The coolest secret video game music

I'm sure you've felt that sense of elitism when you discover an artist or song that nobody else knows about. You might listen to it yourself in headphones and feel smug, or become *that* guy who tells everyone you meet how they have to listen to this amazing new thing. Sound familiar?

What joy then, when your favourite videogame throws up an unexpected audio treat. One's come up recently in Mario Kart 64. Someone must've left the game running after a race, only to find that after 50 minutes the music changes to a different loop. Check it out:

It's possible that it's just a glitch - the game was always meant to play this after a couple of rounds of the more familiar music loop. But still it's great to hear something new from such a familiar game. But Mario Kart's not the only game with hidden audio delights.


Sonic 2

When I was a kid, I can remember the look on my sister's face as we 'discovered' the Hidden Palace zone's music in the sound test of Sonic 2. It was like peering into another world. What fantastical place was this other-worldly music from? Why had we never heard it in the game despite finishing it countless times? It's still kinda eery to hear it today, especially if you're so familiar with the rest of the game's audio.

Hearing it now with more educated ears, it's almost completely different to anything else heard in the game. With a waltzing three-beat bar and victorious harmony line cutting in over the main theme, it's perhaps even more epic than Sonic 3's much more famed Ice Cap zone melody.


Totaka's theme

Legendary Nintendo composer Kazumi Totaka has slipped the same small piece of secret music into virtually every game he's ever worked on. Sneaky, huh? From Animal Crossing to Luigi's Mansion and Link's Awakening, there's usually a complex method required to find it. If I'm honest, it doesn't do much for me, but it's always a fanboy moment of delight for anyone who discovers it in a new Nintendo game, so its deserving of a place here. Incidentally, They say it has to be in Super Smash Bros Brawl somewhere. Perhaps while playing on-line, late at night...


Super Monaco GP - 8-bit version

The title screen music for Super Monaco GP appears to be incredibly basic. Da-da-da-da-dada, da-da-da-da-dana-na. Repeat. And repeat again. By this point, everyone will have pushed the start button. But if you don't, you get the closest thing to an epic guitar solo possible on an 8-bit sound chip. Favourite bit? 0:57s right before it loops back to the beginning. That's fretboard-tapping if ever I heard it.

Sadly the title music was probably the best thing about this... let's say 'ambitious' Spectrum conversion. You can also hear this piece of of music on the GameGear and Master System versions.


Gamecube start-up

The alternative start-up music for Gamecube is well-documented - just hold down Z as you power on. But did you know there's a third one if you hold down Z on all four controllers? Sumo FTW.


Halo 3

Halo 3 is chock-full of Easter Eggs, but this is one of the most mood-changing. This piano piece (that kicks in at 1:19) is called The Siege of Madrigal and was used in a previous Bungie game called Myth. Its use here is rumoured to be a tribute to the parents of a Bungie team member who died in a car crash, although it has definitely been used as an Easter Egg in every single Halo game to date.


Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

All you need to do to hear this cool tune is play the game disc in a CD player. Skip to track 2 and you get this rather Zelda-influenced track that isn't present in the game. It's rumoured to be music from the third castle and Alucard's real theme (Alucard's Vengeance). There is a third castle in the game but it's not enterable. 

The track's also interesting as it features the voice of Alucard telling you not to play Track 1 of the game disc in your CD player as it contains game data and not sound files. But you probably won't listen to him anyways...

09 Mar, 2010

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  • wrapdump - March 25, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    Awesome article. The thrid start up sound on the GC isn't Sumo, it's a collection of sounds from Noh plays.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - March 11, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    Does the Skullmonkeys bonus room song count.
  • philipshaw - March 10, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    Cool article, knew about some of these Suprised this wasn't a Brett Article
  • Unoriginal - March 10, 2010 12:37 p.m.

    @Article overload To be fair most are PC magazine imports and the others are rather short (but still enjoyable) /GR fanboy
  • Cyberninja - March 9, 2010 11:32 p.m.

    i would listen to alucard because he the coolest castlevaina character
  • GodofPS314 - March 9, 2010 10:47 p.m.

    Yeah as Allthegoodnamesweretaken said you are doing articles like crazy! I can't read all of these. Like for 3 days you didn't write anything then boom like 10 things come out!
  • 2dboy - March 9, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    Nice article. This reminds me in some hidden songs in metal gear solid(integral version), which you can listen to by dialing special frequencies at certain places. The one in my opinion is Zanzibar breeze. original MSX version: Integral version:
  • lovinmyps3 - March 9, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    Wow, a VGM article not written by Brett. Nice job Justin =)
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - March 9, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    Article overload!Seriously you guys I think you are spreading yourselves thin.
  • Imgema - March 9, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    If, i remember correctly, in Zelda 64, if you let it idle after you finished it, it will play some random ocarina tunes. Nice article

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