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From its inception, the idea behind Week of Geek has been “as niche as possible.” To some, an article about videogame music is obscure enough, but as an ardent fan of all things VGM, I wanted to truly geek out and talk about game music that references other game music.
Above: A lifetime of very important game-music research
By this I don’t mean soundtracks like Super Smash Bros Brawl, which features dozens of tracks taken from different games. I’m talking about games that, for whatever reason, give an audible shout-out to another, usually one from the same publisher or developer. Still not getting it? Let’s begin.
Most of us will recognize both games. They’re originally from the SNES days (1991 and 1996, respectively), developed by Square and two of the most popular RPGs the system ever saw. But I’m willing to bet a big ol’ pile of valuable substances that few noticed Mario RPG’s usage of FFIV’s boss music.
Above: The original FFIV boss battle music
Above: Mario RPG’s cover, used in the fight against Culex
Fun soundtrack fact: Mario RPG composer Yoko Shimomura has graced us with beautiful music for many, many years, namely in Kingdom Hearts, Street Fighter II and the brand-new Bowser’s Inside Story.
Konami is best known for its franchises, particularly DDR, Metal Gear and Silent Hill. But, 15 years ago or so, the biggest names it swung around were Castlevania and Contra. These two series couldn’t be conceptually further from each other (gothic vampire hunt vs brawny bullet men), but once upon a time they did share this classic theme:
Above: Castlevania's famous “Vampire Killer” from the NES version
Above: Contra Hard Corps’s gabber-rave re-imagining
Fun soundtrack fact: Hard Corps hides this tune in a secret arena level that pits you against a whip-cracking robot (a jab at Castlevania for sure), a floaty ball enemy and uh, this thing:
Which looks like a monster pushing a shopping cart. If we ever do a list of “craziest bosses” or something (and at some point we probably will), expect this abomination to make the cut.
Mega Man has prospered for two decades, while the ruthlessly difficult Goblin series has had to continuously fight for its place in the world. Maximo (PS2) and Ultimate Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins (PSP) tried to reignite the passion, but nothing stuck with gamers like the arcade (and NES) original. Mega Man 7 paid a sneaky tribute to its struggling brother with its own rendition of a classic tune.
Above: The first level of Ghosts 'n' Goblins, probably the furthest most of us got
Above: The same tune as heard in Mega Man 7, accessed via code
Fun soundtrack fact: Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins may not mean much to today’s audiences, but the memories burn brightly enough to inspire game band The Minibosses to cover the above theme with electric guitar gusto. Check ‘em out here.
Doom’s impact on the FPS genre cannot be understated. It ushered in the era of online multiplayer, made “deathmatch” a casual term and jumpstarted the modding scene all in the span of two games. However, its successes come on the heels of its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D. Id, the developer of both games, re-used some classic Wolf tunes in two secret Doom 2 levels.
Above: Music to kill mecha-Hitler by, as heard in Wolfenstein 3D
Above: The same song as heard in level 32 of Doom 2
Fun soundtrack fact: Doom is very, very ‘90s. So is Alice in Chains. It appears the former sampled the latter in a most unofficial way. Check out the details in our Soundtracks you didn’t know were stolen article.
Next page: Mario, Zelda, Halo and more!
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