Final Soldier Soundtrack, Masakatsu Maekawa, 1991
There’s no doubt that one of the TurboGrafx-16’s strengths was its stellar line-up of shoot’em ups. However, that also meant any developer who decided to throw their hat in the ring would find it harder to stand out from the crowd. Hudson Soft should have been well-placed to hit the target with Final Soldier, their third entry in the Star Soldier franchise and successor to commercial and critical success Super Star Soldier. Alas, Final Soldier offered little that other shoot’em ups hadn’t already brought to the table. Contemporary reviews agreed that this Japan-only release delivered the polish expected from a Hudson Soft shoot’em up. At the same time, a lower difficulty level meant that the game was over relatively soon for experienced players. A solid, well-designed game rather than a great one, seemed to be the general conclusion.
Scoring duties for the Final Soldier soundtrack went to Masakatsu Maekawa, who had already amassed several years of industry experience by this stage, debuting with 1986’s Metro-Cross (at least he probably did – available sources aren’t entirely clear). A member of developer Now Production since graduating from university, Maekawa was immensely prolific in the 1990s, for example working on Hudson Soft franchises such as Rolling Thunder, Adventure Island and Splatterhouse. Leaving Now Production in 1994 to form his own company Music Worx (a subcontractor for game sound) did little to slow his output during that decade.