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Contra

Composed by Kazuki Muraoka, Hidenori Maezawa, and Kiyohiro Sada

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura fought the extraterrestrial in a jungle, Bill Rizer and Lance Bean fought an entire hoard of aliens, and the terrorists that they posessed. The original Contra arcade game was released in February 1987, composed solely by Kazuki Muraoka. Muraoka was both a sound designer, and programmer for Konami. He got his start in 1986 with the game Rock 'n Rage. He only worked on the first two Contra arcade games. He would, however, be known for his involvement as a sound director in the Metal Gear franchise starting in 1998, as well as being a sound programmer for the BeatMania franchise.

When the arcade game was ported to the Nintendo, Muraoka's music was arranged by both Hidenori Maezawa and Kiyohiro Sada. The Nintendo port of Contra is arguably the more iconic of the two versions, for both its at-the-time innovative multiplayer, and as being one of the first titles in Konami's library to feature the infamous Konami code; up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a. That code would commonly appear in various early Konami games, and would reward the player with anything from extra weapons to extra lives to stage skipping. 

One of Maezawa's biggest achievements working for Konami may have been the design of the VRC6 chip to help enhance the audio of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. His programing skills were essential to Koanmi, as he was hired to help port the sound of Konami's arcade games to the more limited home consoles. The programming and composing skills complimented each other very well, in the porting of Contra. Assisting Maezawa was Kiyohiro Sada, who also had both the composing and programming experience to help arrange Muraoka's soundtrack on the Nintendo. Sada did not stay in Konami for long, as he would join Natsume in 1989, making a bigger name for himself working on games like Abadox, S.C.A.T, Spanky's Quest, and arguably his most popular score for Natsume, Idol Hakkenden.

Contra helped develop Kazuki Muraoka's skills as a composer. Skills necessary to lead the sound design team for a franchise as big as Metal Gear Solid. The Nintendo port of Contra helped Hidenori Maezawa and Kiyohiro Sada show how they can take an original arcade composition, and make it sound just as good on home consoles despite how limited the Nintendo's sound was. It was an innovation all around. Not just for people who got a co-op multiplayer experience at home, but for composers who look to push the Nintendo's sound capabilities beyond its limits.

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