There are so many classic game soundtracks, here are six of the best from the 16-Bit era.
In our last article we looked at the best 8-Bit soundtracks, so this time we are moving on up to the 16-Bit consoles.
Arguably the most fondly remembered consoles, the Super Nintendo (SNES) and the Sega Mega Drive (SMD) were involved in the major console war of the ’90s. Both consoles had classic games, and with the upgrade to 16-Bit it wasn’t just the graphics that had improved. So here we go with the second instalment of our trip down memory lane.
6) Sim City – Village Theme
Before The Sims you had Sim City and just like it’s later incarnation it was the ultimate time waster. Hours would go buy as you built your city from the ground up, praying it didn’t get destroyed by a fire or a stray Godzilla. To accompany the endless hours you were treated to a soothing and innocent piece of music composed by Soyo Oka. This music portrayed the innocence of your citizens, as well as that of the Nintendo universe as a whole, very well, and is a real memory jogger.
5) Streets of Rage – The Streets of Rage
One of Sega’s most popular games of the ’90s and still a fan favourite around the world, Streets of Rage had gamers captivated by its futurist vision and slick game-play. This was further enhanced by a fantastic soundtrack, which fused Italo Dance and movie score aesthetics to create a deep emotional connection that’s hard to forget. Composed by Yuzo Koshiro, the main title theme ‘The Streets of Rage’ is a true classic.
4) Super Mario Kart – Bowser’s Castle
Nintendo probably didn’t realize the scale of the beast they were about to unleash into the world in 1992’s Super Mario Kart. The game was so much fun and such a breath of fresh air that it’s not only fondly remembered as a classic, but has now spawned seven sequels on console, and three arcade versions. The music stuck firmly to the Nintendo tradition, fusing quirky, family friendly cuteness with catchy melodies to suit the level. Yet again Nintendo chose Soyo Oka for the compositions and he really scored a jackpot with many of the tunes becoming time-honoured favourites.
3) Star Fox – Corneria
The gaming industry was in awe when Nintendo released Star Fox in 1993. The 3D space shooter, which came equipped with an additional ‘Super FX’ processor chip, was mind blowing at the time. The public couldn’t get enough of Fox McCloud and his furry companions, and Slippy Toad of course. The music was suitably futuristic for the settings and Hajime Hirasawa’s compositions gave the game a real edge. We distinctly remember the adrenaline rush you got from the opening few seconds of the game, the pounding techno-influenced soundtrack heightened that to almost unbearable levels.
2) Golden Axe – Wilderness
As side-scrolling fantasy beat ’em ups go, Golden Axe is up there with the best, and is still, to this day, highly addictive. As you traversed the land of Yuria on your quest to defeat the evil Death Adder you were instantly struck by the scenery and strange creatures. The Music for this game, composed by Tohru Nakabayashi and You Takada, was perfect for the fantasy genre and seriously evokes memories of sitting with your friends, frantically button bashing, while staring at a 10″ portable TV, most of us had that, right?
1) Shadow of the Beast – Inside The Tree
Now, for some, our choice of number one will be controversial. Many hardcore fans of Shadow of the Beast were gutted when the game was ported to the Sega Mega Drive from the Commodore Amiga, especially in America where the game’s refresh rate was not coded properly, making it 16.7% faster than it should have been – making it practically impossible to complete. The music was changed as well, but we have to admit we prefer the Mega Drive version of the music. Every track, composed by David Whittaker, is brilliant. Ranging from atmospheric synth soundscapes to blisteringly fast hardcore techno sections, but it’s this tune that really stands out. As if the gameplay wasn’t nerve-racking enough, the music just piled on the tension. Add the tension and atmosphere to the fact that it’s just a really nice and unusual piece of music, and it’s not hard to see why it’s our number one.