Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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vert1 Jul 23, 2016 (edited Jul 23, 2016)

This is a thread to debate on what soundtracks excel on their respective hardware. I have seen several threads on this topic on other forums but none here. The general ideology seems to be that SNES was easier to develop for and has higher amount of great soundtracks while the Genesis has the highest highs and the lowest lows.

This is the best Genesis track I've heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y68mENG2VlI
Greylancer - Stage 1 (Asteroid Field)

The best SNES track I've heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y623d0F8XZU
Breath of Fire - In a Cave

That track from the Genesis sounds way too good and I'm surprised it wasn't on something like the PC-98.

Ashley Winchester Jul 23, 2016 (edited Jul 23, 2016)

Okay, I thought you had picked "Culvert" from BOFI which is terrible, but you picked "Ancient Ruins" which is the only good dungeon theme in the game IMO. You're okay with me for now. j/k

I'm just going to flat out say it; the Genesis sound processor just blows UNLESS you have a have a good sound programmer behind it. Basically see Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 soundtrack and check out the demos versus the final products. Those are great soundtracks. I'm sure there are more (I'm sure people are going to bring up stuff like Streets of Rage and the like) but when you start dealing with cross platform titles, the quality of the Sega Genesis' music goes out the freaking window. As for another pick I'd have to go with WarSong which was DAMN FINE.

As for the Super Nintendo? God I love the SPC700. It takes a real hack to make Super Nintendo music sound bad. I couldn't even begin to start mentioning soundtracks from the console. However, I kind of get upset when people get picky about the SNES snyth because it's not on par with CD based sound and they actively and retroactively downgrade grades on past OSTs for it when that was what was available technologically (or affordable) at the time. I mean really, you're going to take a masterpiece like FFVI and quibble over the sound quality? I can kind of see doing this with VII, but did the lower end synth on that game really detract that much from what Nobuo was doing? By FFVIII (and even earlier games) higher standard PS1 snyth caught up pretty damn quick.

You want to talk about systems not holding up sound-wise I'd say the GBA especially. I know you're not going to get Sony to make sound-chips at that point but they couldn't something more capable in there? Thank God for the damn Rockman Zero Remastered series. (Except "Omega Battle" on Telos which they did a bad job on.)

jazzpaladin Jul 23, 2016

vert1 wrote:

The best SNES track I've heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y623d0F8XZU
Breath of Fire - In a Cave

You know, that game (and music, overall) was really good! And Gamepro lost a LOT of credibility with me when they published their review of the game, as it was most likely reviewed by someone who had extreme disdain or general lack of knowledge for RPG's--it received a really bad score, but based on the content, descriptions, and media I had seen of the game, I went out and bought it anyways. Boy, was I happy, too...the review was wrong in just about every way possible. Only goes to show you've just gotta trust your gut sometimes and not simply go along with whatever the reviews are saying...

Loved "In a Cave". I'll have to do a jazz rendition of that someday, but for now I'm stuck working on Chrono Trigger and Soul Blazer arrangements.

jazzpaladin Jul 23, 2016

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I'm just going to flat out say it; the Genesis sound processor just blows UNLESS you have a have a good sound programmer behind it. Basically see Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 soundtrack and check out the demos versus the final products. Those are great soundtracks. I'm sure there are more (I'm sure people are going to bring up stuff like Streets of Rage and the like...)

For the most part, I'd agree that the sound on the Genesis was pretty bad. I'm actually quite surprised that Streets of Rage, Sonic, Quackshot, and a few others are on my list of all-time favorites given the hardware they were rendered on, but it's quite the testament to the writing and/or mixing ability of the composers/mixers that they were able to turn out something so great on a system that was consistently spitting out bad sounds on so many titles.

Streets of Rage is definitely on my list of things-to-do someday...

Ashley Winchester Jul 23, 2016

jazzpaladin wrote:

You know, that game (and music, overall) was really good!

A little off topic but I played the original BOF way too late for it to make much of impact. I played II, III, and IV long before it.

Unfortunately, playing the game didn't improve my opinion of much of the music. However, despite the owning the BOF Box BOF music in general is very hit and miss with me regardless of game. It's good music but a lot of it works better in it's given game for me.

Amazingu Jul 24, 2016

I love how even in 2016 the old SNES vs Genesis debate is still going strong. There are several huge ongoing threads on GAF as well, and they usually end up in people arguing about music, haha.

vert1 wrote:

This is the best Genesis track I've heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y68mENG2VlI
Greylancer - Stage 1 (Asteroid Field)

The best SNES track I've heard:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y623d0F8XZU
Breath of Fire - In a Cave

So is this about just choosing music you like, or music that is actually impressive from a technological perspective?
I agree that the Genesis track sounds very good, but that BOF track isn't impressive by any standards.

You want impressive SNES music? FFVI is an obvious answer, but my personal favorite would be Plok!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ODKKILZiYY

vert1 Jul 24, 2016

Nice. The thread can be used to list soundtracks that are great, but I would prefer personal favorites to be posted than simple album posts. Most top-notch albums are already known by most people on this forum.

Ashley Winchester Jul 25, 2016

vert1 wrote:

Nice. The thread can be used to list soundtracks that are great, but I would prefer personal favorites to be posted than simple album posts. Most top-notch albums are already known by most people on this forum.

Here's the two songs from Warsong I'd suggest checking out:

Friendly Fight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBMYnjW … 7FF09E69AB

Kingdom Knight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiOknks … AB&index=6

Both of those tracks take the unique sound of the Genesis sound processor and accentuates them very well IMO.

Ashley Winchester Jul 25, 2016

Amazingu wrote:

I agree that the Genesis track sounds very good, but that BOF track isn't impressive by any standards.

Agreed on the SNES track. I really enjoy that piece but at the same time I never considered it a technical marvel of any kind. Still, matter of personal interpretation.

Additionally, I know you don't want us to album drop instead of album drop but I find the Marvel Super Heroes Arcade Gametrack to be very impressive. The Q Sound on Capcom's arcade cabinets is very hit and miss with me but I thought the sound programming was right on the money with this one, They seemed to be able to work within the limits of the technology and make it sound pretty damn natural.

That said, I'll refrain from gushing over that score anymore; I'm sure people know I love that one by now smile

Ramza Jul 25, 2016

from a hardware standpoint, what Hiroki Kikuta did for Secret of Mana (and, re-using some of that percussion, in SD3) is quite memorable. I know there's better writing than anything I could do that explains all the work Kikuta and Square's sound programmers had to go through to make that soundtrack work.

Front Mission ~Gun Hazard~ also has some very impressive music. Check out the end credits.

As for Genesis ... I'm not familiar enough to give an expert opinion on what its most impressive music is. I know that I'm partial to the Langrisser games and the Sonic trilogy. But I'm sure there are more impressive things in the Genesis library.

jazzpaladin Jul 25, 2016

Ramza wrote:

from a hardware standpoint, what Hiroki Kikuta did for Secret of Mana (and, re-using some of that percussion, in SD3) is quite memorable. I know there's better writing than anything I could do that explains all the work Kikuta and Square's sound programmers had to go through to make that soundtrack work.

SoM was interesting in it's use of Indonesian gamelan instrumentation in particular, I'm not really aware of any other games that attempted to use sounds that originate from these islands...

Due to the rather dissonant and dischordant nature of the music, I generally am not a fan of it (my wife is Indonesian, so I get to listen to it from time to time), but in this particular game, we both found the implementation of the instruments to be excellent and well-suited for the production.

GoldfishX Jul 26, 2016

I'll cop out and say it depends on the programming, the composition and what you're in the mood for. As a general guideline, I'd say I would look to the SNES for more of a varied, orchestral palette, while I would look to the Genesis for more straight-forward, "gamey" tunes or anything heavily bass-driven (ala Streets of Rage). That said, the Genesis tends to suffer from a lack of "official" releases, whereas some of the most infamous official releases are from the SNES.

layzee Jul 27, 2016

Outside of Phantasy Star (mostly IV) and anything by Yuzo Koshiro, I would struggle to name a favourite SMD track as opposed to the SFC (too many favourites). But off the top of my head, how about "For the love of" from Musha Aleste?

As for apples-with-apples comparisons, how about:

Ys III (MD) vs. Ys III (SFC)
The MD versions sound nice and bassy and energetic, the SFC sounds weak and high-pitched.

Arcus Spirits (MD) vs. Arcus Spirits (SFC)
Can't really say I'd prefer one over the other.

GoldfishX Jul 29, 2016

layzee wrote:

Ys III (MD) vs. Ys III (SFC)
The MD versions sound nice and bassy and energetic, the SFC sounds weak and high-pitched.

This is a good example of what I posted above. I've never particularly been big on any of the SNES versions of the Falcom ports (Ys III always sounded flat/boring to me on the SNES, a few tracks aside), but the Genesis version of the score does it quite well (not dissimilar to the PC98 versions of Falcom tunes, really).

On the same hand, I have trouble envisioning Phantasy Star music on the SNES. Yeah, it would probably sound more "proper", but I'm not sure it would capture the uneasy atmosphere the classic PS scores do.

layzee Jul 30, 2016 (edited Jul 30, 2016)

Instead of comparing apples with apples, now let's compare oranges with oranges: what are some decent Sega Mega Drive-based heavy metal/music that uses guitar-sounding synths? Struggling to think of any. Ones that come to mind include:

The final boss music of Phantasy Star IV (and a good one)
The final boss music of Shin Soseiki Ragnacenty/Crusader of Centy (sounds a bit rough to me but a valiant attempt nevertheless)
Skitchin' (not heavy metal but still worth a listen)
Thunderforce series
May or may not be considered metal but some tunes from Langrisser is worth a mention and Noriyuki Iwadare would show his metal side in the Grandia series later.

As for Super Famicom/SNES, we can easily name entire soundtracks that fit the theme. Some of these are obvious metal soundtracks with the lead guitar playing the main melody. Other soundtracks have a few token metal songs and/or has the guitar (e.g. bass, rhythm guitar) taking a back seat but the style/sound is still prominent enough to be considered metal:

Rockman X series (X3 being my personal favourite SFC metal)
Super Donkey Kong/Country series (e.g. "pirate" metal final boss theme)
Killer Instinct
Battletoads series
Iron Commando: Koutetsu no Senshi (composer is not Japanese interestingly enough. Or maybe he is Japanese in nationality but not ethnically. Then again, Japanese isn't a race [insert long-winded explanation here] - you know what I mean - on further research, this game isn't even Japanese? Even though it was only released in Japan? Or is it an unlicensed game?)
Battle themes from Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest
Battle themes from Breath of Fire II
Battle themes from Estpolis/Lufia II
Battle themes from Romancing Saga series
Battle themes from Rudra no Hihou (noticing a pattern?)
Nobuo Uematsu always been a fan of metal (e.g. Final Fantasy VI's battle themes)
Certain battle themes from Live-A-Live
Last but certainly not least, the final boss theme from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island! I wasn't expecting the epicness of One-Winged Angel as I fought my way to Final Fantasy VII's final boss. Similarly, I wasn't expecting to be greeted with guitars in a game filled with cute Yoshis and colourful picture-book graphics.

Heavy metal? SFC is the clear winner I think.

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