Today, I’m taking a short break from Konami music to do some Capcom classics! This time it’s the “Opening Stage” from Rockman X3 (1995), which is a darn good rock piece from the SNES. The soundtrack was composed by a whole bunch of guys (Kinuyo Yamashita, Toshihiko Horiyama, Syusaku Uchiyama & Makoto Tomozawa), so take your pick! The whole X collection (or at least 1-6) was released in a special compilation album in 2003. It ran a decent price of 6300 yen (about $65) which isn’t bad for 5 discs (I’ve seen most sets that big go for twice that), but I guess it’s out of print now.
“Opening Stage” is my favorite piece from the Rockman X3 soundtrack. It’s not that the rest of the soundtrack is bad, it’s just there are fewer pieces that really stand out. As such, “Opening Stage” has the nice, energetic beat and easily memorable melody that you would expect from an introductory level. It’s also got great instrumentation: the main synth line feels just like a robot lab while also possessing a sense of nostalgia (similarity with the Dr. Light themes, perhaps?) as well as serial drama (due to the long notes). The combination of synth with the very slick rock guitar from the other X games creates great interplay, and when they meet at the end, the mix of low metal with high-pitch synth is pretty unique. And then the drums give it a nice pumping trance feel (which explains a few remixes). Other than that, a pretty basic, but enjoyable tune. Other pieces in the soundtrack have a nice viral infection feel to them, so if you like this one, give the rest a listen.
As you might recall, Rockman X3 came out late in the SNES’s life and as such it was ported to the Sega Saturn and PlayStation and given a remixed soundtrack along the way. However… Meh. It’s a slow beat jazz fusion that has nothing of the intensity and rhythm of the original. It’s a bit closer to the Alph Lyla Rockman X remix album, which I think was missing the jazz rock of the originals. The composers, Yoshino Aoki (Breath of Fire III and IV) and Shusaku Uchiyama (Biohazard 2, Devil May Cry) don’t seem to have been part of the band though… (but hey, Aoki-san is another of Capcom’s female composers! Win!) Honestly, I haven’t heard any decent mixes of this. Beatdrop did a couple for OCR, but they’re both essentially trance (the newer one is better). The melody simply doesn’t hold through. Maybe Kissing the Mirror will do one… Or Dwelling of Duels? It demands a rock cover!