The COVID-19 crisis has dampened our spirits one way or another. Lately, I’ve been needing music to energize and inspire me to accomplish the new challenges associated with this pandemic. Thankfully, there are a lot of really great Nintendo music tracks that make feel like I can take on any task ahead.
Engage the Enemy ~ Xenoblade Chronicles ~ Wii (2011)
An intoxicating ballad fusing hard rock and classical melodies together makes for one of the most memorable musical moments in RPG history. And yes, while this song is getting a rerecorded version in the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition set to release May 29th, there’s something nostalgic and powerful about this original composition.
The motif of heroic desperation against all odds is bleeding throughout Xenoblade Chronicles’ epic story, and I don’t believe that ever comes across better as it does during the moment in-game when this song plays. The haunting opera chants in the background mixed with the rapid onslaught of guitars, violins and drums make this perhaps the greatest song from a game already bursting with musical excellence. With this song stuck in your head, how could any god get in your way?
God-Shattering Star (Rain) ~ Fire Emblem: Three Houses ~ Nintendo Switch (2019)
Moving on from one gorgeous RPG to the next, the final map theme to the Golden Deer route in Fire Emblem: Three Houses packs a punch that is unrivaled by any other song in the illustrious Fire Emblem franchise. While most of the music in Three Houses feels somber through its speedy main theme and its several iterations, God-Shattering Star (Rain) takes the concept of brutal quickness and applies it to classical opera that wouldn’t sound out of place in an ancient tragedy fit for the stage.
The lead male’s vocals seem to lament the state of the world in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and as such, his cries are oozing with despair. All the while, the strings sound in rhythm with the valiant heroes the player moves across a bloodstained battlefield that still suffers from the wounds of a tragic history. This song worships the villains’ ferocity but also empowers us into thinking that we can finally destroy them and shine a new light on Fódlan.
Final Bowser Battle ~ Super Mario Galaxy ~ Wii (2007)
Easily the most epic song from the Super Mario platformers, the final battle with Bowser in the original Super Mario Galaxy is made memorable through this pulsating beat of cosmic proportions. This level of gravitas in slaying evil is usually reserved for series like The Legend of Zelda or Super Smash Bros., but with this melody, Mario fighting for the fate of the universe at its very center feels like a special moment that may never be matched in epic scale in the Super Mario series again.
Bowser is somehow threatening, thanks in part to this orchestral masterpiece. Mario and Bowser revolve around planetoid battlefields as fast as the violins frame the mighty battle. This song never ceases to get me pumped to do something awesome.
Rundas Battle ~ Metroid Prime 3: Corruption ~ Wii (2007)
The Wii had some bangers, especially in 2007 if this list is any indication. Just a few months before Mario and Bowser hailed the symphonies in the stars, Samus Aran ended her trilogy against the fearsome phazon that was nearly overrunning the universe.
It was a brutal war, and perhaps no song (or boss battle) sums that up best as when Samus is forced to fight a corrupted version of her ally Rundas. The pulsating drum beats reveal how awesome Rundas — a character who’s already proven himself talented enough to save Samus’s life — can be at full power, but the other layers of sound, including the eerie electronic notes that wouldn’t sound out of place in a horrific drama, hint at the tragedy of needing to fight someone who shouldn’t be an enemy. Of course, Samus perseveres; she does what must be done. She’s strong enough to carry the burden of killing her friends in order to save the universe.
Hopefully, this month’s NintyBeats was a cathartic trip down memory lane. I’m a sucker for soundtracks like these, and they really make me feel more powerful and capable when I’m listening to them. I feel like we could all use that right now. Tweet us @NintyBuzz for other pulse-pounding song suggestions and future ideas for NintyBeats lists each month!
I’ve been playing Nintendo games since I was 3 years old, and my earliest memory is watching my dad play Super Mario 64.
Since then, I’ve become as big of a fan as you might imagine: YouTube video projects, fan fiction, owning just about every amiibo — you name it!
I’m also a stalwart defender of underappreciated games like Skyward Sword, Other M, Super Paper Mario, Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox Zero and more. I love to see passion in a gaming product, and my desire on this site is to share a similar passion in what I write.