I remember being in elementary school playing Altered Beasts and being impossibly impressed when the game managed to open with Zeus actually talking to your character. Granted, "Rise from your grave" came out more "Wize Fromage Gay", but compared to what we had before that was a serious step forward.
Video game sound has gone on to including everyone from award-winning A-list Hollywood actors and actress as voice talent to having scripts longer than the freakin' Bible. Dynamic surround sound capabilities reached the ability to help guide a blind kid through Ocarina of Time, and that was on the N64. Truly, we are living in a golden age of sound.
But sometimes... meh. Gamemakers figure that they'll just remix something from a previous game and no one will ever notice. The practice seems especially prevalent when it comes to laughs, and a few famous ones have actually moonlighted their way in several different classic titles.
Zelda II: The Adventures of Link Odds are that you saw the game over screen a lot in the single side-scrolling Zelda outing (No, the CD-i games don't count). Adventure of Link is one of the hardest entries in the whole series, and you grew to hate that horrible flashing red outro. Especially if you were epileptic because it totally caused seizures, leading to the removal of the graphic in virtual console releases.
If you weren't in the throes of a fit, though, you might also remember the dark laughter of Ganon, as your death meant he was destined to return from the dead. That dark laughter was just a slowed down version of the drunken victory guffaw of Vodka Drunkeninski (Renamed Soda Popinski), the Russian boxer from the last bastion of mainstream racist stereotyping, Punch-Out.
Final Fantasy VII One of the most famous laughs in the history of gaming is that of the psychopathic Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI. The low fi cackle always heralded something truly terrible to come from the mad villain, and apparently the folks at Square couldn't get enough of it.
In the next entry in the series you can visit a haunted inn in the Ghost Square section of the Golden Saucer. If you chose to actually stay in the room there is a jack o' lantern that emits a low snigger when selected. The sound is just Kefka's laugh slowed down. At least they actually did something different in that game. In Chrono Trigger the sound of Norstein Bekkler is the exact same sound file without any alteration at all.
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Mario Kart 64 There are few things more annoying in Mario Kart 64 more than coming to a complete stop because a giant Thwomp blocks your way. To make it worse, when they do so they let loose a low, evil laugh as you bump ineffectually against them trying to get them to hurry up and freakin' lift already!
The sound of the laughter is a slowed down version of Wario's cackle. Since the game used two different voice casts for the Japanese and American games, that's the reason that the Twomps sound different in the two versions.
Mario 64 There's just something about Mario games that just makes the people who make them not want to record new laughter. You can see this in the flagship title of the N64, Mario's first 3D adventure.
Bowser the dragon has an appropriately deep, throaty laugh that more than does the King of the Koopas justice. Apparently the sound team was so impressed with their accomplishment that they decided it would do for the Boo enemies as well. Their poltergeisty chuckle is Bowser's laugh sped up several times. It actually makes me wonder if the Boos aren't actually the souls of Bowser's kids that we never really see anymore.
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Crash Bandicoot Finally, Crash Bandicoot actually went the extra mile and didn't just use some sound file that they had laying around. No, they went out and found the perfect laugh to sample for Ripper Roo, the insane kangaroo that went over the deep end after one too many shots with Dr. Neo Cortex's Evolvo-Ray and who tries to blow Crash up with explosive TNT.
If you thought his laugh was familiar, that because they lifted it from Disney's Lady and the Tramp. It's the exact same laugh that Dal McKennon used for the hyena in the zoo has, just shortened some. It's become Ripper Roo's trademark manner of communication, though he is occasionally capable of spoken English. The game helpfully provides subtitles so you know what he's saying. It's a shame that the talented McKennon, who was still alive and working in the '90s, couldn't add a little more of his vocal magic to the character, but as it stands that one sample continues to live on in the gaming world.