It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the 80’s Nintendo Entertainment System. I grew up as a Sega kid, owning the Sega Master System and the Genesis, but man did I love going over friend’s houses and playing the NES back in the day. One game in particular really captured my attention.
Castlevania II is largely considered by most hardcore NES gamers as the disappointing sequel to Castlevania. Unless you bought issues of Nintendo Power or called the Nintendo hotline you didn’t beat this game back in the 80’s. The puzzles were impossible to figure out and none of the “hints” that the game gave your were helpful. But that’s not what got me about that game.
The soundtrack. Oh the soundtrack! Nintendo hired serious composers for these old school games. It’s sad that a lot of people can’t get past the sound limitations of the NES, but I knew better. Those bleeps and bloops were well thought out and carefully crafted by someone who really knew what he was doing, and that someone in this case was Kinuyo Yamashita. I mean, just listen to how awesome this theme from Castlevania II is:
This is the music that got me psyched about playing the game. Years later, sometime in the 2000’s, a friend of mine gave me his old NES and I finally got to beat the game. I had to look at a walkthrough half the time so it wasn’t as enjoyable as I remembered, since I would only play it for short bursts at a friend’s house when I was a kid. I guess that preserved my memory of the game as having great graphics and a cool soundtrack, rather than a game that was maddeningly frustrating and impossible to beat without outside assistance.
I finally decided to arrange this gem from my childhood for the solo classical guitar. I’d like to think that my arrangement is unique compared to the myriad of arrangements of this piece on YouTube. I put my guitar in an exotic tuning (DGDGBbE—G minor 6 tuning!) so as to preserve the original key. And yes, I brought back the whole musical cosplay thing, just to give this video a special touch. I put together a costume that looked much like Simon Belmont, the fearless vampire hunter that you control in the game (see the above video for an image, I based my costume on the box art for the original game).
So here it is, my arrangement:
But wait! There’s more! Would you like to try your hand at playing my arrangement? Well, if you have some experience with fingerpicking/classical guitar then you’re welcome to try! Just remember to put you guitar in the weird tuning I used (again, DGDGBbE, low to high) and you’re on your way!