Posts Tagged ‘Capcom’

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Mega Man 4 – “Game Start” (Capcom)

August 27, 2010

Ok, here’s a classic. The classic Mega Man “Game Start” theme originally appeared in Mega Man 2 (composed by Takashi Tateishi). However, the original version had slightly different final notes, so the version from Mega Man 4 is the best. The other Mega Man games had different stage start themes (of which Mega Man 3 has the second-most interesting). Anyway, this theme is great because it has the perfect build of suspense. When this music plays, the robot master of the stage poses in front of a starfield background, taunting the player with his simple animations. The song is short, but the buildup is incredible, making it one of the best intro jingles ever. The jingle has since appeared in many other Mega Man games, but I happen to like the sound of the NES version of the best, perhaps because I have such good memories playing Mega Man 2.

Mega Man 4 – “Game Start” (Capcom)

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Mega Man 6 – “Wind Swoop” (arr. Vurez)

August 26, 2010

Here’s another Mega Man piece for you guys by Vurez from his arrange album Intercontinental Contenders (2006). Each of the robot master themes from Mega Man 6 has its own unique ethnic flavor to reflect the country where it came from. Wind Man hails from China where he works in agriculture, but instead of having an Asian theme (which was reserved for Yamato Man), Vurez granted him a much more interesting symphony of lazy gusts of warm wind.

Intercontinental Contenders – “Wind Swoop” (Vurez)

While Wind Man can fire bursts of wind up to 200mph, “Wind Swoop” is a much calmer interpretation, more like a summer’s day in the park, flying a kite – or maybe to be more precise if there was a theme park based on wind. Vurez describes the piece as ‘light rock’ and he uses a wide range of instruments from two kinds of flute, strings, his trademark acoustic guitar, and that sexy saxophone to create a very warm, gusty sound that flows effortlessly from section to section. Vurez combines these instruments together for a glorious aural smörgåsbord, such as the end of the loop at 1:05 where the warm, hearty sound of the sax sax is married with high notes of the flute. This is an incredible song, probably Vurez’s masterpiece in the album, which is not surprising as it was his final entry in the set.

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Mega Man 3 – “SPARK MAN ~ Spark of Sorcery” (arr. Alph-Lyra)

August 25, 2010

Here is a piece from the Mega Man 3, this time arranged by the Capcom band Alph Lyra. This is an arrangement of Spark Man’s theme called “Spark of Sorcery”. It’s a late 80s techno-electronica piece with a driving bass, slick synth guitar, and synth trumpets that go all-out. The track has a wonderful melody as well, something that is easy to remember and easy to hum, similar to the “Cutman” theme from yesterday (in fact, there’s a tropical arrange of this theme on the album as well). I happen to find Spark Man’s theme one of the most memorable from the game and love the electrical power that seems to surge from this song. This is one of my favorite mixes.

Rockman – “SPARK MAN ~ Spark of Sorcery” (arr. Alph Lyra)

Similar instrument sets were used for many of Capcom’s other arrange tunes, and these instruments in particular helped define the ‘Mega Man sound’ seen in many arranges of the time. In many ways, they seem to be aiming for the ‘definitive’ sound of the series, something beyond what the Famicom/NES could produce.

The album this is from, ROCMAN Arrange Version – ROCKMAN SPECIAL CD, was a special promotional album released in 1992 by Capcom. A second volume was also produced; both contain only five tracks. Similar-style arranges appear on many of Capcom’s other albums.

The original composer Yasuaki Fujita (aka Bunbun) worked on Breath of Fire as well as Rockman 10.

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Maximo: Ghosts to Glory – “Castle Maximo Part 2” (Tommy Tallarico, et al)

August 20, 2010

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (2002) is an interesting soundtrack. The album consists almost entirely of remixes and arrangements of the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins main theme. So there’s a graveyard version, a sea shanty version, horror versions, etc, culminating in a jazzy arrange for the “Ending Credits“. They aren’t explicit but more subtly done using a few bars here and there. This actually gets a little old, however – while it is fun to listen to the original theme, too much of basically the same thing gets old rather quick. It’s an interesting experiment, and a style that I think was used in some of Tallarico’s other games such as Pac-Man World Ralley, which I saw him discuss at GDC this year. Anyway, I picked one of my favorite arranges. Oh yeah, Maximo was also the first game I played on PS2! (Though I got the system when Contra: Shattered Soldiers was release :P).

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory – “Castle Maximo Part 2” (Tommy Tallarico, et al)

This arrange is a pretty epic piece with lots of drums, strings, and trumpets. It is the final area of the game and so requires a little extra oomph to reflect not only the fact that we are getting closer to the end but that we are also back where the story started – Maximo’s castle was stolen from him by an evil wizard who murdered him and he has now come to reclaim what is rightfully his. Anyway, a pretty fun piece.

Maximo was composed by Tommy Tallarico (Earthworm Jim CD, Advent Rising), Todd Dennis (MDK, Advent Rising), Shane Kneip (Medal of Honor: European Assault, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier) and Chris Rickwood (Ghostbusters, Evil Dead). Now if you purchased a first print of the soundtrack, you would have also gotten a soundtrack to the 1988 Dai Makaimura (Ghouls n Ghosts), which makes for a nice soundtrack collection.

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Carrier Wing – “The Stratosphere Flight” (arr. Alf Lyra)

August 4, 2010

Carrier Wing (known as US Navy in Japan) was a 1990 arcade shmup where players take on the fictional Middle Eastern country of Rabu after its surprise attack conquers most of the world. This is a little different than other shmups as your ship has health (fuel) which slowly drains throughout the mission – and drains much quicker once the plane is shot. In a nod to 1943, you can also upgrade your ship – this time, using money you earn on your missions. The game was released in October 1990, during the middle of the First Gulf War. It is doubly odd because the first battle is a retaking of Tokyo, which seems odd given the politics of the US having an air base in Japan. The soundtrack was composed by Manami Matsumae, who worked on such Capcom classics as Mega Man 2, Mercs, and Mega Man 10. She also composed the previous title, U.N. Squadron.

Carrier Wing – “The Stratosphere Flight” (arr. Alf Lyra)

“The Stratosphere Flight” is a remix of the final stage theme, “Mission 10 Stratosphere” in which the player has to shoot down a giant rocket. What’s more, the rocket launches a space shuttle, and then the space shuttle launches a laser satellite. Beat the game with the bad ending and you ditch into the sea. Beat it with the good ending, and your plane lands, but it’s on fire! A little fire truck has to drive by and a little man pops out to put out your fire. That’s pretty awesome. However, it makes you wonder why the Arabs can build such a large, heavily-defended spaceship that can take a bazillion hits before it blows up.

Anyway, the guitar recording of this mix is some great shmup music, a little subdued, but very groovy. I admit it sounds a little like “Eye of the Tiger” (those riffs appear to be pretty popular), but it also uses synths for that ‘spacey’ sound. The guitars were performed by Isao Abe (Oyaji), Navy Tomioka, and Chopper Fujisawa (which are pretty cool pseudonyms). The keyboard synths were by Kimitaka Matsumae, Manami’s husband.

The soundtrack was released on Street Fighter II -G.S.M. CAPCOM 4- (1990), which also included the soundtrack to Magic Sword (which Matsumae-san also composed) and Chiki Chiki Boys. the GSM soundtracks are kind of interesting because while they often include SFX collections, they tended to place tracks together in medleys rather than as individual tunes. My favorite piece has to be “Mission 2 Capital Recovery Operation ~ Defeating the Occupying Enemy Force“, which is heavy on guitars and has a great beat.

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Final Fight CD – “Bay Area” (T’s Music)

June 20, 2010

Back when the Sega CD was new and hot, game companies began porting cartridge titles over to CD, often taking advantage of the new storage space to add remixed music from their space-limited brethren. Final Fight CD, is one of the better examples of this, containing a nice selection of music arranged by the collective T’s Music, which also did music for Hudson Soft and several other companies. They seem to have dissolved in the early 2000s. The original soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura. Lost VGM has the whole soundtrack.

Final Fight CD – “Bay Area” (T’s Music)

“Bay Area” is one of my favorite pieces on the album. It has a solid guitar lead and composition reminiscent of Mega Man 2, making it pure Capcom. The melody is smooth and  keeps building the tension required for a final stage. The step-like notes at the end of the loop reinforce the feeling of final stretch. I have to say, though, the synth line is a little annoying (however, it sounds similar to the synths Chris Huelsbeck used in his arrange albums). Thankfully, there’s a more traditional mix on the Namco X Capcom soundtrack, which is worth checking.

Another track from the album that I just have to mention is “Bay Area – Restroom”. It’s a pretty simple guitar and slide piano piece, but c’mon – there’s music for elevators, and now there’s music for restrooms. (Actually, there is a genre of ‘restroom music’ like the kind they play in airport latrines – I would probably kill myself in shame if I discovered my music was being used to help people loosen their bladders.) There’s also a nice remix of several other Final Fight tracks on OCR.

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1943 – The Battle of Midway – “Stage 1” (Capcom)

June 4, 2010

So June 4, 1942 was the famous Battle of Midway, one of two battles that ultimately changed the course of the Pacific War (the other being Guadalcanal). Significant doses of good luck, skill, bravery, and sacrifice, as well as the Japanese admiralty’s over-confidence lead to a decisive American victory during a time when the ultimate end of the war was far from predictable. 1943 – The Battle of Midway (1987) takes ideas from the epic battle and presents them in an arcade shoot ’em up that served as a sequel to 1942 (1984). Never mind the fact that P38’s were not present during the battle (or the fact that it took place in 1942 rather than ’43); the battle merely serves as color for a game about shooting down aircraft and sinking warships. The game is also fairly unique in that it allows players to choose how to power-up their aircraft at the end of each level (something a bit more developed in Jets ‘n Guns). While the arcade and NES versions have vastly different soundtracks, I prefer the anthem-style “Stage 1” theme from the NES version (1988) the most. The composer of this song is unknown.

1943 – The Battle of Midway – “Stage 1” (Capcom Sound Team)

The “Stage 1” theme to 1943 is a pretty simple track. After a short introduction for the P-38 taking off (the drums not only draw the player in but also replicate the sound of an aircraft engine), the first section of the song begins, which recalls the Air Force anthem and the feel of ‘flying high into the sky’ and the myth of blasting away through intense dogfights. The second half of the song sounds a bit more like a football anthem, really. In this sense, both parts of the main theme are stereotypically American in construct. A fairly catchy, enjoyable tune.

A couple interesting things about 1943. First, the Japanese title for the Famicom version is 1943 – The Battle of Valhallah. Read the rest of this entry ?