Capcom recently announced a new album of Mega Man remix music made from what sounds like the original Nintendo Entertainment System source material's digital beeps and bleeps. A short sample was provided, and although too brief to be terribly useful, it did land the project on my radar. The CD was released for sale exclusively at last week's Tokyo Game Show and now some reviews of the final product are starting to pop up online. One such review comes from 1UP's Jeremy Parish, and the short version is that he loves it. Don't miss his thoughts over at 1UP's Retro Gaming Blog.
Stylistically, the arrangements vary from a fairly straightforward reworking of Gravityman (the oddly-named Aftermath Sleaze Edit) and Brightman (the Portable Mix -- essentially, what Brightman's theme would sound like on Game Boy) to wildly ambitious reinventions like Shadowman Stage (Big Boot Mix) which uses the basic beat and melody of the original track to create something almost completely new, combining a deep electronic bass sound and NES game effects to flesh out the beat. There's a beautiful sort of authenticity about it all; when the power meter refill effect kicks in during the Big Boot mix of Shadowman Stage, it clips out the rest of the sound -- just like it does in the games. The Tenguman Stage (Back to 2A03 Mix) is a great rendition of one of Mega Man 8's few worthwhile tracks in the classic NES style. There are playful hints of classic Mega Man songs and sounds scattered throughout all the pieces, making the album a bit of a trainspotter's paradise.
I would love to get my hands on this album for a fair price, so here's hoping that Capcom eventually offers this up for sale to the general public worldwide. Meanwhile, there are a bunch of classic games from the NES era that I'd love to see get a musical refresh in this style. Imagine the beepy soundtracks from, say, Super Mario Bros. 2, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Ducktales, or Castlevania remixed in this manner. In the right hands, the result would be auditory dynamite.