Thursday, June 6, 2013

Top Ten SNES Soundtracks

The Super Nintendo is one of our favorite systems of all time. We don't say that out of pure nostalgia either. A lot of the games available for the system that we enjoy are classics that remain as good now as they did then. Rather than talk about our favorite games for the system (we can do that at a later date), we want to talk about the music of the software for the system. Picking and choosing ten out of the immense library of great games with great soundtracks is no easy task. We know we left out favorites of people. That's what's so great about the Super Nintendo-- there's so much good music and so many excellent games to select from. We hope that at least you will understand our reasons for picking the ten titles that we have. Let's get to the sensational sounds, shall we?

10) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 

The first game our list is a game that starred Yoshi as the hero, with Mario in the backseat, so to speak, in baby form. It's Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a classic in every sense of the word, from its gameplay to its level design and of course, music. You have such catchy tunes like Flower Garden and Athletic, but then you also have dramatic tunes like Castle & Fortress, Boss, and Final Boss. It's a grand soundtrack, for sure, and one that evokes memories of tossing eggs and screaming babies.

9) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

A soundtrack fitting for a game set in the mystical Mushroom Kingdom, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars is a marvelous masterpiece of magnificent music. The soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura, whose works you might recall from the Kingdom Hearts series. No doubt fans of this game are really familiar with the themes heard in the game such as Beware the Forest Mushrooms, Fight Against an Armed Boss, Rose Town, Let's Do the Fooka Fooka (Nimbus Land), and Goodbye Geno.

8) Donkey Kong Country

David Wise needs employment at some big studio. He's deserved that, hasn't he? Is he still out of work? Someone answer us!! Anyway, we exclaim all these things because Mr. Wise's work on the Donkey Kong Country trilogy is absolutely phenomenal. Don't believe us? Foolish mortal! Take a listen to these atmospheric tracks that are not only catchy but full of delightful ambiance. There's Jungle Groove, Mine Cart Madness, Treetop Rock, Ice Cave Chant, and Fear Factory. Glorious, glorious music! The Donkey Kong Country soundtrack is a work of art, but it's not Wise's best work on the system. Stay tuned for that game coming up on this list!

7) Mega Man X

Right when you press start and enter the opening Central Highway level, you're greeted with this rocking song, letting you know you're in the thick of some seriously awesome action. Then, after the initial level has been completed and Zero has saved X's hide, you get a great stage select theme. Don't miss out on the excellent level themes, such as Flame Mammoth, Storm Eagle, and Sigma 1st. Choosing which Mega Man X game from the original SNES trilogy was a tremendous challenge, and it was a toss-up between X1 and X2. We figured we might as well go with old true blue.

6) Super Mario World

We put Super Mario World's soundtrack at the sixth position for a variety of reasons. Well, actually two. 1) We have a good bit of nostalgia that comes out when we hear this soundtrack, and 2) It's just a well done soundtrack. Koji Kondo provided the simple yet virtuoso-like tunes for Super Mario World. The classics are so classic that we don't even need to describe them to most people. Just listen and be taken back to your childhood, or if you were born in the year 1995 onward, we're so sorry for your misfortune. There's Overworld, Athletic, Underwater, Castle and Ending.

5) Breath of Fire

The original Breath of Fire is one of our favorite RPGs of the 16-bit era. Even though it has been outclassed by other games of the same genre, we still hold a special place for Ryu and the gang in our gamer hearts. Breath of Fire's soundtrack was composed by Alph Lyla, what was then Capcom's in-house composition team, featuring Mari Yamaguchi, Minae Fuji, Yasuaki Fujita, and Yoko Shimomura. Like any great RPG soundtrack, you have a wide range of feelings that you get from listening to the music. From sadness with Fate to a warm feeling of nostalgia with Day and Night. Then there's memorable themes like A Road, Battling, and Dawn.

4) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of most well regarded games in the history of this fine hobby of ours. Not even Zelda's creators could create a 2D Zelda that topped it. You're free to disagree, however. Regardless, the soundtrack is also something that made A Link to the Past so special, composed by Nintendo veteran Koji Kondo. There's, of course, the Overworld Theme, which plays in virtually every Zelda game, but this one is one of the more majestic versions. Then there's Hyrule Castle, The Dark World, Forest of Mystery, and the introduction of a legacy theme for the series, Zelda's Lullaby. Bah! Now we want to replay A Link to the Past for, like, the fiftieth time!

3) Chrono Trigger

The third best SNES soundtrack comes from the marvelous mind of Yasunori Mitsuda. Well, actually that isn't entirely true. You see, Mr. Mitsuda was so stressed out with the undertaking of composing the music for Chrono Trigger that he needed the assistance of Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu to contribute some tracks. Regardless, this team effort stands as one of the greatest SNES soundtracks. How could you not enjoy this time traveling epic with songs like Zeal Palace, To Far Away Times, Battle With Magus, Brink of Time, and Battle 2?  

2) Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

David/Dave Wise had a little support composing the soundtrack to our next game, but most of the music comes from him and him alone. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest features a wide array of musical styles that are as atmospheric as the levels they are played in. Plunder the deep with Lockjaw's Saga, party like it's 1975 with Disco Train, get mellow with Hot-Head Bop and Stickerbrush Symphony, and hear the melody of DKC's Gangplank Galleon with Snakey Chantey. David Wise's music accentuates each level splendidly, and the masterful compositions are ones that sound great to this day.

1) Final Fantasy III

Not just our favorite Super Nintendo soundtrack, but also one of our favorite soundtracks of all time, Nobuo  Uematsu's Final Fantasy III (or as it's now known in the West by its true name, Final Fantasy VI) provides a wide range of musical styles and emotions. The forlorn and beautiful Celes brings tears to our eyes, the sound of Terra makes us ready for adventure, and the town theme of Kids Run Through the City Corner gives us such a warm feeling with its instrumentation and melody. Final Fantasy VI also possesses several of the greatest boss battles themes from a game, such as The Decisive Battle, The Fierce Battle, and Dancing Mad. Final Fantasy III is a music composition triumph, regardless of what medium it is in.


We've named our favorite Super Nintendo soundtracks, and there's many we wanted to add but had no room, like Super Metroid, Final Fantasy II, Secret of Mana, Mega Man X2, and Kirby Super Star! However, even though we've listed our favorites, there's just the matter of answering this one question: What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments section.

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