Metal Gear (NES) Music

Listen to the Metal Gear NES music tribute on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music and Amazon MP3.

Metal Gear Music (NES)Before there were magical nanomachines and photosynthetic plant men, there were deadly poisonous Zanzibar hamsters. “Metal Gear Solid” may have popularized Hideo Kojima’s off-the-wall stealth series, but it all began in 1987 with the original “Metal Gear” on the MSX2, later tweaked and ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the following year. Both games had their own unique soundtracks, and while the music of the MSX2 version was popular enough to make appearances in later entries in the franchise, the music of the NES version has largely been forgotten. This is most unfortunate, as its soundtrack is one of its few consistent strengths.

While “Metal Gear’s” soundtrack is dramatically shorter than that of its contemporaries, it starts off strong with “Aerial Insertion” — perfect music to parachute to! “Jungle Infiltration” immediately follows, its echoing percussion and minor key melody calling to mind a stealthy shuffle through enemy-laden flora.

“Base Infiltration” is a more energetic and mysterious take on its predecessor, and no player has ever gone without hearing the largely similar “Intruder Detected” themes. They don’t quite have the same panic-stricken energy of later games’ “Encounter,” but the frantic beat and 8-bit alarms certainly heighten the tension.

Get your trip back to the NES version of Metal Gear at iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play Music and Amazon MP3 🙂

Castlevania Music

Listen to the “Castlevania Classics” music album on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play Music and Amazon MP3.

Castlevania Music“Castlevania” quickly made a name for itself after its 1986 release for the Nintendo Entertainment System, spawning a decades-running series of action-platformers that helped perfect and popularize a hereto unheard of genre. Vampire hunting was certainly nothing new at the time, but “Castlevania” made it original again with the whip-wielding Simon Belmont as he braved Dracula’s castle to put an end to the infernal count’s life.

The music of “Castlevania” was composed by both Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima, two veteran musicians who made a name for female video game composers in a time and place when such were rare, though the two worked independently of each other and never fully collaborated on their tracks.

Overall, Castlevania’s soundtrack is surprisingly funky and upbeat for an action game that pits you against the horrors of the undead. From beginning to end, the melodies and percussion will leave you humming even as the unforgiving onslaught of unholy aberrations will make you want to throw your controller in frustration.

Vampire Killer — the theme of the first stage — beautifully illustrates the excitement of the treacherous journey ahead. Another noteworthy track — stage sixteen’s “Out of Time” — managed to cram a lifetime’s worth of thrills into a thirty-second loop. And “Wicked Child” came to be one of the series all-time greatest hits. I hope I’ve honored the Konami Classics on this album. Please listen for yourself and I’d be happy to hear what you think!

The tribute album is out on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play Music and Amazon MP3.

Metroid Music

Listen to the Metroid music tribute on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music and Amazon MP3.

Decades before Ellie was fighting off waves of the undead in The Last of Us and Heather Mason was carving her way through her own personal Hell in Silent Hill 3, Samus Aran proved that female playable characters could be just as competent and cool as their male counterparts in the NES classic Metroid. When she wasn’t blasting fist-sized holes through her alien foes or leaping over obstacles without the slightest struggle, everyone’s favorite galactic bounty hunter was taking on the monstrous Mother Brain and revolting Ridley as their unmatched equal.

Metroid MusicMetroid introduced several innovations to NES era of gaming, namely the concept of permanent in-game upgrades. Its unique soundtrack, composed by the legendary Hirokazu Tanaka, also left a notable impact on the gaming world. For the first time in the history of gaming, we were presented with a soundtrack that recognized the importance of silence when building tension and atmosphere.

Rather paradoxically, the Metroid soundtrack reached its level of notoriety not because it would leave you whistling the same songs for days, as was the case with then-popular games such as Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda, but because it was mostly comprised of bouts of expertly placed quiet. That’s not to say it didn’t have its share of catchy and memorable tunes, but nothing relayed the feeling of entering a dark and hostile alien world quite like Tanaka’s sparse soundtrack, and that is certainly worth commemorating.

Of course, we can’t just point at a lack of sound and call it a soundtrack. Tanaka also composed several memorable pieces for Metroid that have since been remixed and reorchestrated by countless people across the globe. Say what you will about his use of silence, but when you hear these tunes, you hear Metroid.

The title theme is an undeniable classic. Punctuated by a series of sharp electronic chimes, the theme evokes feelings of the cold darkness of space. The Game Start theme, though only a few seconds long, has been burned into the memory of every gamer who lived in the 1980s. “Secret Area,” a mysterious piece similar to the title theme, paints a picture of the unexplored reaches of space. And who can forget Brinstar’s theme, a wailing and energetic tune that comes as close to a screaming electric guitar solo as you can get with NES technology?

Let’s face it: Metroid rocked. And this is thanks, in part, to Tanaka’s wonderful work. His ear for silence lent towards a beautifully crafted, oppressive atmosphere, and his ear for energetic music left listeners with a series of songs that made them want to go the edges of the universe, no matter what was hiding in the shadows.

You can check out my Metroid music tribute on iTunesSpotifyGoogle Play Music and Amazon MP3.

Enjoy!

Duck Tales (Woo-Hoo!)

Check out the album on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play Music.

Duck Tales Music albumDuck Tales for the NES is one of those legendary gaming sacred cows. No one says anything negative about it, and no one gets hurt — that seems to be the general consensus, at least. For the most part, its reputation is well-deserved. Ducktales had charming visuals, a genuine respect for its source material, and some of the most responsive controls on the system. It was even popular enough to receive an official remake over 20 years after its original release.

Its soundtrack, of course, is another timeless classic. Right from the start, we were treated to one of the catchiest main themes in video game history on the title screen — imported directly from the original cartoon, mind you — that will leave anyone who hears it humming for hours.

Other notable Ducktales (Woo-hoo!) tracks include The Moon, an energetic, slightly shrill theme that nonetheless became one of the most beloved and recognizable tracks from that era of gaming, and The Himalayas, a slower, but slightly more intense track that places more emphasis on percussion and immediately brings to mind the sound of heavy snow crunching underfoot.

DuckTales is proof that even a game about cartoon ducklings can be enjoyed by any age group, and this is thanks in part to its influential and iconic soundtrack.

The title theme, The Moon and all the other NES tracks are out now on SpotifyiTunesAmazon MP3 and Google Play Music.

Mega Man 3

Since its original release in the fall of 1990, Mega Man 3 (also known as Rockman 3: The End of Dr. Wily) has gone down in gaming history as one of the most celebrated Nintendo Entertainment System titles of all time. Featuring new levels, new music tracks and the introduction of Mega Man’s robot dog companion, Rush, it marked the end of the original Mega Man trilogy, bringing it to a graceful conclusion before the later games were conceptualized.

Mega_Man_3Though not quite as influential (nor quite as long) as that of its older brothers, the Mega Man 3 soundtrack is still worth remembering. Its use of energetic beats, smooth synthesizers and classic chiptunes made for a truly unique and memorable album.

From its slightly somber title theme to its triumphant end credits music, the Mega Man 3 soundtrack was an instant classic. The in-game songs themselves perfectly reflected the individual stages and Robot Masters they were composed to represent.
Consider Shadow Man’s theme: fast and upbeat — perfect for a ninja flying through the night. Meanwhile, Snake Man’s theme is one of the most eerily catchy tracks in the series, hypnotic and smooth, reminiscent of an old snake charmer’s song.

Though short, Mega Man 3’s soundtrack remains a fan favorite. Composer Yasuaki Fujita really outdid himself with this title. Even if Mega Man 3 is considered the least polished of the original series when it comes to gameplay, its soundtrack is among the best,

Check it out on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Spotify.

8-Bit NES Top 50

I’ve been working on this project for quite a while and it’s ready to see the daylight now…

It’s my personal music Top 50 from the Nintendo Entertainment System! I know there are a lot of debates on which song is the best NES song of all time, etc, but I wanted to make a Grand Tribute to the Golden NES era.

All compositions are originally from the late 80’s / early 90’s and are performed in a new way, with real drums and acoustic instruments, combined with the classic chiptune sounds we all love.

I hope this will be an album that you will enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed making it. Just something you can put on your speakers or headphones anytime you feel like it: on happy saturday evenings, lazy sunday afternoons, going to work on tuesdays etc. It’s a humble tribute to the fantastic originals.

You can listen to the tracks over here of download the album on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and most other digital music stores and streaming services.

Volume 2, 3 and 4 will be added when they’re ready of course.

The tracklist of 8-Bit NES Top 50 Volume 1 is:

1. Duck Tales – The Moon theme

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSb1lTD4tc0?hl=en"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

2. Double Dragon – Mission 1

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c4YaoejSAA?hl=en"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

3. Journey to Silius – Stage 1

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXK2Tbismq8?hl=en"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

4. Super Mario Bros 3 theme

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXaz9YUwV_s?hl=en"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

5. Snake’s Revenge – Jungle Infiltration

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bj-s6neZ1g?hl=en"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

6. Silver Surfer – Section 1

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj1f2riJyHs?hl=en"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

7. Metroid – Brinstar

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8LMxOzOHV4?hl=en"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

8. Castlevania – Wicked Child

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4O_4buBNs4?hl=en"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

9. The Legend of Zelda

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FqGkIO3Bcw?hl=en"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

10. Blaster Master – Area 1

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-85d7HGRPA?hl=en"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

11. Contra – Jungle / Hangar theme

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQIPp1JxxRI?hl=en"><img src="https://i2.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

12. Kick Master – The Bottomless Crevasse

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlEoTsnkBxs?hl=en"><img src="https://i0.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

13. Mega Man 3 – Snake Man

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_A3DvEzY8g?hl=en"><img src="https://i1.wp.com/www.thegreatestbits.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png?w=840" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" data-recalc-dims="1" /></a>

Mega Man 2

Even 22 years after its release, the Mega Man 2 game is still the all-time bestseller of the Mega Man series. The NES game is critically acclaimed to have one of the best video game music soundtracks ever composed.

American magazine Game Informer listed the title theme of Mega Man 2 as “one of the five best video game openings of all time”. Gametrailers.com listed the Dr. Wily Stage 1 – 2 music as the “2nd best video game theme ever” (only second to the world famous Legend of Zelda theme). And Brandon Sheffield, Game Developer Magazine’s editor-in-chief,  states that the Mega Man 2 music should be an example to today’s game music developers because of its strong and recognizable melodies.

Mega Man 2On this album The Greatest Bits honours the Japanese composers by crafting full Mega Man remixes out of the (originally shorter) game loops. The Greatest Bits combines top class sound production with the unique sound and feel of the original “chipsounds” from the 80’s and early 90’s. The result is a retrogame crossover album that’s extremely suitable for today’s headphones and speakersets.

“The Greatest Bits releases finely mixed, loud and proud video game arrangements that knock harder than Takashi Tateishi could have ever imagined!” (DJ Cutman on videogamedj.com)

Check the Mega Man 2 music album out on iTunesAmazon MP3 or Spotify.

Tetris

“The Greatest Bits’ Tetris EP is something of musical genius. Its quick, its catchy and its beyond clever.” (new-reviews.co.uk)

Nice quote from the trailer of Ecstasy of Order, an upcoming documentary on the Classic Tetris World Championships: “It’s the only video game that can be described as perfect, right? Because… well, how would you improve it?”

Tetris musicI played Tetris on many consoles and home computers. The “classic” one is of course the Game Boy version; portable and addictive. Many, many hours of gaming accompanied by the Tetris themes, must have awakened an interest in classical music and Russian folk music.

The original Tetris game compositions are from traditional Russian songs and classical works by Bach and Tchaikovsky. These musical geniuses  – in their times – probably never imagined their compositions being performed as Game Boy music by blipping 8-bit soundchips one day 🙂

Nor being remixed by a guy who happens to be a retrostyle video game music nerd that calls himself The Greatest Bits.

Check the Tetris EP out on iTunesAmazon MP3, or Spotify. Alternatively you can visit the download page, and get the Tetris EP for free by giving a simple like, tweet or “plus one”.

As an extra bonus track, I made a relaxing dub remix version of the Tetris Game Boy A theme. It’s an exclusive and free mp3 download if you sign up for The Greatest Bits Video Game Music Newsletter.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Well, what can I say. Two brand new retrogame remixes from the good old Punch-Out!! series

!!   🙂

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!The Punch-Out game has been released in many versions (Arcade, NES, Super Nintendo, Wii). These remixes are particularly inspired by Little Mac trying to beat Mike Tyson, 8-bit style in the late 80’s. Not an easy task, as we all know…

I tried to combine retrostyle chiptune melodies with punchy beats and ‘humanoid’ boxing sounds. I hope they’ll knock you out!!

And yes, pun…(ch) intended…

Check the music out on iTunesAmazon MP3 and Spotify.