Top 10 SNES Final Boss Themes
It might be my retro-centric brain, but I just cannot get enough of the 8-bit and 16-bit soundtracks of long ago. Nowadays, video games are scored by entire orchestras but in the good ole days this wasn’t the case. I don’t know about you, but I always found the bleeps and bloops of this era much more charming than anything released today.
After I posted the Top 10 SEGA Genesis Final Boss Themes, I knew I’d have to make a list for the Super Nintendo eventually. This list was actually much tougher for me because I didn’t have a Super Nintendo growing up. I was a Genesis kid. I didn’t even own a Super Nintendo until my sophomore year of college. So the following final boss themes weren’t chosen because of nostalgia, because I have little to no nostalgia for them. Instead, the following themes were just picked based on how much I enjoyed the music, and I hope you enjoy them too.
- One song per franchise.
- All songs on this list are from games available on the SNES and NOT the Genesis.
- While I will describe the boss fight itself, the songs are ordered based on JUST the song and not the fight.
- Descriptions will be shorter than usual because music is such a subjective topic, sometimes you just have to let the music speak for itself.
- Most songs on this list are used only for the final boss battle.
- Feel free to comment below, I read all of them.
10.) Mega Man 7
Before we even begin, I must state for the record that I do not particularly enjoy Mega Man 7 or Mega man 8. I prefer the 8-bit style on the NES and the fake 8-bit style of Mega Man 9 and 10. Nevertheless, I must admit that Mega Man 7 had some fantastic music. The song that will always be in the hearts and nightmares of gamers must be the final boss theme for this game.
The reason I said nightmares is because this battle is tough. One of the methods to defeat Dr. Wily is to intentionally get hit by the projectile that does the least amount of damage because they’re so tough to avoid. The song itself is quite similar to other Mega Man boss themes. It starts off slow and threatening, but quickly builds up speed. When the song is at full speed it sounds like a song that you could hear in a club. Even though you want to dance to this song, it still doesn’t lose the fearsome tone from the beginning.
9.) Chrono Trigger
Some people were a little bit annoyed I didn’t include Magus’ Castle in my list of the Top 10 Castles in Gaming. The problem was, when I wrote that list I haven’t yet completed Chrono Trigger, but since then I have. I loved it! The final boss in the game is Lavos. Lavos is an alien parasite that landed on the planet to sap it of all its energy and resources so that it could reproduce and spread to other planets. Lavos isn’t evil, it’s just a being of immense power trying to survive. Unfortunately, the only way it can survive is to destroy a planet.
I love this theme because it starts off with Lavos’ roar. It sounds quite threatening. This theme is similar to the Mega Man 7 final boss theme above because it’s threatening, but very fast. It’s not a theme you want to dance to, but it is a theme that gets your heart pumping. There are roars speckled throughout the song. It seems to go faster and faster until you can’t take anymore, but that’s what makes it awesome.
8.) Wild Guns
Wild Guns is basically the video game version of the Will Smith film Wild Wild West, except much more badass. It’s a western themed shooting game that plays very similarly to an arcade game. The twist is that Wild Guns is a western game, but it has modern technology, and science fiction elements that are reminiscent of the steampunk genre. The game is short, but the final boss is tough. He has a ton of minions and various attacks that are impossible to avoid for a first playthrough.
My one criticism of video game themes is that many of them sound spacey or science fictiony (those are words!) Therefore, I really enjoy any theme that breaks that stereotype. It’s the reason the Wild Arms Theme is my ringtone, it’s the reason Revenge of Shinobi made it on the Genesis list, and it’s the reason Wild Guns makes it on this list. The theme is catchy, but also sounds like it belongs in a Western. It gets the player pumped, while still being true to the game it’s in.
7.) Contra III: The Alien Wars
A Contra game managed to take the top spot in my SEGA Genesis list, but for the Super Nintendo it’s only in the number seven spot. I’m a huge fan of the entire Contra series and this game is no exception. It’s one of the best run and gun games ever made and if you disagree you’re a little sissy baby. The final boss, known as Red Falcon, is no laughing matter. It’s a giant and creepy alien creature skull thing of doom, and is one of the toughest bosses I have ever faced.
The theme isn’t made to get you pumped up, it’s made solely to intimidate you. It does a damn good job doing that. The entire theme is slow, but absolutely terrifying. It’s meant to leave you with little hope for victory.
6.) Final Fantasy IV
Haha! I bet you thought Final Fantasy VI would be on this list because it was on my list of Top 10 Castles, and Top 10 Retro Rovers. You would be wrong! While this isn’t my favorite Final Fantasy game it has my favorite final boss music. The final boss of this game is Zeromus (I always pronounced it as Zero-moose). The main antagonist Final Fantasy IV is a being known as a Lunarian aka Moon People. This Lunarian is known as Zemus and he wants to take over Earth with his fellow Lunarians. The other Lunarians thought Zemus was looney so they sealed him in slumber. While sealed away his hatred grew and when he was killed at the end of Final Fantasy IV his hatred and spirit took the form of Zeromus.
Zeromus is a tough cookie. He can nullify all positive character buffs and deal immense non-elemental damage. I never had a problem fighting him though because his theme is so amazing. I don’t know what it is, but this theme seems to be a collage of final fantasy themes. There are parts that remind me of older games, there are parts that sound intimidating, and there is everything in this theme. No two segments sound alike, but they are blended together perfectly.
5.) Demon’s Crest
Demon’s Crest is a tough game. It’s Ghosts N Goblins tough… which seems to make sense because the two have a lot of similarities. Nevertheless, Demon’s Crest is a platformer with RPG elements, and is one of the most overlooked Capcom game ever, but it shouldn’t be. In this game you play as Firebrand on a quest to collect the 6 crests and reclaim your position of power from the evil Phalanx.
If it’s not obvious, Phalanx is the final boss of this game but there is an optional boss known as Dark Demon who is only accessible if you collect every crest in the game. No matter which final boss you’re fighting this music plays. This theme is similar to the Contra III final boss theme. Both instill dread over the final boss. The one thing that puts Demon’s Crest theme over Contra III is that while the Contra III theme gave you the feeling of little hope, the Demon’s Crest theme leaves you with no hope. You are outmatched and the only way to win, is a lot of luck.
4.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time is one of the greatest beat-em-ups of all time. Do I really need to explain the plot of this game? You play as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and kick ass! In this game you fight other mutated monsters, the Foot Clan, and end it all with a fight against Super Shredder. Oh! You also travel through time!
The final fight against Super Shredder isn’t that tough or as epic as some of these other battles, but remember the order of this list is based on the music. The final boss theme for this game is the complete opposite of Contra III and Demon’s Crest, this theme is made to get you pumped up. Not only that, but it’s extremely catchy. Even after you defeat Super Shredder, this theme will be stuck in your head for days.
3.) Super Metroid
Samus is a chick!? How do I crawl?
Okay, enough of that. Before we continue, I want to state that the next three entries should all be in the number one spot. I had a really tough time ordering them. Keep in mind that this is how I rank them TODAY, but if you ask me again in a week, it might be completely different. That’s how much I enjoy these themes.
Super Metroid is one of the greatest video games of all time. It’s my favorite Metroid game. In this game you play as Samus, who is on a quest to retrieve the last Metroid (a brain-sucking alien jellyfish) that was stolen by space pirate (and giant dragon) Ridley under the orders of Mother Brain (a brain/tyrannosaurus rex creature).
Mother Brain is the final boss of this game and she is tough. Since she is so tough, she needs a badass theme. Mother Brain’s theme is in the same category as Contra III or Demon’s Crest. It’s made to intimidate. The difference is that while the Contra III and Demon’s Crest final boss themes actually sound like songs, the final boss theme for Super Metroid is different. It’s unpleasant to listen to. This theme sounds like screeches put to a simple drum beat and that is it. It sounds like someone or something is suffering.
2.) Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi’s Island is an often overlooked Mario game. That’s probably because this isn’t a typical Mario game. Instead of controlling Mario, you control a Yoshi who has been tasked with taking care of Mario against the forces of evil. As Yoshi you must face off against psycodelic drugs, Kamek, and finally Baby Bowser. The final battle is against Baby Bowser, only this time he’s huge and off in the distance. The most terrifying moment is when this behemoth charges the screen.
I had a tough time deciding between this theme, the theme from Super Mario World, and the theme from Super Mario RPG. If I allowed more than one game per franchise, I’m sure Mario would’ve made multiple appearances. I love this theme because it’s a blend. It starts off slow to intimidate you that you’re fighting a giant baby, but then it pumps you up for just a really fun final boss battle.
1.) Donkey Kong Country
When I was a child, I hated this game with a passion. It was tough, and I was terrible at it. Since then, much has changed and it’s one of my favorite series. While DKCR is great, and Donkey Kong Country 2 has a special place in my heart, nothing compares to the original. In this game you play as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong who are trying to recover their banana horde that was stolen by the Kremlings and their leader King K. Rool.
King K. Rool is the final boss and you fight him on his giant pirate ship. At first the fight seems simple. You bop him on his head a few times, and he goes down for the count. Roll credits! Then suddenly he gets back up, the fake credits end, and King K. Rool is much faster and much tougher. The music reflect this. In the beginning it sounds simple and even peaceful. Something you’d hear in a pirate movie for kids, but then it turns too. As the fight goes on the music gets more intense. You feel intimidated, but also pumped to kick crocodile butt! This all happens, while the song still has its pirate-like tone from the beginning. It’s rare a song can change tempo and style so quickly but keep its original identity but Gangplank Galleon from Donkey Kong Country does just that, and it’s my favorite SNES final boss theme.
Well 1 More Castle, that’s the end of this list. Once again, I’m not too sure what I’m going to do next time. I think I’m going to avoid music though because my iTunes is at maximum capacity. Until next time…