Back when StarTropics first released, it was one of the most ambitious games of its time, and its famous soundtrack was a huge part of that. As YouTuber Brad Smith recently found out after some lurking through the game’s files, it turns out that the game’s music was much too big for the file limitations of the NES, and, as a result, a big part of the soundtrack was completely broken when the game was first distributed.
Essentially, there were two problems, for a few separate songs. One was regarding the NES’s space limitations: an NES game can handle no more than 256 bytes of audio from each channel of audio for every song. In the game’s overworld theme, this limitation was exceeded by a lot, as the song weighed 349 bytes. Because of this, the accompaniment channel sort of broke halfway through the song, played a few strange noises, and then restarted a little while later, completely out of time with the rest of the song.
The second problem was with the bass line in a track near the end of the game: while writing the code for the music, the composer put in an additional zero which messed everything up, so the game couldn’t load a bass track in the first place for this tune. The song still sounds a bit more complete without it, even though the bass line makes a some weird noises a few seconds in, but once the original music is corrected, it sounds incredible.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to see what happened for yourself, so watch the video above for a complete explanation and to listen to the original tracks for the first time ever!
Brad Smith, the guy who figured this all out, released a downloadable patch that fixes the game’s audio, meaning that you can finally play the game correctly! Check out the description of the video here for information on different emulators and installation, and click here to download the IPS patch which fixes the soundtrack.
What do you think? Did you play the original StarTropics? Did you ever notice something was wrong with the soundtrack? Let us know in the comments below!