|By Bucky||Friday, 26 Jun 2009|
Developer, Publisher: Tecmo
Year: 1990 (JP + US), 1994 (EU)
AKA: Ninja Ryuukenden II / Shadow Warriors II
Personal anecdotes, for the most part, have been absent from the reviews in this Top 30 list.
It’s not that I haven’t been offering opinion, but I prefer to speak factually whenever possible, leaving stories of nostalgia and personal history in the backseat for any details I find worth mentioning. So, as an advance warning, I deviate from the precedent here a little.
To get this out of the way– If you want to know what I think makes Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos an excellent entry for this placement in this top list, simply read the entry on Ninja Gaiden if you haven’t already. As a reference point, I feel that Ninja Gaiden II retains all the positive aspects of the first Ninja Gaiden, while ironing out and crafting a more impressive soundtrack overall.
Alright. Formed during my highschool years, I had a band dedicated to covering music from NES games. Something kind of like The Minibosses or The Advantage, but far less notable or interesing. Stressed for a name, we decided on The Parasprinter, a song title from Ninja Gaiden II. It was sort of odd picking such a specific reference, but we liked it because “parasprinter” isn’t a real word in any language and figured it was a safe bet for not being used in any other context ever. Maybe it’s like a paratrooper that hits the ground running? Or, perhaps the boss known as Funky Dynamite with the jetpack is supposed to be “The Parasprinter”? The world may never know.
Anyways, if picking a band name off of this soundtrack wasn’t a silly enough personal connection, there was a point when we had planned on doing an album of covers specifically from NG2, sometime around the end of my high school years (2004-ish). As it turned out, we were beaten to the concept! Who were the jerks that got it done before us? Chromelodeon.
Around the same time I grew quite fond of this (now defunct) band for their original music. I knew they had done some video game covers as well, but it wasn’t until I had booked them for a show with my band, and met them for the first time, that I had heard anything about their Ninja Gaiden II release. It was a funny converstation, something like-
“Oh sweet, you’re also into the Ninja Gaiden II music?” (chromelodeon)
“Yeah, we plan on doing an album of just that sometime!” (me)
“Oh cool, we did that, here’s a copy…”
I would’ve never guessed that such an esoteric concept would’ve come to fruition and crossed my path in such a manner. Especially when there were far less video game cover bands out there than there are today.
I listened to their album, download-able here, the same night as the show and immediately gave up on any NG2 related plans I had with The Parasprinter. It was already done, and the execution was far superior to anything we would have come up with.
This only helped fuel a dedicated interest in Chromelodeon, whom I eventually joined and performed on two recordings with. It was a grand ol’ time, and my experience with them not only greatly increased my interest in chiptune music, but also lead me to eventually relocate and live in a new city, where I kind of love life and things are awesome.
I think its very odd how one soundtrack would have such a presence in my existence some 10+ years after its release. It is by no means my favorite video game or NES soundtrack, but it is up there somewhere! So, uh, thank you Ninja Gaiden II / Chromelodeon for where I am today?
Now back to the usual means of wrapping up my entries here-
Ninja Gaiden II contains an in-game soundtest, complete with official track names. This made it easy to enjoy the wonderful musical experience if you owned the game but didn’t want to attempt playing all the way through it. It even has a display for all the sound channels, showing the volumes for each as it plays, making it the most interesting NES sound test I can think of.
There was an unused track, only available from the nsf rip, which can be heard here. It’s very odd and sounds possibly unfinished (they couldn’t have been into the sound for that one lead, right?), perhaps initially meant as another boss theme.
Watch the 25+ minutes of Ninja Gaiden II cutscenes here.
Listen to another selection of tracks on youtube here.