15 Outstanding Super Nintendo Tunes

 

mario orchestra

Author: Masamune

If music can soothe the soul, then the Super Nintendo’s library is a haven of auditory bliss. Music certainly helps with the enjoyment of a game. If the music is good, it adds to the gaming experience. If it’s bad, you’ll want to turn down the volume!

This article is a showcase for 15 different musical pieces spanning the Super Nintendo system. Undoubtedly there’s hundreds of memorable tunes we can think of, and hundreds more waiting to be heard. These 15 tunes represent what I think are memorable ensembles. This isn’t an exhaustive list, or a top 15 list. It’s just a selection of music that I’ve experienced that stand out to me. Your list may vary. Click on the title of the song to hear the music. Let’s get started! In no particular order:

Magical Pop’n – Cloudy Ice Palace Theme

 

Magical Pop'n

When importing Japanese titles, this game is on several people’s lists. It’s a platfomer, it’s not necessary to understand Japanese to enjoy it, and it’s just a solid experience. Magical Pop’N also happens to have some really good tunes to go with it.The Cloudy Ice Palace is among them. Yes, the game recycles music throughout the game, but when they are this good, I don’t mind.


Chrono Trigger – Undersea Palace

 

Undersea Palace

Chrono Trigger is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. This includes excelling in the sound department. One of the most addicting pieces is the Undersea Palace theme.This is the kind of music that gives goosebumps folks. I have this song on my MP3 player. It’s great to listen to while jogging!


Donkey Kong Country 2 – Arctic Abyss

 

Arctic Abyss

Donkey Kong Country’s soundtrack was good, but Donkey Kong Country 2 has the more notable music selection in my opinion. I find the Arctic Abyss theme really gets to me on a deep level. This selection is the epitome of epic. If you didn’t know any better you would think this melody would belong to a more serious game.


Chrono Trigger – Magus Theme

 

Magus Theme

I’m going double dipping here. For those who have played Chrono Trigger, who could forget this tune? Magus’ theme is a standout in a already superb soundtrack. I remember drawing out the battle between Magus to actually listen to this musical piece longer. I doubt I’m alone in that. It really did feel like the balance of the universe was at stake in this conflict.

Super Mario Kart – Rainbow Road

 

Super-Mario-Kart-Cover-Art

Here’s one maybe a few don’t think about. The Mario Kart games do have decent tunes in them, but a lot of people probably wouldn’t put them on any lists for outstanding music. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia in me, but I simply adore the Rainbow Road theme. Was it me or was there something mesmerizing about that composition of music?

A Link to the Past – Overworld Theme

 

zelda-lttp-concept-art

Ever get a tune just stuck in your head at random times during the day and night? For me the Overworld theme in A Link to the Past fits that criteria. This theme really gets you in the heroic mood. I felt like I could do anything while listening to this piece. The melody gets recycled in other Zelda games, but I never get tired of listening to it.

Donkey Kong Country 2 – Stickerbush Symphony

 

diddydixie_2

I felt compelled to do a double take again. Sometimes you just can’t pick one! With Donkey Kong Country 2, it’s really difficult to pick out just one piece of music. This is another hard to forget track from that game. And like Arctic Abyss, it isn’t the silly kind of melody you’d expect from a game like this. However Diddy and Dixie’s quest is only strengthened by the excellent soundtrack.


Final Fantasy III – Aria Di Mezzo Carattere

 

ff6_80Why does this song sound so familiar even before I played this game? Oh I know why. It was in Final Fantasy VII! I played that game right before I played Final Fantasy III (or VI if you prefer). It’s a haunting and sad piece that will go down as one of the finest compositions done by Nobuo Uematsu. Who doesn’t love some opera singing from time to time?


Final Fantasy III – Boss Battle Theme

 

amano-final-fantasy-vi

Final Fantasy games consistently have great battle themes. Final Fantasy III keeps this tradition. It’s important to have fantastic battle theme music in a RPG because the length of these clashes can become substantial. Luckily for us we are treated to a splendid ensemble while we hack away at the sinister boss of the moment.


F-Zero – Mute City

 

Mute City

F-Zero was a Super Nintendo launch title that became a best seller. It was easy to see why. Good graphics, gameplay … and music. Mute City stands out to me as the best track in that game. It simply gets you pumped for action. The theme is like adrenaline in instrumental form. The track was so good it was reincarnated in a couple of  Smash Bros. games.


Star Fox – Corneria

 

Corneria

Star Fox is a game that is really fun to play even today. The graphics haven’t held up with time, but the soundtrack sure has! Corneria is the first stage you play in and its theme sets the tone for what turns out to be a masterful collection of music. If you like high tempo beats, be sure to look into Star Fox’s audio accompaniment.


Super Mario World – Castle Theme

 

Castle Theme

There aren’t a lot of Super Mario World musical selections that instantly pop into my head. However the castle theme does resonate in my memory as being sort of a creepy tune in a scary environment. The theme really gets into its own during the middle of the composition.  Who else remembers getting to the other side of the fence by hitting a designated spot while listening to this music?


X-Kaliber 2097 Main Theme

 

Xkaliber-9

X-Kaliber 2097 was not a great game. It was ok with some highly frustrating areas. But one strength it did have was in the sound department. A band by the name of PsykoSonik lent this game some tracks. I could listen to the main theme time after time. If you like techno-rock, you may like the music in X-Kaliber 2097. Game kind of sucks though. Just saying.


Star Fox – Asteroid Belt Path One

 

Asteroid Belt

Star Fox’s music is worthy of a space opera. I couldn’t find one track in the game I disliked. And once again I felt the need to go double dipping. The Asteroid Belt theme just makes you feel like a badass as you’re blasting away at Andross’ minions. I used to shoot and barrel roll with the rhythm of the music. How many games outside of Dance Dance Revolution could do that?


Mega Man X Title Theme

 

Mega Man X Title Theme

Short and sweet. Gets right to the point with any extraneous fluff. Enough said.


What would be on your list of 15 outstanding Super Nintendo tunes? Post your comments and thoughts below.

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Masamune

Masamune

This website was born out of my passion for the old Super NES system. There's so many SNES games out there that no one knows about or have forgotten. In time, all of the games will come to light and this site will become a beacon for all SNES gamers out there. Stay tuned!

10 Comments:

  1. Great list. You could easily make a top 100 list of SNES tunes!

    Magus and the Undersea Palace themes from Chrono Trigger are both exceptional. They really got me pumped when I first played through Chrono Trigger. I remember replaying the Magus battle over and over and the music was a big part of that. I also really loved the Kingdom of Zeal theme!

    A couple of my favourites that didn’t make the list are Simon’s Theme from Super Castlevania IV and Red Brinstar from Super Metroid.

  2. Yes you’re right, I could easily make a top100 list. There are so many good music tracks in the SNES alone, even a top 100 list wouldn’t do it justice.

    I’ve yet to play Super Castlevania IV and Super Metroid. I missed out on a lot of games!

  3. You can listen to Red Brinstar here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyFcSHHdIQE

    The track perfectly captures the atmosphere and loneliness of Super Metroid. The track was even remixed for Metroid Prime 2 (one of the only good things about Prime 2).

    Here is Simon’s Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sX3fjpkFwk

    Guaranteed to get you pumped for storming Dracula’s castle!

  4. Great list. Sometimes, I think video game music is vastly underrated.

  5. RushDog, I really like that Super Metroid one, very surreal.

    Simon’s theme really sounds dated to me and something maybe the NES could almost produce. I do understand Castlevania IV is a launch title though. I wonder what Castlevania IV would have sounded and looked like if it was released in 1997 rather than 1991?

  6. The GBA Castlevania games give a good idea as to what a late SNES Castlevania game would have sounded like (though for my money, they all look worse then the SNES games).

    If you think Simon’s theme sounds dated, you should hear its remix in Bloodlines. Keep in mind Bloodlines is a late Genesis game as well (1994). That said, I actually prefer the Bloodlines version, though I’ll admit its not as smooth as the SNES version.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI7f5Wb2DAM

  7. The opening “marching” track of FF III/VI is still one of the best game tracks ever created!!

  8. Great list. Good read. It’s staggering how much good music was around within 16-Bit gaming. Whilst this list is golden, I bet you can think of just as many again if you had to expand this list to 30 tracks.

  9. There’s hundreds of games out there if you add in SFC exclusives, so the potential for fantastic music is vast

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