Ninja Gaiden – “Ryu’s Determination” (Kenji Yamagishi, B.B., Hakase)May 11, 2010
Ninja Gaiden (1989) for the NES had a pretty cool soundtrack, full of drama and excitement. I’d like to give special focus on “Ryu’s Determination” from the Stage 4-2. Ryu has just climbed out of the Amazon jungle to enter the mines in an evil temple at the top of a tall mountain, so now it’s time to slice some demons.
The original version had great texture, with a very active, forward-moving melody. It’s definitely one of the more memorable tracks in the game, and can really get the player into a flow state with the action. A skilled player can really master the intense battles of these late-game stages. This version is from the 1989 Ninja Ryukenden -G.S.M. Tecmo 1 album (which also contains the soundtrack to the arcade version). Most of the tracks on the album are “Grade Up” versions with an extra voice added to the Famicom’s normal 3-channel audio, though “Ryu’s Determination” doesn’t seem to have been. These were arranged by Kenji Yamagishi (aka “More Yamasan”). Oh yeah, the NES version had some of the coolest box art ever:
One of the best rock arranges out there is from a pretty sweet medley containing (in order) “Danger”, “Ryu’s Determination”, “Reflection”, and “The Ninja Dragon”. The song is a magnificent combination of piano and rock guitars, with transitions between tracks that are unmatched in the smoothness of their transitions. The piece was arranged by EpicNES, a Swedish metal band that does rock medleys of game music. They are currently working on five new medleys at the moment, which means they will probably be coming out with an album pretty soon. Definitely worth a listen.
Most of the tracks on OCR are rave or dance mixes, but Vurez impressed once again with the masterful “Basilisk Run“. I remember first hearing this on VGMix 2.0 and being completely enthralled by the track’s bassy acoustic guitar coupled with the exotic click and low thump of the koto and percussion. I particularly love the guitar solo at 2:20. Vurez’s trumpets also find their way back in. There’s some crazy ninja funk going on at 3:00, which is a bit of a departure from the rest of the track, but it’s still good. The judges at OCR had some fun comments on this track as well, particularly praising its excellent transitions.