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Gario

OCR03604 - *YES* Ninja Gaiden "The Cost of Vengeance"

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EDIT (08/16): New update, with changes based on our comments.

Dear OCremix,

My name is Vijay van der Weijden, I remixed/covered music from ninja gaiden for the NES and I thought I'd try to get it submitted on OCremix since you're kind of the main autorities on game remixes etc. 

Contact Information

Vijay van der Weijden (my real name as my "remixer namer" will suffice I think)

Submission Information

As I mentioned I've remixed "Ninja gaiden" for the NES
 
I called the arrangement "The cost of vengeance"
 
The focus of the arrangement lies on the track "A hero's end"
The outro of the arrangement is "Vow of revenge"
And at one point the strings play "Unbreakable determination" in the background.
 
I believe the additional information is already present on your site
 
Okay so Ryu is this tough, lone wolf ninja. Sure in the game he get's with Irene in the end, but I always thought that didn't really fit his character... At the beginning of the game he 'vows to revenge' his father and also get's tangled up in the plot with Jaquio and such. At the end of the game he's saved the day but he also lost his father in the act. While the people rejoice (I think it's just Irene who's physically present, but let's pretend there's at least 5 more people) Ryu isn't happy at all, he did the world a favor, but at what cost? He mourns his father's death in his own, badass way. By silently walking into the sunset. That's how I envision the ending and that gave me a sort of "western" feel. So I decided to give the music a western twist to it, to convey a different feeling on Ryu losing his father.
 
I hope I gave you all the necessary information and I hope to hear from you in three weeks!
 
Best regards, Vijay van der Weijden
 

 

 

 

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Some nice, emotive stuff here.  I was dubious about the opening minimalism with that low-fi organ, but it ended up working really well.  Those simple harmonies in the intro are really evocative.

I have one really big beef: You have some instrumentation that's playing the part of SFX (ethnic flutes and metal sounds) without consideration of the fact that they are in fact notes, and thus need to harmonize with the rest of the music.  1:51 is the most severely dissonant moment, but similar, more minor ones are peppered throughout.

Otherwise, I like this a lot.  Either nix those erroneous instruments or change them to match the harmonies and this works for me.  But they're seriously distracting and I consider them a dealbreaker as this stands.

Edit: The revision fixes this issue.  The chord at 1:51 is an odd one, but Gario assures me it's not technically discordant.  Good enough for me.

YES

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Pretty much can mirror what MindWanderer is saying, there - great idea, solid performances / sequencing, good production, poorly tuned panned flute at times. Most of the time the pan flute works in a jazzy sort of way, but at 1:50 and 2:48 it definitely sounds like it's clashing. I wouldn't quite call it a dealbreaker since it only really hurts the piece twice, but it does taint an otherwise great western arrangement.

If you change the note of the pan flute in the background of 1:50 & 2:48 to something more palatable that'd be great, but I'd take it as is, too. Nice work!

YES

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Not much to add here that hasn't already been mentioned. The trumpet sequencing is pretty good here, and brass is usually one of those uncanny valley instruments. I think they could have been brought up just a tiny bit more in the balance, but that is also a tiny nitpick that doesn't affect my decision. The weird flute notes are the biggest detractor here, and while I'm going YES here, I certainly wouldn't mind if they were fixed up before posting. Nice work!

YES

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Definitely a western vibe going on here, though not a complete commitment into that theme, as most of the adaptation is on the very soft ballad side, and that works pretty well.  The brasses are sequenced well, and I particularly enjoyed the guitar and the nice twang it had.   The flute is a nice touch and along with the guitar is what sometimes pulls the mood to western for me.

I have a couple things in mind that could've been improved, first the obvious dissonance around 1:50, which I would really like to see fixed, and also I found the initial whistle+organ section to be way too slow, I think the point would've been made just as well with a slightly higher bpm there.

I would be more than fine if this gets to the frontpage but it the off section need to be addressed.

YES

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What's going on with the clashing supporting part-writing from 1:50-1:55?

The drumwork at 1:10 felt very static, looped, and metronome-y, and basically droned on with little variation for the rest of the track. I thought the brass articulations starting at 1:06 were pretty flat and unrealistic, so I didn't agree with the other Js at all there. Unlike the whistling right before it, the trumpet had near the same intensity for each note (but at least had a stylized sound that did mitigate the realism issue some).

Organ/keyboard & acoustic guitar comping from 2:25-3:31 was a good change of pace and some creative writing that combined well with the main source tune, but the drumwork kept lazily looping and was more exposed as not quite sounding realistic.

Arrangement-wise, this was pretty creative, Vijay, but I thought this could have used more humanization for the integral brass lead as well as more creativity/subtle variation with the percussion. Fix those clashing issues caused by the SFX as well.

NO (resubmit)

EDIT (8/17): I'm still a NO on the revised version due to the drum tone sounding unrealistic, as well as the brass articulations (despite the brass sounding stylized like I mentioned last time). That said, the clashing from 1:50-1:55 was gone, and I'm a fan of the arrangement, so I wish I could say the same for the production. Sorry I can't be on board myself, but provided it passes, it would still be a fine addition here.

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Alright, we got an update on this, so anyone who was a NO or conditional should give this another look. I gave this a YES before, so it's only a stronger YES for me.

His message:

Dear Judges,

 
 
 
I want to thank you for the substantive feedback, it's very clear en specific!
 
 
As Gario pointed out, I intended that background flute to play some jazz-like harmonies, but I guess it didn't work out too well. I've changed almost every part of the flute to something more acceptable (I hope). Nearly every note should be in harmony with the original scale of the piece now, but I kept the imperfect pitches so it will still sound human. 
 
I'm happy to read that some of you agree with the trumpet parts. It's been a long process to get it sounding like that, and not spending 140 euro's on a higher quality vst. I really wanted to meet Liontamer's criticism more here, but due to all the effects and edits on the trumpet it has become... "unstable". Even something simple as changing the velocity of a note is very delicate work now and I reckon has a high chance of impacting the piece in a negative way, so I picked the safest option here and let the part be. With the exception of boosting mid-high frequencies by 3 Db to make it sound just a teensy bit fresher.
 
I've tried to speed up the intro some as DragonAvenger would've liked, but it killed the intended mood for me and I think that would be a shame, so I'm sorry for not making that change, DragonAvenger.
 
And lastly, I've given the drums more variation and made them play some differing rhythms now and then to hopefully break up that metronome-like feeling. I also considered to change the whole set for a more realistic-sounding one as I obtained better drum libraries since I submitted this piece. In the end I decided not to do this since you've asked me for a *quick* fix and I presume you don't want me to alter the music too much as, from what I can gather, the track is very close to sufficing. Wandering too far from the original seems like a risky move.
 
 
I hope you'll agree with the changes that I made (and didn't make) and that you'll give this track a YES. Even if it doesn't make it through, I'll be sure to send you some more game remixes in the future that I hope you'll like!:)
 
 
 
Yours sincerely, Vijay van der Weijden

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This is a super creative arrangement, I give full credit for how interesting and unique this Western-style track is.  The ideas and the writing are all terrific, although I agree that the dissonant flutes are a bit distracting, but even so they add interest.  Ultimately though, when I ask myself "can I imagine this being posted on OCR" my answer is no.  The brass and strings just sound too fake to me.  Larry says they sound like they could be stylized and I get that, but to me, the track sounds like it is trying to be an organic arrangement, and with those elements as exposed as they are, it just doesn't get the job done.  I'm sorry to come down on this so hard, since the arrangement gets an A+ for creativity.

NO

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Vote based on revised version. Things start off pretty sparse at the start, with a heavy distorted organ and whistling to open things up. I feel this portion goes for slightly too long, thankfully things move forward just after this feeling sets in. In this next section, the brass on the left channel feels unbalanced with what's happening on the right, where the strings have a lot more low end to them, the brass is definitely the weakest sound here. The organ in the next section has some nice articulations, as does the guitar after this. The drums do plod along through the majority of the track, and don't offer much in the way of variation, although I don't think additional activity here would add a great deal. Sections do transition well, with no collection of instruments running too long before another comes in replacing something. This is a good way to keep the arrangement exciting and fresh. At 3:30 where the song begins to close out, there is not much happening in the way of activity in the right channel, which made things feel off balance again. This would be ok if it was for a short time but it goes for almost a minute like this. The flute was a great addition to the final closing. Mixing had some issues with clarity in some sections, but seemed passable for the most part.

I felt the mix was ok overall, but the balancing on the L/R channels did bother me somewhat, as did the brass which when compared to the other parts sounded less realistic. I am not quite sure how balance would be achieved here, as the instruments involved are fundamentally different. I don't think this complaint is enough to warrant a NO from me however (considering the amount of YES's here already), but if this does get sent back for some work, I would like to see an attempt to fix this.

YES

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