Composer(s): Hiroshige Tonomura
This may be old news to all of you, but 2 years ago everyone’s favorite NES Disney classic, DuckTales made a triumphant return after almost 25 years with fully revamped HD animation that’s true to the original Disney cartoon, returning voice talent from the show, a remixed soundtrack and so much more. Surely you’ve all heard the news, but if not, it gives me another chance to play the remake’s announcement trailer as we celebrate the music of DuckTales on the NES, which just happens to be one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time.
On September 18 1987, Disney premiered DuckTales, the animated television show that would become embedded in the memories of all those who were at the ideal age when the show hit the air. If you were a kid during that time period, chances are you remember watching DuckTales and cherish every minute of it. Based on the “Uncle Scrooge” comic books, DuckTales was such a huge success that it not only paved the way for future Disney animated series like Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck, it may have also pioneered the concept of a quality licensed video game. This show was huge and Capcom began to work on a video game.
DuckTales was released on the NES 2 years after the show’s debut and it became an instant classic due to its colorful graphics and stellar game design. It was such a success that it ended up being Capcom’s best-selling title on the NES, even surpassing the company’s most recognizable mascot, Mega Man. Long after the game’s release, however, it’s the music that gamers remember as the 8-bit sounds of the time still hold up remarkably well almost 25 years later. Composer Hiroshige Tonomura worked at Capcom for only 2 years from 1988 to 1990, when he left the company to join Taito. It was during that brief time that he got to compose the soundtrack for this game and rest is history, as they say.
As Scrooge McDuck, you bounce across the globe with your cane, collecting treasure in some pretty exotic locations (as exotic as an NES game can depict) and the music plays an integral role as each level’s theme fits the environment perfectly well. A perfect example is my personal favorite track in the game, the Amazon theme. This song is ridiculously fun to listen to and the tone is so uplifting and blissful that it makes you not even wanna finish the stage so you can listen to this catchy tune for as long as possible.
You can’t talk about DuckTales without talking about the “Moon Theme”. Sometimes, a theme song becomes so iconic and talked about for years that it surpasses the popularity of the entire soundtrack it originated from and maybe even the game. The Moon Theme in DuckTales is exactly that. Long after the game’s release, if there’s any one factor you can thank for keeping the popularity of DuckTales alive, this particular song would be a good choice. Being the subject of numerous remixes, this theme song has earned a place in video game music history as one of the greats. It’s so good it makes us forget that the game never explains how in the world Scrooge McDuck and rats can somehow breathe in outer space.