While the N64 doesn’t have the largest collection of games, it does have some of the most memorable and beloved soundtracks in gaming history. It’s had some of the most inventive music prior to CD based games, really serving as a springboard for musicians going forward. Many of the soundtracks in this list use such a high variety of instruments and styles, creating a true musical spectacle across so many titles. If there is one thing that Nintendo gets consistently right on their titles it’s the music. Click on each games picture in order to get a link to each of their incredible soundtracks.
5) Super Mario 64
Super Mario 64 is arguably one of the greatest 3D platforming games ever made, with a soundtrack to back it up. The music is really able to create the feeling of a journey thanks to such a good variety of fast and slow songs. Some of my personal favourite songs include Bomb-Bomb Battlefield, and even just the title screen itself. Furthermore, the mixture of high pitch notes and long low pitch undertones create a melodic and trance-like sound, one that is very simple but unique. With the music being so easy to listen to, it gets you hooked from the start and won’t let go. No one forgets the first time they hear the title theme or face bowser in the dark world for the first time. It’s truly a timeless soundtrack, so don’t miss out on this one.
Banjo-Kazooie has one of the most creative soundtracks on this list. It not only masters music for each area like in Super Mario 64 but also when using items. When you become an ant the music becomes quieter, when you get a golden feather the music picks up in tempo. This musical diversity makes the player feel vulnerable or empowered through the music, creating an amazing atmosphere. The most memorable songs come from the four seasons areas, which truly capture the essence of each season. Spring is noisy and bustling with life, while winter is much more reserved and quiet. All of this makes for a wonderful collection of songs that will always stand the test of time.
3) GoldenEye 007
There isn’t any other James Bond game that can match how tense GoldenEye 007 can make the player feel. As you try to tip-toe your way around a high-security base, you always feel on edge. And if you do get spotted, the music manages to match the fast pace FPS combat that helped define some genre staples. Running and gunning to the sound of GoldenEye‘s guitar and drums creates such a rush, really making the player feel like a true secret agent. Even on the mission select screen, the player gets pumped and excited for the action ahead. Gamers all around the world need to experience the thrills and exciting moments only this soundtrack can provide.
2) Star Fox 64
Nothing quite compares to when you fly around space doing barrel roles in Star Fox 64. The game excels at making you feel like the main man against all odds thanks to some punchy music and memorable one-liners from your animal companions. There are many stand-out moments, but meeting Andross on Venom has to be one of the most thrilling uses of music on the N64. The music gets faster and wilder as you traverse the ever-changing Venom landscape, before dramatically descending into his lair. When Andross finally reveals himself, the explosion of music can terrify the player and make their hands sweat on the controller. Even without the games context, this soundtrack will always be a classic.
1) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
While Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie create a journey for you, this soundtrack lets the journey feel like your own. Every song in this game is just masterful. The dungeons never get dull, the overworld sounds incredible and the fear that is instilled in the player when they meet Ganondorf is all created by the wonderful music. At 2 hours and 11 minutes long it’s also an incredible achievement to fit all of this amazing work on one cartridge. But not even the world themes are the most impressive part of this soundtrack, it’s the ocarina songs themselves. They’ve been sampled everywhere, become ingrained in so many players heads and are a musical phenomenon in their own right. This is a soundtrack you have to listen to even if you’ve never seen this game in your life. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a cult classic.
Think I’ve missed any great titles off this list? Leave your comments below or tweet me @pattydon101 to tell me your favourites!