I've been watching some of Freexax's/Sonigatr's N64 reviews and versus videos (warning: some language and content issues but mostly ok), and they've really gotten me thinking about how important the audio is to a game's overall experience for me. Oftentimes the choices Nintendo or other developers make in the audio department are one of the most subtle, but most important reasons I prefer certain games over sequels which are objectively better in terms of gameplay. For example:
The music in Mario Kart 64 is my favorite out of all the games in the series. There's a "maturity" about a lot of the tracks - such as the Menu Screen, Kalimari Desert, and Toad's Turnpike. The tracks with a more fun style, such as Moo Moo Farm and Choco Mountain don't cross the line into oversilliness. Koopa Cape in Mario Kart Wii on the other hand sounds way too goofy for me.
I also appreciate the way Nintendo handled the lightning effect in Mario Kart 64 compared to its sequels. The music distortion from Mario Kart DS onward when you're shrunken makes me want to turn the volume down every time.
To compare two games within the same generation, the musical style is the reason I prefer Pokemon Stadium over Pokemon Stadium 2, even though the sequel does almost everything else better. The Free Battle music in the original is really exciting and psyches me up for the battle. The Free Battle music in Stadium 2 is way too serene for me. In their comparison video of Stadium 1 and Stadium 2, Freexax and Sonigatr chose Stadium 2 as the victor in every category except music, and Soni's thoughts are spot on.
I can spend an entire other post on Super Smash Bros. 64 vs its sequels and even compare it to itself in terms of localization, but I want to hear what you guys have to contribute first
There are many games that I could talk about... but the one that definitely stands out is Banjo Kazooie's Hub tune!
It's basically the same song, just in slightly different compositions, depending on the area/scene... with a smooth transition from one to the other. Love that detail!