Game music of the day: Ironsword

Game: Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II

Song: Title Screen

Composer: David Wise

Above: Title Screen from Ironsword

Despite being incredibly difficult and occasionally confusing, Rare's Wizards & Warriors series was one of my favorite NES franchises. I'd often find myself wandering in circles for hours, attempting to land a jump that wasn't even part of the playable level, but at each Game Over screen I'd hop right back in, ready to lead knight Kuros to victory. And while no one gameplay aspect of Ironsword really stood out, its music remains one of my favorite 8-bit soundtracks.

The title screen sets a serious tone - its heavy, droning beats mix with a fantasy-minded melody that make it sound like a funeral dirge in the Shire. The song plays as the game's meager plot scrolls by in text, which is basically summed up as "the bad guy from the first game is back, you must stop him again." Even though it's as basic as can be, the opening music makes it seem impossibly important.

Above: The Clouds area theme is similarly ominous, but a bit more toe-tappingly fun. And yes that's Fabio

Above: Icefire Mountain is the opposite - just typical game music, done exceptionally well by Mr Wise

Back in the NES days, this was a fairly popular series. I've always been a little surprised at how thoroughly it disappeared after the NES faded away; Rare hasn't uttered a peep about it since. Now, I wouldn't even necessarily want remakes of the original games, but something new might be cool - so long as it doesn't morph into a needlessly M-rated gorefest that tries to out-gruff God of War.

February 23, 2010


Game music of the day: Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim
Release of the Far West Ocean by Falcom Sound Team



Game music of the day: Mega Man X
Spark Mandrill by Tomozawa, Yamamoto, Horiyama, Iwai and Takehara



Game music of the day: Wizards & Warriors
Title Screen by David Wise


  • NotSteve - February 24, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    I never played any of the Wizards and Warriors games when I was a kid, but I'm always seeing the music on lists of the best. I should check them out one of these days. Thanks, Brett.
  • litrock - February 24, 2011 2:30 a.m.

    I was just thinking yesterday whether or not GMotD was coming back. Glad I didn't have to ask. This one was especially rad. Never played this game before.
  • NdIGiTy - February 24, 2011 2:54 a.m.

    YYYYEEEEESSSSS! I look forward to this EVERY DAY, I'm so glad it's back! The Icefire Mountain theme feels so perfectly upbeat and positive. Can't really go wrong with anything from Wise, I suppose.
  • CH3BURASHKA - February 24, 2011 3:06 a.m.

    It's been like 3 weeks since the last GMotD, I was getting worried. That first track takes a while to warm up, but when it does, BAM! That's one sweet flute solo, or whatever it's supposed to be. Much like the original W&W, it's a bit of a downer, but it's still very good music. How could it not be? It's David effing Wise! "Rare hasn't uttered a peep about it since." That seems to be Rare's thing now: disregard all of its previous games, instead allow itself to be raped to death my Microsoft's Kinect machine. It's a real shame to see them become a shell of their former selves.
  • TheCakeIsaPie - February 24, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    Yay! GMotD has returned! Thank you, Brelston!
  • JayBeat - February 24, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    You need to interview David Wise.
  • richtaur - February 24, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    Ironsword: YES! I made a remix from two of these songs way back when:
  • blankpixelsCG - February 24, 2011 2:22 a.m.

    Cool stuff. I love David Wise.
  • batmanboy11 - February 24, 2011 2:23 a.m.

    Oh GMOTD, how I have missed you.
  • Yaro - February 24, 2011 2:32 a.m.

    Another great addition! Love GMOTD!
  • JuliePeesgood - February 24, 2011 2:33 a.m.

    Cool story bro
  • Yaro - February 24, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    Another great addition! Love this feature!
  • Tenfey - February 24, 2011 2:50 a.m.

    Commenting so Brett feels better. Also whats up Kuros' googly eyes?
  • CaptainHead - February 24, 2011 2:54 a.m.

    This was a few years before my time, but it's amazing that a little 8-bit piece like that still immediately makes me think of Rare/Wise!
  • CaptainHead - February 24, 2011 2:58 a.m.

    Wow right around the 46 second mark of the title screen track SCREAMS Donkey Kong Country! That is so cool.
  • Crabhand - February 24, 2011 3:05 a.m.

    It's kind of amazing how great the stuff David Wise made with such limited technology. Retro music will forever be the one of the greatest contributions from video games.
  • G0D - February 24, 2011 4:08 a.m.

  • PessimisticHappyThoughts - February 24, 2011 5:31 a.m.

    How about Faxanadu? I have know idea how or why I had it growing up seriosly no idea where it came from but, man I played the hell out of it. Always untell the same part which I could never seem to get past. no idea how far into the game it was. Seemed to take a while when I was a kid. Shortly after the second town with the doctor and nurse in it.(guess I sucked watching a play through on youtube and dudes there in under 25 minutes about half way throught the play through. Had to use the winged boots more. Damn )The Soundtrack I still remember to this day. Theres a real good playlist on youtube everybody should check out. Nothing makes me think of my childhood like this and Legand of Zelda. Can't believe I've never looked this up before until now. My brains gonna explode from the rush of retro memories. Good times!
  • Modroneman - February 24, 2011 5:57 a.m.

    Okay, I thought I was the only one that noticed that Game Music was back. Awesome to see it again! I probably have this game stashed away in my NES collection, I'm just too lazy to go check. :)
  • CancerMan - February 24, 2011 6:47 a.m.

    Was just about to start bitching about GMotD being gone and now it's back!

Showing 1-20 of 28 comments

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