I never did beat Secret of Mana when I played it some years ago (I got about half way through, and got busy with other things and kind of forgot about it, but it is a GREAT game), but I am very familiar with Meridian Dance. A long while back, a friend of mine was showing me a bunch of good VGM battle songs, and this was one of the ones that stuck with me.
This is seriously one of the most technically complex VGM songs I have done so far.
For starters, the fast parts (the intro, and that fancy sounding part at 0:48-0:59) were not intended to be played on a guitar. The fingering positions are kind of awkward, so it took a fair bit of practice to get them down. Secondly, there are some parts in the original where multiple instruments are doing different lines, and some of them clashed so badly when I was mixing, despite trying multiple approaches and tactics, that I just dropped a couple of them completely.
The most fun part, and one of the most important parts to me, was the bass line. As you may already be aware, I hate, hate, HATE when VGM covers (mainly the rock/metal ones) disregard the original bass line. I mean, I'm not saying you gotta play it note for note.. but atleast acknowledge it's existance, ya know. The bass line to songs like Meridian Dance is far too memorable for myself and most other people to just replace with something else that just mimics the rhythm guitar.
Rant aside, I tried both a pick bass style and slap bass style when I was recording. Slap ended up winning by far, so most of this song has slap bass with exception of a few parts (the soft interlude before the repeat, fancy part, etc). I was really happy with how it turned out.
So, have you recognized 2014's change in sound yet? If you've been reading my song descriptions here, you may know I tend to change my sound around the beginning of each year. This years focus is on improving my mixing. I've been doing a lot of research on how to improve in this department, and with this song I spent a TON more time on mixing than I usually do. So far I believe it's paying off because I've been listening to some of the 2013 stuff and can already hear a lot of problems!
This song was hard as hell to put together, but after a million rough drafts and adjustments I believe it came out great. A solid start to the new year!