Some of these are from games that, while not completely forgotten by people who know their way around the era, are not quite as well-known to outsiders, because they’re not part of a popular franchise. You’ll also notice that there’s a large number of Game Boy tunes on this list. That’s because I owned a Game Boy, and nothing else. I only played NES (and Amiga, and later on SNES) at friends’ houses. But that is another story and shall be told another time…
More after the cut, because lots of embedded youtube videos follow.
But let’s start with one that is neither Game Boy nor forgotten. Let’s start with Mega Man. Everybody knows Mega Man, right? Lot’s of great tunes from that series. I’ll take this one, because there’s a cute story to it. You see, when we were kids, it reminded us of “Winds of Change“. I know, I know… but hey, we were kids, and we didn’t know any better! Plus, it was the early 90ies, and that song, for obvious political reasons, had become an unexpected hit single with lots of airtime.
Next up is one of my all-time favorite Game Boy games. I loved this game to death, even though when I got it, I at first failed so badly that I couldn’t even complete the first stage. It got better after that. I think I also annoyed my parents by constantly asking them to translate stuff for me that I didn’t understand. They must’ve had a hard time translating the short-to-the-point-of-obscure texts that Game Boy games of these days had. (Also, it had a horrible box art. What’s up with that, seriously?)
Towards the end, it got really great.
And I still catch myself humming the tune of the end credits every now and then:
The game also had a bug (I assume?) that sometimes transposed the music one octave lower every now and then before snapping out if again. You can’t hear it in the videos, but it fascinated me as a child.
Next up, what was at its time (and for some time after that) considered to be the weakest entry in the Metroid franchise. These days, other spinoffs take the cake easily. I never understood the hate for this game, I loved it. It’s another one that I played for endless hours over months and months. No maps, similarly-looking areas, hidden passages… it was a venerable dungeon crawl of epic proportions.
Or so I thought. When I first saw a complete map of the game years later, it struck me how small the area actually was. It felt incredibly expansive when I played it. I bet this game is a letdown with a map at hand.
I like this tune for its sheer weird randomness.
It feels to me like Faxanadu is almost forgotten today. It’s another of those games that I camped at a friend’s house for. Just to play it repeatedly, though we never were able to finish it. So we heard a lot of the early music.
Thankfully, it was good music and so we didn’t mind listening to it over and over again.
The last one for today is also not exactly famous, but it probably benefits from the name. Which is funny, because it actually isn’t a Final Fantasy. While it was branded as a Final Fantasy spinoff in the US, it originally belongs to the Seiken no Densetsu series. In Europe, to add to the confusion, it was marketed as “Mystic Quest”.
When you start the game, you’re greeted by a serene, singing theme:
Though, this game being an action-adventure/RPG, the main theme is quite more rousing: