Game music of the day: Rygar

Game: Rygar

Song: Caverns of Sagila

Composer: Unknown artist

Above: Caverns of Sagila from Rygar

Like Ninja Gaiden, Rygar began in the arcades as a fairly straightforward action game, then morphed into a more robust offering when Tecmo ported it over to the NES. Despite a reasonable fan base and prominent coverage in Nintendo Power, Rygar never attained franchise status and was left alone until a fairly competent PS2 reboot (that was later shittily ported to Wii) spiced up the action with bigger bosses and a grand orchestral soundtrack. Looking back to the original NES title, which obviously lacks the Moscow International Symphony Orchestra's classy flair, you can still pick out some choice tracks that have held up over time.

Honestly, the game was so goddamn confusing and baffilingly difficult that most people who played it never heard much beyond the opening area's tune. The above song, which plays in a cave area, likely eluded thousands of mystified players, so take a second and soak it in. Rygar's compositional complexity is nowhere near Mega Man or Castlevania level, but it's still solid 8-bit stuff.

Above: The "Overhead Area" song is another favorite

Above: OverClocked ReMix submitter K. Praslowicz definitely knew the Caves song, which he expertly remixed back in 2001

You may have noticed the "Unknown artist" entry up there next to Composer. I always try to dig around and find the actual composers and give them long-due credit for these songs that burned their way into our brains, but sometimes it's just not possible. The ending lacks credits of any kind, so it's not just the musician that gets the shaft:

Above: That grueling slog through an impossible game was totally worth it. What an ending!

If by some miraculous chance YOU know the composer, post it in the comments! Otherwise, let's just assume it was someone that never recieved any credit or thanks for their contribution. So, more than 20 years later, we salute you, unknown NES composer!


Game music of the day: Wave Race 64
Get happy with this upbeat intro song from Kazumi Totaka



Game music of the day: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Rockin' battle theme by Sasai and Kawakami



Game music of the day: Silver Surfer
The MOST INSANE 8-bit music ever constructed, by Tim Follin


  • brak0999 - October 3, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    I did a bit of web searching in Japanese and came up with a few pages saying Masuko Tsukasa (増子司) composed the music for Rygar:増子司 and (this one in English)
  • BodyDamage - October 21, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    jesus what a solid solid tune. one of my favorite features on the site, keep em comin.
  • skeletalbutton - October 21, 2010 1:09 p.m.

    Some websites are saying the composer is T Hayusa. Not sure I would trust those websites, but it's better than nothing.
  • philipshaw - October 21, 2010 12:42 p.m.

    I only ever played that PS2 game you talked about which was a solid God of War like game before God of War existed. This music is like you said solid NES stuff, also that ReMix is boss
  • garnsr - October 21, 2010 4:04 a.m.

    Rygar's one of those games that I must have just played on a good day once, because I beat it once, and when I played it again later I couldn't get anywhere. I had the same thing happen with River City Ransom. Definitely in the cult classic section, not great graphics, weird gameplay, but strangely beloved by guys in their early thirties.
  • 8bitBaby - October 21, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    "sigh" rygar was one of those games i never owned when it came out. i sat and looked at pics of it, but no... no rygar for Smars... :C i do kinda like the music. how many game composers do you think go uncredited? that sucks.
  • StrayGator - October 21, 2010 1:17 a.m.

    Hi brett, sorry for breaking in with an unrelated game, but PPPPPP (The soundtrack to the minor indie hit VVVVVV) may be worth your (and the readers') attention, especially considering that it's still out and selling. f'rexample:
  • JohnnyApplesperm - October 20, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    Sweet! I would also love to know who this mystery composer is, I'd be very interested to find out what other games he's done music for.
  • JamesTQuest - October 20, 2010 11:35 p.m.

    I think I was the only person I knew until college that grew up with Rygar. Not only do I remember loving the gameplay, but also the amazing music. I now work as a counselor in an alternative ed. school and I constantly have Rygar music (especially the Caverns of Sagila) playing in my head throughout the day. I also teach the music class there and have created a quarter-long section just on video game music. Whenever I play Caverns of Sagila, the students always react positively. Glad to see I'm not the only one who remembers this great music. "Game Music of the Day" is perhaps my favorite part of checking GR when I get home from work. Keep up the awesome work.
  • Strangleme - October 20, 2010 11:32 p.m.

    Awesome as always!!
  • ThatsWhatSheSaid - October 20, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    the 1st track that is Caverns of Sagila. :)
  • ThatsWhatSheSaid - October 20, 2010 11:28 p.m.

    sounds like a John Carpenter compsoed track to me, hints of Escape from New York in der especially (a sped up main theme if you will)

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