Video Game Music of the Week – 14-20.01.2013

For this week, I’ve chosen music from another arcade hit on the immortal Neo Geo – SNK’s Samurai Shodown. The Samurai Shodown games are among the finest fighting games ever created, and easily the best weapon-based ones. There are plenty of awesome songs in the whole series, the one I’ve chosen here is Earthquake’s theme, Ground. It’s an awesome mix of heavy metal and Japanese traditional music, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Composers: Yasuo Yamate (a.k.a Tate Norio), Masahiko Hataya (a.k.a. Papaya)
Game: Samurai Shodown
Song: Ground

Video Game Music of the Week – 07-13.01.2013

The first video game music of the week to be posted in 2013 comes from another arcade shooter – Sammy’s Viewpoint on SNK’s glorious Neo Geo. I remember the game being insanely difficult with its rather weird isometric view, I don’t think I ever made it past the first stage. On the other hand, the music was quite groovy, and thus, I’m sharing the first stage song with you.

Composers: Sizla, Masaki Kase, Megumi M.
Game: Viewpoint
Song: Not There At All

Video Game Music of the Week – 31.12.2012-06.01.2013

Thanks for your continued support and all the best wishes for 2013! – Between Life and Games

For its mere ~9 months of existence, Between Life and Games has already gained a solid readership base, with visitors’ numbers climbing steadily month-to-month. It’s been a successful year in which I’ve reviewed 19 games and done several lists, comments and other articles. Of course, it also marked 35 continuous weeks of Video Game Music of the Week, the feature which happened to coincide with the last day of 2012.

Today, I’ll share with you a theme from one of the very, very few shoot ’em up (“shmup”) games I was pretty good at – Taito’s Metal Black. I’d play it very often at arcades in my hometown some 15 years ago… Never beat it with a single credit, of course, but I remember being able to reach much farther than my peers at the time. It’s a really good game, and, on top of everything, it has a decent story for a mere arcade shooter. The song is called “Born to Be Free”, and I do recommend checking out the game, as well.

Again, have a happy 2013!

Composer: Yasuhisa Watanabe
Game: Metal Black
Song:  Born to Be Free

Video Game Music of the Week – 24-30.12.2012

Merry Christmas to all Between Life and Games readers!

I really wanted to have a song from a Christmas-themed game today, while also keeping with the arcade theme that recently started. The best I could come up with was Snow Bros, a fun little game by Toaplan of Zero Wing fame. It was a very charming game, if similar in terms of gameplay to other arcade stuff from those days, like Tumblepop and Bubble Bobble (though a quick fact check shows that Tumblepop came a year later than Snow Bros).

Composer: Mikiko Suzuki
Game: Snow Bros
Song:  Stage Theme 1

Video Game Music of the Week – 17-23.12.2012

This week’s music comes from another Technos arcade hit from back in the day, called Xain’d Sleena, or Solar Warrior. While my awesome friend and namesake Vlado has very fond memories of it, I unfortunately wasn’t that good at it. Still, some of the music was quite awesome. Shame I can’t find the name of the composer – if anyone knows it, drop a comment.

Composer: ?
Game: Xain’d Sleena / Solar Warrior
Song:  Planet Basis

Video Game Music of the Week – 10-16.12.2012

In the good old days, the good old arcade cabinets ate quite a few of my coins… And, naturally, the beat ’em up genre was flourishing. I’ve already mentioned my love for The Punisher back then, but the true classic of the genre I first got the chance to experience was Technos’ Double Dragon. The first stage theme is one of the many memorable things about this rather clunky, but highly entertaining and extremely important game. And here it is, Arrival of the Black Warriors. The arranged version is also worth checking out, easy to find that one on YouTube.

Composer: Kazunaka Yamane
Game: Double Dragon
Song:  The City Slums (Arrival of the Black Warriors)

Video Game Music of the Week – 24-30.09.2012

Long before the Phoenix Wright series was created, Capcom were quite famous for their stellar arcade games. Street Fighter is of course the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Capcom in the arcades, but they also made some stellar beat ’em ups. Final Fight became perhaps the most popular, mostly thanks to the later console entries, but there were other gems like Captain Commando, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, and, of course, The Punisher. The Punisher was one of my favourite games as a kid, I invested quite a few coins in that good old arcade cabinet… I preferred to use Nick Fury instead of the titular character, his design was just cooler, but the game also had some decent music – definitely among the best arcade music at the time. I chose the first stage’s song for this week, I am sure that people who have played The Punisher will not take more than a few seconds into the video to remember it.

Composers: “Pi-Bomb” Shimomura, Isao Abe
Game: The Punisher (arcade)
Song:  Stage 1

Video Game Music of the Week – 21-27.05.2012

This week’s game music was suggested by my buddy Renna from Netrunner2k2. It’s Nathan “Rad” Spencer’s theme from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, a pretty cool remix of the Bionic Commando main theme, which was first used in the original Bionic Commando arcade game from 1987.

Composers: Harumi Fujita (original); Hideyuki Fukasawa (MvC3 version arrangement)
Game: Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Song: Theme of Spencer

Got any game music suggestions of your own? Leave a comment with it or contact me in any of the available ways, and I will consider it for the following weeks! 🙂

Wonder Boy

As someone born in the 80s and having grown up with this kind of games, I love retro games. I owned an Atari 2600 Jr., later a bootleg NES, then a SEGA Mega Drive II. Additionally, I spent a lot of my time and pocket money at the arcades… These early experiences contributed greatly to shaping me up as the gamer I am today.

As I enjoy playing classics I’d never had the chance to back in the day, some of my reviews here will be of such games. Back in the day, games were simpler, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Such were the times. In result, these reviews may also be on the short side, but that’s cool as long as the message gets across. And, if anyone decides to give such an older title a shot after reading a review of mine, then I will be happy.

The first title getting this treatment is a game I had only seen in the arcades when I was little. It’s SEGA’s original Wonder Boy, the first installment in a very fascinating series (whose never-released-outside-Japan-before entry Monster World IV is coming soon on PSN and Wii’s Virtual Console) that was a cult favourite at the arcades and on consoles alike. I am reviewing the SEGA Master System port of the original arcade game, which is actually quite faithful to it (unlike many other console ports of arcade games of the period).

This is also the first review where I am providing my own in-game screenshots. 🙂

Wonder Boy

Game: Wonder Boy
Developer: Westone
Platforms: Arcade; SG-1000, SEGA Master System, Game Gear, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC; Mobile; Wii Virtual Console
Releases: 1986 (arcade, SG-1000); 1987 (other 8-bit systems); 2004 (mobile); 2008 (Wii VC)
Territories: All

Read full review

Top 50 Games Every Gamer Should Know About (Part 2)

And, without further ado, here is the second part of the list. I hope you enjoy it at least as much as the first!

Top 50 games every gamer should know about

See the list