Henry Explorers – “Stalactite” (Mutsuhiko Izumi, Yuji Takenouchi)

October 8, 2010

Henry Explorers (known in the US as Crypt Killer) was a light gun game released in 1995 for the arcade and 1997 on home console. The game is pretty ridiculous, which makes it loads of fun: the skeletons have about two frames of animation (well, four when you count them running in sideways in front of you like a shooting gallery with their super-long legs), and monsters explode in piles of bones or body parts that bounce around the screen for a few seconds after death. There’s a trippy spirit called Galazon who directs you through each level, but his eyes and polygonal face make him look like he’s on crack. Then there are the sound effects that include high-pitched Michael Jackson screams for the skeletons and the announcer’s periodical cries of “WOOOooooOAAAH!” that quickly make it the game’s tagline.

Henry Explorers – “Stalactite” (Mutsuhiko Izumi, Yuji Takenouchi)

The Henry Explorers album is mostly miss, with either intense discordant battle music or creepy horror fare – not exactly easy listening. It does have a few notable tracks such as “Walter Tribe”, “Schizophrenia”, “Cave,” “Spiral Stair,” “Stalactite,” “Acid Pyramidian,” and the heroic “Final Frontier”. The really active pieces are mostly rockin’ techno-funk, so the soundtrack is more atmospheric than strongly melodic. There’s a lot of distortion and the compressed audio is definitively gritty.

One of the best pieces from here is “Stalactite” from the Limestone Cave level, with its mix of seductive flute, bass guitar, and rock guitar. The track is a little laid-back, focusing primarily on atmosphere through the bass guitar riffs and background scrapings of the guitar. The flute cools the atmosphere and the progressive, step-like rock echoes down those long, dark caverns, interrupted only by the dark denizens looming out of the shadows to strike. Pretty cool stuff.

This song is from the arcade version. The game was composed by Mutsuhiko Izumi (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Gradius IV, Guitar Freaks series) and Yuji Takenouchi (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Space Manbow). The style, particularly from Metal Gear 2 and Gradius IV is pretty easily discernible from the trance-like nature of some of the tracks.


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