There comes a time when you know that a composer is "one of your own kind" — maybe it was the picture of Bear's collection of Mega Man labeled hard drives, I can't say for sure. But it is clear that Bear has a love of 8-bit sound that carries more than just a simple devotion to his old console. The amount of time it takes to meticulously recreate all of the Mega Man sound samples for use on a licensed Capcom title is enough to make some people's heads spin! Luckily he had a little bit of help with that process, and the results are spectacular.
Dark Void Zero's short soundtrack is the 8-bit counterpart to Dark Void's epic score. The samples McCreary incorporates into this adaptation are fresh, crisp, and warm, without any of the fuzz or distortion you could sometimes hear from old ports and emulators. Each of the tracks sound embracingly familiar (for old gamers like myself) but fresh in a way that makes me smile.
"Valley of Doom" isn't quite as ominous as one might think with a series of classic progressions, a few great lead tracks, and those classic punchy fill-ins that really defined the Mega Man sound. It fits almost as a hero's theme for the score. The "Game Over" gesture, only a few seconds long, incorporates the first few notes of his main theme but in a way that resonates with the sadness of losing at a boss fight (you know you'll be starting that level over again now, don't you?).
One of the greatest highlights, the "Dark Void Zero Cinematic" track takes a gentle back seat and lets the 8-bit graphics play out, and you can hear the classic McCreary style of orchestration in glorious 8-bit reduction! There are also two different versions of the memorable "Theme from Dark Void Zero", that flank the soundtrack release.
The 8-bit music coming from Dark Void Zero alone is worth the price of download (a mere 500 points) for anyone who grew up with classics like Mega Man 2 (arguably one of the best NES titles of all time). Overall, McCreary's use of percussion, melody and arpeggiation create a blast-from-the-past that will be a must listen for vintage gamers. The score complements the humorous and retro DS game very well too. It is great to see this kind of passion resurfacing in the game audio world once more!