Number 12: Donkey Kong Country 2
Donkey Kong Country 2 was that last title, a tough as nails platformer that brought a whole new meaning to the phrase "Nintendo Hard." You want hard? Hard games have bonus rooms hidden around the levels. DKC2 has a bonus room hidden inside another bonus room.
DKC2 also packed in a simply amazing soundtrack that taxed the system to its limits, and like several other games on this list was one of the few retro titles to receive an album release alongside the game, if you were lucky enough to find one. Like those other titles, DKC2 got that release because it deserved it.
DKC2's soundtrack is pretty straightforward. Hailing from the 16-bit era, DKC2 is a soundtrack that doesn't try to pretend to be something it isn't. Instead, it accepts what it is and proudly proclaims "I'm a game soundtrack" in all its glory. The games composer David Wise attacks the games various environments with straightforward directness, and that's part of the reason the games soundtrack is so vivid in imagery despite its humble origins.
The other reason is just simply that the music is good. No kidding. The composition is spot on. The tunes are catchy, memorable, and distinct enough that even after six or seven minutes of one song, you still want to listen longer.
DKC2 is memorable, catchy and also quite nostalgic for many people. It's a skillfully conceived and brilliantly executed soundtrack that I'm glad to see make the list. For a soundtrack chronicling the adventures of two monkeys, DKC2 is above and beyond what you would expect, and it deserves to be heard.
Donkey Kong Country 2
Stand Alone Quality: 3.5
Emotional Reaction: 4
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Number 12--Donkey Kong Country 2 by David Wise