Game music of the day: Ninja Gaiden III

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 before it 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 its 8-bit soundtracks that always set the proper mood; sometimes the music was 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 is slightly less chaotic, but just 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, so how they could take the SNES' superior sound capabilities and create shitter versions of 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.


Game music of the day: Tron Evolution
Derezzed by Daft Punk



Game music of the day: Yoshi's Island
Flower Garden by Koji Kondo



Game music of the day: Virtua Fighter 3
Open the Deadgate by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi


  • CanadianBeaverHunter - December 14, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    Haven't played this game in over 15 years. Love the Ninja Gaiden trilogy, but boy are they hard. Not for the easily frustrated.
  • CaptainSpatula - December 14, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    Really great stuff Brett. I salute you for continuing to introduce me to great music even though it must be a pain in the ass sometimes.
  • philipshaw - December 14, 2010 12:51 p.m.

    Never played these games but the music kicks so much ass,must get these on virtual console
  • JayBeat - December 14, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    Sooooo good.
  • grappler51 - December 14, 2010 6:09 a.m.

    The old ninja gaidens always had good music, one of my favorite is the intro music in Ninja Gaiden 2.
  • Dethero - December 14, 2010 5:37 a.m.

    this game taught me how and when to use curse words. no other game to date has brought me more JOY or sheer frustration than this game. I LOVE IT!!
  • CoktorBloktopus - December 14, 2010 5:01 a.m.

    now I really wished I had played more NES games and not gotten in the game at the SNES era.
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 14, 2010 3:21 a.m.

    You had me worried there, Brett - I thought I'd have to go yet another day sans GMotD. I nearly died that week without GMotD's, without the historical flashbacks to times of yore. Great pick. Of these, I'm digging 4-2 the most. I've never actually played the NG trilogy... nor the current-gen duology (it's a real word, ask Wikipedia). Once I get a decent computer, I'm going to emulate the FUCK out of the 8- and 16-bit generations.
  • practicallyhitler - December 14, 2010 3:07 a.m.

    Yeah, all the NES Ninja Gaidens had music I could listen to for hours without it becoming annoying. Good thing, since these games were tough as hell and I died constantly.
  • batmanboy11 - December 14, 2010 2:48 a.m.

    Awesome. 'Nuff said.

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