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Game music of the day: Ninja Gaiden

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 NES action games that 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 guy getting the girl in 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, and the 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.

 

Game music of the day: Double Dragon
Title Screen by Kazunaka Yamane

 

 

Game music of the day: Gradius III
Invitation by Ueko, Uehara, Muraoka and Morimoto

 

 

Game music of the day: Red Dead Redemption
Far Away by Jose Gonzalez

20 comments

  • CaptainHead - September 2, 2010 8:10 p.m.

    These games were a smidge before my time, but holy shit that is awesome!!
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - September 1, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    F**k YEAH!
  • Bitchslapthehomeless - September 1, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    I wish the newer NG's had this type of music and storytelling. I mean I have no idea what happens in the newer ones at all, but at least I did in the older ones, and I was like 6.
  • Lionzest7 - September 1, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    nice choice, finished sigma (1) last night
  • Redeater - September 1, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    @batmanboy11 *facepalm You weren't a kid in the eighties were you? lol
  • ZiegZeon - September 1, 2010 1:34 p.m.

    If I had to choose a song from the NG series for a GMotD, I would have to pick the intro cinema song from NG2, or Act 3-2 from NG2.
  • philipshaw - September 1, 2010 11:14 a.m.

    I have never played these games but the music is great. You do know your stuff Brett
  • elpurplemonkey - September 1, 2010 7:44 a.m.

    Great song, it kinda sounds like the Gerudo theme from Ocarina of Time mixed with Guile's theme in some parts. It just screams determination though.
  • JohnnyApplesperm - September 1, 2010 6:12 a.m.

    Awesome GMOTD! Never played Ninja Gaiden, but it looks awesome. I need to pick this up sometime. Absolutely LOVE the first track, so badass, like a determined hero making his way to the villain.. well that's basically what's happening in the game anyways.
  • batmanboy11 - September 1, 2010 5:48 a.m.

    It the Scott Pilgrim the Game music sounds like it a bit, which is probably intentionall.
  • Redeater - September 1, 2010 5:10 a.m.

    They are just ripping off Scott Pilgrim!
  • DarkTone - September 1, 2010 4:12 a.m.

    Damn! GamesRadar is on a roll with these classic sounds from yesteryear. *salutes pc* Shame you missed this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkIMc8jv-rM
  • Tenfey - September 1, 2010 3:44 a.m.

    That game wants me dead.
  • garnsr - September 1, 2010 3:42 a.m.

    The music as Ryu reads the letter is some of my favorite 8-bit music. It sounds a lot like the ending of Castlevania and Simon's Quest. I don't think I was ever able to finish Ninja Gaiden, but I sure played it a ton. It's almost inconceivable these days that you could play a game over and over again, and not get any farther.
  • shyfonzie - September 1, 2010 3:09 a.m.

    Good choice Brett! I just beat this a few days ago, and was loving the music the whole way through.
  • enlargedhousecats - September 1, 2010 3:08 a.m.

    fantastic
  • juicenpancakes - September 1, 2010 3 a.m.

    Also, thanks for finally doing this game. This was my first ever non-Mario game, and this music brings me back to a much better, simpler time.
  • juicenpancakes - September 1, 2010 2:56 a.m.

    I always found it ironic that, as a ninja, a stealthy, silent being, mind-blowingly pounding music played in the background. Surely my enemies would have heard me coming (and would have likely begun to dance).
  • screwball08247 - September 1, 2010 2:38 a.m.

    This just makes me want to dance.
  • Lucas - September 1, 2010 2:22 a.m.

    FIRST!!

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