The phrase moon music suggests compositions like Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” or Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” For the geeks out there, however, it may call to mind a miserly cartoon duck and his adventures on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The DuckTales video game should have been a disaster. More often than not, licensed games (i.e. games based on an existing intellectual property) are poorly-designed attempts to squeeze more money out of a media franchise. Seeing as DuckTales was never more than a decent cartoon in the first place, its game should have been an abject failure.
DuckTales turned out to be a masterpiece of the 8-bit era, and a resounding commercial success. I suppose Scrooge McDuck of all people (or poultry) really knows how to rake in the cash.
One of the game’s most enduring legacies is its moon music. “The Moon Theme” is among the most widely recognized game melodies of its time. Although the original version is a bit shrill, it’s quite complex for a song using the NES’s primitive sound chip. It makes me think of Schroeder from the Peanuts comics plinking out Beethoven’s masterpieces on a toy piano. The song also reminds me of the soundtracks to the old Mega Man games, which were made by the same developer.
When DuckTales was remade recently as DuckTales: Remastered, “The Moon Theme” was all over the game, not just in the Moon stage; I counted two or three arrangements of the song in the game’s end credits alone. One might even say… it eclipses the other songs in the soundtrack. (Pun intended. I’m so, so sorry.)