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The Top 10 Best NES Music Covers You Will Ever Hear

Rock out to some classic NES tunes!


Composers for NES games had it rough. They had only 8 bits and 4 channels to work with, yet were able to create some of the most iconic and memorable music within those limitations. Inspiring the rockers in all of us, here are the top 10 best NES game covers:


This rocking tune's origins are from the 1988 NES game, The Guardian Legend. The sequel to Guardic (released only in Japan), The Guardian Legend is a unique action adventure game mixing a top down Legend of Zelda style action game with a space shooter similar to Star Soldier. The unique blend of styles is what makes the game popular with retro gamers to this day.

Composers Masatomo Miyamoto and Takeshi Santo were behind the original soundtrack. This rocking rendition by ISOMETIMESWRITEMUSIC is not only true to the original spirit of the composition, but also stands on its own as a great rock guitar tune!

More info on The Guardian Legend can be found here or you can play it for yourself and see what makes it so special.


Who didn't love Double Dragon growing up? Back in the day where a plot to a video game was as simple as "Thugs kidnap girl. Beat them up and rescue her!" I miss the simpler times...

Originally an arcade game release in 1987, the NES version we all know and love was released a year later in 1988. Its success led to a series of games, spinoff cartoons, and some cringe worthy movies.

Composer Kazunaka Yamane created the music for most of the early Double Dragon series. This faithful rendition by FERDK captures the spirit of the original game.

More info on Double Dragon can be found here or you can play it for yourself.


This is incredible! For fans of the Ninja Gaiden Series, there is no beating this amazing cover by THE DESCENDANTS OF ERDRICK.

For those new to the series, Ninja Gaiden was an incredibly popular game first released to the NES in 1988. Not only was it a fun game, but it was also incredibly difficult. Its popularity led to sequels and even a solid mention in the movie, The Wizard ("I love the Power Glove...Its bad!").

Composers Ryuichi Nitta and Mayuko Okamura were behind the soundtrack in Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos. This rockin' live cover really captures the essence of the game.

More info on Ninja Gaiden II can be found here. Also you can get a copy of the game right here.


I'll admit, I have mixed feelings about this game. However the soundtrack has always rocked!

Released in 1989, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) was the game every kid wanted to play. We wanted it to be good too, but hey you can't always get what you want. I still don't know what happens after you stop the dam from blowing up :)

Composer Jun Funahashi really made the soundtrack come to life. It really was the Ninja Turtles! Omar1Up's rocking rendition reminds me of how much I both loved, and dreaded this game.

More info on TMNT by Konami can be found here. Also, if you are really inclined to give it a go, get the game here!


Possibly the best 2 player game in the entire NES library, Contra was on every kid's 'Must Play' list.

Released in 1987, Contra featured fast and exciting game play which was unique for its time. Not just a classic 'shoot-em-up' game, but THE classic 'shoot-em-up' game (sidenote: Law and Order SVU's cringe-worthy GamerGate episode comes to mind every time I use the term 'shoot-em-up' now).

Composers Hidenori Maezawa and Kiyohiro Sada created the soundtrack to the original NES title. Michael Sobin's rendition is among the best Contra covers you will come across.

More info on Contra can be found here. Also, if you are really inclined to give it a go, get the game here!


For such a simple game, Tetris was quite addicting and challenging. Growing up, my sister was the king of Tetris in my house, easily getting to 80 lines before the game even seemed challenging to her. I usually die somewhere in the 50-60 line range, though once I hit 120 lines and got the big rocket!

Released back in 1984, Tetris was one of the earliest games to appear on the NES platform and is still regarded as one of the best games of all time. Today, you can play Tetris on virtually any device.

Game designers Alexey Pajitnov and Vladimir Pokhilko chose traditional Russian music as the soundtrack. The "Tetris Theme" music typically ascribed to the title was not in the Original NES release. YONY GUT 1 does a good rendition of that theme (so yes a bit of a cheat, but I had to include Tetris...).

More info on Tetris can be found here. You can also get the game here.


Got to have a great acoustic cover, and what better game than the original Metroid for NES?

Released in 1984, Metroid was known not only for its vast size and complexity, but also for the unravelling of that by Nintendo Power (we got, I mean 'WE'VE GOT THE POWER, NINTENDO POWER!').

Composer Hirokazu Tanaka scored this epic Science Fiction classic. The Super Guitar Brothers acoustic cover of the soundtrack is simply awe-inspiring!

More info on Metroid can be found here. You can also get the game here.


If you don't know who The Mini Bosses are, consider this a MUST HAVE introduction. The Minibosses are a band out of Northampton, Massachusetts who perform epic rock video game covers. If you played anything from the NES library, you simply have to check them out.

This selection is one of their best, Super Mario Brothers 2! Released in 1988, Super Mario Brothers 2 was technically the third in the series, the second being released only in Japan (and later released as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels).

Legendary composer Koji Kondo brought us this unique soundtrack. The Minibosses do an amazing job giving this tune a rocking edge! Seriously, if you don't know who the Minibosses are, you really need to spend an afternoon.

More info on Super Mario Bros. II can be found here. You can also get the game here.


Ok so now you know about the Minibosses. But do you know about BitBrigade? Yet again, this is a must see for anyone who has played a single NES game.

They have a pretty full library, but this specific piece is from MegaMan II. Released in 1988, Megaman 2 is probably the most known in the series (it was the first one I ever played myself in the series). Megaman 2 also has the most hilarious story about its cover art that I have ever read.

Composer Takashi Tateishi scored this one. He scored it more as a rock musician, which explains its rockin' sound track (why do you think it is called RockMan in Japan?). Bit Brigade's cover is the most dedicated version I have ever seen. They play the entire soundtrack live as someone plays through the game speed run style. It's just awesome!

More info on MegaMan II can be found here. You can also get the game here.


I just love this cover. Hard core Rock Zelda is just hard to beat and Jaden Phoenix delivers!

Released in 1986, The Legend of Zelda is itself legendary. Conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto as a game to mimic his childhood exploring, the series has since been one of the leading epic fantasy adventures.

Yes, composer Koji Kondo was responsible for this one as well. Jaden Phoenix's rendition is just awesome and well worth listening to again and again.

More info on MegaMan II can be found here. You can also get the game here.

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