A TRIBUTE TO VIDEO GAME ENDING SONGS

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3


   
OGRE BATTLE (SNES)
Composers: Masaharu Iwata, Hitoshi Sakimoto, & Hayato Matsuo

"NEO-OVERTURE" IN MP3 FORMAT (SNES VERSION)

"NEO-OVERTURE" IN MP3 FORMAT (ARRANGED VERSION)

This is the game that first familiarized me with the great works of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata. Ironically, the soundtrack is the only thing about the original Ogre Battle I'm overly wild about, including this fantastic ending song. The arranged version came from the Playstation remake of the game.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. Especially the PS1 version.


   
OGRE BATTLE 64: PERSON OF LORDLY CALIBER (N64)
Composer: Hayato Matsuo

"AFTER WORDS" IN MP3 FORMAT

I didn't really remember this one too well after having just beaten the game, but I've listened to it a lot since then and it's grown on me. Another good bombastic epic ending that goes out with a bang. He may not quite have their fame, but Hayato Matsuo can hold his own against Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Not sure. It's grown on me a little, but sometimes I have a hard time remembering what it sounds like after awhile.


   
OVER HORIZON (NES)
Composer: Masaharu Iwata

ENDING THEME IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

Over Horizon contains one of Masaharu "REZON" Iwata's finest soundtracks and it's so unknown. Here's the ending theme, which is a short, simple remake of the first level theme.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I just put this one up for fun. It's far from being the best song in this game's soundtrack.


   
PALADIN'S QUEST (SNES)
Composer: Kohei Tanaka

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

This is one of the few songs on this list that's from a game I haven't actually finished, but I did play about halfway through it, and thus was able to recognize some of the overworld themes remixed into this wonderful composition. I was able to finally hear it through the magic of SPCs. Kohei Tanaka, who also did the soundtracks for the Alundra games, has composed quite a few of my favorite game songs, and I'm beginning to think he's very underrated. I don't quite remember what caused me to give up on this game, but this music has motivated to someday complete it.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. I still need to finish this game.


PANZER DRAGOON (SATURN)
Composers: Yoshitaka Azuma

"STAFF ROLL" IN MP3 FORMAT

"SYNTHESIZER VERSION" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY LARRY MCCORMICK

I had a midi of this for the longest time and had no idea what the hell it was. (Okay, I should have looked at the info tag in Winamp.) When I found out, I HAD to track down the original. It may not be quite up there with Panzer Dragoon Saga's ending song, but it's still an amazing piece of work!

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: It probably would now that I know what it is.


   
PANZER DRAGOON SAGA (SATURN)
Composers: Saori Kobayashi & Mariko Nanba

"SONA MI ARERU EC SANCITU" IN MP3 FORMAT

This is my favorite song with lyrics that I've heard in any game I've yet played. Too bad the ending itself didn't live up to the quality of this song (it's so bad, it pretty much ruins the entire story). On the one hand, it's okay to judge game music based entirely on its own worth, but on the other hand, the songs that end up becoming my truly timeless favorites are those that draw an emotional attachment between the music and the events of the game. Most of the lyrics are sung in Latin, while the rest appear to be a made-up language. "Sona Mi Areru Ec Paldeel? Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu?" = "Art thou the bringer of ruin? Art thou the holy one?" If you don't want pay the exhoribtant ebay fees for this game, then I've given you the best part of it right here.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Absolutely! I'd be insane to take it off.


   
RADICAL DREAMERS (SNES)
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda

LE TRESOR INTERDIT IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

This one's absolutely amazing. A must-download. Gentle guitar-strumming and flute melody that is a perfect example of why Yasunori Mitsuda is so highly-regarded in videogame music circles. I only wish this song had been saved for use in a game that would be more popular and accessible than Radical Dreamers.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Definitely! I'd probably rank it pretty high, too.


   
RESIDENT EVIL ZERO (GC)
Composer: Hiroshi Yokota

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

You might already know I'm a fan of this game and this ending song from my Downloads Page. Ominous, scary-sounding music that reuses part of the Leech Zombie theme from the game and the title song, and then ends with some really lovely piano work. I thought the story of this game was a little on the goofy side, but this music is enough to make you feel emotional about it anyway.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Yes! I can easily think of several songs I wouldn't mind bumping off in favor of this one.


   
ROBOTREK (SNES)
Composer: Ayako Yoda

CREDITS IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

Really unique Japanese-sounding ending credits song. It's much different in style than anything else in the entire game (and one of the more unique pieces in this article). I love this game's ending sequence, too. It's very colorful, humorous, and contains a lot of sprites you don't see anywhere else in the game.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Quite possibly. I had forgotten all about this song at the time I wrote the original article, but the weirdness of it makes it really stand out now.


   
SAGA FRONTIER (PS1)
Composer: Kenji Ito

"A MEMORY OF CHILDHOOD" IN MP3 FORMAT

This is the ending music of T260G's quest in SaGa Frontier (aka, the Robot's quest). Call me what you will, but I have a hard time listening to this one without getting a little choked up. You try listening to it while reflecting on your memories and see how you fare. T260G's quest was my favorite of those I completed and the ending was very short, simple, and sweet, although this song is actually quite long. Highly recommended.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Yes. For some reason, I didn't remember this music even though I beat the Robot's quest. But I kept listening to it a lot on the soundtrack and finally had to look up where in the game it came from. Had I known, I would have put it on the original list.


   
SAMURAI SHODOWN (SNES)
Composer: Hiroo Ikeda

STAFF ROLL IN MP3 FORMAT

Traditional Japanese instruments are used for this rockin' out number, but it's anything but "traditional". Fun song for a fun ending credits sequence.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I just put this one up for fun.


   
SECRET OF EVERMORE (SNES)
Composer: Jeremy Soule

"RETURN TO PODUNK" IN MP3 FORMAT

"INTRODUCTION/CREDITS" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY THE JADE EMPEROR

I'm also cheating a bit by including this one, because both of these songs appear in the opening of the game as well as the ending (although "Return to Podunk" is slightly different in the ending and the Introduction theme is longer.) But like with The Magic of Scheherazade, the ending is where these songs left the most resonance with me. The music in this game has a mystifying quality and style unlike anything else I've heard before or since. Jeremy Soule is a truly talented composer.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Absolutely! The Introduction/Credits music still pierces my very soul and the ending (or the soundtrack) is the only way to hear the whole thing.


   
SECRET OF MANA (SNES)
Composer: Hiroki Kikuta

"THE WINGS NO LONGER BEAT" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY ???

"THE SECOND TRUTH FROM THE LEFT" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY FLAMINGSPINACH

To be honest, I think "The Second Truth From the Left" is one of the weaker songs in Secret of Mana's soundtrack, although that might just be seen as a testament to how great the rest of it is. It's still quite a fun, celebrational "We're coming home!" type of rockin' out number. "The Wings No Longer Beat" (sometimes translated as "Now Flightless Wings") is a much softer, melancholy melody that can really make one weep over that ending sequence. Secret of Mana certainly contains my favorite Hiroki Kikuta soundtrack to date.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. On account of "Now Flightless Wings".


   
SKYBLAZER (SNES)
Composer: Harumi Fujita

"BOUNDLESS FLIGHT" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

This ending song may not sound like much to you if you're not familiar with this game, but it really haunts me whenever I hear it. It reminds me of the ending of The Guardian Legend in that it has the same message of, "You got the job done. It's time to move on." Along with "The Falls of Torment" and "Petrolith Castle" themes, this is one of my favorites Skyblazer tunes. Wonder whatever happened to Harumi Fujita?

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. I can imagine there being some disagreement over this one, but there's something about it that I just can't personally deny.


   
STAR FOX (SNES)
Composer: Hajime Hirasawa

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY ASA LOTHARIO

MAIN THEME IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DOUBLE ZERO

Star Fox has a couple of really great ending songs that just scream Star Wars. What amazes me is that this game had MUCH better music than its sequel, Star Fox 64.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Absolutely! If you were to argue with me that it shouldn't be on there, I'd think you're crazy.


   
SUPER CASTLEVANIA 4 (SNES)
Composers: Masanori Adachi & Sotaro Tojima

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY BELMAN KRAUL-GARCIA

I sometimes think this game is overrated, but it has good music. In fact, the music is the one thing you can almost always count on being good in any Castlevania game. This ending piece is no exception. I can always picture that beautiful sunrise when I hear this.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. I used to listen to this in the sound test a lot, too.


   
SUPER EARTH DEFENSE FORCE (SNES)
Composer: Yasuhiko "Zep" Takashiba

THE BRAVE WIND IN MP3 FORMAT

I've said before that Super EDF's soundtrack is like a "light rock" version of space shooter music. "The Brave Wind" is a fun, almost humorous number. Maybe I just find it fun to listen to because it reminds me of that ridiculous ending where your ship gets chased by a giant turtle and then it's so wrecked up afterwards that it can't even move and just sort of drifts away...all the while this disco piece is playing in the background.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I just put this one up for fun.


   
SUPER GHOULS N GHOSTS (SNES)
Composer: Mari

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

Amazing symphonic piece of work here! I remember listening to this one in the game's sound test long before I ever actually beat the game. It's a bit long in the tooth, but it does eventually end.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Yes. Despite how long it is, it's simply amazing.


   
SUPER MARIO 64 (N64)
Composer: Koji Kondo

STAFF ROLL IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY KL

While I don't quite hold this in as high a regard as I do his Super Mario Bros. 3 ending song, this is still a pretty fun piece of music from veteran Nintendo composer Koji Kondo.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I just put this one up for fun.


   
SUPER MARIO BROS. 3 (NES)
Composer: Koji Kondo

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT (NES VERSION)

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT (SNES VERSION)

MIDI SEQUENCED BY STARDUST 007

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DAVE PHANEUF

Don't laugh, I'm dead serious about this one. Like with Mega Man 2, I used to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 over and over again so I could hear this music. I love the PCM drums and the whimsical feel of this one. If it's not my favorite Koji Kondo song ever then it comes very close.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON THERE IT?: You betcha'!


   
SUPER MARIO KART (SNES)
Composers: Soyo Oka & Taro Bando

SPECIAL ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DAVE PHANEUF

This one was suggested by forum member, MaskedSheik. You know, years ago I experimented with recording game music to audio cassette tapes and this was actually one of the first songs I ever did that with.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: It's cute, but maybe not Top 50 material.


   
SUPER MARIO RPG (SNES)
Composer: Yoko Shimomura

"GOODBYE GENO" IN MP3 FORMAT

"SEEING DREAMS THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THE STARS" IN MP3 FORMAT

"HAPPY PARADE, DELIGHTFUL PARADE" IN MP3 FORMAT

"AND THE PARADE DRAWS TO A CLOSE" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DAVE PHANEUF

Holy crap, this one's a huge four-parter! The midi contains all of it in one piece. Yoko Shimomura is a brilliant composer. Before her I wouldn't think it was possible to reinvent "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". The music perfectly captures the charming quality of the game's story, setting, and characters.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Probably. I had this one up for consideration at the time I wrote the original article, but I didn't include it then because I had forgotten what most of it sounded like and it's so long, I didn't feel like listening to the whole thing over again. "Seeing Dreams Through the Window of the Stars" is my favorite part of it now.


   
SUPER MARIO WORLD (SNES)
Composer: Koji Kondo

CAST & CREDITS IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY TIM CONNOLLY

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest accordian music on earth. If you want to have a polka party, then download this.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Maybe. It actually came very close to making the list.


   
SUPER MARIO WORLD 2: YOSHI'S ISLAND (SNES)
Composer: Koji Kondo

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DAVE PHANEUF

A nice piano lullaby rounds out the ending sequence for Yoshi's Island. If you like it, then I highly recommend this excellent fan remix.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Maybe. I knew about this one and liked it, but the fact that I never actually finished the game caused me to misinclude it.


   
SUPER METROID (SNES)
Composer: Minako Hamano

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY QUIETUST

Although I didn't like this as much as the ending songs for Metroid and Metroid 2, it's grown on me after listening to it more. Really good trumpet flourishes in the first half and ends on an ominous note, as it recounts the game's opening cinema music (as well as Hip Tanaka's elevator shaft theme from the original Metroid).

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I like it a little more than I used to, but it's still not one of my favorites.


   
TERRANIGMA (SNES)
Composers: Miyoko Kobayashi & Masanori Hikichi

LAST DREAM (RETURN TO MOTHER EARTH) IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY JEFF CHERMAK

This one was suggested by site reader Vick Tielemans who says, "One game that I personally missed on your list was the ending song from the SNES RPG Terranigma (titled Last Dream). I thought you might like to hear it sometime. Chances are you've never played or heard from this gem of a game before, since it was only released in Japan & Europe. It's one of my favorites at least - both the game and the ending song."

I actually did have the entire soundtrack for this game in SPC format, but I never took notice of the ending song until now. It is actually quite good - a peaceful orchestral harp and flute, and strings melody that reminds me a little of Edward's lute music in Final Fantasy 4.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: Yes! I've listened to it so much since it was first suggested that it's become one of my favorites now.


   
WANDERERS FROM YS (SNES)
Composers: Michiharu Hasuya, Masaaki Harada & Osamu Kasai

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (SNES VERSION)

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (NES VERSION)

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (PS2 VERSION)

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (PC VERSION)

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (GENESIS VERSION)

"DEPARTURE AT SUNRISE" IN MP3 FORMAT (TG-16 VERSION)

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

MIDI SEQUENCED BY DIEFWOLF

"ADVENTURE CALLS!" IN MP3 FORMAT

"STAFF ROLL" IN MP3 FORMAT (SOUND TEST VERSION)

"STAFF ROLL" IN MP3 FORMAT (ACTUAL ENDING VERSION)

This game had an incredible emotional impact on, especially the ending sequence and the music. What's amazing about it is that scene between Adol and Ellena that's done completely without any dialogue, and only has the "Adventure Calls!" music to back it up, and it *works* so well. After it took me forever to learn how to beat that bastard of a final boss, this was a very satisfactory reward. I was also able to listen to these songs in the sound test, although I could swear the actual Staff Roll theme in the ending is slightly different than how it sounds in the Sound Test and in my MP3 here. Maybe someday I'll try to get that version ripped directly from the game.* I've also included bonus NES and PS2 versions of "Departure at Sunrise", which comes highly recommended. The other two songs don't appear to exist in the soundtracks of those versions. NOTE: PC version (aka Oath in Felgana version) of "Departure of Sunrise" mp3 submitted by site reader Ryan Schrafel.

* - UPDATE: It does sound different and not only can I prove it, but I have a very plausible theory as to why it happens. I used to believe the game actually had two different staff roll tracks within its ROM - one that could be accessed in the sound test and an alternate one used for the actual ending. Now I believe both tracks are one and the same, and here's why: During the credits sequence, the game loads up different cutscenes from all throughout earlier in the game. Right when a dialogue box would've popped up, the action freezes and instead of the dialogue, a list of some people who worked on the game and what they did shows up in its place. Then the screen fades to black, it loads another cutscene, and the process repeats until it's gone through all of them.

But what appears to be happening is that each time the game loads a cutscene, it affects the way the processor is handling the music. Thus, one or more of the channels gives out, or the wrong instrument takes precedence. The result is a song that sounds noticeably different than how it is in the sound test. This would also explain why the song sounds exactly the same as the sound test version once it's done rolling through the credits and sits at the final ending scene.

I have included mp3s of both versions so you can hear for yourself the differences. Ironically, even though it appears to be the result of either a glitch or a processing limitation, I actually like the credits version more.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Hands-down absolutely! The greatness of the PS2 version of "Departure at Sunrise" has only served to reinforce that.


   
WILLOW (NES)
Composer: Harumi

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

Another good ending to another epic NES game. I actually liked this game more than the movie it was based on. They made a really good choice in not having Willow drag that stupid baby around.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I considered it, but it didn't quite make the cut.


   
XENOGEARS (PS1)
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda

"SMALL TWO OF PIECES RESTORED" IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI SEQUENCED BY YANASO

Another game that I haven't actually finished or even played all that much. But once I heard this song, there was just no denying how awesome it is. It's my second-favorite game song with lyrics right after "Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu" from Panzer Dragoon Saga. If you like this song, I highly recommend this excellent fan remix.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Of course! What, are you out of your mind?


   
YS BOOK 1 & 2 (TG16-CD)
Composer: Yuzo Koshiro

ENDING CREDITS IN MP3 FORMAT

Good pop-style number from Yuzo Koshiro, this is actually the ending song for Ys 2, according to my sources.

Footnote to this one: A lot of people reacted in a very hostile manner towards me for not including this on my original Top 50 (which is ridiculous, since it was my personal favorites list, not a "what TG16 fanboys on blogs and message boards think are the top best game songs" list), but once I heard it I seriously couldn't believe it. It's kind of catchy, but to call it the best Ys song is the equivalent of calling "Batdance" the best Prince song. "Ruins of Moondoria", "Subterranean Canal", and "To Make the End of Battle" are much better examples of great Ys 2 music and "Departure at Sunrise" from Ys 3 completely blows it away. Hell, I think most of the things on my original list blow it away, but that's pearls before swine.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: No.

WOULD IT HAVE MADE IT?: No. I just put this one up for fun. (I like the Ys 3 ending songs MUCH more.)


   
ZANAC (NES)
Composer: Miyamo Shant

ENDING IN MP3 FORMAT

MIDI CONVERTED BY FLYING OMELETTE

Yet another simple, but memorable and effective tune by Miyamo Shant. It's very short, but short songs that are excellent are a rarity, as it's difficult to compose something very catchy and memorable in less than a minute's worth of time.

ORIGINAL TOP 50?: Yes.

WOULD IT STILL BE ON IT?: Maybe. It's hard to say. It's a tune I have a lot of fondness for, but there is tough competition.


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