Credited to Zuntata, the Taito Sound Team, the tracks on Arcade Classics Volume One come from three titles released by Taito Corporation from 1989-1994: Night Striker, Metal Black, and Elevator Action Returns. While all disparate, and released over a five-year period, all three would find their way to the Sega Saturn at one point or another, giving the sound of this compilation a very cohesive sound.
It’s helped along by the fact that the tracks from the three titles - five each from Night Striker and Metal Black, and four from Elevator Action Returns - aren’t presented on their own. Zuntata Arcade Classics Volume One is instead curated, thanks to a suggestion from Ship to Shore’s Aaron Hamel. Zuntata’s Katsuhisa Ishikawa reveals in the short notes he wrote for the gatefold that they “shuffled them in order to give priority to the atmosphere of the album”.
Ishikawa opines that “this became very unique form for us, and I think we have made a very interesting album”, and he couldn’t be more correct. Sure, the tracks from Night Striker alone would be interesting, but placing “Ma-Gu-Ri-Vu” between Metal Black’s “Red & Yellow” and “Born to Be Free” emphasises both the intense and melodic aspects of “Ma-Gu-Ri-Vu,” respectively, and the whole of the LP is all the better for it.
Zuntata Arcade Classics Volume One comes on black, blue, or yellow vinyl. Our copy on black sounded amazing, and the gatefold jacket looks like it came straight from the era in which these games were released. The liner notes by USgamer's Jeremy Parish provide excellent context for the music of all three games, and are as well put together as they are effusive. Given how good this compilation is, one hopes that Volume Two is fast on its heels.
ZUNTATA ARCADE CLASSICS VOLUME ONE (2017) / ARTIST: ZUNTATA / LABEL: SHIP TO SHORE PHONOCO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW