If there’s one thing a Nathan loves, it’s the SNES sound chip. And he loves it a lot. Probably an unhealthy amount. So much he might do something drastic!
So for positivity week, I’ve decided to share the love love with you all by throwing some kickin SNES tunes up in this hizzy. For rizzy. What, people don’t talk like that anymore? The 90s are over? Dag, yo.
Anyway, for this list I’ve made a few rules or else it would be a thousand entries long
- Only one song per game
- Songs have to rock hard (no boring slow songs like this, even though I enjoy those too)
- These songs have to pump you up to get work done!
- They’re presented an order from “mild kickass” to “totally kickass” to build you up to it. Don’t wanna blow your brains out from the get-go!
- I tried to not pick the most obvious songs in the world
Of course, there are probably twelve more kickass SNES songs to help you survive work out there. In fact, there might even be thirteen. Leave comments after the article with your favorite SNES songs! But no Genesis songs, get that crap out of here and back on Reset Tear’s feed!
And without further ado, let’s kick it into high gear.
12. Sunset Riders – Stage 1
Here’s a game that gets overlooked way too much. Westerns make some pretty awesome games (Gun.Smoke, Red Dead Redemption, that most recent Call of Juarez game…), but for me this is the definitive western game. Based on the (admittedly better) arcade version, this Konami platformer slash shmup is kind of like Contra but in the west, but featured a colorful cast of crazy cowboys, pink horses, and some great digitized voices. Also, it was an actual arcade port, unlike the Genesis version which was just some game that looked similar.
This song gets my blood pumpin and ready to murder some outlaws with my fast moving purple ball bullets. Always pick Bob! He’s the best! Just sayin’.
11. Earthworm Jim – New Junk City
The 90s were full of failed video game mascots. So many I might even write an article about them! But out of them all, Earthworm Jim stuck with me as one that actually wasn’t awful. First off, he didn’t have “‘tude,” but instead was kind of a goofball. Second, his adventure was absurd on multiple levels. Across two games you launched cows, turned into a salamander, raced a space crow with a pocket rocket, bounced puppies off marshmallows, and much more. Like I said: kind of weird.
New Junk City was the first level in the first game, and the song has some sweet bass riffs. Oddly enough, this song sounds more like something that would appear on a DOS game in this era rather than the SNES. Maybe that’s why I like it? Anyway, it’s a mellower piece but still rocks.
10. Sparkster – Lakeside
HOLY COW THIS SONG IS SO HEROIC. I AM LITERALLY BECOMING MORE HEROIC JUST LISTENING TO IT. TIME TO BE A HERO AND FILE THAT PAPERWORK! THE BOSSMAN WON’T KNOW WHAT HIT HIM!
Sparkster was a sequel to Rocket Knight Adventures, another failed 90s mascot that I don’t hate. You’re like a possum or something…but with a jetpack! Hey, I’m noticing a theme here. Earthworm Jim had a super suit, Sparkster had a jetpack. Maybe that’s why Aero, Bubsy, Headdy, Awesome Possum, and the rest failed: no high tech gadgets.
Anyway, this is the song to play at around 4:40 PM when you’re about to be done for the day and preparing that celebratory victory dance. Or when you finally finish that big project at work. Or when you’re sitting at home unemployed writing lists for Sharkberg. You know. Whenever.
9. Castlevania IV – Theme of Simon/Dance of the Holyman
Castlevania is well known for it’s crazy musical styling. I should know, I reviewed like the bulk of the series here on Sharkberg (we’ll get to the rest of them eventually, don’t you worry). I also made a whole video devoted to how awesome Castlevania songs are. If this list had included NES Castlevanias, it would have been a harder song choice. However, on the SNES there is really only one Castlevania song I consider rockin, and it’s this one.
It’s not as guitar or synth heavy as some other ones on this list, nor is it a heroic explosion of joy like the Sparkster song, but it does have a sweet buildup into an awesome theme, which is good enough for me. This song gets me pumped to get my stuff done, just at a reasonably metered pace rather than a frantic, hectic one. Hey, restraint is important too, you know? Sort of? Whatever.
8. Final Fantasy VI – Devil’s Lab
So ya’ll know Final Fantasy VI is like my favorite game ever, right? Yes? No? Well it is. A large part in this has to do with the OST, which is my favorite game OST ever. Lots of “favorites ever” in this list.
Sadly, Devil’s Lab is not my favorite song ever in my favorite OST of my favorite game ever. However, this song still kicks ass. In the game, it plays when you’re exploring the Empire’s crazy mad scientist magic lab/factory. The song starts with machinery sounds but quickly integrates them into a larger song, making this kind of like…Industrial style music? In that it’s mimicking actual industry? And plays in a factory? Trent Reznor, can you weigh in on this?
Anyway, it only plays once in the entire game which is a huge shame, as this might my my favorite dungeon song ever. See? I got another “favorite ever” in there. Suck it!
7. Final Fantasy IV – Boss Theme
Speaking of favorite ever, here’s my favorite ever Final Fantasy boss theme. And it’s rockin! It starts out similarly to the regular boring battle them, but then shifts into overdrive! This song’s bass line is just going all over the place in rapid fire.
Take it as you will, but this just screams energetic boss song to me. It’s frantic, it’s fast, it’s in a minor key, and it even has a little major key section snuck in there to motivate you. Just listening to it while I’m writing this and my foot is tapping uncontrollably to the insane beat, and I can’t stop it. Someone send help.
They redid this for the DS/PC port or whatever, but they slowed down the tempo and added like 400 more levels of synth, so forget that. It’s ok in the PSP version, though (aka the definitive version of FFIV).
6. Final Fantasy V – Battle on the Big Bridge
Geez, enough Final Fantasy already! Well, this is the last one for a bit, I promise.
Technically this isn’t a SNES game, because it never came out in the US (thus making it a “Super Famicom” game only). If I had to look at all the Super Famicom games for this list I’d probably find better stuff, though, so we’re just gonna keep saying “SNES” and pretend the magical crystal adventure starring Butz came out in the US.
This song is frantic. It’s fanatic. Just listen to that intro. It’s like going all over the place! Is that legal? Am I gonna get arrested for listing to something so awesome?
No. Well, maybe, I dunno. But I do know that if I need something done fast, listening to this song certainly helps.
5. Mega Man X – Intro Stage
Ya’ll were wondering when we’d get some Mega Man X on here, and look…here it is! First off, I know I didn’t pick Spark Mandrill or Boomer Kuwanger or whatever the hell he’s called or whatever other MMX stage song you think should be on here. You know why? I’d just have a list of Mega Man X songs is why!
Which…actually isn’t a bad thing. So you could always go listen to a playlist of that on YouTube. I’m ok with that.
Anyway, this intro song is perfect. You’ve got background guitars, you’ve got a sweet melody, and some crazy drum action. It’s not as “high octane” as some other songs (like Armored Armadillo, which I swear gives me a heart attack it goes so fast), but it’s restrained enough to be good listening. Plus, you get to ride on cars during that stage, which is always a big plus in my video games. Nailed it, Capcom.
4. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest – Boss Theme
There ain’t a whole lot of good one can say about Mystic Quest. Yeah, it had some interesting ideas. Yeah, it was way too easy and for babies, yeah the story was just trite nonsense, but hey…at least the music was decent, right?
In particular, this boss song is so unbelievably good it should honestly have been in a better game. Yeah, we didn’t get Final Fantasy V over here and all, but we got this crazy-ass rockin’ boss theme, which almost made up for it. I still can’t believe how frantic this song is, especially in what is technically a JRPG. I imagine someone wrote it and then accidentally put it on double speed and then was like “eh, whatever, ship it.”
Thank you, negligent music tempo person. You did good.
3. Mega Man X – Storm Eagle
That’s right, fool. I just broke my #1 rule at the top of the article and put two songs from the same game on this list. What you gonna do about it? Unbookmark us? Ha! I’d like to see you try!
(please don’t unbookmark us I’m so sorry)
Anyway, this song. This song. THIS SONG. This song is so good on so many levels. It’s got epic guitars. It’s got kickin drums. It’s got a heroic melody. It’s got…actually it’s kind of repetitive. It could have used a “B” chorus, you know? Maybe variate a bit on the theme? I dunno, I’m no musician.
But who cares of the song’s repetitive? I sure don’t! I have the ten hour version up on my computer right now! Bring on hour eight, Storm Eagle!
2. TMNT: Turtles in Time – Sewer Surfing
Well, I hope you’re ready to have this song stuck in your head until the end of time, because that’s what happens when you listen to Sewer Surfing.
Turtles in Time was an already rad arcade game that then got ported to the SNES and stayed rad. It also got moved to the Genesis in the form of Hyperstone Heist, but who cares about the stupid Genesis? Also, the music in that version is worse.
Regardless, in this level the turtles are surfing…uh…in the sewers. Yeah, now that I wrote that I realized the title kind of explains it all. But hey, remember how if you hit the mines they’d say “My toes! My toes!” Yeah, me too. Good times. I love this game.
But what could get us even more pumped than this song? Well…only one comes to mind.
1. Actraiser – Fillmore
If I need motivating, I put this song on. If I’m having a bad day, if I let my self down, I don’t sing a sad song just to turn it around…I listen to Fillmore. Everybody should listen to Fillmore. If Fillmore were an actual place, I’d move there, because then I could listen to this song all day. I guess I could technically do that anyway, what with mp3 players and all, but that’s not the point.
The point is this song is amazing. It’s got a crazy kickin’ bass line. It’s got a great melody. It’s got a crazy kickin’ bass line. It’s heroic and melodic and other “ic” words. And that bass line tho, slappin all around. Are you hearing this? Is anyone hearing this? Have my ears melted from how awesome this is? Is Actraiser the best SNES thing ever? I dunno, maybe!
Well, probably, but at least they died happy. And you have too, listening to these tunes on the ‘Berg. You didn’t know today would be the best day of your life, did you?
Of course you didn’t. Now scroll back up to the top and listen to them all again.
Bonus Round: LoZ: Link’s Awakening – Overworld
So this one isn’t really a SNES game. It’s a Game Boy/Game Boy Color game (and one of my favorite Zelda games), but who cares? This is a fan revision of what Link’s Awakening’s overworld (read: the best overworld melody in the series) would sound like if generated on the SNES sound chip. It isn’t perfect (the bass kicks out after the first verse for some reason…), but holy smokes is it pumpin! So yeah, if you need an extra boost in your day, this one’s for you, pal.