8-Bit Mondays: Rush’n Attack – Enemy Base (Shinya Sakamoto, et al)May 31, 2010
Rush’n Attack (1985), aka Green Beret (in Japan and Europe) was one of Konami’s earliest shooters, released for the arcade in 1985, but not on home console until 1987 (by which time Contra had captured the minds of NES owners). I wonder what this game is about – Cold War’s not over yet, is it? In this game, the player is a lone commando who storms a Soviet base to rescue some POW’s before they are executed. Armed only with a knife (like Snake, he picks up weapons as he goes), this unknown war hero fights his way through four grueling stages while the soldiers just won’t stop running into his bullets. Actually, I wonder if the knife-wielding enemies from Contra were based off this guy… As far as gameplay, it’s essentially Contra 0, a run ‘n gun shooter that paved the way for the the famous series. Anyway, the Stage 1 theme, “Enemy Base”, is pretty cool – a nice, simple melody that really tugs on those hero strings. If you don’t have an old NES to dust off, you can always pick it up on XBLA (seems they’re working on a sequel, Rush’n Attack: Ex Patriot, though why after 25 years is anyone’s guess).
The “Enemy Base” stage theme is pretty standard commando fare, with a melody that rolls right along through enemy territory, keeping action high and the toe tapping on. The beat matches the quick run of the soldier while the rich square waves take all the determination that you would expect from a green beret action hero. The theme is particularly memorable because it is so simple and uses a combination of long notes and call and response. It’s got a nice seven-second intro, making the main loop about 40 seconds, which is fairly on-par for the time. The song is in the same style as the main theme of King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch, which is unsurprising, considering most of the composers worked on that game, too. Incidentally, the original arcade version didn’t have much in the way of BGM, just a drum march and a few jingles, so the music comes from the NES version.
There have been a few remixes of this theme, but Goat’s “Purple Heart” is still the best out there. It’s actually a medley of all the music in the game. The introduction has some crazy distortion with an alarm (something found in nearly every mix, as it plays at the start of the level). 45 seconds in, and he’s jamming away at the main theme. There is plenty of variation – Goat doesn’t just play the main melody; he mixes it up. With the entire soundtrack arranged, that’s nearly five and a half minutes of rock-on.
On the old VGMix 2.0, xanax made a couple mixes, but his “Stage One Symphony” is the better of the two. It more straightly follows the original theme in symphonic form. Though the instruments sound a bit too midi, it closely follows the spirit of the original, which makes it worth a listen. Lastly, there’s a decent mix by the Swedish cover band, Nestunes. Rockin’ costumes, guys!
Let’s not even visit xoc’s f’d up Nester Babies.
Rush’n Attack‘s console port was composed by four guys. Shinya Sakamoto was one of Konami’s main composers for the NES, working on Life Force and The Castlevania Adventure among others. Another composer, Iku Mizutani, found his way to composing Metal Gear on the MSX before leaving to compose Shadow of the Ninja for Natsume (he now works at THQ). Hevimeta Satoe (Heavy Metal Satoe) is an alias for an unknown composer. He worked with most of the other team on King Kong 2: Ikari no Megaton Punch for the Famicom (another fun soundtrack). Lastly, Masanori Adachi had a rather prolific history, composing Contra III: The Alien Wars, Suikoden, and Little King’s Story.