Perfect Selection Konami Shooting Battle II – “Prelude of Legend” (Naoto Shibata)January 3, 2010
“Prelude of Legend” is the main theme from Gradius III (1990). Naoto Shibata’s version from Konami Shooting Battle II (1995) is my favorite as it captures the feel of late ’80s/early ’90s arcade games perfectly. The theme is very bold and the synth lead is very strong, which takes you to the roots of what videogames of that time were about: getting the player immediately absorbed into the gameplay and winning through skill and perseverance. “Prelude of Legend” thus trumps up the glory behind those heroic ideals, and it also has the glory of the Gradius series behind it as an opening to a classic shooter. For me, it also gives the sense of wonder that arcades had, with the dim lights, screaming sound boards, flashing screens, and this kind of dirty, dusty feeling that the rooms had. All of this is encompassed within this song.
Perfect Selection Konami Shooting Battle II isn’t as good as the first album, which I think had stronger pieces, but this version works better as an opening theme. Still, all albums in the Battle series have many excellent tracks. Incidentally, a different version than what plays on Perfect Selection Konami Shooting Battle I, which is slightly slower-paced and contains a lot of SFX from the game. The Konami Battle series of rock mixes were arranged by Naoto Shibata, and again, all instruments are live performed (including keyboards). Gradius III‘s original composers were Kazuki Muraoka, Kazuhiko Uehara, Harumi Ueko & Yukie Morimoto.