Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sunday's song: Contra, Stages 1-3

Yes, Contra. If you're around my age, you probably have a memory in your fingers: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start. If you're not, I should explain that I'm writing about music for old Nintendo games (the previous sentence included the cheat code that gave you thirty lives instead of the standard three, and which was responsible for my ever getting through stage 6.)

The musical limitations of the old 8-bit Nintendo meant that the goodness of its music was largely dependent on the melody -- you really couldn't do much else. People like me who are big on melody will likely appreciate good covers of memorable Nintendo songs. The Minibosses and the NESkimos are two good contemporary bands in this subgenre, and I'll give preference to the Minibosses because they're more accurate in hitting the notes and getting the pacing of the old songs right. People who want their Nintendo cover bands to rock out may like the NESkimos better. I strongly recommend their Megaman II medley as well -- it starts a little slow, but the Dr. Wily stage music is truly a wonder.

The Contra theme begins with the intro from the title screen (dum-dum-dum-dum-dummmmmm...bing-bing) and continues with stages one through three. The second stage is the weakest, in my view -- the original melody wasn't quite as memorable as the other two -- but the first and third are very good, and well expressed by drums and electric guitars. I've found it to be excellent workout music.

I would be remiss if I concluded this post without mentioning that my cell phone ringtone is the daytime music from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.

8 comments:

Matt said...

Holy crap, I haven't seen the contra code in a decade, yet it is still burned into my memory. This one...and the Mike Tyson's Punch Out code. One day I'll be an old man in a retirement home, laying on my death bed mumbling....

007 373 5963

This code will be my rosebud.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I entered that one quite a few times myself. Never beat Tyson, though.

Justin Bailey said...

I know that Contra code and I've never even played the game. I also have a remarkable memory for things like which pipes to go down or how to walk through caves in the dark.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Justin Bailey. Sweet.

Bill said...

The code from contra, or a slight variant of it, is useful in any game by Konami.
Besides the Konami code, I will always remember DDFFI. Which game it is from is left as an exercise to the reader.

Anonymous said...

Um, doesn't it end B, A, select, start???

This is way important!

-Mithrandir

Neil Sinhababu said...

I researched this beforehand -- according to Wikipedia, you don't need the 'select'.

Matt said...

Actually, I can tell you what the 'select" was for. You're right, it was optional, but by pressing select you moved the on-screen cursor to "two-player" mode. So it let you add all the extra men for a second player. I have no life.