Space Invaders Extreme 2 Audio Element
Space Invaders Extreme 2 Audio Element
September 2, 2009
Buy at Amazon Japan
Space Invaders Extreme 2 is arguably the definitive version of Space Invaders. Composed by Koji Sakurai, Mitsugu Suzuki, and Hirokazu Koshio, it’s music retains the blend of electronic and retro features of the Space Invaders Extreme score. The official soundtrack was released together with some bonus remixes by Sweep Records last year.
Hirokazu Koshio contributes the most to the soundtrack once again. Opening with “ReExtreme (Menu),” Koshio improves slightly over the Menu music from the first soundtrack. I like the rock and industrial influences and they help make the theme a bit more interesting than the original. “Invader Disco (Stage 1)” is definitely one of my favorites on the soundtrack, but I think that’s mainly due to my undying love for the vocoder. I think it combines quite nicely with the catchy beat and helps form a splendid melody. The sections without the vocoder are also quite nice and help give it a bit of rhythm and industrial leanings. The original version is just as catchy and features less of an industrial influence.
As one might expect, “Invader Trance (Stage 5A)” maintains a trance rhythm throughout the atmosphere. It also throws in some interesting techno passages and some sinister atmosphere and melodies. I think all these elements fuse together quite nicely, at times industrial, while at others more spacey, making for an intense offering. “Invade You Again (Stage 5B)” is one of the weaker themes. It features some nice sections, mainly the B section, but the theme itself takes a while to get moving and the opening isn’t particularly ear-catching. “Outbreak Pandemic (Stage 5C)” is another trancey offering and harbors a sinister atmosphere, but aside from that, it isn’t the most particularly catchy. The spacey and industrial influence is nice, but the melody doesn’t really get a chance to shine. Lastly, “Invader Girl (Stage 5D)” is another great theme. The overall atmosphere is bouncy, due in part, to the bouncy electronica rhythm and melody. The vocal samplings give off a very kawaii effect, but the overall theme is quite intoxicating with lots of neat effects and elements. The original version is pretty much the same, although it has more of a shmup sound without the sound effects. It’s still an awesome theme.
Koji Sakurai contributes four themes to the soundtrack, each belonging to the Stage 4 set of themes. “Flashback (Stage 4A)” is a very straightforward piece and features a focus on industrial rhythms. Unfortunately, these rhythms dominate the theme and the melody doesn’t really come off as a strong suit to the piece. It has a spacey vibe, but it’s not a very engaging piece. “Time has come! (Stage 4B)” starts things off on a much better foot. The beat is already more engaging and mixes some industrial and techno influence. The melody is varied throughout, although there are some sections where it meanders and doesn’t really go anywhere. Overall, it’s a slight improvement over “Flashback.” His last theme, “Revenge of the Invaders (4C),” features a sinister atmosphere over an industrial beat. It’s probably the best that Sakurai has to offer on the soundtrack and I love the layering techniques he used. The melody, although sparse, is more engaging than the other themes he composed. This theme is also featured in “Revenge of the Invaders (Original Version)” that also features the sinister atmosphere, but I think it loses a bit of its edge due to the industrial sounds not being as prominent.
Mitsugu Suzuki contributes six themes to the soundtrack. Opening with “Smart Break (Stage 2),” Suzuki says that he’s up for some great music! The beat is extremely infectious and really fits with the arcade sound effects and spacey melody. The industrial influence also helps give it a nice edge. Also on the soundtrack is “Smart Break (Original Version)” and it features a less industrial influence, but the energy and atmosphere from the original is intact. It’s quite nice hearing it without the sound effects as well! “Sink or Swim (Stage 3A)” continues with the great music. This one features a nice sinister melody and a great rhythm. The sound effects add a nice touch to the theme as well, but I love the drum work that takes center stage a bit into the theme. As it progresses, I also like how the layers work together to create a sense of controlled chaos. “Fire Away (Stage 3B)” is another great theme. It’s another theme with some catchy drum work, an industrial and rock influence, and a great rhythm and melody. The retro elements are also quite pleasing. The original version of this theme has more of a rock influence than an industrial one, but manages to keep the listener engaged. It’s another great theme. Lastly, “Zero Hour (VS & Credits)” is another great theme. It’s a nice spacey theme with some rock and jazz elements. It’s very short, but it still has a great atmosphere and melody.
There are also three remixes on the album. The first, by Hirokazu Koshio, is entitled “Invader Girl! Cosio MJ-12 Mix” and features some awesome trance elements, combined with the original vocal samples and some new ones. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, due to the insistence of adding vocal samples throughout the arrangement; however, I’m a big fan of these kinds of arrangements, so I really enjoy it, much more than the original! “Invader Disco YMCK FC+Arcade Mix,” arranged by YMCK, has a nice retro vibe going for it. I love how it mixes chiptune melodies, some arcade sounds, and synths with a modern house beat. It also meshes quite well with the vocoder. Overall, this arrangement is also much better than the original, in my opinion. Lastly, “SPACE INVADERS EXTREME 2 NORISHIROCKS REMIX,” arranged by NORISHIROCKS, features a nice electronic/rock beat and mashes up “Invader Disco” and “Invader Girl.” It’s easily the craziest arrangement on here, and it’s also my favorite, for reasons about liking crazy arrangements. The beat is quite catchy and the strange rhythms created by the mixing of the vocals are quite entertaining.
Overall, Space Invaders Extreme 2 Audio Element is an improvement over the first album. There are a lot of nice electronica themes that seem to fit the style of the game and plenty of tracks that build on ideas from the predecessor. However, inconsistency once again lets the album down and several tracks aren’t worth listening to. The arrangements, this time though, are much better, if you are a fan of vocal sampling. Overall, a cautiously recommended purchase.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.