R-Type Delta – “Stage 7 (Life)” (Haruhiko Kuroiwa)September 18, 2010
Update: The proper track has been uploaded. Sorry for the mix-up! The other one was the boss theme.
I’m a pretty big fan of the R-Type Delta (1999) soundtrack. The game had the memorable melodies that the previous games in the series were notable for, but had a greater variety of music than what was found in R-Type III‘s hard rock. The mix of guitars, midi synth, strings, piano, and choir make it one of the strongest and most diverse in the series. One interesting thing to note is that the composers of R-Type Delta worked on Konami’s MIDI Power Pro series of albums, which explains why the album sounds a little similar. The tracks in Delta were also composed to play out over the course of an entire level and so do not loop during gameplay, making the tracks orchestrate the pacing and mood of the entire stage.
“Stage 7 (Life)” is my favorite piece from the game. It plays in the game’s final stage, an area outside time and space where Earth’s past and present combine. In the background lie many iconic images of Earth history, from Big Ben and the Golden Gate Bridge to Niel Armstrong. The level contains strands of DNA that float from the top and bottom of the screen, biological formulae, giant alien babies that drop in oozing crystals from the top and bottom of the stage (you might remember them from the final stage of the original R-Type) and yes, giant sperm. Given the bizarre happenings on-screen, the song is both gentle and mysterious, calming yet tense. Outside of time, Life is being created, though it is a sinister creature that threatens to destroy all of humanity…
The track opens with a haunting choir tinged with sadness and melancholy that is soon supported by somber strings. After, we are drawn into the dance by an ethnic drumbeat with tribal percussion, particularly from the thunder sticks (hollow tubes filled with beans or other small objects that rattle when shaken). Amidst it all, the lead female vocalist calls out in a high, fluttering voice that is pure but strained. Almost midway, the track takes a dramatic break with the tremulous singing of a male vocalist punctuated by the high chants of the female choir and the deep pounding of the drums. After this point, the track loops into some heavy percussion before repeating the first half of the song. I’ve complained about looping before, but in this piece it seems a bit less noticeable with its clear beginning, middle, and end.
The piece was composed by Haruhiko Kuroiwa, who is credited with working on the Samurai Spirits series.