ReMix:Bionic Commando "Advance with Caution" 4:09

By Star Salzman

Arranging the music of one song...

"Bionic Commando Theme"

Primary Game: Bionic Commando (Capcom , 1988, NES), music by Harumi Fujita, Junko Tamiya

Posted 2005-01-20, evaluated by djpretzel

This classic theme from Bionic Commando really needed an orchestral makeover - while the 100th mix posted here was my own (dated) electronica take on the immediately recognizable melody, it's more than flexible enough to be variously reinterpreted, and orchestral is perhaps a more natural setting in which to do so. Star's taken a breather from his own electronica leanings of late to give us this arrangement, which begins with an appropriate military snare shuffle, timpani, and some cool metallic chromatic percussion, then moves into a melodic, cinematic build before bringin' on the core theme at 0'29", covered by brass. Nitpick, but the string and percussion samples sound a notch above the brass being used, so there's a bit of a disparity when it's first given the spotlight, or when it's particularly exposed, but like a good cologne, the arrangement masks any real umbrage this might cause. There's an abundance of counterpoint and supporting parts added, the additional percussion is excellent and fitting, and portions like 2'36" give the action-hero style of the original a more serious, dramatic flair with flowing, legato ensemble strings and embellishment. Love the relapse into the introductory percussive riff and swells towards the end, and the cliffhanger ending as well - stylized in a good way, and effective. Star might not have been the first name to jump into my mind if I heard someone was doing an orchestral arrangement of this piece, but as it turns out - perhaps unsurprisingly given his consistently impressive track record - he's just the man for the job. Capcom never did fully realize the sequel potential of this game, but hearing its classic score rejuvenated and interpreted into a dynamic symphonic march is the next best thing. As the nice work guy intuitively says: "Nice Work".



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2015-12-26 00:58:37

Love the intense percussion. Fun orchestral mix with a good atmosphere.

on 2014-11-09 02:58:03

Really good orchestration, I notably love the 2nd section. Some ressemblance with Starship Troopers OST with the heroic side of the track.

Great Job :)

on 2014-03-07 19:05:47

I rather like the playful percussion. Great job man.

on 2009-05-04 12:19:29

Nice use of tuned percussion; it really gave this mix a unique feel. Lots of snare as well. I wish the main theme was used a little more prominently, but the mix overall captures a lot of excitement of the original.

Maybe a little less brass that i'd like to hear, but my personal preference doesn't change the fact that this is a really good mix.

on 2009-01-30 03:45:25

This is a favorite of mine, to say the least. I've done countless speed runs of X-com - UFO defense to this song (and only this song!), and I still can't get tired of it.


on 2009-01-29 19:12:20

Salzman is insane, but in a good way. Nothing says awesome quite like a total reinterpretation of a source track. I did find this a bit repetitive and somewhat strung-out, but overall it's a great piece.

on 2008-12-29 19:47:57

I thought I'd revisit this mix seeings as Capcom is revisiting Bionic Commando (and a slew of other franchises) of late with remakes and sequel/reboots.

I love Salzman's bombastic approach here and the old-school military march sound that really keeps a building energy as it proceeds. High production all round, but then, I'm even a fan of djpretzel's Bionic Commando mix, which has had its production disheveled by time. This is big, badass and bold, and a personal favourite from the site.

By the way, did I hear a blatant cue reference to John Williams' Duel of the Fates in there?

on 2008-12-09 00:35:21

there aren't more reviews of this. I suppose that it's too old of a game. well, this is an awesome source tune, and Star Salzman made it even better with this great orchestration. Amazing

Streets of Rage bum
on 2008-08-12 20:58:30

How much more heroic can u get? Just like DJP says, Bionic Commando really didn't get it's chance in the spotlight, although the old Gameboy sequel was an awesome addition. Anyways, I loved this mix, it totally conveys the adventure and military style that the game was all about. Great great stuff! Thanks for bringing back some great memories!

on 2007-02-10 20:15:57

There's pretty much nothing about this that isn't amazing. Perfect. One of my top 10.

L. Adam Bell
on 2006-04-15 20:13:06

Bionic Commando!!! Yes. Just yes. If you've played BC, then you know why. If you haven't, you need to. Bionic Commando is one of the great platforming pioneers, and it deserves more recognition than it gets in today's gaming climes. Mr. Salzman's taken on quite a project here, as the music to BC is definitely a thing of beauty.


0:00 - Nice military-style drum opening.

0:22 - Main melody. The tone of it here comes out sounding very Metal Gear Solid-esque, very cinematic.

1:14 - Nice staccato (I think that's the right term) on the drums--comes out almost like the ending to an action movie.

1:52 - Back with the drums. Now it sounds rather like a James Bond theme.

2:36 - A temporary pull-back from all the military sound to give you room to breathe.

2:50 - Back to the military drums.

3:20 - Another pull-back.

3:37 - And back to the military drums for our ending.

I don't have to tell you Star's work is consistently impressive, and this mix is certainly no exception. If you're of a mood to feel like you've just shot down the bad guy's helicopter in some big-budget action movie, this is for you. However, as much as I love Bionic Commando and Star's stuff, the loud, bombastic nature of it really isn't my thing. On an artsy level, it rocks, but personally...meh.

My iTunes rating: ***/*****

on 2005-10-02 15:41:53

Star is really quite amazing when it comes to his classical concoctions. I really can't complain about this one. The epic nature of the brass and drum track really emphasize the militarisitic nature of the game. Definately worth loadin' into the iPod.

on 2005-10-01 19:12:08

Excellent work. I absolutely loved this mix. Made me remember the game, while making the track entirely unique. Nice work.

One of the things I liked most about this track was that, whether intentional or not, it was orchestral without being photorealistic orchestral. Therefore, it kept some of Star's trademark electronic style even while going into the orchestra to produce kind of a Final Fantasy 7-ish electro-orchestra sound.

Loved it.

on 2005-04-18 23:22:16

You know, the one thing I really love about this remix is it does everything a remix is supposed to do IMHO. It nails the original dead on so there's no mistaking it, and then it runs with the original tune into a direction completely of its own, playing off of the original, while still being different.


on 2005-04-03 00:35:53

Definitely a nicely done remix. Definitely one to enjoy. I couldn't even remember what the original sounded like from so many years back, but this brings it all back to me.

I think my gripe is the same as DJP's. Apparently he identified the over-synthesized buzz sound as "brass", I would definitely second a version with a nicer sound for that as it doesn't fit at all with the other instruments used. In fact it's so obviously out of place, I can only assume that Star meant to do that to remind us how 8-bit this stuff sounded back on the NES.

You know that equalizer thing that Winamp and some higher end stereos have where you can make the music sound like it's in different environments (e.g. music hall, outdoor, small room, etc.)? I can definitely tell it has one of those applied, and it's kinda neat since it sets this piece apart from most all the music posted which sounds very direct. But on the other hand it seemed a bit much. Not sure how much control Star has on this, but I'd keep a little of that effect, but tone it down some.

Oh, and go listen to DJP's remix of this same song. I'm not sure "reinterpretation" expresses the degree of difference in quality of the two pieces. :D

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Bionic Commando (Capcom , 1988, NES)
Music by Harumi Fujita,Junko Tamiya
"Bionic Commando Theme"

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