Game Music, Reviews

Music You Can’t Jump To: Bionic Commando Rearmed (Review)

November 14, 2008 | | 5 Comments Share thison Facebook Music You Can’t Jump To: Bionic Commando Rearmed (Review)on Twitter

Okay, so maybe you can jump to it, but Spencer (the Bionic Commando himself) will have to resort to swinging from the ceiling.

Using the original NES chiptune melodies and harmonies created well over a decade ago, composer/arranger Simon Viklund took on the task of upgrading the soundtrack for the updated Bionic Commando Rearmed. And thanks to the good folks at Sumthing Else Digital Distribution, both the original NES version and the Rearmed version from Viklund are available as digital releases.

After the jump, our full review for Viklund’s soundtrack: Bionic Commando Rearmed.

Let’s start with the tracklist:

(# Title)
01 Bionic Commando Main Theme Rearmed
02 Heat Wave
03 Power Plant
04 Leap of Faith
05 Rise of the Albatross
06 BCR Menu Theme
07 Prologue & Epilogue
08 OK, We’ll Move
09 Meet with Enemy and Descend
10 Killt’s Hidden Treasures
11 Amongst Allies
12 Intruder Alert
13 Suzuki’s Heroes
14 One Man, One Bionic Arm
15 Go Go Bionic

(note: tracks 13 through 15 cannot be purchased individually, and come only as bonus tracks if you purchase the entire digital album.)

Simon Viklund’s remixed score for this game is phenomenal. On first listen, I thought “hey…this isn’t the NES original, is it?” The untrained ear may think, based on the 8-bit sounds used, that this is exactly what you’re hearing. But go back and listen to the actual original score (which you can get for a mere $3) you immediately notice the difference. At least, I know I did. The sound is upgraded in a big way, but it retains the 8-bit sounds, particularly in the melodies.

I said that this is music Spencer can’t jump to, but you might want to bounce to it. If there’s one genre we can use to pinpoint the style of this music, it’s “electronic dance.” Working with the decade-old melodies, Viklund’s work (using the audio software Buzz) is alive and fun, in a way that I assume the original composers for NES would have hoped their music to become at some point.

In the digital packaging notes, Viklund cites his various influences for this project, including Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method. Though they sound very different, you can tell that Viklund is being honest in referencing these acts as inspiration for Bionic Commando Rearmed.

My favorite tracks? It’s hard to say…but if I had to make some suggestions, I’d say the first five in a row are a powerhouse of awesomeness. “Heat Wave” literally made me want to get up out of my desk chair and dance like a moron. “Rise of the Albatross” did not give me the same feelings, but was still an extremely enjoyable piece of music to listen to.

For only $10, this album is a great digital release; if you’ve downloaded the game itself, you should already know how special the music is for this “updated classic.” It’s like … 8-bit with some exponential powers thrown on to make it even bigger and better…but still, somehow, 8-bit.

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