Game music of the day: Ninja Gaiden

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

Game: Ninja Gaiden

Song: Bazlisk Mine Field

Composer: Keiji Yamagishi, "B.B."

Above: Mine Field from Ninja Gaiden

Long before it became a bloody gorefest and springboard for more half-naked Team Ninja women, Ninja Gaiden was a successful trilogy of NESaction gamesthat brought the word "cutscene" into regular console terminology. In between each of the game's fiendish levels you'd see moments like the one above brought to life with (stiff) animations and (cheesy) lines of dialog, which, primitive as they may seem today, were far beyond the storytelling of other NES games from 1989. Add a stunning soundtrack on top of this and you've got one of the most memorable games of that generation.

Almost every song in the first Gaiden is top-notch. But it really hits you once the mine music starts playing, as it's both energetic and entirely fitting - you've just laid eyes on your final goal and descend into the mines, ready to put an end to the villain's evil deeds. For an NES game, the story's actually quite strong, plus it's one of the few cases of the guygetting the girlin a very real way, not just a peck on the cheek.

Above: A great example of Gaiden using cinemas and a badass soundtrack to tell a great 8-bit tale

Above: Another classic song from Act 5, probably stirs up memories of the game's asshole birds

This story was wrapped up pretty nicely in Ninja Gaiden III, andthe SNES remakes that followed weren't anything special (certainly not up to Super Mario Bros All-Stars level) so this version of Gaiden is more or less dead. But, even though there are no new stories to be told, we can keep listening to this music indefinitely.

Title Screen by Kazunaka Yamane

Invitation by Ueko, Uehara, Muraoka and Morimoto

Far Away by Jose Gonzalez

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