Snatcher / MIDI Power Ver. 5.0
MIDI Power Ver. 5.0: Snatcher
October 21, 1994
Buy Used Copy
As part of their MIDI Power series, Konami released a remixed album dedicated to the cyberpunk escapades of Snatcher. This disc contains many tracks from the MSX2 and PC-Engine versions of Snatcher, as well as a few from the parodic SD Snatcher. As the title suggests, this album heavily utilizes the MIDI synthesizer. Over the years, MIDI has become somewhat controversial among music aficionados. While many have praised it for allowing music composition to be much more accessible for composers, others have criticized it for its low sound quality. That being said, the sound quality is still a huge step up from the original synth. But does that warrant a purchase? Let’s examine this closely.
The eerie track “Bio Hazard” opens up this album. Originally used during the PC-Engine and Sega CD introductions, the narrator describes a deadly environmental disaster that killed 80% of the Eurasian population. The original track was very effective in setting the mood, and this remix still carries that feel. The creeping synth and hard rock really drive this track. Despite that, I still felt myself enjoying the original version slightly more.
One of the best tracks in the series, “Twilight of Neo Kobe City,” is given a stellar arrangement. This track reminded me of a laid-back jazz piece I’d hear at a nightclub or bar. I absolutely loved the saxophone’s part in the melody. The enhanced synth really improves the original track. While “Twilight” was the opening theme to the MSX version, “One Night in Neo Kobe City” was the opening theme in all other versions. I’ve stated in several past reviews that the original track was one of the best themes in video games. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the remix. The original piece used live instruments, while this version replaces those instruments with lower-quality synth. It surprisingly sounds worse than the Sega CD sound quality. It really feels more like a step back, than forward. “Theme of Snatcher” is also given two remixes on this disc. “Part One” is a fast paced techno theme while “Part Two” is a much slower ballad. While I enjoyed the “Part One” remix, “Part Two” seems unnecessary and leaves a lot to be desired.
We’re also given a few remixed character themes as well. “Theme of Katharine” (Katrina in the English version) is divided into two distinct parts. This first part plays the melody on a music-box like instrument while shower sound effects play in the background (Look up the scene on YouTube. You’ll definitely get a good laugh). Part two shifts into a laid-back, jazz-themed piano piece accompanied by saxophone and synth in the background. As one of my favorite character themes, I found this remix to be quite good. “Theme of Jamie” starts off with haunting synth, but then changes gear into a groovy and upbeat remix that utilizes techno/jazz flavorings. The synth quality is noticeably higher than its Snatcher Zoom Tracks counterpart. “Eternal Promise” meanwhile is a rather sad piece that uses low-octave synth. While the overall piece is quite effective, the synth quality is actually quite poor compared to previous remixes. “Faded Memories,” a more cinematic track, relies on techno beats and heavy percussion. I enjoyed the section when the synth goes into improvisation towards the end.
We now move on to the SD Snatcher tracks. With SD Snatcher being more light-hearted and humorous, the music appropriately reflects that and shifts away from the serious tones. “Factory Place,” likely a BGM track, is a funky techno piece. The melody is catchy and cheerful, perfectly fitting the nature of the game. “Difficult Move” is a fast paced battle track that’s very jazz-like. “Triumphal Arch” is similar in style to the previous two tracks, but is at an even faster tempo. Additionally, there’s also a track that combines both of the styles of Snatcher and SD Snatcher together, “Pleasure of Tension ~ Resistance.” The first half is actually a pretty good remix of “Pleasure of Tension.” Other remixes have disappointed me in the past, but I actually enjoyed this one. While “Pleasure of Tension” conveyed the emotions of danger and fear, “Resistance” is much different in style. Instead of being serious, it is an upbeat battle track. “In Danger” is also a battle track, but is more rock focused than jazz/techno focused.
Finally, “The Peaceful Avenue” closes off this album. The piano, synth, and guitars provide excellent instrumentation for this wonderful track. Although a great way to finish this disc, I recommend giving the Perfect Selection Snatcher Battle version a listen as well. That version contains better sound quality, live instrumentation, and great lyrics sung by Japanese vocalist Eizo Sakamoto. Even still, the instrumental version proves to be an enjoyable track nonetheless.
I have somewhat mixed feelings with this album. While there are plenty of great remixes, there are also some that fall flat. The synth quality drastically varies between tracks. Some feature good quality, while others simply don’t. Whether or not you should check out this album depends on a few things. If you simply can’t stand MIDI, than this album isn’t for you. However if you enjoy arranged video game albums and are a die-hard fan of the franchise, than you have my cautious recommendation. While there are certainly better albums in the series, MIDI Power Ver. 5.0 -Snatcher- is still serviceable.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on January 19, 2016.