Game music of the day: Ninja Gaiden III

GR's ongoing tribute to the beloved world of videogame music

Game: Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom

Song: Act 2-2

Composer: Miya, Nakabai and Shigeno

Above: Act 2-2 from Ninja Gaiden III

More than a decade beforeit became an orgy of blood and boobs, Ninja Gaiden was a side-scrolling blockbuster trilogy on the NES. Aside from being a supremely excellent series that introduced most of us to the idea of "cutscenes," Gaiden was also known for its8-bit soundtracksthat always set the proper mood; sometimesthe musicwas a somber tone, other times a pulse-pounding beat or creepy melody. Gaiden III was no exception, and has its own standout songs that are among the NES' best.

Even though I played the least NGIII out of all the NES games, this one song has stuck with me for years. It's so frantic and crazy compared to every other Gaiden track (which is saying something), and it perfectly captures the feeling of trying to outrun the rising lava that threatens to incinerate you. The goal in act 2-2 was to KEEP RUNNING, and this song made you do just that.

Above: Act 3-2 isslightlyless chaotic, butjust barely

Above: Act 4-2 continues the toe-tapping trend, but now with a kickin' bass line!

All three NES classics were remade for the Super NES, but they didn't recieve the Super Mario All-Stars treatment - instead of revamped sprites and new graphics, Tecmo merely cleaned up some stuff here and there and (baffilingly) altered the music for the worse. The 8-bit arrangements were already outstanding, sohow they could take the SNES' superior sound capabilities and createshitter versionsof NES songs is forever beyond me. You can check it out the NES version for yourself on Wii's Virtual Console, but fair warning - the US version had its difficulty intentionally cranked to the ceiling, so you're going to get your ass kicked.

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