ReMix:Ninja Gaiden "Death of a Legend" 3:35

By Russell Cox

Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo , 1988, NES), music by Keiji Yamagishi, Ryuichi Nitta

Posted 2002-12-05, evaluated by djpretzel

Ninja Gaiden . . . orchestral? Sure, it had a slower, pensive theme, so why not? Though Tecmo's classic ninja platformer may conjure up sonic images of rushing, upbeat NES chiptunes to most, Russell's focused on the more intimate side of NG with this arranged, reticent piece. Though I *really* am not sure about the transition at 1'31" (somebody set up us the keychange!), all the other pieces of the puzzle are here and, in typical trptcox fashion, evocative and lush. There's a beutiful solo towards the end, over lyrical harp runs, and the whole enchilada ends with a bassoon solo takin' it out - quite effective. But some of the transitions, in particular two of the three keychanges, do feel a little forced and/or rushed, which isn't usual in Russell's work. It's a testament to his abilities that the piece is still so enjoyable and a strong ReMix, and I still recommend it without hesitation. It's less fluid and a little less coherent than some of Mr. Cox's other thematic interpretations, but still a great orchestral piece in and of itself. It also brings something new to the Ninja Gaiden ReMixes we've seen thus far, exploring the unexpected (at least for me) more sedate side of the game's OST. I didn't really recall this melody from the game, but looking back it's pretty strong and definitely deserved some attention. RC's given it that attention with a good ReMix that, while a little shy of his own high benchmark, is a worthwhile download nonetheless.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2016-02-18 18:21:15

Ahh, it makes me cry. ;-;

on 2009-12-04 15:05:49

Nice melancholy melody, and a well-supported arrangement of it. Some of the articulations had weak attacks, and the first keychange wasn't really smooth, but I thought the track was really nice otherwise; samples were decent, and the balance and production were good. It really does have a great melody, and the drama is super ramped up.

on 2009-05-31 23:57:10

This mix has so much emotion to it. A wonderful mix to a great game.

on 2009-05-31 06:26:20

Awesomely emotive. I love a mix that can tell a story without stating a thing. There's a sense of grief, tragedy, hope and the inheritance of power brought to life through the very fine orchestration.

Yeah, it gets pretty manipulative with the constant upping of key, but it does progress the narrative of the piece. If the track were extended to a full movement, things might sound much more seamless.

The beautiful section at 2:44 with the harp proves that the theme doesn't need the big sweeping key changes to be touching and effective. But as I stated, things are gained as well as lost from them.

I love this mix. It's one of the few that really put me in a creative and interested mood, which is something I cheish very much.

on 2008-04-02 01:46:13

this remix is awesome, especially at the 1:30 and 2:00 marks. great orchestral work. i never even had this game but found a video on youtube of its ending and loved the music. also im makin a music video with a techno remix of the NES version of the song, which is almost done - thats what brought me to this site. your version gave me some great ideas!

on 2005-08-22 20:48:48

This remix is so beautiful, and I don't understand what's the problem with the key changes. To me they sound perfectly natural, and serve to give the piece a more dramatic feel. The one at 1:31 sort of "wakes you up" after a rather dreamy section, and the one at 1:57 indicates some action is going to take place.

Of course, changing key can seem a rather "lazy" way to make transitions between different parts of a piece, but in cases where it's executed with such skill as in this song I don't see why it should be a problem.

Mahjong No OujiSama Yoshi
on 2003-11-18 13:11:54

This is a song where Ryu Hayabusa's (The main character of Ninja Gaiden) father dies! This is a very good remix, and when the world's only dragon dies, I, "Video Game Master" dies, play this in my memory!

on 2003-10-03 11:54:07

This is a Truly amazing piece.

It is one of my favorites, I send it to all my friends.

I know this is morbid, but it would be my song for my funeral.

Keep up the Teriffic work!!

on 2003-04-19 01:20:30

Wow. Just... wow. That's all I can say. I was madly obsessed with this game when I was 10, and this remix does complete justice to it-- not only to the music, which was brilliant for an 8-bit game, but to the cinematic quality and drama of it, however much it might pale in comparison with today's games. This is the kind of music Tecmo should have had if they had the foresight to make NG into a proper franchise (what the heck were they thinking, not doing it??). I'm listening to it again, and it still amazes me.

on 2003-04-15 09:13:23

I am not a musician, so my ''review'' might be hilarious to those trained in music theory. However, I loved this track, and I wanted to add my 0.02 euros.

I have a strange fetish, and tracks/songs with the words ''Death'' or ''Funeral'' etc. in their title always prompt me to download them. And I wasn't disappointed. Very good emotional track, and the synths (I guess they are synths) emulate pretty well an orchestra (well, better than some neoclassical rock bands that use synths anyway).

Oh, and it reminded me very much of the love theme from Attack of the Clones (Star Wars Episode II), aka Across the Stars.

on 2003-04-01 12:09:42

Great remix!

I like the key changes... forced or not, it's different and stands out among the crowd. Although Russell would probably cringe or laugh at the thought, the transitions made me think Days of Our Lives or some other daytime soap.

Melodramatic is the perfect adjective for this track, and once again Russell has a fantastic sound.

Great mix Russell! I'm glad you not only remixed your remix from vgmix, but you put in those transitions. The original was dramatic and full of real feeling (and rather awesome), but this one stands out, and in my opinion it's a breath of fresh air.


Oh yea... having watched Romeo Juliet recently with my girlfriend, it definitely sounds like the original composer borrowed for this track.

Jimmy the Lip
on 2002-12-20 18:53:40

Russel Cox is, quite simply put, probably my favorite ReMixer on OverClocked ReMix. I was raised on orchestral music, mainly classical, and have harboured a love for orchestral works in general ever since. And so when I discovered this fellow's work, I immediately fell in love with it and hold his ReMixing abilities over any other that puts forth their work on this site.

Though I have never played the game Ninja Gaiden, it does not take the experience of a thing such as a game or a film to enjoy the themes from said game or film. "Death of a Legend", Mr. Cox's take on a theme from Ninja Gaiden, starts off with either a clarinet or an oboe (I really never can tell) with string backup until the strings break in and play the theme for maybe half a minute. The tone of the song changes then, and the oboe/claranet reenters in a higher key along with the strings. After the end of this section begins a section in which there is a much more film-like quality to the piece with brass backup and a bass drum providing a beat. This section ends and leads into some low key strings and then a lone flute with a harp in the background. "Death of a Legend" combines sadness and a sort of resolute determination and just a touch of triumph, if a musical arrangement can be described in such terms: a very emotional piece. It sounds like it could be part of a soundtrack to a film and, from personal experience, I know that it would make and makes smashing background music while reading (and good background music, in my opinion, is required for the full enjoyment of a good book). Since I first wrote this I have used it as background for the Lord of the Rings during the trek to Mordor, and it fits perfectly: sad, depressing, hopeless, and yet the tiniest glimmer of good on the horizon, a shaft of sunlight peeking through the clouds. (I'm a hopeless Tolkien nut; so sue me.) As with all of Mr. Cox's arrangements, this is a first-class ReMix and is worthy of downloading by all means.

on 2002-12-13 06:59:37

Sounds like it belongs on the Kenshin OVA; this is great orchestral work. Strongly evokes emotion, somber yet stirring. Like the death of a Legend. Good Stuff!

on 2002-12-11 05:22:50

Nice to see it was actually different than the one at vgmix.

And someone said it sounded like Romeo Juliet. Yes, it is very similar, as I said before and was ignored, and I wonder if the original composer just borrowed the tune.

One thing that kind of bothered me was how one of the notes was kind of changed... the first three notes of the song (I thought) weren't the same length, (not all quarters or whatnot), but rather a quarter, a quarter-and-a-half, and then an eigth. It definitely made the song, but perhaps it was Russell's intention to take it out for a more orchestral piece; the notes I suggested might be better suited to a sort of slow rock, which the original does do.

And one question about certain string samples: Is it always appropriate for sequential notes (the kind played more rapidly) to have a volume swell from the start? To me, it just sounds a bit off.

Other than that, I think this was a decent mix, although I was hoping for something more from Russell.

Scotty B.
on 2002-12-09 16:04:58

I loved this remix, but I tend to agree with DJPretzel about the key change at 1'31". It kinda broadsided me. The other key changes were led into nicely. Overall I really dug this remix. This is almost exactly how I would envision a modern remake to sound like. Kudos!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo , 1988, NES)
Music by Keiji Yamagishi,Ryuichi Nitta

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