Following this week’s ‘theme’ of shmups, I’ve got a classic from 1993: R-Type III: The Third Lightning (1993). This track is “Outer Space” the famous Stage 1 theme from R-Type and R-Type III. This is some serious heavy rock from the Super Nintendo’s SPC700, so before you hit play crank the volume to 11. Nintendo didn’t say “Play it Loud” for nothing! I’ve also included “Into the Portal”, the track the plays before you begin the stage. The two kind of go together.
“Outer Space” first appeared as the Stage 1 theme in R-Type in the arcades (1987). The R-Type III mix is a fantastic revisit to the original, with plenty of variation on the tune featuring that lead guitar. Ikuko Mimori’s remix of this track is simply marvelous and one of my favorite rock videogame tunes, and as much as I love the synthesized guitars here, it’s simply dying for a full-on live instrument recording. The entire soundtrack is heavy metal like this, with later stages adding some really dark minor-key choral sections and organs for some wonderful atmospheric flavor. According to Snesmusic.org, Mimori hasn’t composed anything else (which is a shame!). I think the original song was composed by Masato Ishizaki (according to R-Type – IREM Game Music). There is a pretty good mix of this track from R-Type Special, but I’m trying to track down a higher-quality rip than the 128-bit garbage I’ve got. The PCE-CD version of the R-Type has a fun techno mix. You can get R-Type III off the Wii Virtual Console.
This track plays in the opening stage and so has very aggressive gung-ho music, just what you’d expect to hear accompanying a pilot fresh off the carrier. In R-Type III, this was a giant space station that had been taken over by the Bydo and so was filled with debris as well as baddies, including some giant mechs. This piece reflects the determination and lazer fire before the blackness of space. It really makes you feel like you can win – but then, you blow up.