Tag Archive | Ducktales

The music of DuckTales

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Who’s excited for the impending DuckTales remaster? Hands in the air.

Everyone’s hand should be in the air right now. What’s wrong with you people?

I had the opportunity to fool around with WayForward’s remake at PAX East, and I’m fairly confident that Scrooge is in good hands–it feels pretty much identical to the original, and the new visual flair that they’ve laid overtop the old mechanics doesn’t distract much from the exceptionally solid platforming that was the hallmark of the NES classic. I don’t think we’ve got another “Turtles in Time: Reshelled” situation on our hands, is what I’m saying.

One of the things that I’m most curious about with the remake is how WayForward is going to treat the original’s exceptional music. The Penny Arcade Report mentioned in its announcement that Yoshihiro Sakaguchi’s music was not going to be “replaced,” but rather “updated.” As someone who has a deep and abiding love for chiptunes, I would be quite content to have the game’s soundtrack be completely unaltered, but as someone who also has a healthy dedication to the archives over at OCRemix, I’m open to the idea of new takes on old favorites.

The music to DuckTales isn’t just nostalgia-inducing, it’s legitimately great. I’ve argued before that the Moon Theme is the pinnacle of all human musical achievement, and it’s an argument I stand by. Here, have a listen.

What will the updated version of the Moon Theme sound like? Could it possibly be altered and still retain its supremacy over all other musical endeavor?
Maybe, maybe not. If WayForward walks the path of the remixer, it might end up sounding like this OCRemix from the ever-talented Star Salzman:

Listening to this, one almost wishes that WayForward would solicit OCRemixers to redo the entire soundtrack, much like Capcom did for the HD remake of Street Fighter II. But there are other ways to update classics, too, and the Moon Theme isn’t the only brilliant piece in the original DuckTales. Here, for instance, is the music from the African Mines:

Fairly funky, no? Might WayForward, then, choose to update in a similar manner to The One-Ups, who busted out some superb sax in their rendition of the tune?

Listen to that sax! The One-Ups sure know what they’re doing, don’t they? I’ve got my fingers crossed that whatever happens to the music in DuckTales, it captures the spirit of the original pieces in much the same manner as the arrangements I’ve highlighted.

But y’know, as excited as I am to team up with Scrooge McDuck again, I can’t help but be a little forlorn. See, this is my shameful secret: as much as I love DuckTales, as much as I continue to believe that the Moon Theme is a perfect expression of musical brilliance, as much as I have dreams of one day swimming in a money bin full of coins myself, there yet remains a classic Capcom platformer that I think is tragically overlooked, that deserves more love, that is even more chock full of chiptune goodness. It’s a game that I think deserves to be remade even more than DuckTales.

What is it, you ask? What is this pinnacle of perfection, this paragon of playability?

DuckTales 2, of course.

Yes! Scrooge had a second outing on the NES, and it was every bit as fine-tuned and brilliantly balanced as the first. Maybe even more so. It gets overlooked, often, because it came out in ’93, at the twilight of the NES’s life cycle. Admittedly, it didn’t improve on the formula much, but when your source material is as brilliant as DuckTales, you don’t really need to.

And the most important thing, of course, is that DuckTales 2, like its predecessor, had some totally rockin’ chiptune music. Without the Moon Theme it’ll never have as much cultural cache as the original, but just listen to some of these tracks and try to tell me I’m wrong:

Final Boss:

Glomgold’s pirate ship:

And, perhaps my favorite, the music from the final screen (this version is from the Game Boy port):

It may be a madman’s hope, but all I want is for the sales of the DuckTales Remaster to be so overwhelming that Capcom remembers the lonely, forgotten sequel to its masterpiece and finds it in its heart to gussy it up and trot it out just like they’re doing for its big brother.

I’m not going to hold my breath, of course, but then– what does the song say? “Everyday, they’re out there making DuckTales.”

A guy can dream.

Ten 8-bit Ringtones, and What They Say About You

In this modern day and age, when almost everyone has a communication device with access to a global, mostly-unregulated data network, we are confronted with an existential quandary which our forebears could not have even imagined: How to ensure your phone’s ringtone matches your winning personality.

This is a humdinger, make no mistake: Leave your phone on one of the default sounds, and people might think you lack imagination. Select the incorrect pop single, and people will think you shallow. You don’t want your friends and relations to cringe every time you receive a call and Justin Beiber’s “Girl Hair Blues” plays, do you? (Full disclosure: I do not know any Justin Beiber songs.)

With that said, there is a source of simple tunage to which all gamers may turn in this time of need: the Nintendo Entertainment System. NES music is chippy and simple enough to function well as a ringtone, and by necessity the songs’ melodies usually assert themselves quite clearly in the first thirty seconds of play–perfect for using as an alert sound on your futuristic communication devices!

Here, for your consideration, are a sample of some excellent ringtone choices from the 8-bit era, with an explanation of how they might be right for you.

1. Mega Man 2 — Stage Select

Why this is a good choice: Simple, effective, and with a loop no more than a few seconds long, this tune is immediately recognizable to an old-school gamer and won’t make you inclined to let the ringtone play for thirty seconds so you can get to the good part.

What this says about you: “I’m going to check the Caller ID before I pick up to make sure I’m properly equipped for this conversation.”

2. Castlevania — Vampire Killer

Why this is a good choice: The first incarnation of a theme that appears throughout the entire Castlevania series, “Vampire Killer” is the most recognizable of the bunch and will help you to keep your cool in stressful situations.

What this says about you: “I am an unrelenting badass.”

3. The Legend of Zelda — Overworld Theme

Why this is a good choice: Hearing this music coming from your phone will remind you that there is adventure and freedom to be found in all aspects of life, even in the midst of a boring work day.

What this says about you: “I do my best work when I’m at full health.”

4. Ducktales — The Moon

Why this is a good choice: The Ducktales Moon Theme is the pinnacle of all human musical creation.

What this says about you: “You would be impressed by my extensive collection of precious gems.”

5. Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins — Stage One

Why this is a good choice: Another track whose melody is prominent right from the get-go, the main theme from Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins is packed with tension and is up-tempo while still feeling ominous. When your phone rings, you will at once be alert for spooks, spirits, and haints in your immediate vicinity.

What this says about you: “I can get the job done in my underpants.”

6. Final Fantasy — Prelude

Why this is a good choice: The Final Fantasy prelude is possibly the piece of 8-bit music best able to transport the listener to another world, and it can do so in just a few seconds with a handful of simple arpeggios. By putting this on your phone, you will make each call you receive feel magical, mysterious, and possibly even epic. Even if it’s from your Mum.

What this says about you: “I have a close-knit group of friends with whom I have gained a lot of experience.”

7. Ninja Gaiden — Basilisk Mine Field

Why this is a good choice: It’s highly likely that hearing this song coming from your phone will get you so pumped up that you will kick bystanders in the face.

What this says about you: “If I don’t take this call, it’s only because I’m too busy slicing someone in half.”

8. Dr. Mario — Fever Theme

Why this is a good choice: Despite the fact that this piece of music goes through a couple evolutions in a minute or two and you won’t get to hear all of it as a ringtone, the first thirty seconds are still enormously chippy, peppy, and happy. This is the kind of music that gets you going in the morning, like a good cup of coffee or the news that school has been canceled due to snow or chemical leak.

What this says about you: “I’m high on life, or perhaps psychoactive medications.”

9. Super Mario Bros. — Starman Theme

Why this is a good choice: Never has a tune so simple conveyed something so clearly.

What this says about you: “I am invincible.”

10. River City Ransom — Running Around the City

Why this is a good choice: This is a piece of music that clearly suggests that you are on a mission, but that you’re going to take your time getting around to it while you pummel the crap out of anyone who deigns to get in your way. A perfect ringtone for someone who spends a lot of time in malls, someone who likes to twirl a metal chain menacingly, or someone not afraid to throw their best friend’s prone body into a crowd of thugs.

What this says about you: “I am going to spend all my pocket money on a book that will teach me to spin-kick people in the face.”