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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, '13, 10:21 pm 
While everyone does know about the usual crop of praised retro musics, such as the Mega Mans and the Contrases and the Castelvaniaseses, it's time to take a step back at look at games that could throw out a good tune but weren't otherwise remarkable, or games that just got lost in the dustbin for other reasons but still had surprisingly good music.

Now, if you owned a Genesis, and were into shmups, you probably owned at least one that was developed by Toaplan, perhaps most notorious as the creators of Zero Wing. Translation snafus aside, the games they made tended to be competent, if not spectacular, and generally had the feature of having the first stage music be the best in the whole game. A couple of examples of this principle in action:

Hellfire Stage 1 (Arcade)

Zero Wing Stage 1 (Sega Genesis)

Speaking of shmups, while Thunder Force IV is known one of the few games that took the fullest advantage of the Sega Genesis's sound hardware, Thunder Force 3 was no slouch on the matter either.

While Konami is well-known for producing excellent soundtracks from anyone at any time (the soundtrack for the original Castlevania was done by a girl fresh out of college as her first job), there are still a couple that fell through the cracks due to not being available in the US. The actual Metal Gear 2 (not Solid 2) wasn't released in the US until Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence edition came out, and the game does have a superior soundtrack on top of being a superior game.

More to come as I think of it.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, '13, 7:21 am 
R-90-2 wrote:Now, if you owned a Genesis, and were into shmups, you probably owned at least one that was developed by Toaplan...

*raises hand* That would be Truxton for me. In an era of eleventy billion vertical scrolling shooters, Truxton isn't memorable, but it was for me, because I believe it was the third game we owned for our Genesis. It's also memorable, because it was the first of the games my family owned where everyone in the house unanimously agreed it had great music. (Not that our other games were really impressive; there was a horrible Afterburner ripoff with aliens(?!) and of course Altered Beast, which had a mediocre soundtrack.) The Genesis/MD version of Truxton doesn't have an accompanying drum track, but at the time I didn't even notice. The near-constant sound effects were enough percussion. Stage I and V (I love arpeggios!) remain my favorite tunes.

Of course, Genesis game soundtracks got much better after the SNES came along (competition, yo!), but I still have a soft spot for Truxton.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, '13, 3:27 pm 
One of my favorite game soundtracks around remains EarthBound, which is generally a forgotten gem. So many good tracks, I have it in iTunes.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, '13, 10:48 pm 
Wolf Bird wrote:One of my favorite game soundtracks around remains EarthBound, which is generally a forgotten gem. So many good tracks, I have it in iTunes.

Earthbound definitely didn't sell well to its horrible ad campaign, but it's generally known and remembered as one of the best games for the SNES. It's kinda in the same boat as Snatcher for the Sega CD, which only sold 2,000 copies but is generally recognized as a superior adventure game.

Speaking of which, Snatcher had a pretty ballin' soundtrack, too, though having actual CD audio to draw on did help. :)

Now we go back to the NES. After Ninja Gaiden became a real thing, there were a few knockoffs in terms of story delivery and game-style, and, perhaps to some surprise, there were some that were actually good. perhaps the best of these was Vice: Project Doom, which actually had seriously good (and fairly varied) gameplay and a soundtrack to match.

Stage 1:

While SaGa Frontier was never really popular in the US, no doubt in part because it was forced to ship incomplete- the devs were given two weeks to finish a game that they thought they had six more months to complete due to a switch to making FF7 Square's #1 priority. While feelings on the game's system are mixed at best, it did put forth it's own sack of good music.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, '13, 12:36 am 
I would definitely throw Dragon Spirit (the NES version in particular) in as a lesser-known game with a really phenomenal soundtrack. I can't think of too many soundtracks off the top of my head as consistently awesome as that one, outside of the Mega Man's and Castlevania's.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, '13, 11:08 pm 
Many of those soundtracks are great ! But one of my favourite is the theme of the first stage of Hellfire ! I love it so much :)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, '13, 1:32 am 
Now, let's step back a moment and talk about a VG composer that time forgot, Ryuji Sasai. While Nobuo Umeatsu is known as Square's musical jewel, it didn't mean that it had no other composers- Kenji Ito did a bang-up job on SaGa Frontier, as seen above, but Mr. Sasai didn't have a bad soundtrack to be found in his portfolio for Squaresoft, even if the games they were attached to never really reached the height of popularity (or weren't even released outside of Japan).

The first soundtrack of his under the glass would be for that (in)famous entry-level RPG for the SNES, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Titled Final Fantasy USA, as it was intended as a redesign for US audiences after the poor sales of Final Fantasy IV's first localization, its reputation has received a bit of a rehabilitation, in part due to its soundtrack, which probably contains one of the best final dungeon themes of its era.

The second is SaGa 3: Shadow and Light, localized as Final Fantasy Legend 3. While the limitations of the original Game Boy are certainly a bit of a feat to work around, this doesn't keep it from having some of the better tunes on the system.

And lastly is a game that never saw release in the US, Treasure of the Rudras. the fact that it was never released in the West was a real shame, as it had some fairly strong features, such as a make-your-own magic system, three viewpoint characters running on a concurrent timeline that you could choose to switch between on a fairly frequent basis, and far, far superior character and monster animation to the offerings of prior Squaresoft RPGs. Add a seriously good soundtrack, and it was pretty gold.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, '13, 3:34 am 
That Doom Castle from Mystic Quest is indeed epic. Most metal SNES song ever. And yeah, I actually remember really liking the game. It's simple as all get out, but fun.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, '13, 10:45 pm 
"Crime of the heart" is fantastic ! :)

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, '18, 9:23 pm 
So, let's talk about Kenji Ito.

Kenji Ito was part of the stable of Square's composers that was in the position of being "always the bridesmaid, never the bride", as he was often set to the task of working on Square's second-string RPG franchise, the SaGa series. After becoming the full composer of the series from Romancing SaGa 1 through SaGa Frontier, however, he would constantly churn out good soundtracks- but his main specialty seemed to be boss themes. Couldn't write enough of them. Romancing SaGa 3 had no fewer than six, and SaGa Frontier had around 10 (thanks to the fact that the game had seven different stories, each with its own unique final boss).

So, here's a sampler.

Beat them up (Romancing SaGa)

Battle with Kujinshi (Normal boss, Romancing SaGa 2)

Battle with the Seven Heroes (Romancing SaGa 2)

Four Noble Devils (Romancing SaGa 3)

Battle #5 (SaGa Frontier)

vs. Orlouge (SaGa Frontier)

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