirates...

That being said, I never really got much of a chance to get very far in Bionic Commando.

Thankfully, all I had to do was play the first stage to hear the best piece of music in the whole game.

“Area 1” is a very primitive sounding, (even by 8-bit standards) but extremely well composed piece of music.

With a military-ish cadence, and a heroic melody, “Area 1” is a terrific track that is well-deserving of the #13 spot on this list, as well as the honor of being considered the theme music for the entire Bionic Commando franchise.

#12. Adventure Island 2

“Boss Theme”


C’mon now, don’t tell me you thought I’d leave out Master Higgins?

Adventure Island was one of my favorite game series as a kid, and in my opinion, 2 was easily the best in the series.

As previously mentioned, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is fuckin’ badass, so much so that it got my nod as being one of the Best Boss Musics in gaming.

That being said, among purely 8-bit competition, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is definitely deserving of a place on the list of the Top 25 Best NES Tracks.

I love the build up of this track, how it starts out slow, then explodes into a frenetic cacophony of kooky, island-y badassery.

It’s the perfect piece of music for killing giant plants and or crabs to.

Or better yet, CONQUER THE WORLD TO!

#11. The Legend of Zelda

“Overworld Theme”


*Ahem!* Fanboys… You may suck it.

That’s right kids, the “Overworld Theme” from The Legend of Zelda didn’t crack the Top 10!

While it may seem blasphemous to some, bear in mind; this is my list, and as such, it caters to my particular tastes.

Pictured: My Particular Tastes.

That being said, I didn’t place Zelda and Final Fantasy where I did for the sake of being cruel, or worse yet; “counter-culture,” I simply did so because there’s a shit ton of other music tracks out there that I genuinely hold in higher esteem.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me say this:

The “Overworld Theme” is a beautiful piece of music.

Despite it’s 8-bit nature, the “Zelda Theme” has gone on to grow well beyond the realm game music and become widely regarded as a classic tune worthy of universal praise.

While all that may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that virtually every memory I have of The Legend of Zelda is a bad one.

Getting lost, killed, and just plain frustrated was the order of the day just about every time I played Zelda, and I’m sorry to say, it’s left me negatively biased in regards to it.

The “Zelda Theme” is a great piece of music, that I listen to on my Ipod every now and again, and enjoy a great deal.

Unfortunately, it’s also an older arrangement of the 8-bit days, and as such, it leaves a little to be desired in terms of the fidelity of the music.

While skillfully composed, the “Zelda Theme” still hasn’t really lived up to it’s potential in my eyes, and has yet to have a proper rendition to capture the full glory of the music.

And that, my friends, is why the “Overworld Theme” gets dumped in the #11 spot on this list.

Oh yeah, that and there’s exactly 10 other pieces of music I think are better.

Duh.

Well folks, today we cleared the middle-tier of the list!

Tomorrow we’ll be cracking the Top 10, and with 2 classic tunes of gaming history already ranked unusually low,  there’s no telling what’s coming up next!

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donate