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S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team (Kyouhei Sada)

September 20, 2010

Natsume, better known for their Harvest Moon series, created some interesting action games back in the late 80s and early 90s for the NES. One of these was the unfortunately-titled S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team (1991), which probably sold about as well as its name (it was also called Final Mission in Japan and Action in New York in Europe). The guy on the cover looks like a Sean Connery look-alike, and his laser rifle looks incredibly flimsy. A sidescrolling shmup similar to Forgotten Worlds, you play as a jetpack-toting commando who blasts all kinds of baddies, including a giant spaceship seemingly taken straight out of R-Type. The game is fairly rare, but ultimately not worth tracking down – better luck with Capcom’s Forgotten Worlds. What’s interesting about the soundtrack is it was composed by Kyouhei Sada, who is better-known for his work on Contra. After working for various companies including Hot-B (Palimedes), he left the game industry completely – no clue what he’s doing now.

S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team (Kyouhei Sada)

Sada-san’s work on S.C.A.T. lacks the commando punch found in Contra, though its main theme/”Stage 1″ has a slight classic Konami feel to it – though ultimately not the quality of Hidenori Maezawa. The track begins with a short commando ditty (jumping into action!) then rolls forward with a theme that sounds almost like it would be better suited for sneaking and dodging through a jungle than flying around on jetpacks. Great minor key here reflecting the post-apocalyptic landscape of the game. The track is unflinching in its approach, with solid, memorable notes, though it seems to be lacking in a singularly catchy melody. With a loop only 30 seconds long, the track is also maddeningly short for a late-generation NES game. I also think the track isn’t that good simply because the theme doesn’t have that wide a variety of melody change, keeping mostly in the lower note range. Dynamics and development simply aren’t there, though a solid beat and intro section is certainly there. Ultimately though, it stands out more as an example of the average 8-bit music scores as there isn’t much else here that really stands out (though there’s a good number of stage themes, so I’ll give it that). I guess it’s kind of cool, but just had expected a bit more, as it’s pretty disappointing to come from one of the guys who did Contra and Rush’n’Attack, which is why I think he’s more of a SFX guy. Really curious as to what he is doing now.

Speaking of SFX, most sound like they came from Contra, but it’s notable that the Japanese version contains sequenced voice recordings saying such dramatic lines as “Destroy battleship!”

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