This CD was the first game music CD I bought completely "blind" - i.e., without haveing heard any of the music. At the time, I thought there was no chance Gradius 4 would ever get a console release (this has since changed). So I went ahead and got it. I can't say I'm entirely happy with my purchase, however, I'm not entirely disappointed either.
There are really two parts to this CD. The slight majority is original and arranged music from the game Gradius 4. I loved the music from the previous Gradius games but unfortunately this one doesn't hold up as well. It's almost as if the composer(s) were trying to imitate the styles from the previous games, but merely didn't dedicate themselves to the task. It ends up sounding like a bad ripoff of general Gradius music. It also lacks the number of different pieces that Gradius 3 or the Parodius games had. It's not horrible, however, and there are a few tracks that redeem it. "Feiton" is quite good, and there's even a full score of it in the booklet. Boss BGMs 1 and 2 are nice mixes of older Gradius boss tunes. There are a couple more decent tunes scattered in there.
There are two arranged tracks that are good arrangements in and of themselves, but the music used to make the arrangement isn't too good, so they end up lacking something. Track 23 is a sound effect collection, and it's not bad at all, as far as SE Collections go.
Even if the Gradius 4 music isn't that hot, the final three tracks of the disc make up for it. Tracks 24-26 are medleys of music from Gradius 1, 2, and 3 respectively. This is great, because the older Gradius soundtracks are now incredibly hard to find, and the medleys use most of the best tunes. The producers could have conceivably fit all or almost all the music in the time alotted, but instead they decided to have each tune play through *3* times. The other problem with the medleys is that they are all contained in single tracks, so if you want to listen to one specific tune, you have to either search for it or wait for it. However, all in all, as a bonus they are not shabby at all, as they take up almost half of the time on the disc.
The other good part about the soundtrack is the price, which is noticeably less than most new single-disc soundtracks. So overall, it's not a bad purchace, but it's mainly one only Gradius fans should consider.