Banjo Kazooie

For a game from 1998 that’s only a handful of megabytes in size, Banjo Kazooie’s audio still holds up beautifully to this day. Some sound effects tend to get repetitive, especially the talon trot move, but those are only small nuisances compared to the uplifting and lively soundtrack. The melodies are simple enough to be insanely catchy, yet every melody has so many variations that it takes a long time before you get tired of them.

Every individual song in the game has many different variations for different context. When underwater, the same melody will be played with different instruments to give an underwater feel. Likewise, when in the overworld that is Gruntilda’s Lair, the instruments of the song change when you approach a level along with the theme of said level. For example, when approaching the entrance of Mad Monster Mansion the main instrument playing the overworld theme is a church organ, but when you’re nearing Rusty Bucket Bay some foghorns take over the melody. Every different section in each level also has its own take on the level’s soundtrack.

Featured in this video is the level Click Clock Wood, which lets the player come back to the same environment in the four different seasons. Every season has its own variation to the same melody to perfectly represent the feel of the season you’re in. Also noticable in this clip is the creative way they managed to give every character a voice despite very limited hardware.