Game music of the day: seven amazing cover bands

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

April 7, 2010

Game: Mega Man 2

Song: Flash Man

Composer: The Advantage (via Matsumae, Tateishi and Sakaguchi)

My original plan was to spread videogame cover bands across this whole week, but after realizing a lot of you are already aware of most of them, I'm cramming the remainder into this one entry. Then it's back to more regular ol' VGM from my suffocating pile of music. Oh right, The Advantage...

Ostensibly no different from theheavy metalMinibosses, The Advantage are actually a bit more loose and groovy with their videogame interpretations. Flash Man, above, has all kinds of flourishes not present in the NES original, which makes the track pleasant and refreshing even to those who've heardit a million times. They've got a ton of songs out there, though you'll have to cull YouTube and theirMySpace pageto get 'em all. I recommendMarble Madness!

Game: Chrono Trigger

Song: Frog's Theme

Composer: Select Start (via Yasunori Mitsuda)

Select Startis on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to game bands - the group favors strings and wind instruments over electric guitars and excessive percussion. That either floats your boat or it doesn't, but it's great to see them on stage at Video Games Live playing a whimsical song that feels right at home with all that orchestral flair. Expect more Chrono Trigger tracks here in the future.

Game: Final Fantasy VI, Tactics, VII

Song: Terra's Theme, Trisection, Battle

Composers: Entertainment System (via Uematsu, Sakimoto and Iwata)

If you miss the huge-ass PAX concerts every year, the next best thing happens in January -MAGFestis an annual assault of videogameshows that essentially runs for 96 consecutive hours. You can expectEntertainment Systemto be there in 2011 (if 2010 was any indication), offering a new take on established game hits.Embedded above wehave a medley of Final Fantasy staples.

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Song: Chemical Plant Zone

Composer: Mega Driver (via Takeuchi and Nakamura)

Here's an interesting mix: a Brazilian metal group that specializes in Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive) tracks. The band's playing is proficient and everything's available for free on theirwell-stocked site. If your love of VGM happens to stray towards Sega, they're a must.

Game: Metroid

Songs: Kraid's theme

Composer: Metroid Metal (via Hirokazu Tinaka)

We actually interviewed Metroid Metal back inTalkRadar 70, so if you want to hear me basically gush about how awesome this band is, you know where to go. Otherwise it's pretty clear what you're getting -shreddy versionsof Metroid tunes, ranging from the NES classic all the way to the Prime series. Great stuff.

Game: Castlevania

Song: Vampire Killer

Composer: The NESkimos (via Kinuyo Yamashita)

Sensing a trend? Yeah, there are a lot of metal-themed game bands, and yeah, they tend to cover a lot of the same material, so it's easy to pass over a few. However, there are almost always nuances to each band's delivery, and personally I enjoy theNESkimosexcessive percussion and foot pedal. Like most of the others on the list, they've been around for years so there's plenty of content to check out around the net.

Game: Final Fantasy IV

Song: Zeromus

Composer: The Black Mages, Nobuo Uematsu

You know Final Fantasy, right? And odds are you recognize some key tracks from the series, right? They're almost all composed byNobuo Uematsu, who founded his own metal/prog rockband to playharder versionsof his own tracks. It's a rare case of a videogame musician taking his show on the road -Tommy Tallaricobeing the other notable example.

Back to normal tomorrow!

Title screen by Fujita

Rolling start by Namiki and Takenobu

Stickerbrush Symphony by David Wise

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.