|Top Super Famicom/Nintendo Soundtracks
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|Author:||rtomhet [ Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:37 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Top Super Famicom/Nintendo Soundtracks|
I'm currently working on a big project involving video game music that I'll feature on VGMDB and Tumblr (a top 200 video game soundtrack compilation list), but I wanted to share here what I've learned about only Super Famicom music.
There are already 2 great threads on great SFC music on this forum, but seeing as though they were from several years ago, it would be better and interesting to start another one now to see how the SFC music community is doing in 2015. Unfortunately, this forum appears to be very inactive, but I'll go ahead and share my thoughts anyways and see who replies.
Out of all the consoles there are out there, I'm most knowledgeable on what is on the Super Famicom. I've probably listened to around 85% of the Snesmusic archive. I'm sure there are a lot of popular (and sometimes overly praised) soundtracks everyone on here knows about, so I'll try to avoid mentioning most of those and mention those that are unappreciated and lesser known. I'll go by company or developer and end with everything else.
Rudra no Hihou: Everyone loves Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (and rightfully so), but no one ever brings up Ruiji Sasai's follow up score to Rudra no Hihou. It's one of Square's last games on the Super Famicom that came out in 1996. A great RPG (I'm currently playing it), and an outstanding rock album. If you like mystic Quest you'll like this one. Many songs have soft and fast versions. Being a Japan only RPG, I can understand why many missed this one.
Front Mission: Gun Hazard: Another great and overlooked soundtrack. Two notable composers are Yasunori Mitsuda (from the Chrono series) and Nobuo Uematsu (from the Final Fantasy series). The game sounds like a dark cross between Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and some experimental and industrial elements.
Seiken Densetsu III (Secret of Mana 2): This is the sequel to Secret of Mana. It's still Kikuta and features a more evolved sound from it's predecessor.
Live a Live: Composed by Yoko Shimomura. This game came out before Super Mario RPG and sounds very similar to it. Some Japanese cultural influence in the songs.
Radical Dreamers: Somewhere between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Another great Mitsuda work.
Secret of Evermore: By Jeremy Soule. More commonly known but has a great soundtrack. Sound is dark, mysterious and ambient.
Romancing Saga 1,2,3: The Romancing Saga had good music in my opinion. All games were lead by composer Kenji Ito. Kind of sounds like Final Fantasy IV, but moves in its own direction. Kenji Ito is great at composing hard, fast battle songs.
Ogre series: Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre both have a somewhat dark, orchestral sound to them. Reminds me of marching armies, voyages, and clashes with armor and swords.
Treasure Hunter G: Orchestral/dramatic sound. Had a big team of composers. High quality SFC instruments.
Madara 2: I overheard the big 3 in Konami SFC music being Axelay, Contra III and Super Castle vania IV (these all great and everyone should check them out), but I'd call it a big four and add Madara 2 to it. Sounds like a dark mixture of Suikoden with Metal Gear Solid drumming. Composers from both those series are found in this game. It also contains many dark tracks, and some twisted sounding ones.
Gradius III: There are some tracks here not present in the arcade version. It's an upbeat sounding shooter game and sounds similar to Thunder Cross (same lead composer). Overall I can't decide if I prefer the arcade or SFC version of this game.
Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyushutsu Emaki: This is the first Goemon game on the Super Famicom. Has a great japanese cultural sound to it. I don't know if I'll ever own this soundtrack. The fourth is notable to for it's credits song.
Parodius series: There are three games in this series: Parodius DA!, Gokujou Parodius and Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius: Forever with me. They are all great and feature absurd sounding arranges of classical and other songs. Overall the sound is bizarre and humorous but it's great. The arcade versions are worth checking out also.
TMNT: Turtles in Time: A really great sounding ninja tutles game. Has a wild aggressive sound, especially the bass.
Sparkster: Another good one with a very heroic and dramatic 1st level song. Sometimes sounds bouncy and light, other times sounds aggressive and dark.
Tokimeki Memorial: A huge soundtrack featuring some of Konami's best composers. Overall it has a soft, light and happy sound to it. For some reason it has the Parodius series instruments in it which make it sound odd sometimes, but one of the best. You can hear the first version of this soundtrack on the PC Engine, or the arranged version on the PlayStation.
Sunset Riders: Has a western style to it if you are into that.
Castlevania: Dracula X: A somewhat funky version of Super castlevania IV with it's own songs.
Twinbee: Rainbow Bell Adventure: Anyone familiar with the Twinbee series knows it will have a bouncy/happy sound to it. the only stand out thing about this one is that it has a heavy sounding boss song in it.
Cybernator: Developed by Masaya but published by Konami. Sounds somewhat electronic, good synth, and has a good heavy bass sound to it.
Shin Megami Tensei II: I have always been fond of Tsukasa Masuko all the way to his end in Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. This game has a dark, funky somewhat disco like sound to it.
Last Bible III: This series began on the Game Boy. It keeps the traditional dark, bizarre style of Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei games, but also adds in a lot of other genres such as a reggae like track and weird sounding instruments. It stands out on its own.
Majin Tensei series: Majin Tensei and Majin Tensei II are among my top favorite soundtracks. Hidehito Aoki worked wonders. Sadly, he passed away in 2002 in a car accident. Some of you may have heard him in the first Persona game on the PlayStation. The first Majin Tensei had a dark, heavy industrial type sound. The second Majin Tensei sounds lighter, but has more structured songs and a crisper sound. This sounds like music you would hear at an industrial disco.
Seeiju Beasts and Blades: If you like Shin Megami Tensei II and Majin Tensei, you'll like this one since it has a similar sound. Sort of sounds like the both put together. Features both my favorite Atlus composers Tsukasa Masuko and Hidehito Aoki (sorry Meguro).
Magic Knight Rayearth: Most of this soundtrack is not very good. but it has 4 songs in particular I really like. The Title, the map theme, and the Boss/fiend tracks. The battle tracks are some of the best I've ever heard (a band somewhere in Europe arranged one of the battle songs which was really surprising). It sounds like the other games and anime for anyone familiar with this series. It's something I can play that has a mysterious, relaxing sound to it (at least the tracks I picked).
Traverse: Starlight & Prairie: By Daisuke Tamura. This was late in the Super Famicom's life (1996) and featured a pretty big soundtrack. It's overall melancholy/relaxing to listen to.
Soul & Sword: A very good RPG score by Hiroshi. Sounds like a fusion of some Zelda and Falcom games. It features an interesting double clean guitar lead that this composer uses in his games.
Battletoads series: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs and Battletoads & Double Dragon are both great scores by David Wise (Donkey Kong Country 2/DKC: Tropical Freeze). First game has a heavy rock sounds to it, second game is slightly lighter.
Ys IV: Falcom is an amazing company everyone should check out (their early PC-88, PC-98, PC, and PC- Engine titles are incredible). Ys Iv is composed by the famous Falcom Sound Team that features Mieko Ishikawa and Atsushi Shirakawa (also known as Tenmon in Shinkai's movies). This doesn't sound like the 3 earlier Ys games, but stands out on it's own. I consider this way more superior to the PC Engine version. It's rock that sometimes it sounds heavy, sometimes soft, sometimes melodic, sometimes sad, and sometimes a mixture of all of those. Forest of Celceta is awesome (that one is by Shirakawa).
Ys V: Ys IV was already different enough, then Ys V came along. This one is more orchestral than anything else. Has a good bass sound that moves the songs well. It's not like the other Ys games, but still among the greatest in it's own way.
Popful Mail: This one is an oddball in the Falcom library. It has a happy, goofy side to it, but can get aggressive, melodic and fast sometimes. By Mieko Ishikawa and Atsushi Shirakawa.
Brandish 2: This series overall has a sad/mysterious tone to it. Very enjoyable.
Area 88: Also known as U.N. Squadron. Some rock with great guitar leads. Based on the original arcade game.
Mega Man series: I just have to mention these games for how good they sound: Mega Man 7. Mega Man and Bass, Mega Man X, Mega Man X2 and Mega Man X3. The last three have a rock/guitar lead style, and the first two are lighter and a bit different (especially Mega Man and Bass which sounds like the oddball in the bunch)
Breath of Fire II: Composed by Yuko Takehara who also composed in Mega Man 7 and Mega Man X. A great RPG score feature the classic capcom SFC guitar rock sound. I prefer this to Final Fantasy VI (sorry Uematsu).
Final Fight: Recently, we found out this game had six composers. There are many titles for this song, but "Something Putrid by the Bay" is one of my favorite songs featuring a great guitar solo. The instruments aren't as developed as Capcom's later games, but it's still some great experimental sounding rock.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals: A Japan only RPG featuring Yasunori Shiono. It's light rock, and dramatic at times.
Chaos Seed: Same composer. Take Lufia II, upgrade it, throw in a Japanese influence, and you get Chaos Seed.
Energy Breaker: Probably the most intense of Neverland's games. It has very aggressive songs, and exceptional drumming. At times it can be melodic and atmospheric. There are some very good guitar solos in here. The quality of the instruments is gorgeous.
Kiki Kai Kai series: Also known as Pocky and Rocky. The two games on the Snes are classics that sound like a funky ganbare goemon score. By Hiroyuki Iwatsuki.
The Ninja Warriors Again: A remake of the original Ninja Warriors which is composed by the Zuntata team. This one is very good despite being much different and is also by hiroyuki iwatsuki. It has aggressive and impressive drum beats, a wild bass, and is overall an intense listen.
Chris Huelbeck (composer)
Super Turrican Series: This series started in the earlier consoles like the Amiga. Super Turrican and it's much heavier sequel Super Turrican 2 are highly recommended.
Jim Power: Still Huelbeck. Sounds like his Turrican scores. This game has an amazing title theme.
Hebereke series: Hebereke's Popoon and Sugoi Hebereke have a very silly, dance style to them.
Super Formation Soccer: One of the early Super Famicom games. It's a soccer game with a very heavy rock soundtrack. It tries to play in different styles in accordance with the country you select.
Super Fire Pro Wrestling: Similar to the soccer game but for a professional wrestling setting.
Human Grand Prix: I prefer the first one (for it's ending theme) and the 3rd one. The first few games had rock in then, the 3rd one being much lighter.
Super Final Match Tennis: This soundtrack has an easy going type sound. Like light rock.
Soul Blader: Some know this as Soul Blazer. This is early Quintet. Sometimes it sounds funky, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes mystical.
Actraiser: A somewhat orchestral score by Yuzo Koshiro. The track on the first level sounds rockish but is great. He is a veteran from Falcom's early days with the first 2 Ys games.
Terranigma: Score by Miyoko Kobayashi (went on to compose for Gust) and Masanori Hikichi (he's worked with staff from Sega, Falcom, Masaya, and others). Out of all the Super Famicom games out there, this could possibly be the greatest. The instruments are top quality, and the compositions are amazing, dramatic, mysterious, atmospheric, and intense. The game is about the creation of life and death revolving a planet with both a Light and Dark side. The music is very fitting to this type of setting.
Other games worth mentioning:
Sword World: This one hardly anyone seems to know about. It kind of sounds like Secret of Mana, or something that Quintet would release, but it is it's own style. Very good not commonly known soundtrack.
Super Robot Taisen Gaiden: Masoukishin: The Lord of Elemental: Released in 1996. Overall, it's hard rock, sometimes based off the anime series. It has good drumming, great bass playing, and top quality sounds.
Earthbound (Mother): I am not sure what the attitude of people is about this game's music, but certainly a top tier soundtrack. It's probably one of the strangest soundtracks overall (like Granhistoria and Psycho Dream), but it carries a variety of genres and is overall great. The game itself is weird and very funny. That's another way to describe the music.
Shin Momotarou Densetsu: This sounds a lot like the first Ganbare Goemon game, but slightly darker. This game is almost unknown, but sounds great.
B.O.B.: Looking at the title and what it stands for, I didn't know how to feel about this game, and it has very few songs. Not only that, the instruments will let you know right away this is an early Super Famicom soundtrack. Once I heard it, it quickly became one of my favorites. It has a very unique structure and composition. The drumming is the best part about this one. It's very weird, and could probably be placed on the same category as the other weird Super Famicom games, but it's composition is very impressive despite it's limitations.
Farland Story series: There are two games in this series. Farland Story, and Farland Story 2. Besides the Super Famicom, there are plenty more games for this series on other consoles. One of the composers from Rushing Beat is also involved with the second one. The quality of the instruments is very good, and the synth often gives the songs an evil, haunting tone. It's kind of like a dark version of Secret of Mana. The drumming is very well done also. It's very good, and the sequel is amazing also.
Lagoon: This is one of the early Super Famicom RPGs, and one of the best sounding ones. It has heavy rock that sometimes sounds like sorcerian or ys from Falcom. It can be very aggressive or melodic. I was pretty pleased to get the recent Kemco compilation soundtrack that had this in it remastered.
Asterix & Obelix: I stayed away from this because I didn't like the cover. That was a big mistake. It has a light sound, similar to some of the early atelier games made by Gust. There's a lot of flute and classical guitars. Composer Alberto Jose Gonzalez did a fantastic job on this one.
Umihara Kawase: A very short soundtrack, but very good regardless. It has a light, upbeat sound to it. Some of the songs are slow and mellow.
Rushing Beat series: All three of the Rushing Beat soundtracks are great, but the second one, also known as Brawl Brothers, is my favorite. It's compositions are very aggressive, and it probably has some of the most intense bass (on the same level as Turtles in Time) I've ever heard. It has good quality synth which sometimes makes the game sound semi-orchestrated and the songs are structured to instantly drop certain instruments instantly before repeating which sounds interesting.
Plok!: Magic by the Follin brothers. Great beats, great bass, great lead guitars; overall one of the best. The compositions are very well thought out and structured. Sometimes the soundtrack sounds like it's something beyond what the Super Famicom is supposed to be capable off. They also did this with the NES.
Dragon Knight 4: The rock in this game is very good, and the solo in Divine Punishment is amazing. It sounds similar to Brandish 2 but more heavier. This came out in 1996.
Thunder Force III: Originally from the Sega Genesis, this is the heavier version with a easier to hear lead. I don't know which one is better, but it's good music that sounds like rock.
Super Double Dragon: I always loved this game for it's 80's style sound. I was very disappointed and upset to see Jake flop in Double Dragon Neo. The jungle vocal song is the only thing that saved it. It should had kept the eighties sound this one had throughout the soundtrack. It sounds like the 80's new wave some people are familiar with. Good drum beats, good bass, and good synth.
FEDA: Emblem of Justice: Another not so well known RPG. The bass sounds like it's out of Terranigma, and the guitar sounds like it is dehydrated. Still, it's very enjoyable.
Tetris Attack: I was surprised with this one for being just a puzzle game yet having a long soundtrack. It's compositions are very well done, light, upbeat, somewhat funky, and the synth is great. A very relaxing listen.
Emerald Dragon: This RPG has interesting structuring throughout. Sometimes melodic and sometimes fast, It's rock but done well.
Super Adventure Island: By Yuzo Koshiro. One of the funkiest games I've ever heard. Has some great beats, and amazing sounding drums.
Tenshi no Uta: There are very few works by Motoi Sakuraba I enjoy (another being Baten Kaitos), and this one is one of them. The battle track in this one is one of the best songs I've heard in a video game.
Super R-Type: This soundtrack has an apocalyptic feel to it. The stand out is the bass and the way it is used. Those familiar with Hiya! know he was involved with Undercover Cops and the early Metal Slug games.
Hercules Glory IV: Gift of the Gods: Shogo Sakai composed here. He's the composer from Kirby Mass Attack, Mother 3 and others. To me this sounds similar to Dragon Quest, but much better in my opinion. Some of the instruments sound like they were used again in Mother 3.
Metal Max 2: A heavy rock type soundtrack. Lots of guitar solos and some rock, classical hybrids.
Cotton 100%: A cute shooter game featuring a cute, light, upbeat soundtrack.
Battle Zeque-Den: This game has one of the best opening themes I've ever heard (the one in the Super Famicom compilation). It sounds like a mixture of Okami and Terranigma.
Super Variable Geo: Members from the Farland Story series were in this one, which explains the great quality of the instruments. Sounds a bit like pop, electronical, and some rock.
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse: Composed by Setsuo Yamamoto, a composer from Mega Man X. The games sounds like what Mega Man X2 would had sounded like if Yamamoto did it instead of Yuki Iwai (who still did a phenomenal job).
Bio Metal: The American version of this soundtrack is trash. The original Japanese is the best to go. It's relaxing to listen to, and sounds like rough techno.
Ardy Lightfoot: A somewhat orchestrated soundtrack. It sounds adventurous and brave.
Hook: This one surprised me. The soundtrack sounds like it would fit into a Peter Pan movie to give you an idea of what it sounds like. It's style is somewhat orchestral.
First Queen: A good attempt at heavy metal. The song "Decisive Battle in Ornic" rivals Mystic Quest and Rudra no Hihou's battle songs.
'96 Zenkoku Koukou Soccer Senshuken: One of the best, top quality soccer game soundtracks out there. The main theme is arranged throughout, and it's beautiful.
Alcahest: A RPG published by Square, but developed by Hal Laboratory who works on the Kirby series. Composed by Jun Ishikawa, one of the Kirby veterans. Sound like A Kirby game if it were an RPG by Square.
Super E.D.F.: Another of the great shooter soundtracks. If you can manage to find the soundtrack, you can hear this in amazing quality. Great instrument quality for a 1991 game.
Hyper Iria: Based on the anime, with beautiful artwork, this soundtrack is similar to Farland Story since it has a somewhat mellow, haunting sound to it. It's a bit funky, with good beats and bass.
That's all I'll mention. I know I am missing out a lot but that's deliberate either because it's commonly known, or I didn't enjoy it.
If you want to hear some samples of the above games, you can listen to some good quality versions here along with songs from other consoles: VGM-Archivist.Tumblr.com
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