With just minutes to go until the credits roll for 2011, I thought it’d be fun to share a handful of my favorite 8 and 16-bit ending songs. Kicking it off with Yuzo Koshiro’s Actraiser ending, which starts off suspiciously like the 20th Century Fox theme!
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Didn’t cover this back in Episode 8, mainly because the credits is a “megamix” of every other song in the game. So, with only so much room in a given episode, I left it out of the rotation – but in the spirit of ending 2011 in style, I present it for your listening pleasure. It’s interesting because it may be the first time a game compiled all its music into one unbroken track, creating something of a remix single out of the entire soundtrack.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2
Same deal as Sonic 1, including the slightly sped-up nature. This megamix contains music from the main game, as well as a few songs taken from its weirdo 2-player split-screen mode. Never really did understand that part of the game. As for which Megamix is better, I personally think the first game handles the concept seamlessly, while Sonic 2 feels forced at times. Still good, but damn that first game is super nice.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3
Covered this in the aforementioned Episode 8, so I won’t repeat much here. Suffice to say, this is one of the greatest ending songs of all time – even with absolutely no visual to go along with it.
Covered this back in Episode 4, but I still stand by this Top Gun Anthem-esque closer to the very first Ace Combat game.
KIRBY’S DREAM LAND
Oh man, such a peppy, upbeat way to send off an already joyous adventure. Still one of my favorite endings.
Up until Arkham Asylum, this was arguably the best Batman game out there. While it’s easily been dethroned at this point, I still its ending – including a great fake out, suggesting the song is over – holds up 20 years later. There’s just something so… meaningful about it. In less than two minutes you get a sensation of closure, sadness, death, futility, all from a licensed NES game!
Cinematic and stirring before such terms were regularly thrown around in reference to video games, this ending song is fit for any Hollywood end scene. I still have a great deal of love for this series, most of which stems from how impactful this song was way back in 1993.
Hard as hell game, for sure. But this ending song made it all worthwhile, easing the frustration and confusion I’d had after hours of mindless wandering. Truly one of the best NES ending songs, a template that so many other games follow.
Take everything I said about Blaster Master, and repeat it. Only in the case of Metroid, this delightfully uplifting track is the odd song out – the rest of the game is pretty dire and serious, as we talked about in Episode 5.
SUPER STREET FIGHTER II
If you beat the console versions of SFII (or Super SFII, in this case) on a harder difficulty setting, you’d be rewarded with an extended credits sequence featuring this song. It’s slightly different in Super (compared to SFII or Turbo), but I feel this one’s slightly better.
MEGA MAN 2
The best ending of all time? Maybe. Made me honestly cry as a kid. This is a song made for funerals, and expect to hear it at mine.
MARIO KART 64
But we can’t end on a sad note! This is without a doubt the most inspiring ending song I can think of off the top of my head (I did a lot of research for this article, as you can tell. Totally didn’t write it while getting ready for a NYE party!) and we talked about it quite a bit in Episode 7. Please give it a listen, and let its majesty flow over you as we enter a new year. Your move, 2012!