Placing this soundtrack at fourth was an incredibly difficult task because I have long held this to be THE greatest soundtrack ever made. The game itself pushed the bar on video games because of its use of cut-scenes and there’s an excellent track behind each one. If there’s any two composers that deserve recognition (or at least a wikipedia page) it’s More Yamasan and B. Hasake.
4. Ninja Gaiden
-More Yamasan and B. Hasake
One sign of this soundtrack being great is that as much as 8 bit chiptunes may be despised for their quality when being listened to, I find that the music in Ninja Gaiden is so powerful and evocative that it surpasses that barrier without difficulty.
Simple songs with only two voices still speak volumes, as can be heard in It’s Over. The song is very slow, eerie, and final.
It’s one of the amazing qualities of this soundtrack that it can make such gripping scary, sad, or action-packed tracks all out of excellent drum beats and powerful melodies and Galesburg is one track that delivers the adrenaline.
The next track, Premonition (The Masked Devil), is another minimalist track with only 3 voices but it remains one of the greatest songs on the soundtrack, and listening to it, it almost has a slow-motion effect to it.
Then, of course, the Death of a Legend song has to be done as it is one of the most well known songs from the game. It’s a slow, sad tribute to Ryu’s father.
Next up is the second stage music, Outpost, which is another energy driven track with a nice A and B section to break up the looping.
My next choice, which I feel could still be just about any track, is Prison of the Dead, which has the heart stopping slow motion effect of premonition, but it transfers into a more driving beat as the song progresses.
Prison of the Dead
Next up is Love, no really, For Your Love (Ryu & Irene). You’d think Ninjas wouldn’t have a romantic side but this track proves otherwise! It’s a happy tune with a nice second layer that comes in shortly after the start to reinforce the song.
Ryu & Irene
Finally, I shall post the end theme to the game: Basilisk Mine Field (Master Ninja [end version]). This track is a re-used version of an earlier stage soundtrack, and it fits perfectly. This is definitely the first or second greatest song in the soundtrack. It has a powerful melody, a solid bass line, good drum samples, and an awesome harmony.