Red Alarm Soundtrack, Ken Kojima, 1995
Of course, hindsight is everything, so it’s easy to marvel now at how Nintendo thought that a console as clunky and inherently limited as the Virtual Boy could ever succeed. In defence of Nintendo and Virtual Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi, the console ultimately shipped in a downscaled version, as Nintendo shifted its attention and resources to the Nintendo 64 halfway through the Virtual Boy’s development. The story of the Virtual Boy was ultimately a short one, with only 770,000 copies sold worldwide and the platform discontinued after less than a year.
While only 22 Virtual Boy games were released during the console’s life time, there’s still the odd gem to be found amongst the soundtracks that accompanied these titles. Easily the best Virtual Boy soundtrack is Ken Kojima’s work for Red Alarm, one of the console’s launch titles. A wire-frame graphics rail shooter inspired by Star Fox, Red Alarm was developed by T&E Soft, who had already proven their shoot’em up credentials with the jaw-dropping Game Boy title Chikyuu Kaihou Gun ZAS. Like all Virtual Boy games, Red Alarm found little commercial success, but it was at least better received by reviewers than most other VB titles.