I got a question the other day by a reader of my Zelda comparison site asking about how the music in the game sounds in both versions when you’re low on health:
The reason I’m writing to you is that, since I started playing the original LoZ in the Wii Virtual Console, something has been kinda bothering me about the background music that plays inside all the dungeons (except the last one).
The thing is: when there is a sound effect (for instance, when you have few hearts, which triggers that beeping sound that has been annoying Zelda players for generations), the background music seems to change a little. I mean, it doesn’t really change, it only gets more… limited.
It seems to me that, due to the limitation of the sound software/hardware in the NES, there are only so many individual sounds that can be played at the same time. Which means that, when they have a complex melody (like the one in the dungeons) AND a sound fx, they sort of choose only one to play at a time. This causes the dungeon music, which normally has a 4-tone rising scale, to skip 2 of the tones (the 2nd and the 4rd).
I actually think it sounds good the way it does! It even sounds a bit creepier or something. But my doubt is: does that happen in the Famicon Disk System as well??
I’d love to hear from you about that subject!
Thanks a lot!
When I was a kid, I remember noticing how weird the music sounds when you have low health – I guess I just forgot since I’m much better at the game nowadays 😛 So here’s a comparison of the two versions:
Famicom Disk System Version:
Don’t mind the slowdown and weird stuff like that in the two clips – that’s just due to technical issues on my part.
Anyway, my ears are terrible at picking up tiny differences in stuff, but to me it sounds like they’re the same. But if you hear stuff I don’t, let me know!