ReMix:WinBack: Covert Operations "S.C.A.T." 5:16

By RoeTaKa

Arranging the music of 3 songs...

"Critical Life", "Ground", "Low Life"

Primary Game: WinBack: Covert Operations (KOEI , 1999, N64), music by Kaori Nakabai, Keiji Yamagishi, Tsutomu Hirasawa

Posted 2014-12-08, evaluated by the judges panel

With this post, we've exceeded the number of ReMixes released last year, which makes this year the busiest since 2002. Of course, if OCR were a service like YouTube or SoundCloud, that number would be considerably higher, but we've always felt like those much larger sites did a pretty good job & that our approach adds value. That makes the numbers more meaningful, in my opinion, since they represent evaluation, feedback, and in many cases revisions.

Now, in case you didn't get the memo last month, RoeTaKa is BACK & has considerably upped his game. Lest you think November's excellent orchestral Castlevania ReMix was some sort of fluke, he's here again to quickly disprove that notion with our first arrangement of WinBack for the N64. Anvils, epic toms, industrial percussion, & synths are offset against symphonic work for a tightly-wound bit of suspensefully cinematic scoring. Alex writes:

"Operation WinBack was something I really looked forward to before it came out. It was riding off the success of Metal Gear Solid's release as an espionage game and was (at the time) exclusive to the N64. It hasn't held up well over time, but it was a blast to play and really influenced cover-based 3rd-person shooters.

The first thing that really hit me in the game was the first area's music. It was just so cool, simple but infectious. I played the game recently and when I heard it again, I thought I have to remix this, it needs a modern cinematic arrangement. To me, this song was WinBack's theme and I really wanted this remix to come across that way.

I get a little sad when I hear a great game tune that just doesn't have any remixes or coverage. Like Chaos Legion before, I feel like I gotta stick up for some of these games that I spent so much time with. I'm really happy with this remix for a bunch of reasons and I hope you guys like it too!"

Great stuff; even if you didn't know the game, you might still guess this was "tactical espionage" tunage - it has that feeling of militarized precision & reconnaissance without the chaos of direct, frontal combat. Alex has done a great job of modernizing the source tune & fleshing it out into something that feels, well, a lot more "HD" ;) Some of us remember the advance hype surrounding the N64, referred to as "Project Reality" at the time, and its rumored "Better Than CD Quality Audio!!" that seemed like a direct attack on its optical media-based competitors. Of course, while some fantastic music was written for the system, the sound quality never struck me as being particularly impressive, even relative to the SNES. While also interpretive in its own right, this ReMix thus has the additional benefit of addressing some of these types of shortcomings that were likely more technical in nature. Nutritious writes:

"Really liking the blend of electronic elements and orchestra. Very seamless blending of the two. Adaptation of the annoying (at least to me!) percussion from the OST was nicely handled. Arrangement is well executed with plenty of source melody utilization as well as the aforementioned percussion use. This takes a bit of a conservative approach with the melody lines, while expanding upon the background elements and creatively developing the song progression."

Brent adds:

"Definitely getting Gregson-Williams vibes. Good stuff. You've taken the minimal source and expanded it greatly. The harmonic rearrangements you've mixed in are tight. Production is well done. I like how the pressure picks up as the mix progresses. Skillful control of the track's motion. No gripes from me. Keep on trekkin!"

Ditto all that; score ANOTHER impressive, expressive ReMix from RoeTaKa, whose return could now be reasonably referred to as "triumphant." If you're the type of listener who reallllly prefers mixes from games you're familiar with, just close your eyes and pretend it's a Metal Gear Solid mix :) Should be seeing more from Alex shortly, and I'm definitely looking forward to it!



Latest 7 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2016-08-29 08:38:23

Nicely done! On the off-chance someone ever decides to make this into a movie, this track should be used as the theme. (Too bad the legal loophole Uwe Bowl used to make a bunch of money off of his crappy VG movie adaptations was finally tied off.)

Though, on the note of games with great soundtracks with no remixes, Jet Force Gemini doesn't seem to have any yet.

on 2015-12-20 04:55:34

I'll cheat and quote myself a bit from the Workshop thread: "Well, that was cool, cinematic without being plodding. I liked how "agile" it felt. Perhaps a bit long, but I really liked how the tempo increased towards the end." The blending of orchestratic and electronic elements is indeed seamless. Even with the super-impressive flood of pretty high quality Souls arrangements from him, this is easily one of my favourite RoeTaka arrangements, and if you like his other stuff, be sure to check this out even if you are not familiar with the game. Good job highlighting some less known material with a very polished and fitting tribute!

OverClocked PodCast
on 2014-12-15 01:05:15

Wow, what a transformation! A decent, repetitive N64 track becomes an epic espionage adventure. The roots are there, but everything's been expanded to dizzying extents. Awesome stuff.

Valhalla Knight
on 2014-12-12 20:22:37

I don't typically find the time to comment on ReMixes but I just had to get on here and say: Amazing. Truly. I've listened to it multiple times in the past few days and I can't get enough of it! So epic and moving! Fantastic job, RoeTaKa.

on 2014-12-12 15:11:48

This does have the feel of something that you would expect from a game in the realm of militaristic spies or stealthy wars like MGS, but hey, all the better to get a wonderful ReMix out of a game that hasn't been covered quite as much in such an enjoyable way.

on 2014-12-08 16:30:33

I kept expecting to hear the Metal Gear Solid theme/Winter Road song pop up, especially around 2:30. Would have been an awesome effect if it did, but the song is kick-ass anyway without it.

on 2014-12-08 10:05:44

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (3 Songs)

Primary Game:
WinBack: Covert Operations (KOEI , 1999, N64)
Music by Kaori Nakabai,Keiji Yamagishi,Tsutomu Hirasawa
"Critical Life"
"Low Life"

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