September 12, 2008

Running a short loop of original music through my NES console.

Many thanks to my friend Animal Style, he was able to help me out with an easy set-up to run original compositions off of my powerpack cartridge.

This was recorded with a very old digital camera so don’t mind how ugly it looks.

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September 1, 2008

Astyanax / Silver Surfer / Superfrog / Super Mario Land

ASTYANAX (NES)

(full cover)

17 tracks, 17:37. Samples-

Introduction

Remlia Castle

Round 3 Cutscene

Astyanax. This is one of those games I could never really get into because I thought the controls were awkward. I couldn’t help but feel that the character’s sprite was “too big”, and as a result dodging all the crap that came flying at you was hard to deal with appropriately.

My ineptitude at not sucking at this game aside, I’ve always appreciated the aesthetic of it. Generic fantasy plot? Skeletons with swords? Catchy music? Check.

Included in the mp3 tags are the corresponding track numbers from the sound test.

Composed by Kiyoshi Yokoyama in 1989.

Wikipedia entry on Astyanax.

SILVER SURFER (NES)

(full cover)

9 tracks, 14:17. Samples-

World Selected

BGM I

BGM II

Released in 1990 for the NES, Silver Surfer is a game recognized for being an unfairly difficult shoot-‘em-up. Past the arguable mediocrity of the gameplay, however, lies a well praised soundtrack by those who’ve become familiar with it.

The soundtrack was composed by the legendary Follin brothers, Tim & Geoff Follin. They managed to forge a distinct style by really milking the audio chip and making music that sounds considerably “thick” in comparison to a lot of other games.

Compositionally, a lot of their classic work is very pleasing to shred-heads and prog nerds who’re into game music. BGM theme I in perticular, seems to come up fairly often in the reoccuring internet discussion- “Nintendo music that’d be insane to play on guitar”.

Last January I posted the Treasure Master soundtrack, which was also composed by Tim Follin.

Wikipedia entry on the Silver Surfer.

SUPERFROG (Amiga)

(full cover)

10 tracks, 27:40. Samples-

Title

Enchanted Forest

Ancient Pyramid

Released in 1993 for the Amiga computer, Superfrog is a jump-and-run platformer in which you control a prince-turned-amphibian to rescue a princess from an evil witch.

What can I say about this game? It’s awesome. I always thought it had a nice charm to it, and I’ve never understood why it wasn’t ported to a console like the Super Nintendo to recieve a larger fan base.

It’s fairly simple and stripped down for a platformer, but as one review on it’s Lemon Amiga page states- “Superfrog is one of those rare games that is greater than the sum of its parts.” Hey, my sentiments exactly! I think this title warranted a franchise, even.

The soundtrack holds a special place in my heart, probably because of all the hours I spent trying to beat this game. It has a cartoonish and whimsical charm which matches the game very well.

I worked up a collection of Superfrog chiptune arrangements I had been working on and off since early 2006. It’s called “Amphibious Adventures - A Superfrog Tribute” and can be downloaded here. It’s an 18 minute collection of covers and medleys either sequenced with NES samples or in an actual emulated NES format (nsf).

Superfrog was composed by Allister Brimble.

Wikipedia entry on Superfrog.

SUPER MARIO LAND (GameBoy)

(full cover)

18 tracks, 10:48. Samples-

Birabuto Kingdom

Muda Kingdom

Rocket Ship Ride

This game is a classic!

Although despite being the game that everyone played when the GameBoy was in its golden years, the Super Mario Land series is often forgot about while the classic NES and SNES games are referenced frequently to this day. Super Mario Land is sort of cemented as this weird tangent to the series that doesn’t come quickly to mind when you think of “Mario”.

Remember facing two exists at the end of the stage and cursing yourself for screwing up a series of jumps and not making the higher one? Remember the main foe being… an alien instead of King Koopa? That was pretty cool!

The soundtrack is composed by Hirokazu ‘Hip’ Tanaka, who is known for composing many classic Nintendo soundtracks, including the original Metroid.

I should mention, I didn’t rip this selection myself. I found it linked on “the JLR”, a very cool blog with a section called “The Living Tribunal Presents: Five Game Soundtracks You Don’t Listen To Enough”. You can read his write-up on Super Mario Land there. I should also mention, we had a short conversation through e-mail and I picked Astyanax for this week since he was unable to find it in mp3. I’m not sure if he plans on including it for part 5 of his series, I guess that depends on it being as good as he remembers it…

I retagged the soundtrack to fit my tagging scheme, although I left the url and original ripper’s handle in there.

Wikipedia entry on Super Mario Land.

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August 26, 2008

by some weird glitch…

After attempting to edit a small bit of information in an older post, my browser crashed whilst loading and that bumped the post up as if it were new. The Castlevania soundtracks? I posted those months ago, not yesterday. Just before anyone points out that they aren’t new…

It also cut out the part on Castlevania III. I’ll re-link and rewrite that stuff soon.

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August 25, 2008

Weeks 20-21: Castlevania I, II, & III (Famicom + NES)

CASTLEVANIA (Akumajo Dracula)


(full cover)

14 tracks, 14:08. Samples-

Underground (name entry, FDS only)
Vampire Killer
Wicked Child
Black Night

Originally released in 1986 for the Famicom Disk System as Akumajo Dracula, this is the soundtrack to the very first Castlevania game. The Japanese version included a name entry screen with a short tune titled “Underground”, which was unused in subsequent ports. That track of music is hidden within the ROM data of the American Castlevania, but you’d never get to hear it by playing the game.

While the FDS had support for an additional channel of sound, it was unused for this game, making the Japanese and American soundtracks identical.

Composed by Kinuyo Yamashita.

Wikipedia entry on Castlevania.

DRACULA II


(full cover)

9 tracks, 8:28.

CASTLEVANIA II


(full cover)

9 tracks, 8:07. Comparisons-

Message of Darkness: Dracula II | Castlevania II
Bloody Tears: Dracula II | Castlevania II
Dwelling of Doom: Dracula II | Castlevania II
Within These Castle Walls: Dracula II | Castlevania II

First released in Japan as Dracula II: Noroi no Fuin in 1987, and later ported to the NES as Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, there are two different versions of the same score. This time around, the original floppy disk version made use of the additional sound channel.

There are more differences between the two than the cartridge version simply lacking an extra voice, however. Sometime during the 15 month gap that separated the two releases, Konami decided to tweak the soundtrack.

For their second attempt they added new (and more driving) percussion parts, and all sorts of reverb/ delay effects that weren’t there before. Other differences can be heard as well, including a different length for A Requiem and a different bass part for Within These Castle Walls.

It’s neat hearing how the original version sounds, but I much prefer the changes they made for the American release. Despite having less channels to work with, they managed to make the music more complex and interesting by manipulating the soundchip with more care.

Composed by Kenichi Matsubara and S. Terishima.

Wikipedia entry on Castlevania 2.

AKUMAJOU DENSETSU

(full cover)

CASTLEVANIA III

(full cover)

… as the above entry explains, a browser crash deleted my write-up for cv3 here! I’ll redo it one of these coming weeks.

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August 21, 2008

Deja Vu / Shadowgate / Uninvited, end of hiatus

DEJA VU (NES)

(full cover)

10 tracks, 9:35. Samples-

Title

Peoria Streets

Game Over

Originally released for the Macintosh in 1985 and then ported to the NES in 1990, Déjà Vu is the first title in what’s often considered a trilogy of adventure games for the NES.

This game puts you in control of detective Ace Harding, a man who is tasked with regaining his memory and proving his innocence. Déjà Vu is credited for inspiring subsequent point and click games from other companies, like Maniac Mansion.

Wikipedia entry on Déjà Vu.

SHADOWGATE (NES)

(full cover)

14 tracks, 12:34. Samples-

Entryway

Danger

Hero of Stormhaven

Although released in 1989 for the NES, prior to Déjà Vu, this version was ported from the Macintosh title which came out in 1987, making it a sequel of sorts.

In shadowgate, the protagonist must traverse through a castle to defeat the Warlock Lord, before he summons Behemoth and brings doom upon the world.

As a follow-up to Déjà Vu, the soundtrack includes a flute sound which borrows the opening melody from “Joe’s Bar”.

Wikipedia entry on Shadowgate.

UNINVITED (NES)

(full cover)

13 tracks, 14:15. Samples-

Daylight

Upstairs

Game Over

Uninvited was the third and final of these titles to come out for the NES in 1991, but second amongst the Macintosh originals.

In this title, the protagonist wakes up from a car crash outside of a creepy old mansion. His younger sister is missing, and you must guide him through the haunted establishment in order to rescue her.

This is a very nostalgic title for me, I grew up with this game on the Amiga. I preferred having a mouse and the interface was much better than on the NES, but it only had SFX! No music! I also thought the box art made the game seem much more scary, and this game probably wouldn’t have given me the spooks if I was more used to the silly Nintendo artwork. Here’s the original. But the music is great in the NES game, so any complaints I’d have are redeemed.

Uninvited includes a broken phonograph that plays a skipping and dissonant loop from Shadowgate’s “Entryway”.

Wikipedia entry on Uninvited.

And with that, this marks the end of my hiatus on explod. Starting Monday the 1st, there’ll be 4 soundtracks posted every other Monday again. Huzzah!


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July 21, 2008

NES Template V1, a sample pack for trackers

I put together a comprehensive sample pack of NES sounds. It’s an .it file for use in sample based trackers, like modplug.

NES Template V1

Despite having nearly 100 samples, there’s still some more facets to the nintendo sound that I’d like to tackle eventually. There will be an update in the future, but this should be thorough enough for now if you’re interested.

For any questions/ comments/ suggestions post a comment or send me an e-mail (which is included in the text file).

And I know I’ve been slacking but I WILL have several soundtracks up later this week.

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July 7, 2008

This is an older track of mine. It’s a cover of Hiya Hiya Island from the SNES game Super Adventure Island II, using mostly NES samples. I had inititally planned for some of it to be performed on guitar, doubling up or replacing certain parts altogether. Assuming that’ll still happen at some point I’ll consider this a ‘work in progress’.

More video game OSTs coming soon…ish.

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June 24, 2008

Summer Hiatus… kind of

Whoops… it’s that time of the month again but I don’t have anything prepared!

I’ve been finding myself busy on nights where I’d normally spend time ripping soundtracks. Things like going out of town, working some more hours (thank god), and being glued to my friend’s TV set playing Metal Gear Solid 4… all add up.

For those who’ve been keeping up, I don’t plan on leaving explod unattended the whole summer, but I am going to take a break from the 4-soundtracks-routine. I’ll just be posting things randomly, probably one at a time for now

Anyways, yesterday my brother found a box on the sidewalk with a Nintendo and a couple games, including Classic Concentration. I’ll leave you with this puzzle from that horrid, horrid game…

Can you figure it out?

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June 9, 2008

Weeks 22-23: Skate or Die! / Skate or Die 2 / Sphere Brain / Verytex

SKATE OR DIE! (NES)

(full cover)

8 tracks, 10:37. Samples-

Title Screen

Skate Shop

Freestyle

Originally developed by Electronic Arts, Skate or Die! was ported to the NES by Konami in 1988. Series’ composers are credited as Rob Hubbard, Kyle Granger, and Christopher Grigg.

Wikipedia entry on Skate or Die!

SKATE OR DIE 2 (NES)

(full cover)

14 tracks, 27:49. Samples-

Title

Intro / Mayor’s Wife & Fifi

Halfpipe Situation

Unknown (not used)

Unlike the original, Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble was released straight to the NES in 1990 and was not ported to other systems. Rob Hubbard was the lone composer for this title. The title track is amazing…

Wikipedia entry on Skate or Die 2.

SPHERE BRAIN (C64)

(full cover)

5 tracks, 22:33. Samples-

Introduction

BGM (II)

Sphere Brain is a German C64 game from 1995. Being a significantly later title for the system, it’s quite shrouded in obscurity. It doesn’t even have an entry on lemon64, and it took me some effort to find the disk image so I could play through the game and name all the tracks.

The music is quite nice. I found it randomly from a sid archive and the music stood out amongst a lot of the other soundtracks I was browsing.

Composed by Tero & Toni Hilpinen.

VERYTEX (Sega Genesis)

(full cover)

12 tracks, 22:15. Samples-

Opening Theme

Act 3: Ruined Area

Act 6: Inside Planet Shirakusa

Ending Theme

Released in Japan only in 1991, Verytex is a scrolling shooter for the Sega Mega Drive. Developed by OperaHouse and published by Asmik.

Composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata, and JKL Furukawa.

Wikipedia entry on Verytex.

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June 2, 2008

Hey! I finally broke my lazy-spell by writing a new song in one sitting. It’s been a while since I’ve done that.

"chipwitch" is an original composition that consists of NES samples.

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