Wildcat’s 100 Favorite Game Tunes (2012)

Last year, I put up 100 tracks from gaming that I absolutely loved. However, as the year has rolled by, I think that I’ve cooled off on some of those songs and fell in love with others I had omitted. With that in mind, I feel that it’s a good time to revisit that idea and update the list. This year’s edition will increase the Top choices to ten. I will continue to operate under the rules set last year by keeping the list diversified through not picking all of, say, Mega Man 3′s soundtrack. Only two tracks per game will be allowed. Youtube clips are provided so you can sample the music, however, I can not constantly update this page with new links as Youtube users or copyright owners shut clips down! I’ve done quite a few Song Highlights on these tunes if you’d like to dig through and read why I like some of these songs. Enjoy!

TOP 10


Mega Man 3, Protoman’s Whistle Concert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uikEuigprFE


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna’s Lament, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GWf3e_I3w


Chrono Trigger, Memories of Green, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9-OcPLO3M


Beyond Good & Evil, Home Sweet Home, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTdcJWDNsao


Castlevania, Wicked Child, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PFm7mrdVY

rdr1
Red Dead Redemption, Far Away,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkvAb6THQY

Okami, Shinshu Plains (1 and 2), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKG-Qu4WvM

Silent Hill 3, You’re Not Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3ufaZCoVw

Secret of Mana, Into the Thick of It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N9lrq-rks

Skies of Arcadia, Lower Valua, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJxG1FmMOU

The Rest:
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_u7bmVsSc
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Plains, http://youtu.be/pfmiI9AttYc
Age of Empires III, A Hot Meal, http://youtu.be/jB1R5s3PVEM
Age of Mythology, Suture Self, http://youtu.be/KhvklZT0LMg
Age of Mythology, Chocolate Outline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBpz9S6I07g
Batman (NES), Stage 1/5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlGDKfgz4fA
Batman (NES), Stage 3, http://youtu.be/zERK-4IgQAg
Beyond Good & Evil, Hillyan Suite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48dpXQixgk
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hl5UCCBCXI
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIvcYCbWMfY
Blast Corps., Angel City, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2eRyyj_NCo
Blaster Master, Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnwRFMo6D0
Blaster Master, Level 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIjIUyXrBJg
Body Harvest, Outdoors (Violin), http://youtu.be/pC41_–XeqQ
Body Harvest, Indoors (piano), http://youtu.be/wURLANzjDLk
Breath of Fire, Deep Forest, http://youtu.be/1iCbSLFrqrU
California Games (NES), Flying Disc, http://youtu.be/5iYMN2FKkoY
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Bloody Tears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjazC45Qkww
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jail of Jewel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRdjcXfXsc
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Dracula’s Castle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgF0uBjCds0
Cave Story, On to Grasstown, http://youtu.be/VlmOhXoKmoQ
Chrono Trigger, Wind Scene (Yearning of Wind), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZaFDA7PXY
Contra (NES), Level 3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U58a-svZok8
Deus Ex, Hong Kong Streets 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvw8uSWucM
Diablo, Tristram Village, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8jJJXgNLo4
Dragon Quest IX, Heaven’s Prayer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjd1MnZx5Y
Dragon Quest VIII, Strange World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN9Up_0zuUs
Dragon Quest VIII, Heavenly Flight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVdFgxvhRg
Ducktales, Transylvania, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuHesrJROw
Final Fantasy, Temple of Fiends, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW56QbT0lrM
Final Fantasy VI, Terra’s Theme, http://youtu.be/W7RPY-oiDAQ
Fire Emblem (7 in series order), Wind Across the Plains, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFWOvIrBCgc
F-Zero GX, Captain Falcon’s Theme, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L0pW3Eol6k
Grandia II, Mirumu, http://youtu.be/ZG_oW5XH71Y
Heroes of Might and Magic IV, Swamp Lands, http://youtu.be/Cffc_s0eN5Q
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Last Sleep, http://youtu.be/BwdCg8Gqqfk
Jet Grind Radio, Magical Girl, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9f939bW3c
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Butter Building, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdJbaCfXjQ
Kirby’s Adventure, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVKyjZs-nU
The Last Ninja, Stage 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiLvoMpLQFA
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o3EMdYaKw
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Spirit Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0PVz2pIEcw
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kakariko Village, http://youtu.be/LdERRFGaUjY
Mario Kart 64, Credits, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwZT3CvpMw
Mega Man 2, Air Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FINefcN9pPc
Mega Man 3, Snake Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM-Fub7Oc_A
Mega Man 5, Wave Man, http://youtu.be/Nd2O6mbhCLU
Mega Man 6, Flame Man, http://youtu.be/qdWeTin2mho
Mega Man 6, Mr. X stages, http://youtu.be/uhJ7Ss-puVY
Metroid, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeUkUp4uRc
Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts (second version), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbbUv1hz6mE
Metroid Prime, Tallon Overworld, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mziw3FQkZYg
Monster Tale, Ancient Ruins, http://youtu.be/iQ1D6UJW5Jg
M.U.L.E., Main Theme, http://youtu.be/VI2e-jwjhN4
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Seifu Meigetsu A, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUF1lkbvoUs
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bosyoku Souzen A, http://youtu.be/c9qBwD4bxO8
Ogre Battle 64, Premonition, http://youtu.be/Rel-IOyQTX0
Ogre Battle 64, The Sensational World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnlp1YAUJ0
Okami, Reset, http://youtu.be/zpuGNH75pUc
Perfect Dark, Chicago – Stealth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJbwLjKhVGw
Persona 4, Your Affection, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChrBp1pEGM
Persona 4, The Almighty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVMKpk__HQ
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, The Dark Fragrance of Coffee, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzTrWUajZg
Portal, Still Alive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
Portal 2, Want You Gone, http://youtu.be/jBdRaGSI4jU
Power Blade, Level 4 – Tower, http://youtu.be/c-R6Zp3n608
Rayman Origins, Sea of Serendipity – Panic at the Port!, http://youtu.be/5UVPJxSmt54
Rayman Origins, Sea of Serendipity – Lums of the Water (“Glou Glou”), http://youtu.be/oNV2uakCtzs
Secret of Mana, A Wish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLK8IrYrZxA
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Dead Fingers Talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clzlxOZQeU
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Adios, http://youtu.be/-lkRjV7Zp-k
Silent Hill, Silent Hill, http://youtu.be/_EN-_1OGtUY
Silent Hill 2, Laura, http://youtu.be/6LB7LZZGpkw
Silent Hill 3, Breeze ~in monochrome light~, http://youtu.be/OneUwrYiGIw
Skies of Arcadia, Kingdom of Ixa’taka, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-hJjD3XAs
Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Dmitri’s Nightclub, http://youtu.be/RCX3tV7lSdk
Sonic CD, Sonic Boom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJXKoubh9sQ
Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Ice Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4URokdL-dfM
Super Mario 64, Koopa’s (Bowser’s) Road, http://youtu.be/0rygsWPCjNQ
Super Mario 64, Water Course Theme (Dire Dire Docks), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcPSbkS9TQ
Super Mario Galaxy, Gusty Garden Galaxy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2kxFCQ_mQ
Super Metroid, Maradia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxobPQMNY_w
Super Metroid, Brinstar (Plant Overgrown), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ULlqfeNLWY
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bramble Blast, http://youtu.be/G3rnyqI7dFc
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Theme, http://youtu.be/3MRznLSFGFQ
Tales of Symphonia, Like a Glint of Light, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFWadiZkA_8
Xenoblade Chronicles, Guar Plains, http://youtu.be/xweRl4LZlmo
Xenoblade Chronicles, Title Theme, http://youtu.be/nNR-wsFAfiU
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF-30Dg9Xs4
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #6, http://youtu.be/22ATqffTkIk

 

Dropped from last year:
Banjo-Kazooie, Click Clock Wood (spring)
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Aquarius
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Hail from the Past
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Crystal Teardrops
Contra (NES), Level 1
Donkey Kong Country, Theme (Simian Segue)
Dragon Quest IX, I Won’t Lose
Grandia II, Carbo
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Big Dreams
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Outer Rings
Legend of Zelda, Death Mountain (Final Dungeon)
Mega Man 2, Wood Man
Mega Man 5, Charge Man
Persona 4, Reach out to the Truth
Resident Evil 4, Sorrow
Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Tico and the Hat
Super Mario RPG, And My Name’s Booster
Tales of Symphonia, Dry Trail

Modified on 12/26/2012, JF

Wildcat’s 100 Favorite Game Tunes (2011)

Kurt Kalata over at Hardcore Gaming 101 is running a poll to determine what video gaming tunage is most liked among the forum and blog there, and I decided to participate and compile my favorites.  I’ve done quite a few Song Highlights on these tunes, and will be doing plenty more in the near future spotlighting them and providing some explanation, but here’s my list (with Youtube links to sample the song – hopefully they all work!):

TOP 5


Mega Man 3, Protoman’s Whistle Concert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uikEuigprFE


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna’s Lament, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GWf3e_I3w


Chrono Trigger, Memories of Green, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9-OcPLO3M


Beyond Good & Evil, Home Sweet Home, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTdcJWDNsao


Castlevania, Wicked Child, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PFm7mrdVY

The Rest:
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_u7bmVsSc
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Plains, http://youtu.be/pfmiI9AttYc
Age of Mythology, Suture Self, http://youtu.be/KhvklZT0LMg
Age of Mythology, Chocolate Outline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBpz9S6I07g
Banjo-Kazooie, Click Clock Wood (spring), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXoaTcf_3vo
Batman (NES), Stage 1/5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlGDKfgz4fA
Batman (NES), Stage 3, http://youtu.be/zERK-4IgQAg
Beyond Good & Evil, Hillyan Suite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48dpXQixgk
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hl5UCCBCXI
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIvcYCbWMfY
Blaster Master, Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnwRFMo6D0
Blaster Master, Level 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIjIUyXrBJg
Body Harvest, Outdoors (Violin), http://youtu.be/pC41_–XeqQ
Body Harvest, Indoors (piano), http://youtu.be/wURLANzjDLk
Breath of Fire, Deep Forest, http://youtu.be/1iCbSLFrqrU
California Games (NES), Flying Disc, http://youtu.be/5iYMN2FKkoY
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Bloody Tears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjazC45Qkww
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Aquarius, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MORo75YOHWs
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Hail from the Past, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg1PDaOnU2Q
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jail of Jewel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRdjcXfXsc
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Dracula’s Castle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgF0uBjCds0
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Crystal Teardrops, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWwJEQt90qk
Chrono Trigger, Wind Scene (Yearning of Wind), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZaFDA7PXY
Contra (NES), Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UqXbEwqwF8
Contra (NES), Level 3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U58a-svZok8
Deus Ex, Hong Kong Streets 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvw8uSWucM
Diablo, Tristram Village, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8jJJXgNLo4
Donkey Kong Country, Theme (Simian Segue), http://youtu.be/nLT1-5laF0A
Dragon Quest IX, Heaven’s Prayer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjd1MnZx5Y
Dragon Quest IX, I Won’t Lose, http://youtu.be/aycArJW4klo
Dragon Quest VIII, Strange World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN9Up_0zuUs
Dragon Quest VIII, Heavenly Flight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVdFgxvhRg
Ducktales, Transylvania, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuHesrJROw
Fire Emblem (7 in series order), Wind Across the Plains, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFWOvIrBCgc
F-Zero GX, Captain Falcon’s Theme, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L0pW3Eol6k
Grandia II, Carbo, http://youtu.be/1XqprRUVSJo
Grandia II, Mirumu, http://youtu.be/ZG_oW5XH71Y
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Big Dreams, http://youtu.be/cgy5_a9fx4g
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Last Sleep, http://youtu.be/BwdCg8Gqqfk
Jet Grind Radio, Magical Girl, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9f939bW3c
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Outer Rings, http://youtu.be/y3DAHtoitXY
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Butter Building, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdJbaCfXjQ
Kirby’s Adventure, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVKyjZs-nU
The Last Ninja, Stage 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiLvoMpLQFA
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o3EMdYaKw
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Spirit Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0PVz2pIEcw
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kakariko Village, http://youtu.be/LdERRFGaUjY
Legend of Zelda, Death Mountain (Final Dungeon), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_NPA7caCsc
Mario Kart 64, Credits, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwZT3CvpMw
Mega Man 2, Air Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FINefcN9pPc
Mega Man 2, Wood Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbK2uCp4-sQ
Mega Man 3, Snake Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM-Fub7Oc_A
Mega Man 5, Wave Man, http://youtu.be/Nd2O6mbhCLU
Mega Man 5, Charge Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PEukLWNKsg
Mega Man 6, Flame Man, http://youtu.be/qdWeTin2mho
Mega Man 6, Mr. X stages, http://youtu.be/uhJ7Ss-puVY
Metroid, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeUkUp4uRc
Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts (second version), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbbUv1hz6mE
Metroid Prime, Tallon Overworld, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mziw3FQkZYg
Monster Tale, Ancient Ruins, http://youtu.be/iQ1D6UJW5Jg
MULE, Main Theme, http://youtu.be/VI2e-jwjhN4
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Seifu Meigetsu A, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUF1lkbvoUs
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bosyoku Souzen A, http://youtu.be/c9qBwD4bxO8
Ogre Battle 64, Premonition, http://youtu.be/Rel-IOyQTX0
Ogre Battle 64, The Sensational World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnlp1YAUJ0
Okami, Shinshu Plains (1 and 2), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKG-Qu4WvM
Okami, Hanasaki Valley, http://youtu.be/EtKh1Uac2Og
Perfect Dark, Chicago – Stealth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJbwLjKhVGw
Persona 4, Your Affection, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChrBp1pEGM
Persona 4, The Almighty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVMKpk__HQ
Persona 4, Reach out to the Truth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFl6sWHmXI
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, The Dark Fragrance of Coffee, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzTrWUajZg
Portal, Still Alive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
Red Dead Redemption, Far Away, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkvAb6THQY
Resident Evil 4, Sorrow (end credits), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0k4kGkH6Bk
Secret of Mana, A Wish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLK8IrYrZxA
Secret of Mana, Into the Thick of It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N9lrq-rks
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Dead Fingers Talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clzlxOZQeU
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Adios, http://youtu.be/-lkRjV7Zp-k
Skies of Arcadia, Kingdom of Ixa’taka, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-hJjD3XAs
Skies of Arcadia, Lower Valua, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJxG1FmMOU
Silent Hill 3, You’re Not Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3ufaZCoVw
Sonic CD, Sonic Boom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJXKoubh9sQ
Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Ice Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4URokdL-dfM
Super Mario 64, Koopa’s (Bowser’s) Road, http://youtu.be/0rygsWPCjNQ
Super Mario 64, Water Course Theme (Dire Dire Docks), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcPSbkS9TQ
Super Mario Galaxy, Gusty Garden Galaxy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2kxFCQ_mQ
Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Tico and the Hat, http://youtu.be/Xev0rnBJIzA
Super Mario RPG, And My Name’s Booster, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJoGF1oLd0o
Super Metroid, Maradia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxobPQMNY_w
Super Metroid, Brinstar (Plant Overgrown), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ULlqfeNLWY
Tales of Symphonia, Like a Glint of Light, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFWadiZkA_8
Tales of Symphonia, Dry Trail, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvnAkAQK82E
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF-30Dg9Xs4
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #6, http://youtu.be/22ATqffTkIk

Atrocious Enemy Encounters – Chill Bully (Super Mario 64) and Spider (Ducktales)

Cheap Boss that Sucks – Chill Bully (Super Mario 64, N64)

Bullies were first introduced in Super Mario 64, and their debut in Lethal Lava Land wasn’t too bad.  The pushing match reminded me some of sumo wrestling.  However, Nintendo pulled a double-dip and resorted to reusing a Boss Bully in an ice level, and there’s some problems with his second appearance.  One, slipping on ice makes the once-jolly shoving much more against the player, as they will slide far more than the Bully does.  It makes it harder to combo him closer to the edge.  Second, because of the frozen water underneath the ring, he’ll bounce high into the air, often getting trapped banging his head on the arena above, prolonging the rematch (with plenty of loud shouts, too).  Compared to the rest of the level, this encounter is stale and frustrating, making it one of the least enjoyable parts of the game for me.

Vile Enemy from Hell – Spider (Ducktales, NES)

These sporadic arachnids have infuriated me for years – they were one of the first enemies that I truly did not like seeing.  They seem to have a pattern, but it’s very jittery and difficult to time.  They also tend to make their homes over pits, making the platforming much more of a chore than it needed to be.  While they do appear in the Amazon as well as the Himalayas, the slippery, snow-covered mountains make these enemies far more irritating.  Scrooge’s pogo cane is much more of a problem here thanks to sinking in the snow, and the reduced traction makes it far easier to inadvertently bump into these assholes.  Not a whole lot of fun.


Wildcat’s NES Memories – His Favorites and his Reflections

Other Memories of the NES:

Part IIPart IIIPart IV

The Nintendo Entertainment System has been around for 25 years now, and it’s the one system I’ve arguably spent more time attached to in my entire life.  I had a NES since I was 3 or so, and happily own the same console I received back on Christmas those many years ago.  In celebration of such a great piece of hardware, I’m going to shine the spotlight on the console.  I will post excerpts of my earlier comments on my 10 favorite NES games of all time, as well as dig into the many happy moments spent on the machine, with the multitude of games that I have fond memories of.  I hope you enjoy my recollections of what could very well be the most vital system in my gaming career.

Wildcat’s Top 10 NES Games

1. Mega Man 3 (Capcom)
Mega Man 3 was my game when I was a kid.  It was my first Mega Man game, and it left an incredible impact upon me.  I spent a lot of time with MM3…the music remains some of my favorite in gaming ever (particularly Protoman’s whistle), the level designs are mapped into my brain, and the challenge level was perfect.  I was blown away and fell in love, and it arguably became my source of fandom for Capcom games.  I can easily say that I know MM3.  Just a well-designed classic that I love to play.”

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (Nintendo)
“With eight huge, diverse worlds to wander through, Super Mario 3 was a treasure trove to gamers.  Its power-ups, enemies and gameplay improvements were remarkable, and the overall game felt polished and perfect.  Any 2D Mario has had to fight off comparisons to this giant of gaming, but it’s a reputation that has been well earned.  It’s my second favorite in the series, and is a heap of fun.  That’s all I could hope for.”

3. The Legend of Zelda (Nintendo)
“The Legend of Zelda is to this day one of my favorite gaming experiences.  The incredibly huge world for its time was perfectly sized, packed with so many tricks and hidden passages that a plucky gamer could spend hours randomly bombing walls, flaming bushes, or pushing rocks to uncover them all…if they had the right tools to do such a thing, that is…This is exactly what games are supposed to do – leave an intangible mark upon you.  And this concept, born from Shigeru Miyamoto’s early childhood wandering the Japanese countryside, has done it again and again to countless gamers across the world.”

4. Bionic Commando (Capcom)
“Bionic Commando remains unique with its inability to jump – it takes time and patience to master swinging the bionic arm to traverse the game’s levels, but once you get familiar with the concept, the reward is fantastic.  It’s certainly one of the finest executions of a different style of platforming I’ve come across in my years as a gamer…Its gameplay takes some adjustment, but it, hopefully, will suddenly click and become one of your favorite NES games like it did with me.”

5. Kirby’s Adventure (Nintendo/HAL Labs)
“Kirby’s NES-based sequel revolutionized the gameplay of the series forever – by giving Kirby the ability to absorb his enemy’s powers, the core of the franchise would never be the same as its more sterile predecessor…I really became attached to Kirby’s NES debut…It’s certainly not a difficult game…but that was irreverent.  When a game does everything you tell it to do with its controls, charms you with sharp graphics and delightful music, and offers up challenge not with its enemies or bosses but with some tricky hidden switches to find…this was a hell of a way to send off the NES.”

6. Contra (Konami)
“Contra’s successful NES port epitomizes the run-n-gun genre: tense gameplay balancing between shooting and platforming.  With…quirky alien bosses, an array of weaponry to collect, a high challenge level, and a solid two-player mode, Contra is a frantic delight.”
“…this arcade port maximized the awesome gameplay, music and level designs of the original, making it one of the finest action games on the NES.”*

7. Mega Man 2 (Capcom)
It’s very easy to see why MM2 has become the stalwart of the franchise.  The leap from the original to MM2 is vast.  The gameplay is tighter, the levels are crazier-looking…the music is rocking, and the whole experience feels far more focused.  The enemies are more diverse than MM1, and tend to be more fun to engage, too.  All and all, a lovely action game that pushes several of the right buttons for me.”

8. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (Konami)
“As I dive more and more into this game, I find myself believing that this is definitely one of Konami’s greatest. Reverting back to the original CV’s formula after Simon’s Quest, Dracula’s Curse builds heavily upon that foundation, showcasing improved level design, introducing multiple characters to play as, tweaking the difficulty to be just right, and features some incredible music. A hearty recommendation.”

9. Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo)
“I’ve played it many times since my first experience with it back in 1987, but it remains a fantastic testament to the power of gaming.  It’s a beautifully designed game, with tons of secrets, varying foes to figure out how to best conquer, and some of the tightest, most responsive controls of the era.  It was a landmark to end all landmarks.  Not many games would be able to replicate the joys of Super Mario Bros. in the early goings of the console, and it exceeds the majority of the games the system saw throughout its life.  The melodies that Koji Kondo created have enshrined themselves into memory, being able to be summoned in a hum instantly.  The graphics, while rudimentary now, were lengths ahead of many of the games I had played before it.  And the challenge level was just about perfect.  Super Mario Bros. isn’t a cakewalk – it requires dedication, practice and some perseverance to achieve the game’s final moments.  It’s totally worth it, though.”

10. StarTropics (Nintendo)
“…this game is a lot of fun. It’s puzzling, has interesting monsters, excellent music and a decent plot for the NES era. It’s a hard game, and the controls are stiff, but it manages to still remain enjoyable. A great choice.”
“Set in a fictional chain of islands, players take control of Mike Jones, who in the hunt to find his missing uncle uncovers an alien invasion plot.  With a few nods to Zelda, as well as staking out many of its own gameplay concepts, this action-adventure title remains one of Nintendo’s more unique titles.”*

Now that we’ve covered what I consider to be the absolutes of the console, I want to look back at several other games and other aspects of the NES, some notable, others not so much, and share with you many moments and highlights of my gaming adolescence (and, occasionally, my gaming maturity, since I still play games for it!).  Click through for these!

(more…)

Ducktales (NES)

Ducktales (NES)
Pub/Dev: Capcom
Players: 1

Ducktales is a fantastic platformer.  It takes some creative strides with its protagonist’s actions, builds compelling worlds utilizing those maneuvers, and makes playing through it a pleasure thanks to its responsiveness, its catchy music, and charming visuals.

Ducktales takes the old Disney animated cartoon into 8 bits with success.  The sprites are sharp and represent the stars of the show well, and the enemies and bosses that were originally created for this game fit in with the motif.  The five stages offer a fair amount of diversity.   Each locale has its own unique foes and hazards to tackle, and Scrooge is more than well equipped to handle the task with his multifaceted cane.  Scrooge can use it in two ways – as a golf club to smack rocks, barrels and other objects, or as a pogo stick to bounce higher, leap onto enemies and to cross dangerous terrain.  The game makes good use of these mechanics, and although Scrooge lacks a direct way of attack, the game rarely makes that an issue.  The only nitpick I have about them is that the pogo stick has a habit of disabling itself on cliff edges, which can cause cheap hits or a pitfall to occur.  Boss fights are straightforward affairs, with each boss taking 3 – 5 – 7 blows (depending on the difficulty) to knock out, and their patterns spin around figuring out the best time to strike with Scrooge’s pogo stick, so you won’t feel unprepared for them once you’ve learned their moves.

The game’s major downside is that it’s short – I breezed through the game on normal difficulty in a hour or so (that was with the levels memorized, mind you – add another hour or so to newbies).  Thankfully, it’s a good enough ride to make that hour or two quite special.  There’s a ton of hidden goodies to track down, some tricky platforming for expert players to find top-secret treasures, and Launchpad’s ability of whisking players back to Duckburg midstage adds some extra incentive for players to explore, but it’s still going to end awfully quick no matter how you look at it.  Another problem is that the game forces players to revisit the Transylvania stage a grand total of three times in its brief playtime – the first to beat the stage for its treasure, the second to find a key to get into the African Mine level, and a third to properly conclude the game.  I like the stage (and its music), but that was completely unnecessary to pad the game’s length.  I’d rather it conclude after the five stages or have a new place to finish up the game, personally.

Despite those flaws, Ducktales remains a gem of a licensed title, and is worth trying out.  It won’t keep you long, but the time will be well spent.

Virtual Console No-Shows: Ducktales (NES)

18. Ducktales (NES, Capcom)

Brief Synopsis: Scrooge McDuck is on the hunt for treasure, and he must make his way through 5 notably rich areas of Earth (including the Moon) in order to do it.  Scrooge can use his trademark cane to leap higher as if he were using a pogo-stick, or can whack rocks and barrels with it to hit enemies and objects.  It’s considered one of the finest licensed games ever made.

Why is it Missing?: Disney owns the Ducktales franchise, and it’s fairly unlikely that Capcom would fork out the money to rerelease it.  I’d love to be proved wrong, though.

Other (Legal) Options: Outside of hunting down a NES and a copy of the game, there isn’t one.  The game isn’t too rare (its sequel is, though), so it isn’t difficult to stumble on a copy.

As a sidenote, I’ll be hitting all of Capcom’s other Disney property titles in the next Virtual Console No-Shows, which I’ll do either over the weekend or next week, depending on time.

Looking Back – My Favorite Game from 1989

1989…I can’t really remember a whole lot that was outstanding in 1989. I would have been 6 at that point, so I was in 1st grade, I’d guess? Being in school added responsibility to my life, and naturally, my gaming time had to be cut in order to make way for education. XD  Heh. I don’t regret my schooling, really, outside of wishing it was a little better. My speech at times is embarrassing. I tend to make up words or horribly butcher actual words into new syllabic frontiers. XD I also loathed the social status shit that prevailed in public school. I didn’t have to deal with that at this age quite yet, so I won’t go into that discussion now. I don’t recollect much from this year, so I think that’ll be the extent of my school memories.

Back to games!  I may have started reading gaming magazines at this point. I remember flipping through a few old EGM, (back when they were Electronic Gaming Monthly!), Nintendo Power and Gamepro issues when I was young. I miss these, truth be told. The internet is nice, but I kind of preferred having something physical in my hands over digitized code restructured into letters on a monitor for gaming news. I’m very thankful for the internet, don’t get me wrong (I wouldn’t be doing this post, for instance), but I guess I’m a little old fashioned in regards to print.

Beyond that, I have little more to say. Let’s let the games speak up. :)

Shortlist:


Mega Man 2 (NES, Capcom)

Capcom’s second outing for their mascot takes the core concepts and improves upon each and every one – better level design, cooler bosses, more stages, gadgets to help Mega Man get around, and some of the best NES music of all time.


California Games (NES, Milton Bradley/Rare/Epyx)

Arguably the epitome of Epyx’s Games, the switch to modern sports titles like skateboarding, BMX, flying disc and rollerskating change up the gameplay and offer up tons of single and multiplayer fun.


Cameltry (Arcade, Taito)

Taito’s quirky maze game put you in control of the camera, spinning the level around instead of controlling the ball. Very unique approach to this genre, and an astoundingly fun game.


Ducktales (NES, Capcom)

Capcom’s spin on Disney’s famous cartoon is a rich (pun, I haz it) gameplay romp throughout five of the world’s more exotic locales.  Join Scoorge McDuck and his amazing pogo cane on a hunt to become the world’s wealthiest duck!

In my opinion, the best game of 1989 was…


Mega Man 2 (NES, Capcom)

Another classic that I had to try out later on in life.  It’s very easy to see why MM2 has become the stalwart of the franchise.  The leap from the original to MM2 is vast.  The gameplay is tighter, the levels are crazier-looking (and more balanced…I hate Guts Man’s stage XD …but I can imagine people hating Quick Man’s just as much :p ), the music is rocking, and the whole experience feels far more focused.  The enemies are more diverse than MM1, and tend to be more fun to engage, too.  All and all, a lovely action game that pushes several of the right buttons for me.

Some personal anecdotes…

As you’ll see next time (spoiler?!??!), I adore MM3.  Despite that, though, I can see why people love MM2 so much.  I really think it’s a matter of which game you may have played first.  Both are excellent.

Before I played MM2, I conquered these Masters so many times in MM3 that it took some getting used to to not having the MM3 powers to fight them off with. XD

I love the Minibosses’ take on Mega Man 2′s themes.  Air Man’s in particular is my favorite on their track.  As for the actual music, I’ve become fairly partial to Air Man, Bubble Man and Wood Man’s themes.

Other Awards:

Worst Game of the Year: NFL Football (NES, LJN)

It took some serious decision-making in order to determine the truly vile out of this year’s batch. I had several potential candidates, including Violence Fight (clunky Pit Fighter-esque brawler), Faxanadu (a game I just can not get into, despite two attempts at giving it a fair shake), The Uncanny X-Men (poorly programmed and a waste of a solid license) and Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (I do not see the appeal in this game whatsoever). In the end, I decided to dump on Acclaim’s lousy NFL, one of the shoddiest sports games ever put out to market. I rewatched a clip on Youtube to recollect why I remembered it being so crappy, and I was very quickly reminded. It is SLOW and AGONIZING to watch, much less play. It has so many flawed gameplay concepts thrown into it that make no sense. Zooming in on the receiver as they catch the ball? That’s a great way to completely disorient a player. Forcing hangtime to lag and lag and lag on a kick? That’s gripping! Horrid memories flooded back into my psyche while I watched that video. No wonder Acclaim had a stigma.

Contender: Violence Fight (Arcade, Taito)

Surprise of the Year: Cameltry (Arcade, Taito)

Sly Spy was a pleasant surprise, but Cameltry’s bizarre approach to the maze genre caught me completely offguard. It’s brazen, it’s insane, it’s awesome. Sly Spy is a better-polished Bad Dudes with the right amount of James Bond substance backing its action, but Cameltry is just kooky. And it’s lovely.

Contender: Sly Spy (Arcade, Data East)

Disappointment of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES, Konami)

Even when I was a wee boy I felt that there was something amiss from Konami’s first Ninja Turtle effort. I was a massive fan of the franchise as a kid, but the game took far too many creative liberties. I’ve beaten the game with some Game Genie assistance, but it’s one that never felt accurate or proper to me. The later arcade games make up for this.

Contender: The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle (NES, Kemco)

Best New Hero: Strider Hiryu (Strider, Arcade, Capcom)

Strider is one of those amazing Japanese designs that needs to occur far more often. His Cipher blade made a distinct impression, as did his acrobatics and option-piling accessories. Between this and the NES game, Hiryu became a legend, and it’s a shame Capcom’s rarely brought this great character back from the past. He deserves more limelight.

Contender: Cody (Final Fight, Arcade, Capcom)

Best New Heroine: Alyssa (The Guardian Legend, NES, Broderbund/Compile)

I’m cheating slightly here, as I haven’t played the game quite yet. Regardless of that, here’s what I comment about her in my Cultural Anxiety article on the game:

Alyssa, despite prancing around in little more than a bikini throughout the quest, is a solid female protagonist in an era where they were all too few. Her upgradable fighting abilities made her a fascinating character (especially in that she could become an space fighter!), and it is wonderful that in localization Alyssa was left alone as a strong feminine avatar.

Contender: Will need to consider this further.

Best New Villain: The Dragonlord (Dragon Warrior, NES, Nintendo/Enix)

Enix threw players a curious option upon meeting the final foe in Dragon Quest/Warrior. Expecting him to defend his stolen princess, he instead posits an inquiry to the player. After all of the effort you’ve made to level up your lone hero, travelling vast distances and slaying countless monsters, he presents you the opportunity to unite forces with him. Unlike Rambo, which featured trick questions that, if incorrectly answered, offered an endless loop until you chose the correct answer, Dragon Warrior will conclude in a menacing manner if you align with the Dragonlord. The screen’s borders will go from white to red, and the Dragonlord will laugh evilly at his successful corruption. I thought it was a rather fascinating plot twist to end the game on such a note if the player chose to go that way. The fight with the Dragonlord is nothing that special, but I will always remember that pivotal moment where your hero can join the villain. Well played.

Contender: Rolento (Final Fight, Arcade, Capcom)


Best New Enemy: Slime (Dragon Warrior, NES, Nintendo/Enix)

Cute low-level enemies with several variants, Slimes are synonymous with Dragon Quest. I have three Slimes at home, including the PS2 Slime controller. Rocket Slime is a great game starring the rascals, and Metal Slimes are among my favorite enemies in any game. All plenty of reasons why I crown the adorable goo the best new enemy in gaming in 1989.

Contender: Ouroboros (Strider, Arcade, Capcom)

ff1

Worst New Character: Abigail (Final Fight, Arcade, Capcom)

Both of my nominees for Worst Character are from Final Fight. Sort of harsh, I suppose, but both utilize horrid 80′s motifs to an embarrassing extreme. Andore (aka Hugo) has somewhat redeemed himself in Street Fighter: 3rd Strike, as his redone animation and moveset provide a nice contrast to other grapplers. Abigail, however, has not. He has a stupid name, a stupid outfit, is the most difficult and annoying boss in the game for me, and is A CLONE OF ANDORE with a different head. Slightly better than the rest of the Andore clones, but he lacks anything distinct or special to make him truly stand out in a game full of stand-outs.

Contender: Andore (Final Fight, Arcade, Capcom)

Best Box Art: Ys Books I & II (Turbo CD, NEC/Nihom Falcom)

Lovely artwork, that this is.I adore the colors, the excellent logo, and how that castle is so beautifully rendered with its waterfalls and the rainbow. Excellent, excellent work. TG16 games don’t tend to have nice boxes, so this is a wonderful anomaly.

Contender: Prince of Persia (Amiga, Broderbund/Jordan Mechner)

Worst Box Art: Ultima Exodus (NES, FCI/Origin Systems)

My eyes hurt looking at this. It hurts twice as much when I know that this is based off of the Japanese Famicom box, which is infinitely better. It’s painful to my poor brain. Proportions are all off, the characters look stiff and awkward, and there’s a horrid ugliness to the whole affair. Poor, poor effort.

Contender: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (NES, Bandai)


Best Song: Transylvania (Ducktales, NES, Capcom, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi)

Borrowed from a Song Highlights:

Most people seem to like The Moon the most from this soundtrack, but the creepy aria that backs Ducktales’ haunted mansion took root in me. Gloomy, with enough dread and despair to personify the location, this is one of the system’s darkest songs. Ducktales had a knack for matching the music to its stage, but this is the most effective in my view.

Contender: Flying Disc (California Games, NES, Milton Bradley/Epyx/Rare, Chris Grigg/David Wise [NES composer])

Best Soundtrack: Mega Man 2 (NES, Capcom,Takashi Tateishi, Manami Matsumae)

Mega Man 2 deserves its status as one of the premiere soundtracks on the NES. So many great themes, so few duds, and it set the trend rolling for Mega Man 3, which is my favorite NES soundtrack of all time. Marvelous work, Tateishi and Matsumae!

Contender: Ducktales (NES, Capcom, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi)


Worst Song: Footbag (California Games, NES, Milton Bradley/Epyx/Rare, Chris Grigg/David Wise [NES composer])

Short loops and obnoxious instrumentation never add up well. I do like the rest of the California Games remixes Dave Wise came up with, but this one was nothing special to begin with, and it irks me.

Contender: Introduction Theme (The Adventures of Bayou Billy, NES, Konami, Jun Funahashi, Kyouhei Sada, Hidenori Maezawa, Atsushi Fujio, T. Ogura)

Back to 1988Forward to 1990

Song Highlights – Age of Mythology, Persona 4, Kirby’s Adventure, Ducktales

Warning – Spoilers follow below!

aom

Age of Mythology – Chocolate Outline (PC, Microsoft/Ensemble Studios, Steven Rippy and Kevin McMullan)

Age of Mythology is loaded with some majestic scores that delightfully sync with the gameplay, but this one is the most memorable to me. Its pounding drums, melodic use of Middle-Eastern string instruments, and subtle percussion captures the Egyptian motif, and I really get a thrill out of riding off to battle with this backing me.

p4-1

Persona 4 – The Almighty: Ameno-Sagiri Boss Fight (PS2, Atlus, Shoji Meguro)

Man, now this is how someone needs to do a boss theme. Just incredible. Once the initial salvo of guitar, bass and drums flies by and the soaring chorus begins, that’s when this song really goes into the stratosphere – I felt goosebumps as the hopeful piano pierces through the hard rock bubbling underneath (it still tickles me now). Capturing your four teenage hero’s determination against the seemingly impossible odds, creating the right amount of tension and pressure to help push you through this tough, long battle…man. I adore this song.

kaend

Kirby’s Adventure – Ending (NES, Nintendo/Hal Labs, Hirokazu Andō, Jun Ishikawa)

After defeating Nightmare, Kirby’s return home is accompanied by this delicate hymn that I’ve always liked. As he drifts through the clouds and stars, the twinkling effect that drives the tune fades into a crescendo of some of the NES’s most enlightening notes, supplying Kirby (and the player) some deep satisfaction of saving Dream Land.

dt

Ducktales – Transylvania (NES, Capcom, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi)

Most people seem to like The Moon the most from this soundtrack, but the creepy aria that backs Ducktales’ haunted mansion took root in me. Gloomy, with enough dread and despair to personify the location, this is one of the system’s darkest songs. Ducktales had a knack for matching the music to its stage, but this is the most effective in my view. I’d love to hear a cover band rock this (Minibosses, Advantage, anybody?).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers