Art of Fighting 3 Arrange Sound Trax

artfightingarr Album Title:
Art of Fighting 3 Arrange Sound Trax
Record Label:
Pony Canyon
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
May 2, 1996
Buy Used Copy


Art of Fighting 3 featured a very sparse soundtrack for a fighting game. It mostly comprised theme and variations of just three character themes, though there were a few other tracks worth listening to. As a result, SNK’s decision to make an arranged album for the game was met with limited applause. Just how did the company manage to make a full-length album out of such limited material?


The Art of Fighting 3 Arrange Sound Trax actually combines arranged tracks with drama performances. Seven drama performances are interspersed between the arrangements and set the scene for the album. The seiyuus for Ryo Sakazaki (Masaki Usui), Robert Garcia (Mantaroh Koichi), and Yuri Sakazaki (Kaori Horie) were asked to return to the production, giving some continuity. However, the brief nature of the performances means that these tend to be unwanted interruptions rather than worthwhile fan services. Their appeal will also be limited to Japanese speakers.

The majority of the arrangements featured on the album were created by jazz pro Ken Morimura and performed by famed instrumentalists, among them two ex-Casiopea members. Morimura gives many of the character theme arrangements more stand-alone appeal by refining and expanding upon their free jazz stylings. The free-spirited melodies of “Mojo” and “Get High” sound particularly alluring in their upbeat big band arrangements here. Solo trumpeter Eric Miyashiro brings plenty of the life to the melodies, while showing off his talents with challenging solos. The latter also features some soothing jazz fusion interludes.

That said, Morimura offers some far less successful variations on the same themes. “Get High (Rare Groove Mix)” combines sleazy saxophone solos, trashy R’n’B beats, and ridiculous voiceovers (e.g. “This is serious music we’re dealing with here”) into an unbearable mix. While he captures the Latin essence of “Mojo (Ramble)”, the solo sections leaves much to be desired; the saxophone solo at 2:10 sounds extreme and showy for the sake of it, while the flute solo endures a rambling quality. It’s clear that he felt hindered by the need to interpret the same theme multiple times.

SNK’s sound team bring some variety to the album by offering a few arrangements of their own. The brief arrangement of the title theme — bookended by drama performances — contributes to the clumsy start of the album. However, “Get High (B-Mix)” is an excellently arranged and performed rock track; electric guitarist Jun Kajiwara, in particular, the most of the original melodies and offers some standout solos. The last entry into the album, “Liberation Hallucination”, combines the sensual tones of the ending theme with drama performances. While it ties together the concept of the album well, it’s too incohesive to be a highlight.


There is some excellent musicianship behind the Art of Fighting 3 Arrange Sound Trax. Many of the arrangements are vibrant and authentic, with their big band jazz and hard rock stylings, while the performances demonstrate the long experience of the instrumentalists. But ultimately, the arranged album is limited by the lack of the original material and the variations are therefore hit-and-miss. The album also has a problematic structure, with repetitive arrangements and interruptive drama tracks. In the end, not recommended.

Art of Fighting 3 Arrange Sound Trax Chris Greening

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on January 22, 2016.

About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!

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