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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Favorite Tunes: Capcom Themes

As you've no doubt guessed by the title, I'll be focusing on a company that is becoming the bane of many gamer's existence. But since this is about video game music, I naturally have something positive to talk about. While the state of Capcom's current method of operations is largely up for debate, that's topic for another time. This is about some of my favorite music that's ever come out from the company.

Dark Forest of Hidon - Gargoyle's Quest II (NES)

Ghost 'n' Goblins is one of the hardest video game series of all-time, sitting right next to Battletoads with it's soul shattering difficulty. What other game has the player go through the game twice and makes things even hard? Even so, the games are still fondly remembered and they went on spawn a wonderful spinoff series staring a Red Arremer known as Firebrand. The second in the trilogy, Gargoyle's Quest II actually takes place before the original Gargoyle's Quest on the Game Boy but it uses much of the same gameplay. Composed by Yuki Iwai, Gargoyle's Quest II made excellent use of the limited NES's audio hardware, treating players to lively, moody, atmospheric music. Gargoyle's Quest  is available on the 3DS Virtual Console. Now if Capcom would just hook us up with Gargoyle's Quest II and Demon's Crest (SNES), we'd be in serious business.

Metro City Subway - Final Fight (SCD)

Final Fight has been ported to just about everything. Pick a console. Any console. Odds are good it's made an appearance on that platform. Released in 1989 in arcade's the first Final Fight remains one of my all-time favorite beat 'em ups. It's soundtrack has been given unique treatment on the various systems it's been on. I love the SNES version for it's abundance of bass guitar use and the arrangement of the Sega CD score by T's Music is nothing short of fantastic.

Armory ~ ROUND 9 - U.N. Squadron (ARC)

Released in Japan under it's original title of Area 88, U.N. Squadron is actually based on a short running anime series. That's really all I can tell you about it because I've yet to actually see it. I can tell you that the game is quite challenge, especially the SNES version where you get limited continues. You've got a better shot of finishing the arcade version since you can continue all you want. The arcade version's score was written by Manami Matsumae (Mega Man) while the SNES version's score was done by Mari Yamaguchi (Mega Man 5, Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts). Both versions use much oft he same music, but one could argue that it sounds more fleshed out on the SNES hardware. However, the arcade version and the SNES versions do have their own exclusive tracks. Armory ~ ROUND 9 is an arcade-only track.

Wily Marine Fortress - Mega Man III (GB)

Mega Man III was the first game I bought for my Game Boy after reading about it in an issue of Nintendo Power. The first four Game Boy installments are often criticized with being shrunken down, inferior versions of the console games. That's a criticism I've never fully bought into as even the levels were not carbon copies from the console games but more like remixed stages. Mega Man III has one of the very best final level themes from the entire Mega Man series in Wily Marine Fortress. It's an engaging song played through a long and difficult stage and is a perfect set-piece leading up to the game's final showdown with Dr. Wily.

The Road (Theme of Ryu) - Street Fighter Alpha 3 (ARC, PS, DC)

As much as I enjoy hearing remixed version of classic songs, I welcomed Street Fighter Alpha 3's fresh character themes. Ryu is constantly traveling, seeking to better his fighting skills so The Road suits him perfectly and is one of my absolute favorite character themes. It deserves to be remixed and arranged as much as his iconic Street Fighter II theme.

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