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Sin & Punishment: Star Successor – “Title” (Norio Hanzawa)

August 15, 2010

Sin and Punishment 2 (2010) initially sounds like one of those bondage games, but a quick look at the box art (on which is missing any reference to leather kilt-wearing men) will quickly dispel those fears. No, Sin and Punishment is an arcade shmup similar to Rez made for the Nintendo Wii. The game came out a couple months ago, but I didn’t get a chance to play it until tonight. The game isn’t that bad as a shmup, though it’s definitely targeting a niche market – most people seem to purchase 3D action games or FPS’s rather than oldschool shmups. The thing that first struck me about this game was the title theme. I’d listened to the soundtrack before, but there was something really cool hearing this coming out of the TV.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor – “Title” (Norio Hanzawa)

The main theme in the “Title” has very dramatic drums for pumping the blood and getting the action started. The main synth line is a high whistle though, which while dramatic, reaches the uncomfortable range. Thankfully, the second section is performed on strings (0:32), followed by a nice build to the loop with more intense drums (57). The short length of the track (1:03) makes it seem directly out of the classic days of games when minute-long (and shorter!) pieces with memorable melodies were the norm. And the “Title” doesn’t really have to be that long anyway – there really isn’t much to see on the title screen as it’s a giant frozen wasteland.

The rest of the soundtrack is primarily electronica, heavy on layered drums and synth, though without the strong, identifiable melody of the title screen. Here’s the Stage 1 theme for comparison. Though it lacks a strong, identifiable melody, opting more for focus on percussion and sound, the “Stage 1” theme is memorable particularly through the long, dramatic pipe organ notes. In fact, all the stage themes sound pretty good, with a nice combination of action and drama. No album release was made (though to be honest, Treasure rarely releases albums anyway).

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor was composed by Norio Hanzawa, who has been responsible for practically every Treasure game since Gunstar Heroes (1993), though his debut was in Castlevania Adventure for the Game Boy.

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