Best soundtrack?

Discuss NSF files, FamiTracker, MML tools, or anything else related to NES music.

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tokumaru
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by tokumaru » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:36 am

za909 wrote:It's hard, because my "technically superior, therefore, better" glasses are blinding me to a lot of well-composed but technically not as interesting soundtracks.
That's funny, because while I'm terribly affected by "technical superiority" when it comes to judging graphics, I'm completely satisfied with blips and blops for sounds as long as the melodies are catchy. I guess that goes to show how much I (don't) know about the technical aspects of music.

Having realized that, I guess I can understand better when people are fine with graphics I find absolutely atrocious.

FrankenGraphics appears to be the really skilled one, with talent for both graphics and sound!

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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by FrankenGraphics » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:53 am

Actually, the wikipedia article states two things of interest here:
The game's audio programmer, Hidenori Maezawa, assisted in the chip's creation.
In other words, the chip was made for the game, rather than the game for the chip.
The North American release replaced the VRC6 with Nintendo's Memory Management Controller 5 (MMC5). the MMC5 chip's sound channels cannot be used with the NES, and the game's music had to be downgraded by Yoshinori Sasaki to comply with the NES's standard five channels
While i wouldn't use the term "downgrade" as backhandedly (i find it a bit disrespectful of the excellent work done), it seems the soundtrack indeed was composed for the vrc6 first and then had additional work done for the port.

re: tokumaru
aw, shucks! :mrgreen: :oops: thanks. though there are plenty more skilled video game composers out there. I've never studied music theory as formal education, either. I honestly have a bit of a complex regarding that.
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Bregalad
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Bregalad » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:27 am

FrankenGraphics wrote: In other words, the chip was made for the game, rather than the game for the chip.
That's a very quick conclusion. This statement on WP should be taken with distance, you should look at the source, the context in which this was said, etc... Also it does not mean the CV3 soundtrack was composed for VRC6 first. Maybe it was still composted for plain 2A03 first and then they decided to test having extra audio and designed the chip.

They also had experience in CV2 where the jap version uses FDS sounds while the NES version had one less channel, and they did it well (the NES version actually sounds a little bit better).
This is probably exactly where my "what i heard first is better" bias comes in, and why i prefer some arrangements in the SCN version. It works the same way with covers for me. If i hear the cover first, i might prefer it to the original.
I agree about the existance of this bias, but the scandinavian version of Gimmick is missing melody entierely in some parts. This is unforgivable.

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by FrankenGraphics » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:38 am

Well the second quote clearly states that a person was tasked with rewriting the soundtrack to use just the APU. Source examination notwithstanding, there’s little room for ambiguity/interpretation.
Regardless what channels happened to be written first (which likely varied especially since there were 4 composers onboard), there’s some evidence in the music that it was not only made to fit the APU, but also elaborated further on for the u/e release, and the statement reinforces that. Guessing the opposite at this point is the more speculative approach. Music tracks were likely finished, then reapproached.

Same with simon’s quest. There’s no explanation why you would spend paid time removing the extra attention to details you can hear in the u/e version. More reason, on the other hand, to spend time compensating for the loss of an fm channel by making arrangements interesting in other ways.
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Sumez
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Sumez » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:44 am

Wikipedia's article on CV3 is a little weird about all this. It also states that the VRC6 was exchanged for MMC5 for the western release "because western versions of the NES did not have the ability to support external sound chips". That doesn't even make sense.
Bregalad wrote: I agree about the existance of this bias, but the scandinavian version of Gimmick is missing melody entierely in some parts. This is unforgivable.
Can you point out a track where this stands out?

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FrankenGraphics
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by FrankenGraphics » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:16 am

Yeah, i reacted to that statement as well.. whenever i find an "analysis" like that in a wp article, i try to just disregard it or assume that it was not well described. Not being able to tap in external audio does open up to technical alternatives (since you can cross out the particular requirements of the original soundtrack from the list), but without knowing any further details i'd maybe assume the answer would be related to business, logistics and economy. Might be that the could be had for cheaper. mmc5 was used for 24 releases (some being regional doubles or triples) according to bootgod's database, while a VRC-6 listing only shows three games. 5 mmc5 releases were by konami/palcom, though it'd be fair to count the german and scandinavian release as the same market move. Most others were by koei. Two by HAL laboratories. Just one by Nintendo themselves. The first use was by Koei in January 1990; a year and a half before nintendo found a use for the mapper chip for one of their games, or half a year before it was put to use in the US release of cv3. Might be that the chip was announced just in the right time and offered a better margin.

Or could it simply be that NOA required that US export licenses used nintendo mappers?

For example, contra got switched from vrc-2 to unrom. TMNT manhattan project got switched from vrc-4 to mmc3 (tlrom).
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by tepples » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:03 am

Sumez wrote:Wikipedia's article on CV3 is a little weird about all this. It also states that the VRC6 was exchanged for MMC5 for the western release "because western versions of the NES did not have the ability to support external sound chips". That doesn't even make sense.
Because Wikipedia's policy prioritizes verifiability to established media sources at the expense of truth, it will reflect the misconceptions of the mainstream media. I too am inclined to agree with NOA's preference for Nintendo mappers as the more likely cause.

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by gravelstudios » Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:57 pm

this thread seems to have morphed from its original purpose, but I'd like to throw in my 2 cents anyway.

All of the Mega Man games are really good, but I've always felt that Mega Man 3 was the best one in terms of both composition and technical proficiency. 1 & 2 have good melodies, but sometimes they're a little 'clunky'. 4-6 have smoother audio engines, but I don't think the music itself is quite as good. 3 strikes the best balance I feel.

some I haven't seen mentioned: I've always loved Zelda 2's music. It has a uniqueness--No other game really sounds like that one. Kid Icarus is also quite good. Metroid is my favorite game on any console, but Hip Tanaka himself admitted that soundtrack is more about atmosphere than melody. Dr. Mario has some really good tunes.

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by FrankenGraphics » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:07 pm

I recognize the unicity of zelda 2. It has pretty far out vibratos, so there's nothing quite like it. Whether you like it or not (i do, it has a special atmosphere), it is at least very memorable.

Metroid has a pretty special sound too. I might not want to listen to it if not playing since the loops are so short, but the moods are striking, which is unique when combined with the minimalist electronica style.

I've never actually listened to NES dr.mario, but love the gb soundtrack.
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by ccovell » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:42 pm

gravelstudios wrote:4-6 have smoother audio engines, but I don't think the music itself is quite as good. 3 strikes the best balance I feel.
I've always loved Zelda 2's music. It has a uniqueness
My two cents :) I don't really like the work of Link composer Akito Nakatsuka, who made other warbly soundtracks in the Famicom/FDS golf games... just not my cup of tea.

I re-listened to all 6 MM/Rockman soundtracks recently, and while 1-3 are rockin', 4 is schizophrenic, and... 5 and 6 really should be called "Jazz-man". No more driving melodies, wandering ones, more like. I was rather (again) disappointed.

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Thecoolestnerdguy » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:40 am

Sees Willy 1, Bloody Tears and The Moon on top 5
Oh, for fucks sake!

Like others who posted here, I know and love waaay too much NES music to pick an absolute favorite. I'll say tho that I think CV3 strikes an impressive balance between technical prowess and good compositions. By this point in time, Konami had already mastered their idiosyncratic NES sound. I'd argue, however, that some of those soundtracks while very fun, catchy and over the top, don't have compositions as strong, as is the case with Super C for instance. CV3's mastery of counterpoint already makes it more interesting, imo.
Gimmick is also friggin' fantastic. In a way, it's like Sunsoft's CV3. Sure, Journey to Silius and Return of the Joker sound fantastic, but they're too rock 'n roll-y to me sometimes. I'd take Gimmick's jazzy chords and strong voice leading over them any day.
I'm also very partial to European composers as I'm, unlike others, a super fan of crazy arps. Tim Follin obviously is the first example that comes to mind, with Silver Surfer being the one everyone's familiar with and Solstice's intro arguably being his pièce de résistance. I do think, however, that his best all-around soundtrack has to be Treasure Master. Every track on it is amazing, and they're very much proggy, unlike Silver Surfer, which is a plus to me.

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Sumez
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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Sumez » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:27 am

People often tend to underestimate Mega Man 4's soundtrack. I did myself, until a friend of mine opened my eyes to how interesting most of the compositions are, compared to the much more direct "rock" hooks of the earlier games. I think it's probably my favourite of the entire series. I kinda get where you're coming from calling it "schizophrenic" though.

It still does have amazingly catchy stuff. Some of my favourites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok5I0Yp-7fo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9zoPeH-Ly0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-z1HLxLJto

It doesn't have the same memorable heights as the MM2 and 3 soundtrack does, but overall the entire soundtrack is just high quality stuff.

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by ccovell » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:25 pm

Sumez wrote:...compared to the much more direct "rock" hooks of the earlier games.
Ironically, though I don't know how many people would agree with me, but a lot of the great tunes in Mega Man 2 are not rock, but Disco. :)

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Bregalad » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:23 am

Sumez wrote:People often tend to underestimate Mega Man 4's soundtrack.
That's just your opinion... for my tatstes MM4's soundtrack is by far the worst of all 6 (and also the game is the worst but that's another story).

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Re: Best soundtrack?

Post by Sumez » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:57 am

Like I said, people tend to underestimate it :P

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