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Contra Music CD :: Review by Chris

Contra Music CD Album Title: Contra Music CD
Record Label: Hamster
Catalog No.: HOGC-0016
Release Date: May 25, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


In 1987, Konami released the iconic run 'n' gun title Contra for Arcades to much success. In 2006, the game was ported over to the PlayStation 2 as part of Hamster's Oretachi Game Center Zoku series. A bonus album was packaged with the game, featuring the original score for the title and an exclusive arrangement.


Opening with a brief yet memorable title fanfare, Kazuki Muraoka soon brings the goods with the first stage theme. With its punchy chord progressions and lively chiptune melodies, it definitely adheres to the light-hearted sound that Konami had developed up to that point. It's not quite as memorable as equivalents from Castlevania or Gradius, but makes up for it by capturing the heroic feel and fast pace of the game adequately. It's also considerably longer and richer than its counterpart on the NES.

There are plenty of other enjoyable compositions on the soundtrack. For example, "Maze BGM 3D" develops the sound of the first stage theme with their hard-edged chord progressions, while "Tundra BGM" is irresistible at the section from the 0:28 mark. The extensively developed "Enemy Base BGM" meanwhile shows a strong rock influence and really throw gamers into the heat of the battle. The ending theme is also a charming piece that reminds one of Gradius, though note that several shorter tracks clutter up this release.

The soundtrack concludes with a bonus remix produced by the team of SuperSweep. Here the team almost entirely focus on mixing hard rave beats with ethereal sound effects and voice samples. This is perhaps appropriate given the focus on rhythms and riffs of the original, but will disappoint those expecting something more rocking and memorable. The sampling is generally enjoyable here, but the track grows quite repetitive and lacks the exuberance of the company's earlier Castlevania remix.


Overall, the music for Contra is among the most enjoyable old-school game music out there. Kazuki Muroaka offers plenty of punchy and memorable ideas here, while making the most out of the arcade's sound source to offer substantial compositions. However, this limited release is somewhat inadequate given it omits some tracks from the full score and lacks impressive bonus content.

Overall Score: 6/10