Bionic Commando Theme

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Bionic Commando Theme
Composer Harumi Fujita
Released 1987-03-??
Title Origin Game Location
Loops Yes

The Bionic Commando Theme is the most popular song from the Bionic Commando series, appearing in more games than any other song in the franchise. It was composed by Harumi Fujita for the original arcade game, but has since been rearranged for several different ports and reboots.

In addition to its various rearrangements, the song was also covered by the band Machinae Supremacy to promote the Bionic Commando reboot.

Title

The song's title has gone through a couple changes through its history. Without an official soundtrack, the song lacked a title for 18 years, often being referred to as "Area 1" by players of the NES port, because the song is first heard in Area 1, or "The Forefront" by players of the arcade game, because the song is played in Stage 2: The Forefront. However, in 2005, Scitron Digital Contents obtained the rights to publish a large bundle of arcade game music in the Legend of Game Music: Premium Box. Among the games include was Top Secret, Bionic Commando's Japanese title, and this song was released with the title, "大要塞 [Big Fortress]." The English translation on the soundtrack differs from the in-game translation. However, in 2008, Capcom released Bionic Commando: The 8-bit Soundtrack to promote the Bionic Commando reboot. The new official title was created by Grin employee Simon Wiklund and listed as, "Bionic Commando Theme." In 2009, the orchestrated version of the song was released on the reboot soundtrack as "Main Theme."

Composition

The Bionic Commando Theme was originally composed in a military style. There is a constant rapid snare drum keeping time in the background as well as a driving bass. The lead is pair brass-sounding instruments with occasional flourishes from what sounds like a fife. Overall, it has a very military march sound. Later arrangements of the song use a more cinematic sound with full orchestration.

Games

Bionic Commando (ARC)

Platform - ARC.png
Bionic Commando (ARC)
Output - OPM.svg
Bionic Commando - ARC - Stage 2.png
Arranger Harumi Fujita
Released 1987-03-??
Length 0:41
Format UNK

This is the original version of the song as composed by Harumi Fujita. It is heard in stage 2: The Forefront.

This song was included on the Legend of Game Music: Premium Box album. It's track 52 on disc 3, and it has the title "大要塞 [Big Fortress]."

Audio Devices

The song is played on a YM2151 sound chip and is song 0x2 in the game's sound test. The instrument breakdown is as follows:

Channel Instrument
1 Horn Lead, horn flourishes
2 Horn Lead (low), horn flourishes
3 Bass
4 Horn Harmony (high), flute flourishes
5 Snare Drum 1
6 Snare Drum 2
7 Unused
8 Unused

Bionic Commando (NES)

Platform - NES.png
Bionic Commando (NES)
Output - NES.svg
Bionic Commando - NES - Area 1.png
Arranger Junko Tamiya
Released 1988-07-20
Length 1:03.93
Format NSF
Junko Tamiya rearranged Harumi Fujita's song for the NES game where it can be heard as the background music for Areas 1, 3, 4, and 7. The song is considerably shorter, featuring only the first portion of the song before looping and missing all of the flourishes of the later portions of the arcade version.

This song was included on the official soundtrack, where it is track 1 and is titled "Bionic Commando Theme." In the liner notes, Dean Tersigni writes:

There were many war games for the NES, but none of them have a more military sounding track than the "Bionic Commando Theme". The beat of the snares and the pulsing bass are the perfect backdrop for the powerful lead. Obviously inspired by a military march, this iconic song gives the game its notable character.

Audio Devices

The song is rendered on the RP2A03 chip in the NES in NTSC regions and on the RP2A07 in PAL regions. The PAL version of the game doesn't compensate for the slower clock speed, and plays at a noticeably slower tempo. The track is number 5 in the NSF file.

Channel Instrument
Square 1 Melody
Square 2 Harmony
Triangle Bass
Noise Snare Drum
DPCM Unused

Bionic Commando (GB)

Platform - GB.png
Bionic Commando (GB)
Output - Game Boy.svg
Bionic Commando - GB - Area 13.png
Arranger Kouji Murata
Released 1992-07-24
Length 1:11
Format GBS
Kouji Murata probably used Junko Tamiya's version when he ported it to the Game Boy because it uses the shorter structure found in the NES port. The song has a slightly slower tempo and the expected lower fidelity. The bulk of the song is intact, but it is missing the bridge. Surprisingly, the iconic song is only played once, in area 13.

Audio Devices

The song is rendered on the Game Boy's DMG-CPU B and is track 1 in the GBS file.

Channel Instrument
Square 1 Melody / Harmony
Square 2 Melody / Harmony
Noise Snare
PCM Drums, Bass

Bionic Commando: Rearmed (W32)

Platform - W32.png
Bionic Commando: Rearmed (W32)
Arranger Simon Wiklund
Released 2008-08-13
Format UNK

The Windows 32, PlayStation 3, and XBox 360 ports of Bionic Commando: Rearmed use the same remixed version of the song. A preview of the remix can be heard on the 8-bit album (track 11), and the full remix can be heard on the Bionic Commando: Rearmed - The Soundtrack, track 1.

There are two variations of the song, one that plays in the normal areas, and another that is played when you rescue Super Joe.

This rendition is completely digital.

Bionic Commando (PS3)

Platform - PS3.png
Bionic Commando (PS3)
Arranger Jamie Christopherson, José Luis Gonzalez Castro
Released 2009-05-18
Format UNK

The three ports of the 7th generation Bionic Commando reboot all use the same music. It features a fully-orchestrated rearrangement of the song from Jamie Christopherson, as well as a piano arrangement made and performed by José Luis Gonzalez Castro.

The orchestrated arrangement is track 1 on Bionic Commando: The Soundtrack where it is listed as "Main Theme," while the piano arrangement is track 18 listed as "Piano Theme."

This rendition is completely digital.

Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 (PS3)

Platform - PS3.png
Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 (PS3)
Arranger Simon Wiklund
Released 2011-02-01
Format UNK

Both ports of Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 use the same remixed version of the song. The song can also be heard on the Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 - Original Soundtrack, track 5.

This rendition is completely digital.

Albums

Released Album Version Title Track
2005-03-24 Legend of Game Music: Premium Box Arcade version 大要塞 [Big Fortress] 3-52
2008-05-27 Bionic Commando: Rearmed - The Soundtrack Rearmed version Bionic Commando Rearmed (Main Theme) 1
2008-06-23 Bionic Commando: The 8-bit Soundtrack NES version Bionic Commando Theme 1
2008-06-23 Bionic Commando: The 8-bit Soundtrack Arranged version Bionic Commando Rearmed Trailer (Arranged) 11
2009-06-25 Bionic Commando: Master D Revival Project - The Soundtrack Rearmed version Bionic Commando Rearmed (Main Theme) 1
2009-07-28 Bionic Commando: The Soundtrack 7th Gen version (Orchestrated) Main Theme 1
2009-07-28 Bionic Commando: The Soundtrack 7th Gen version (Piano) Piano Theme 18
2013-10-22 Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK, We'll Groove Remixed Proceed Without Caution 2
2013-10-22 Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK, We'll Groove Remixed Enemy Underworld 8
2013-10-22 Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK, We'll Groove Remixed An Arm Pun 9
2014-10-14 Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2 - Original Soundtrack Rearmed 2 version Bionic Commando Main Theme Revisited 5

Links