Ship to Shore’s skill in finding cult games with amazing soundtracks continues with their double-LP release of Konami’s Snatcher. The music over the record’s four sides takes the listener on a trip through the near future of 1996, wherein bioroids are killing and replacing humans. It’s a blend of banging club jams, quiet lounge, and squelching electronic bounce.
“Theme of Snatcher” is a full-bore club jam, and the way it drops with its “Yeah, yeah, yeah” at the start of Side B is really the start of the music proper. One could consider all of Side A to be something of a prelude. It’s like an introduction, setting the scene in a cold open, before the listener really gets into the action.
Snatcher was originally released in 1988 as Cyberpunk Adventure Snatcher on floppy disk in Japan. It went through several incarnations over the years, but the version from which this audio is sourced is the 1994 Sega CD version, and despite the digital history of the game, the music sounds surprisingly warm on vinyl.
The low end is really boosted on this release, allowing Snatcher to function as dance music for androids, especially on tracks like “Theme of Isabella.” However, even on the pieces which are thumping the bass, the mastering work keeps the tweets and bleeps well-placed in the mix. At no point does Snatcher ever push the levels, as it effortlessly flows from the melodic “Theme of Snatcher (Part 2)” to “Danger Dance 2.”
The comparison of tracks such as these is made all the more impressive by the fact that the tracks present on this deluxe release are technically from two different sources. Pieces such as the aforementioned “Theme of Snatcher (Part 2)” come from Snatcher Zoom Tracks, which were added to the Sega CD version in Redbook audio.
This means those cuts are actually recorded pieces, whereas the likes of “Cure” and others were generated by the Sega CD console, which was running through a Sega Genesis. Thankfully, Ship to Shore used a stereo-modded Genesis to capture the console-generated tracks, meaning that they’re far more robust than one might remember coming from their television speakers.
This is an absolutely essential release for fans of ‘90s electronic music, video game scores, and soundtracks in general. Ship to Shore once again knocks it out of the park with a lovely gatefold jacket, replete with watercolor promo art inside and out, as well as two art prints featuring the game's main characters. The clear vinyl LPs look gorgeous, and sounds just as wonderful. Liner notes, similar to what were included in Arcade Classics Volume One or Manos: The Hands of Fate, would have put this rather niche title into better perspective, but anyone with a knack for online search will find a wealth of information regarding this excellent title.
SNATCHER (1994) / ARTIST: KONAMI / LABEL: SHIP TO SHORE PHONOCO. / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW