Ibara Original Soundtrack
Ibara Original Soundtrack
January 30, 2006
Buy at Play-Asia
Ever since I had discovered Shinji Hosoe on Internal Section, I knew that he had a lot of musical skills. When I first heard his work on Driving Emotion Type-S, I couldn’t believe how enjoyable his rock compositions were. I have been hoping to bump into another soundtrack of this style. It was in the summer of 2005 while browsing the Shmups.com forums that I checked a huge topic dedicated to a game called Ibara. At first, I paid little attention to it. But once the staff list had been unveiled, I was caught by surprise to see Shinji Hosoe credited as composer. What exited me even more was when some of the people there who were fortunate enough to have played it described the music as a mix of synth and metal.
Since then, I had been following any news about Ibara in hopes that a soundtrack would be made available. Until the announcement in December 2005, I had been checking out super-play videos and paying extra attention to what was audible amongst the bombastic sound effects. And no less than a day after my 28th birthday, the Ibara soundtrack was released by Cave and within a few days, all stocks were gone. Fortunately for us, Play-Asia had received a large shipment of it which allowed me to obtain it finally. It was definitely worth the wait.
The soundtrack opens up with the great “Show Time”, with screaming guitars and pounding drums that set the tone for the remainder of the soundtrack. Every track has a part like this that is simply irresistible. The boss theme “Guardian Angel”, while being 30 seconds a loop, is pretty intense and really conveys the feeling that the Rose Sisters mean business when you encounter them. The synth and guitar melody causes a rush of adrenaline to keep you alert to the numerous bullet patterns they throw at you. “Like a Rolling Stone” uses an organ synth which is almost identical to Motoi Sakuraba’s classic “Shining” setup, and is something that makes it stand out while the guitar work is as ferocious as it was in “Show Time”. “Endless Train” is a fast-paced theme that works wonderfully alongside the floating train-like machines that populate the third level; the synth has a bigger role than the guitar here but both do their part to create some tension while you try to stay alive.
Stage 4 has the brilliant “Sky High” as its theme; the melody itself climbs to exciting points as the guitar riffs make their mark as you pass through clouds and fly over a beautiful snowy mountain chain. “Robot No. 28” uses a great deal of synth while guitars take a backing role; the melody itself is quite catchy and effectively portrays the feeling of going high speed into the enemy’s territory as you get ambushed from all possible sides. The last stage theme “Rose Garden” starts off with a menacing tone, but when the drums break up the song the synth and guitars come out at full blast. The power felt in this track is incredible and portrays that the player is very close to accomplishing the goal of confronting and defeating the leader of Rose Garden. “Rose of Zeal” is the last boss theme and the opening rising melody gives a decisive feel as you do your best to defeat the leader. The synth solo at the second part of the theme is easily the best feature as it pushes you towards to staying alive no matter what. As in most Cave games, it’s not over yet. The Rose may be destroyed, but out comes a ship armed with razor-sharp rotors and deadly guns. “Mother Teresa” is in the normal style of Hosoe as his signature electronic beat is everpresent and the way the theme plays so fast is an indication that Teresa won’t “play” with you any longer; either you beat her or you die a painful, painful defeat at her hands. It really gets the tension on top.
The ending theme, while fairly basic using the same riffs repeated over and over, works with the credit roll and gives the player a feel of accomplishment as the mission wasn’t easy by any means.
Of course, there is more to it with this soundtrack… most Cave games have a second loop of the game after clearing the first one and is obviously a challenge. But unlike other Cave games, Hosoe was asked to compose some additional themes specifically for the second loop. “Bonds of Steel” replaces “Show Time” for Stage 1 and provides a more engaging melody as you encounter new twists not found in the level at first; the synth is used to great effect and builds up adrenaline nicely. “Air Pollution” replaces “Sky High”, and while having the same closure pattern, the riffs are a bit louder this time around. It easily gets the player into the appropriate mood for shooting down baddies. Finally, “The Family’s Work” replaces “Robot No. 28”, as with all second loop themes; it is much more engaging and makes me wish Hosoe would have composed an entire new soundtrack for the new game mode.
I can’t stop this review until I cover the three exclusive arrangements, which are all equally good as one other. “Show Time” adds a synth violin into the mix, which creates a special aura. It’s quite surprising to hear that it doesn’t sound out of place with the guitars, drums and synth. “Sky High” is pretty much the same, except that it contains a new melodic bit by the middle which features a great guitar solo. “Rose Garden” starts off with rousing choirs until the bass brings the main melody into play. Like “Sky High”, it features a guitar solo and some improvisation upon the original theme. It’s worth noting that four more arrangements from Ibara are available in a new Insanity DVD set.
So there you have it: one of Shinji Hosoe’s latest efforts, and a magnificent one at that. Unless you completely despise rock music, click on that Play-Asia button and buy this beauty while their supply is still available. As a bonus, you get a figurine of the sexy villain Teresa Rose packaged with the soundtrack. How could you say no to that? In all seriousness, this soundtrack is pure gold with its very successful style and enjoyability factor. I can’t reccomend it enough.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Luc Nadeau. Last modified on August 1, 2012.