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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Song of the Week! 24 December 2016

For this year's Christmas Eve, we're anticipating the festive mood by talking about a certain popular videogame who is celebrating its birthday today!

We're nearing Christmas too, so we won't be stingy Scrooges and have an additional song feature, too ;)

 Dr.WILY STAGE 1 Rockman 2: Mystery of Dr. Wily
Allx4 (150)x6 (237)x7 (388)x8 (609)
 Taiko 0 R, Taiko PS Vita

That's right, December 24th is the release date of one of the most beloved NES titles from Capcom by retrogamers! Despite its Nintendo roots, however, its musical debut in Taiko gaming happened on Ps Vita's V Version, as part of its post-launch DLC promo campaign, with Red Version following suit a few months later with its launch tracklist.

As an overall background to the Mega Man series (known as Rockman (ロックマン) in Japan), the story starts in the futuristic year of 200X, where mankind's everyday life and errands are assisted by a wide selection of robots created by robot designer genius Dr. Thomas Light. One day, however, all of the world's robots started attacking the population all of a sudden, with the support of six of Light's "Robot Masters" a more advanced variety of humanoid-looking automatons. Soon enough, Light realized that the culprit behind the robot's loss of control was his old scientist rival Dr. Albert W. Wily, who took over the control of all of Light's robots (with the exception of the child-looking Rock and Roll) to take over the world, in a spike of jealousy towards Light's fame against his un-credited scientifical successes. Filled with a sense of justice, the robot Rock asked Dr. Light to be converted into a fighting robot to repel the robot rebellion and thus the iconic Rock Man was born, armed with an arm cannon (despite what the hilarious NA cover for Mega Man 2 tells us) and the ability to acquire new special attacks from every Robot Master he defeats in battle. The first-release Western backstory for the Mega Man series had some distinctive changes from the original one with elements like Light and Wily collaborating together to create the first wave of Robot Masters, but later on the Japanese background became the true canon later on.

After the first game in the series, all the future installments's backstory and structure remained the same, with Dr. Wily coming back from his former defeats with 8 new Robot Masters and a new plan to take over the world while hiding himself in a newly-made fortress and/or blaming the incident to other individuals. This peculiar tradition's repetition wouldn't have come to fruition without the Earth-shaking success of the original Mega Man's first sequel, known in Japan as Rockman 2: Dr. Wily no Nazo (ロックマン2 Dr.ワイリーの謎, lit. 'Rockman 2: Mystery of Dr. Wily'). Building up from the original game's mechanics, Mega Man 2 is an action-platformer game where players fight their way through 8 main stages in order to face off against Wily's newly-assembled line of Robot Masters; once that every Master been destroyed, the location of Dr. Wily's fortress is revealed and Mega Man has to take advantage of all the special moves learned in a selection-fixed sequence of levels before fighting the evil scientist behind the scheme.

The development for this game made use of some of the assets and gameplay-related elements that couldn't be added to the original game due to former cartridge space limitation and required 20-hours shifts in order to make it to the pre-Christmas window of 1988 (the year after the original Rockman's JP release), but it ultimately paid off big times for both fans and critics, bringing home the Rockman/Mega Man series's biggest-selling retail title with more than 1.5 million copies sold. Much like the other classic games of the series, Rockman 2 got ports for different platforms, including mobile and iOS ports between the years 2007-2009, the 1994 1-to-3 pseudo-sequel compilation for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Rockman Mega World (ロックマン メガワール; known as Mega Man: The Wily Wars for the Western releases) and a 1999 enhanced remake for the PlayStation that was part of the Japan-exclusive Rockman Complete Works series, which later on became the base for the creation of the NA-exclusive Mega Man Anniversary Collection for PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube.

Diverging from the original Rockman's music direction by Manami 'Manami Ieitel' Matsumae (松前 真奈美) (who still contributed for selected tracks's creaton of Rockman 2), the sequel's soundtrack was made by former Capcom employee Takashi 'Ogeretsu Kun' Tateishi (立石孝), of which we can get a piece of Taiko action with this Rockman/Mega Man 2 medley. Despite the track being titled DR. WILY STAGE 1, in fact, the name giver -while being the main part of the medley- is sandwiched between a couple of iconic track pieces from the game: the Stage Select BGM (which, for the record, is not heard in the game before playing the DR. WILY stages) and the 'Unit Lost' sound effect, created by Yoshihiro 'Yuukichan's Papa' Sakaguchi (坂口由洋), the series's SE designer. As the game's soundtrack in general got a wide recognition among the years, Rockman/Mega Man 2's music has been a prized subject for tributes and remixes, with one of the Capcom-spawned ones about the DR. WILY STAGE 1 theme -ROCK-MEN's 'OMEGAMAN REMIX'- becoming a playable song in the crossbeats REV. arcade series later on (link).

The Blue Bomber's Taiko debut is handled by none other that current Taiko Team lead Etou, who crafted a 1/24 notechart set populated by lots of consecutive small cluster sections and a quite nasty track-ending stunt... Watch out for that final giant Don note!

 Reitouko CJ ~Amen Taiko Brothers~ (冷凍庫CJ ~嗚呼面太鼓ブラザーズ~) DJKurara
Allx5 (264)x7 (339)x8 (451)x10 (787)
 Taiko 0 W, Taiko 3DS 3, Taiko +

'Tis the season to be sharing, they say... and so, here's another song feature for today! Sehun Joo's request takes us to one of the latest CreoFUGA contest's most infamous full-difficulty new additions for all modes. Bone-chillingly high BPM scaredy cats beware!

This was one of the two winners of the World Championships 2016 which has been chosen by 2000 song series creator Linda AI-CUE... and rightfully so, considering that this speedcore piece of music is mainly made of random audio cues from the AI-CUE himself! From the starting line that can be translated with "Hello everyone! I've kept you waiting. It's been a while since Norudon 2000..." to all the pitch-altered fragments that are played in the song, all of the voice audio clips from Akihiko Ishikawa (石川哲彦) were taken from his former appearances in Taiko Team livestreams between the UStream period and the current NicoVideo one. By admission of the song's creator in the contest entry comments, Reitouko CJ ~Amen Taiko Brothers~ was made in a style that makes it similar to someone else's work, with Linda AI-CUE's reaction in his comments for the winning picks to be starting feeling funny for the increasing number of people trying to follow his footsteps for the creation of Taiko no Tatsujin songs! He was also pleased with the polite sound quality feel that the track gave him.

Speaking of the song's creator, we're facing a newcomer label-holder yet again! Coming from Tokyo, Japan, the nick-named DKJurara (also known as DJCulala) is an independent composer whose music production is focused on everything related to the *core trax genre grouping (Hardcore, Speedcore, Frenchcore, ...). With his music skills being awoken by his own appreciation of the music coming from the Bemani families of rhythm games, he's also the owner of the Sadistik Noize Asylum and Radio Active Hardcore labels, as well as the co-owner of the Western audience-oriented KyokudoCore Records together with Czech Republic composer Kurwastyle Project. While nothing much else is known about DJKurara himself, it's possible to have a taste of his musical production through it many music-sharing and social feeds profiles, whose links are all accessible to the artists profile page of the Radio Active Hardcore website (link).

Coming back to Reitouko CJ ~Amen Taiko Brothers~ for another bit of trivia, this has been another CreoFUGA-spawn contest winner whose title has been altered for its inclusion into Taiko gaming, with this song's alterations being requested beforehand by its creator himself rather than the Taiko Team's demands or other unknown reasons. The song's original title was the same as the full version, only with the 'Amen' part of the title being spelled as "アーメン" inside an inverted commas quotation; this spelling was changed by DJKurara himself as the song itself didn't have the 'Amen' element at all in its course, as he stated in a tweet (link). Unlike former song fixes, the original CreoFUGA entry was also fixed with this title correction instead of leaving the original title like for former CF-spawn Namco Original tracks.

Under the same insanely-high BPM value of such Taiko classics as Saitama 2000 and the Swan Lake ~still a duckling~ vocal arrangement lies a brutally-aggressive 10-star Oni whose relatively-modest running time among other songs of this difficulty tier makes it with a relentless barrage of note clusters of every kind and shape, up to drain the hopes of all the people who are not accustomed with high base BPM songs yet. By admission of its notecharts's creator Yamaguchi (ヤマグチ), the charting process went into a long trial-and-error work due to the song's high energy and Yamaguchi himself being weirded out by hearing random Linda AI-CUE audio cuts more than once during the process. Apparently it paid off quite a bit, as the finished work became one of the charter's favorite charts in Taiko gaming in general for his Go-Go Time section!


  1. This writing is sooo good. I could stay on this blog forever if I had time ㅠㅠ