Top 10 NES Soundtracks

NES…the console that truly redefined gaming.  The NES had some true classics that will remain in many people’s memories.  However, I’ve always been one who’s paid attention to game soundtracks when I played my games since I was a little kid.  The games listed below are distinguished by having some of the best music in the NES’s history.  With well over 700 titles, this was not an easy list to compile, but these are my personal favorites from the NES library (not listed in any particular order).

 

1. Batman

Batman was not only an amazing game for the NES, but certainly had one of the best soundtracks as well.  Sunsoft usually pushed out excellent soundtracks for their games (Blaster Master had a really good one) but with Batman, they absolutely nailed it.  The moment you start the game, you’ll hear one of the coolest opening level songs that really gets you pumped for the rest of the game.  As you’ll progress through the game, every song will literally stick in your head…and that’s a good thing.

 

2. Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando was a redefining moment in side-scrollers.  Instead of having the ability to jump (like most games did for platforming back in the day), you were limited to only using your trusty grappling hook.  It’s soundtrack is one that’ll stick with me, no question.  Again, from the first level alone, you know you’re in for an all-around new experience.

 

3. Contra

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start…the infamous Konami Code.  Contra was a tough-as-nails, side-scolling shooter that demanded reflexes since you could die in a single hit.  Entering that Konami Code was typically the way most people beat the game (I beat it the old fashion way though).  Regardless though, Contra was not only an addictive game for it’s relentless difficulty, but the soundtrack was intense!  The music alone was a driving factor as to why I would replay Contra over and over…no matter how hard the game was.

 

4. Ninja Gaiden 2

Ninja Gaiden is notorious for it’s insane difficulty…but was by far the most rewarding game I’ve played on the NES.  The gameplay was addictive, the story was excellent and the soundtrack was incredible.  No matter how tough and cheap the difficulty ramped up to be, the story and soundtrack were motivating factors to keep playing so that you could hear the next awesome song, as well as keep unveiling the cinematic story (considering that NES games never really had cinematics).

 

5. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Despite what some Castlevania fans may feel about Simon’s Quest, there was no denying it’s epic soundtrack.  It was the first time we were introduced to the “Bloody Tears” track which only evolved over time with most iterations of the franchise.  Sure, Simon’s Quest had some serious pacing issues thanks to poor English translation, but it was still fun to play just to hear the music!

 

6. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!

Punch-Out didn’t have the most elaborate soundtrack but the main theme that played throughout your fights was just plain awesome.  That song would get me pumped for the fight and ready to climb that ladder to takedown that pre-ear ripping Mike Tyson.

 

7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game

TMNT II was a massive improvement over the abysmal first outing on the NES.  Konami (Ultra Games at the time) decided to make a port of the widely popular arcade game and add an extra level into the NES version.  The music was largely similar to the arcade version but was obviously downgraded for to tailor the NES’s limitations…but that wasn’t a bad thing by any means.  This soundtrack was just a plain awesome score to listen to while taking out the Footclan all day long.

 

8. Battletoads

Battletoads was one of the most difficult games ever made during the NES era…but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have an amazing soundtrack.  Similar to Contra and Ninja Gaiden, no matter how hard the game was, the music was a motivating factor alone for me to keep trying to beat the game.  Back then, there was no YouTube to listen in on in-game soundtracks that people post so you had work hard to see what was ahead.  Also, if any of you readers beat this game in co-op…major kudos to you.

 

9. Mega Man 3

Choosing one Mega Man game out of the six released for the NES was a tough choice.  However, after listening to all the soundtracks, Mega Man 3 stood out the most for me.  From the stage select to the character’s stage themes, this is the one I found to have the best music out the first six installments.

 

10. Super Mario Bros. 3

Like you readers didn’t see this coming…Super Mario Bros. 3 is known to many as the greatest Mario game of all time.  It also has the best soundtrack out of the Mario trilogy that was available on the NES.  Every song was memorable and you couldn’t help but hum or whistle the music to the level you were playing.

 

What are your thoughts?  Comment below!

  • SpiderGuy

    Booyah! The NES era was awesome! Can’t wait to see stuff about the SNES!!

    • Yes it was! The “Top 10 SNES Soundtracks” will be coming within the next week or 2 so stay tuned for that!

      • SpiderGuy

        Cowabunga!

    • Some great choices especially Batman but my all time fav soundtrack would have to be Zelda 2. The pic opening music and catchy tunes throughout are what makes it great!

  • frozenwolf2226

    I completely agree with this list and still love the music from all the Megaman games!

    • Thanks! It was tough to choose one for Megaman but the third installment was the one that stuck out to me the most.

  • There’s nothing better than a good 8 bit soundtrack – Simon’s Quest alone is memorable to me for its excellent music.

    • Agreed! Simon’s Quest had a brilliant soundtrack!

  • R17

    Loved the Batman and Mario 3 Soundtrack

  • Oh my God! You forgot the sound track of the Double Dragon. It’s a classic.

  • frankienonuts

    Meh! Metroid was and is the best

  • Pretty sexy list here but…No Bramble Blast from DKC2? I remember when I first heard that song. It was incredibly soothing and peppered with a serene ambience compared to the reality that you were surrounded by a maze of dangerous spikes that would kill you from one touch lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73n7HTcmb5g

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  • This brought back many memories for me…Battletoads, SMB3 and TMNTII were staples of my childhood! Makes me wish I still had an NES. You should do one for Sega Genesis. Sonic the Hedgehog and the score to the Jurassic Park game should make the list.

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