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Sky Shark: NES, Taito, Tim Follin (reminiscent of early mega mans)


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This is a game I grew up on that apparently only four people besides myself know about (going off of the number of gamefaqs reviews). But I'm confident that my bias only somewhat colors my perception of the soundtrack: put on the nsf and it will speak for itself. If you aren't hooked within a minute of listening to the first track, then disregard; it might not be the best, but it's the most memorable. Then again, that's probably because it has seeped the deepest into my subconscious from the repeated dying and restarting, since the game is so effing hard that making it to the fourth level is a monumental achievement. In fact, my only memory surrounding track four is the adrenaline rush from the excitement and nervousness I got the few times I made it far enough in the game to actually hear that tune... I honestly attest that, even today, I have a Pavlovian jump in heart rate every time this track comes on.

Putting on my objectivity shoes... Sky Shark's soundtrack might not be great, as those of Castlevania, Contra, and Mario 3 are (or at least arguably are). But it beats a kick in the pants. I mean... it's good. Darn good for an nes soundtrack. If you don't judge on quantity, that is: it only has five tracks! But pound for pound... you get the idea.

The nearest comparison I can make is that parts of each track sound akin to those of early Mega Mans in pacing and in the sound of some of the samples. And just like the tracks from those games, these readily lend themselves to remixing in various electronic styles. Guitar rock could work as well. Of course, anything is possible. A full blown band with guitar, base, drums, and keyboard could lend some serious sickness to these tunes... just throwing that out there.

The five tracks are ordered in the nsf as one-four and six. Track five is the same as track one, and the rest are simply blurbs. Track six is the ending (I presume; I never beat the game) and is vastly different from tracks one-four (and is cheesybad imo). Track one is the only track with an introductory portion: the first 22 seconds do not repeat (and oh yes, the beat is dropped (ok perhaps technically it isn't dropped since the meter remains unbroken)). All of the tracks are rather long for their day: the shortest loop is 1:13 (on track one). The longest loop is 1:42 (on track three). So they all meander a bit more than one might expect on an nes action game, but after a couple listens I think you'll find it all makes sense. Except for track one, which is a juxtaposition of awesomeness and left field.

I think there's a lot to work with here. Plus it's nes: these tracks are begging for a sound-quality overhaul, so a large time expenditure on a radical reinterpretation isn't requisite, all that is needed is a straight-up, solid remix. Also note that, unlike many other good soundtracks with few/no remixes, such as Ys 1, there aren't any manufacturer-released remix albums to be had. So this is an all-around legit request. But if no one takes this on be warned: I will dust off my keyboard and learn my way around FL Studio and remix at least one of these tracks myself in two years (or however long it takes me to acquire some measure of skill from scratch). Not much of a threat, I know, but by Apollo I swear it isn't an idle one. Don't miss out, potential remix glory is going fast...

nsf can be found at Zophar's: http://www.zophar.net/download.php?file=nsf/skyshark.zip

Best tracks on the nsf, imo, rank-ordered: 3,4,1,2,....6

Realization upon further googling: the composer is Tim Follin. The atypically high compositional quality in an average nes game now makes sense. Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Follin

EDIT: There's a Tim Follin tribute album project in the works, so a Sky Shark remix could be submitted with that. But a remix can still be submitted on its own, and albums take a long time to complete, so the single-digit fan base would love it if a remixer would decide to undertake this now instead of keeping all in suspense as to if there will even be a Sky Shark remix in a project's distant future...

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