Unofficial piano nocturne – themes from Streets of Rage or Street Fighter on the piano

A while ago I grabbed the piece of awesome that is Sega Piano Nocturne – as the world’s worst piano player despite loving the instrument dearly, I absolutely loved hearing a lot of my favourite Sega tracks rolled into the piano and bring out some really interesting melodies from some great tunes. I think there should be more piano renditions of classic chiptunes and game themes, I absolute love a good arranged version of a classic song from a game. Because I’m a tragic nerd 😀

Anywho, after checking out some footage of Yuzo Koshiro doing his thing in a Tokyo night club, I did the usual click-click-click-click YouTube thing you normally do to see what other Streets of Rage stuff was on there, and I stumbled across the following – it’s from the third stage in Streets of Rage 2:

Awesome, huh? The same user (Yuzoboy) has an upload playing the ending theme to Streets of Rage 2 which was really cool… but again, YouTube/Web2.0 strikes again, and I found the following interpretation of the ending theme from Streets of Rage 2:

This one’s from mymorningjackets, and is an amazing, bittersweet piece of awesome, lead by piano with a bit of classical guitar thrown in for good measure. There are also a couple of other great interpretations in his list, so might have to come back to him in a later post after I’ve had a chance to check out his blog.

So, with all things “street” on my mind, I started seeing results for Street Fighter 2 gear on the piano! Here are a handful of videos I found that I thought were worth a look into!

First up we have Ken’s theme from SF2 – this one’s a pretty “standard” interpretation of the song without too much embellishment, but you know what? It’s still played beautifully and with more skill than I can ever dream of having when I sit down at my piano 😀 Plus, given how awesome Ken is (yes, I’m a Ken scrub!), it’s all good 🙂

The day my mate McAdam and I accidentally unlocked the vocal theme of Sakura’s song (in Japanese at that!) on the PAL version of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo on the Saturn was a glorious day, because she has such an amazing theme song (I got goosebumps playing through Sakura’s story in SF4 with her theme recurring throughout!), and this one’s a great version of her theme. Nothing’s embellished, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Remember, Sakura is awesome. Very important fact.

If Ryu’s theme doesn’t go down in the history of awesome of chiptunage, there’s something wrong with the world. If need be we can get rid of Sephiroth’s theme, as that’s starting to annoy me, but that’s because I’m an irrational fan of Phantasy Star and have yet to play through a Final Fantasy game based purely on principle. The exception to this is Final Fantasy III on the DS, which I really enjoyed (thanks Hamez!), and Final Fantasy IX always looked fun, as did FFVI. Anywho, enough of that – Rastapulse is responsible for the above, and I’ll be referencing him again too, as his interpretation of Ryu’s theme is brilliant. There’s a deliberate slowing of the tempo and some great phrasing in there – very expressive, and the little intro/outro he’s added is cool!

Fun fact – I used the melody of Cammy’s theme in an early megamix I made when I was first learning how to program stuff in a MIDI-sequencer. It was actually completely rubbish, but good fun at the time. MIDI sequencing programs confuse me now, I was quite happy with Evolution MIDI back in the day, it was choice. Now, if I was able to program something akin to the above on the aforementioned program, I would have been much more proud of myself. Akin to the Ryu theme that Rastapulse was responsible for above, this one’s slowed the tempo and emphasised the melody really nicely – again, great phrasing and execution. I haven’t checked out the rest of the material in his YouTube channel yet, so might have to get onto that later.

Last one – Guile’s theme, and I left this until last as it has elements from each of the styles I’ve linked to, with some of it emphasising 1:1 phrasing compared to the original with lotsa piano-passion, and then there are other moments where the melody’s been played around with a bit of artistic license and takes on the languishing character of the themes Rastapulse did above with just the right amount of melodrama to make things interesting.

Finishing Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition on my Astro City!

I was doing some stuff on the PC I have setup in the back room yesterday, and since it was pretty mundane and took a while, I thought I’d have a crack at playing something on my Sega Astro City cab between processing tasks. Since Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition was in there, I thought I might as well give it a crack, and ended up finishing it! I’ve never done that on an arcade version of the game before (probably because I always ran out of credits or I was too busy playing vs another person), so it was pretty cool 🙂 I mean, the ending was pretty lame, but in a fun kind of way (if that makes sense!).

Funnily enough, I didn’t have much in the way of problems in beating the four bosses (Bison excepted – took a few goes to get that one), but got stuck on Honda and… possibly Guile. I’m hardly the world’s best player at the game, but I’m not too shabby either – with Honda, I couldn’t jump in to attack because he always got me with his standing fierce chopping strike thingo and was having trouble mixing up distances to avoid a few basic traps, and while I got close to beating Guile, always seemed to loose it towards the end.

So I cheated by queuing up the problem characters as player 2, beat them, then continued in single player mode – after you beat the character as 2P, you don’t have to beat them in the actual game itself. That’s a handy hint I remember from when I used to play it at the arcades, though I was normally so cheap I wouldn’t pay for someone else, just hoped that another player would drop by and pick a character I had trouble beating 😉

Anywho, enjoy the shaky cam photos below – I was trying to snap photos as fast as possible without dying or missing anything, hence the wonky shots of the ending dialogue… though to be honest, I don’t think there’s too much there worth writing home about 😉

Oh, and I reckon I need to pick up a fresh spring for the Sanwa stick on player 2 on the Astro City, it’s feeling a bit too loose and isn’t as tight as P1’s. The clips for the P2 start button are also wonky, so I might need to grab some fresh quick-connects and rewire them. I have to get some proper Sanwa-standard quick-connects for the extra Neo Geo wiring on my JAMMA harness anyways (I’m using some generic quick-connects on them at the moment, and they often come off in-game :P), so it might be convenient to grab a handful of those, some fresh springs and snag a new PSU and degausing wand at the same time if budget alows for it. Will add it to the “to-get” list 😀

In the meantime, enjoy the pics and commentary!