Bionic Commando Rearmed: The Soundtrack

Bionic Commando Rearmed: The Soundtrack. Передняя обложка. Click to zoom.
Bionic Commando Rearmed: The Soundtrack
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Covers release:
Composed by Дзюнко Тамия / Marika Suzuki / Саймон Виклунд
Published by Sumthing Else Music Works
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 Digital - 15 tracks
Release date May 27, 2008
Duration 00:40:50
Genres Electronica / Electronica: Big Beat / Electronica: Breakbeat / Electronica: Chiptune / Soundtrack: Game
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There's Some Country For Old Men

In 1990s when CD-ROM drive became a usual device for practically every PC the computer world got acquainted with the idea of remixes. A far-fetched classical music published on a couple of 3 inch floppy disks was considerably retouched, supplied with some video clips of a superior quality, decorated with CD Audio music (MIDI, adieu!) and finally was released. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the difference between the old-school version of System Shock (10 MB) and the Enhanced Edition (650 MB on CD). For those in doubt there is a 640x480 mode available with redrawn textures, highly detailed clips and normal music. It was a time when a new mode really reanimated classical projects. With the appearance of DVD such miracle didn’t happen, perhaps only various arcade shooting game were re-released in a higher quality.

As for consoles things were a bit different – one could observe a total sequelization of everything possible and the question of remixes wasn’t put point-blank. Off the top of the head a genius version of Metal Gear Solid for Gamecube can be mentioned. It was made on MGS2 engine already released by that time, with cut-scenes produced by the cult Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura (an awesome trash-action Versus, for those who are out of touch), with the considerably improved enemies’ AI and splendid redubbing of all the characters shocked, to put it mildly. So the today’s project is cut from the same cloth.

Bionic Commando was released in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and was different from the other arcade shooters of that time because it was one of few instances of a platform game in which the player cannot jump. The hero of the game isn’t a disabled person, just because he is armed with a bionic arm his weight is twice as excessive as sumo fighters’ one. However he has a great opportunities to perform experiments, viz, he sports a gun with one hand and an extendable bionic gripper device on the other. His bionic arm can be extended and rotated in 45-degree increments, from horizontally left to directly upwards to horizontally right. Once attached to something, Nathan 'Rad' Spencer (that’s the name of the hero) can pull himself to wherever the arm has latched, typically leaving him swinging back and forth under the point of connection. From this position, he can swing off or hoist himself up to the point of connection. To cross gaps or climb ledges, the hero must use his bionic arm either. Radd's bionic arm can also deflect some types of bullets and grab certain enemies and items. An unusual gameplay, a whole balance of the process and an excellent military soundtrack scored by Junko Tamiya made this game for cult success.

Fast-forward to 2008. GRIN incredibly effectively revives BC (now it’s known as Bionic Commando: Rearmed) but what about the music? As Rearmed's creative director and a lead sound designer at the same time, GRIN's Simon Viklund has the unique and rather correct idea: the original themes just like holy cows are immuned whatever the case. Only a slightly cosmetic correction of a muzzle is allowed for norms of propriety. What soundtrack do you think it turned out to be when composed by a fan of Prodigy and the author of frivolous music for Ballistics and Bandits: Phoenix Rising?

Actually if Prodigy with the reputation as "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll band in the world of electronic music" will start to write chiptune then it’ll be something like Bionic Commando: Rearmed. Almost untouched, grinding themes by Junko Tamiya are unbelievably successfully mixed with smashing beats by Simon. On top of it all there are a punching bass (hi to all who is still thinking about subwoofer purchase!) and light distortion sounds – the renewed classic music is ready. The dish is best served at high volume and together with a pretty picture.

Yeah, it’s a bit hard to listen to the OST separately from the game, but on the other hand it’s the straight consequence of the perfect stylization. So as to be kind to the listener the closing tracks are pieces of the game trailer, a vocal/instrumental remix of Go Go Bionic lasting for 18 seconds only and also a symphonic adaptation of the main theme.


Music in game


OST Collector


2008's Bionic Commando Rearmed is an enhanced remake of the 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System action game Bionic Commando. Developed by Stockholm-based company GRIN, its audio director Simon Viklund (Ballistics, Bandits: Phoenix Rising) both inspired the remake and handled the sound production. Junko Tamiya's score for the original had militaristic intent but was principally a melodic chiptune score due to the limitations of its hardware. Viklund decided to leave reimagining the orchestral ambitions of the series for the upcoming next-generation sequel and instead focused on providing a remixed score in tribute to the original. The result focuses on the melodies of the original and adds electronic beats and atmospheric sounds to them. Its score was released digitally for $10 some months prior to the game's release and also offered a few surprises in addition to the remixes. Let's take a closer look...


A remix of Bionic Commando's iconic first area theme serves as the main theme for the soundtrack. The initial electronic interpretation of the theme asserts a strong groove with pulsing synth motifs and drum beats. However, it is also very atmospheric given the emphasis on slow descending melodies and chord progressions as well as the use of distortion and reverb. It's as catchy as the original, but as much for rhythmical reasons as for melodic ones. The "BCR Menu Theme" is even more atmospheric; it's slowed right down, features boundless futuristic synth work, and uses percussion excellently to provide a resolute drive. The only other theme that doesn't directly correspond with a theme from the original is "Killt's Hidden Treasures", but it uses a similar style while presenting a killer new melody.

Delving into the other area themes, the hard punctuation of "Heat Wave" creates just the attitude and personality that the jazz-tinged original aspired to. "Power Plant" exhibits a great sense of rhythm and demonstrates Viklund's electro-funk and Daft Punk influences more than other area themes. Even though it's still quite enjoyable, "Leap of Faith" is probably the weakest of the area themes. This plodding low tempo remix simply lacks the crispness and intensity of the original. "Rise of the Albatross" begins as a another slow reflective mix that makes the very most of the distinctive motifs of the original. However, it soon speeds up and becomes a compelling hardcore mix ideal prior to the final boss. It's possibly DJ Viklund's single greatest achievement on this score.

"Prologue & Epilogue" combines several themes from the original into a coherent three minute remix. Viklund asserts a stronger militaristic here than most other pieces with use of fanfare-like melodies and resolute rhythms. The use of the distinctive snare imitations of the original and a chiptune melody in the latter half also gives a nostalgic yet comical sound that fits perfectly with the approach of the remake. Moving to the subsidiary themes, "OK, We'll Move" is much more suitable in context than the original and the gradual layering is excellently executed here. "Meet the Enemy and Descend" and "Intruder Alert" take a hard techno and trance approach respectively to reflect the heat of the battle. Viklund rounds off his tour of electronic genres with warm synth pads and downtempo beats in "Amongst Allies".

"Suzuki's Heroes" is arranged by talented Capcom newcomer Marika Suzuki (Sengoku Basara, Dead Rising). It's a cinematic orchestral interpretation of the main theme that, while somewhat lacking percussively, makes up for it with bold brass and strings use. Definitely one of the biggest highlights. "One Man, One Bionic Man" is an audio recording of the trailer featuring orchestral music, voice-overs, and sound effects. It's an unconventional addition, but a very funny one with a highlight being the deliberately cheesy lines from the clichéd low-pitched narrator. The final piece, "Go Go Bionic", is not the hilarious vocal theme composed by Kohei Tanaka and sung by Ichiro Mizuki. It's a man shouting 'Go Go Bionic' again and again over a brief rendition of the original version of the main theme. Very disappointing.


The Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack is a very pleasant new interpretation of a classic score. It's very impressive how Viklund was able to offer something as catchy as the original while also more atmospheric and powerful too. His love for the original music and creative vision for remake are very clear here. The absence of the vocal theme is disappointing and the untagged 320-encoded MP3s aren't particularly well-presented. Furthermore, the electronically-oriented approach adopted won't suit everyone, though there are widely available trailers and music videos for those wanting to sample the score. For just $10, this is still a very worthwhile purchase for most.


Music in game


Chris Greening

Released on Sumthing Digital and the iTunes Music Store.

Simon Viklund: 1-12, 14
Marika Suzuki: 13
Junko Tamiya: 15

Vocals: Hironobu Takeshita (15)

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Album was composed by Дзюнко Тамия / Marika Suzuki / Саймон Виклунд and was released on May 27, 2008. Soundtrack consists of 15 tracks tracks with duration over about 40 minutes. Album was released by Sumthing Else Music Works.

Sounds like Electronica, Soundtrack - that's what we can say about this album.

CD 1

Bionic Commando Rearmed (Main Theme)
Simon Viklund
Heat Wave
Simon Viklund
Power Plant
Simon Viklund
Leap of Faith
Simon Viklund
Rise of the Albatross
Simon Viklund
BCR Menu Theme
Simon Viklund
Prologue & Epilogue
Simon Viklund
OK, We'll Move
Simon Viklund
Meet the Enemy and Descend
Simon Viklund
10Simon Viklund02:30
Amongst Allies
Simon Viklund
Intruder Alert
Simon Viklund
Suzuki's Heroes
Marika Suzuki
One Man, One Bionic Arm
Simon Viklund
Go Go Bionic
Simon Viklund & Hironobu Takeshita
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