Snatcher>>Policenauts: Music Compilation of Hideo Kojima / Black Disc


Review by · March 7, 2007

I bought this CD seven years ago. It was among the first 15 VGM soundtracks in my collection, so it will always be special to me. Fortunately, it also happens to be quite awesome, which should interest you, dear reader. So what is “Snatcher>>Policenauts: Music Compilation of Hideo Kojima / Black Disc”? First of all, it’s a sampler. In contrast to “Metal Gear>>Solid Snake: MCoHK / Red Disc,” which features almost only arranged music, the Black Disc (and no, it’s not really black) features a comprehensive collection of the best tracks from several Snatcher and Policenauts CDs, along with 6 newly arranged tracks. Hideo Kojima’s games always feel very movie-like, and this is reflected in the music.

I think the newly arranged opening “Theme of Snatcher” is so great that it alone makes this CD worth buying. The cheesy (but catchy) synth of the original is replaced by a more dramatic sounding instrumentation and Ms. Yoko Ueno contributing some solo vocals (oohs and aahs that is). “Landfall” (a new arrangement from Policenauts) is a nice atmospheric piece, with slow electro beats and slightly asia-flavored. Believe me, this wouldn’t be out of place in a movie.

If I were to name the five best opening title ever written for a game, “One Night in Neo Kobe City” from Snatcher would definitely be one of them. With it’s jazzy feel and saxophone solo, this track fitted the game perfectly. It’s the best track on this CD. The only other track from the “Snatcher Zoom Tracks” appearing on the Black Disc is “Beyond Sorrows,” a slightly sad piece, with memorable square-lead synth-solo.

Quality remains high with “Theme of Katharine,” a nice, laid back bar-piano piece. “Old L.A. 2040” is, I guess, the title from Policenauts. It would have been as good as the Snatcher title, but due to budgetary restraints (?) it uses only MIDI-saxophone and -guitar… though that doesn’t matter much – this complex composition, the flamenco-style guitar riffs and the saxophone solo make this another classic (although the old-fashioned “Doo”-voice-sample sounds not as fresh as it did 10 years ago).

“Master of Puppets Among the Disease” and “Innocent Girl” from Snatcher come directly from the Mega Drive sound-chip; the slightly creepy melodies work fine, though. The newly arranged version of “BIO HAZARD” isn’t quite as good as the original, but still very enjoyable. And keep in mind: “nothing special” on this CD can still be a lot better than on other soundtracks!

Now for the rest of the newly recorded tracks: “Icy Offense and Defense” offers perfect e-guitar solos over synth and electronic beats – one of my favorites. “Danger Dance… & Justice All” sounds strange: solo voice, a straight rhythm and weird synth sounds… hard to describe but surely nice. And we have the “Pleasure of Tension” (notice how Konami obviously can’t decide how to name this track: on Zoom Tracks it was called “Preasure of Tention”)…But Engrish-problems aside, this arrangement is quite original. Instead of the fast paced original, this approach is more laid back, with another great e-guitar performance. The last arranged track is from Policenauts again. “The Age of Policenauts” is a variation of the title theme: nice, but nothing too special.

I usually skip some tracks from 12 onward, because the remaining pieces are somewhat unspectacular compared to the rest. “The End of Beyond” and “The Zone” from Policenauts are the weakest tracks on this CD – and they are also the shortest. The piano-variations of “Innocent White” could have been longer though. “The Movement of Clouds” starts off a bit lacklustre, but another bunch of guitar-solos make the second half shine (with a slightly false sounding note here an there). Concluding the CD is the “‘Policenauts’ End Title,” again featuring the slightly outdated “Doo”-voice KORG-synth-preset, while the finale features fake sounding synth-orchestra. This track would really have benefited from a re-arrangement.

I suppose not everyone will like this collection. At least, it’s one of my favorite VGM CDs. Almost every track is great, though it somehow doesn’t sound as fresh as it did when it was released nine years ago. If you have played either of the games, you might enjoy this CD even more. I think the Black Disc slightly surpasses the Red Disc, because it has the better melodies. I bought “Snatcher>>Policenauts” back in 2000, when it was still available in shops. It should be fairly difficult to find now, so good luck!

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