I had noticed them as well and other than that I have no idea. I am happy to know that they don't count towards the hit rate cuz I can defintely recall times where I ran around in circles trying to get my air attack weapons to connect in the possibilty that they did indeed somehow count towards your final hit percentage. I think maybe the devs put them there just mess around with us. If they did then they sure got me pretty good.
I had tried a few searches at google but most of the galleries that came up only featured pics of some person while playing the actual game and none of the concept art from the game gallery. However I did manage to pull up this other site that feature a few game related pics, but also seems to describe many of the decision impact consequences that the player experiences at various points as well as interpreting many of what I gather are called "tropes and idioms" related to the game. Pretty interesting. Take a look.
Holy crap I looked at that utube vid if that footage is of someone actually hitting each of those notes or tabs or w/e they called then that is pretty crazy. I knew that arcade games like that exist in Japan and some of the ppl there are known to be crazy mad good at them. This ones no exception I see. Also I looked at the Data tab here at gfaqs for both Neo Contra and Shattered Soldier and both lists of credits seem to indicate that Sota Fujimori did indeed cover the music work for both games.
I agree that it is a damn crying shame that more ppl didnt catch on to these awesome Contra titles and help carry the torch that was lit from this classic series roots. It is almost precisely as you say, Ppl fell off and got distracted with all this tomb raider kingdom hearts crap. I havent played games like this since back in my sega genesis days going haywire crazy with Gunstar Heros. And I've been down and jiggy with Konami ever since they release that cute little Rocket Knight Adventures title way back in the day. Many developers these days are only in it for the money. Thats not how it's supposed to be in my opinion.
just play the game... worry about your sanity afterwards ~riddlebox89