Wizards & Warriors II: Ironsword
Composed by David Wise
The aim of this sequel was to make a Nintendo game that could be compared to the kind of games that the Amiga, Commodore 64, and the Atari ST were capable of, which was far more when compared to the Nintendo, especially in the late 80s. It was also meant to be a side scrolling game with role playing elements like currency, shops where you could purchase healing items or equipment, and it even has a gambling mini-game.
David Wise, who composed the previous game (his second game score ever) returned to score this game. David Wise had been a composer for Rare since 1985, meeting Rare founders Tim and Chris Stamper at his workplace, a music shop where he was promoting the Yamaha CX5 Music Computer. The Stamper brothers were impressed with his programming knowledge, and his ability to compose within the limits of the music computer, so they offered him a job at Rare. His first score was Slalom, which when working with the NES sound chip, sounded very "basic." But overtime, with help from his Rare co-workers, he learned how to push the Nintendo sound chip to the limit, composing scores like the first Wizards and Warriors game, Marble Madness, and of course, this game.
Ironsword not only pushed the graphics of the Nintendo, but also pushed the sound capabilities of the Nintendo sound chip, which would become something that Wise would be known for throughout the 90s, being able to go beyond the hardware he was working with. There were so many samples used in the game, that it would be more common for some sound samples to drop while playing the game than it would for other games at the time. But for its faults, there were some technical achievments. For example, the crescendo in the Earth Elemental battle theme. Crescendo's on Nintendo scores were almost impossible to pull off, and would not become a notable trait in NES scores until Koichi Sugiyama used crescendos in his score for Dragon Quest IV.
The IceFire Mountain piece would be one of the more unusual pieces. It would be more cheerful than the rest of the soundtrack, and it would end up being used as the main piece to end the game. It would be the piece used in the final area, the piece used in the final battle, and the piece used in the staff roll, all seamlessly, without a single fade out until you got a game over, or until the game went back to the title scren at the end of the staff roll.
The score for Ironsword would be just as technically advanced as it would be experimental. It wouldn't be David Wise's most well known score, but it would be one that helped do what Wise would become known for, not letting the limits of hardware stop him from composing how he wanted to compose.