Features Video Games

NostalgiaUltra: Top 10 Boss Battle Themes in Retro Gaming


I’ve often said how important music is to every day life, and even more important when it comes to our entertainment. Movies rely on music scores to set the mood during certain scenes, even radio shows and podcasts use music as a buffer between segments and commercials. Video Games are perhaps the most intriguing because the quality has increased as technical limitations have. Even still, 8-bit, retro style music can sometimes be seen as the most iconic of them all as back in the day we found ourselves humming along to the Mario Bros. World 1-1 tune or Green Hill Zone.

Music in video games is also used to create a mood. That mood is important for setting the atmosphere for a particular event in a game, increasingly so when it comes to a boss fight.

No one really captured this better in the early to teenage era of video games better than Nintendo and SEGA.

#10. vs Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)

A mad man with a mad theme and many forms. Kefka is an imposing figure all the same.

#09. vs. Smithy (Part 1)

Super Mario RPG is seen more as a cult classic rather than a well known entry in the Mario franchise. It was a unique game for the franchise that featured the first ever foray into a role playing game, eventually laying the foundation for the Paper Mario and Mario and Luigi series. There were only two unique boss themes throughout the main game with a few exceptions. Smithy’s theme was an exception and his first form sets the tone for the Battle.

#08. Silence (F-Zero)

Okay, I’m cheating. F-Zero doesn’t have bosses, but Silence is the final track in the Knight League on the original F-Zero (RIP). The song matches the planet perfectly, as there’s some eerie element to this empty space you’re racing on.

#07. Zero Two (Kirby 64)

No series has better mood whiplash or boss to environment dissonance than Kirby. The pink puff tends to have some terrifying final or bonus bosses in his series, but Zero Two definitely takes the cake. You’re riding in a void on Ribbon, shooting crystal shards at some demonic flying eye that cries blood when you attack. Pusha T YUUUUUUUP ad lib

#06. Boss Theme (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

OOT’s Boss theme seems like a frantic mess, and in a way it is. This is the theme used for the big boss of each dungeon, and it’s certainly a memorable one.

#05. Boss Battle B (Star Fox 64)

Honestly don’t have much to say outside of CAN’T LET YOU DO THAT, STAR FOX.

#04. Crocodile Cacophony (Donkey Kong Country 2)

DKC is a classic franchise and its second entry is probably the greatest. Diddy’s Kong Quest is full of classic pieces all throughout, but K. Rool’s battle takes the cake. It’s electric and gets you pumped while also over working your adrenaline and focus

#03. Giant Baby Bowser (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island)

#02. Final Zone (Sonic the Hedgehog)

It’s hard to pick one final boss theme out of the original Sonic the Hedgehog trio/quad on the Genesis, but to me the original Final Boss level takes the cake. It sounds like an epic finale fight to the finish.

#01. vs. Champion Rival (Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow)

Next week’s Playlist is going to feature video game music, it’s what inspired this post honestly.


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