Elevator Action – “Theme” (Yoshino Imamura)August 9, 2010
Elevator Action (1983) was one of the most popular arcade games of the period. In this game, the player is a spy who sneaks into a building, steals some secret documents, and must descend the building, avoiding guards, to reach the getaway car below. The title helped redefine the spy genre by creating a detailed world and added many gameplay elements, such as enemies that can dodge by ducking and the ability to shoot out the lights (the fixtures can fall on enemy heads, giving you tons of points). Another big reason for its success is the main theme, which is very memorable. This is the NES version.
The Elevator Action theme is really quite simple, but it is the simplicity of the melody and strong notes that make it memorable. The theme has a slightly uncertain feel from the wavering notes that also seem to work well for sneaking and encouraging evasion, but this also gives the track a slightly comedic feel that fits well with the game’s mayhem. It also feels slick with the pentatonic scale. Sadly, the NES version is monophonic, so it is not as rich as the arcade version. However, I chose this one as I do not have a version of the song without sound effects.
Oddly enough, there have not been very many remixes of this song made. Certainly, the game has been remade a half-dozen times, but none of the mixes really stand out. I can’t find any fan mixes of this tune either, which was quite surprising. However, the Commodore 64 version had a brand new song by David Whittaker that is actually more of an action theme.
The game was composed by Yoshino Imamura, who also composed Chack’n Pop, the predecessor to Bubble Bobble. I’m not sure if he’s the same guy, but there is also a Yoshio Imamura at Taito who composed Super Chase H.Q. and The Ninja Warriors.