Ninja Gaiden – “The Mask” (arr. Kilu)May 12, 2010
One of my favorite pieces from Ninja Gaiden is “Tragic Fate”, the battle theme of the fight between Ryu and his father, Ken. Ken has been controlled by Jaquio. The track is actually quite simple, with two short loops, the first repeated four times, the second repeated twice. Only seven notes for each section, it’s one of the shorter lengths typical of early games. However, the composers of Ninja Gaiden were able to do something quite powerful with those seven notes because they knew they had to make every single one count. The urgency of the situation, Ryu’s love for his father, and the melody’s failure to coalesce into a complete whole capture the life-and-death struggle in the claustrophobic chamber. They cannot be reunited until the spell is broken… What is for Jaquio an amusing display is for Ryu a tragic struggle. The scene comes as quite a shock because up until this point, the player has been unaware of the true fate of Ryu’s father, assuming he was killed in a duel.
The best arrangement of this theme I’ve found (so far) is “The Mask” by Kilu. This is from VGMix 2.0 and is heavily midi, but the samples are pretty good and there is plenty of variation to . The piano is supported by a nice choral line, which gradually builds from there, with new instruments shifted in from drums and flute to trumpets, building to a nice crescendo. I feel the arranger could have done quite a bit more with this mix, but I guess this kind of illustrates the lack of decent coverage for this game (which is quite surprising, as it has so many popular themes). The game would require a wide range of coverage and can’t be limited entirely to one genre such as rock.
Nario, Powellman, and Omnideth did another remix on Dwelling of Duels, but I feel a little disturbed by the crazy percussion!