Fatal Fury 2
Fatal Fury 2
February 19, 1993
Buy Used Copy
For the second instalment of the Fatal Fury, SNK largely imitated Capcom’s worldwide success Street Fighter II. The title included an expanded roster of characters, a more polished appearance and gameplay, and a brand new soundtrack by Toshio Shimizu, Yasumasa Yamada, and Yasuo Yamate. Like its predecessor, this character-focused score featured plenty of rock tracks and worldly excursions. The Arcade version of the score was released together with a bonus arrangement by Pony Canyon. While a decent listen, it is one of the weaker additions to the series…
Once again, the heart of the Fatal Fury 2 soundtrack are the character themes used during the main gameplay. The returning heroes from the original game are finally given their own themes here, each featuring a very different approach: Terry Bogard’s “Kurikinton” is an imitation of the jazzy Peter Gunn theme, his brother Andy’s “Pasta” is a traditional Italian dance, and Joe Higashi’s “A New Poem…” is filled with Asian instruments and tonalities. Of these, “Pasta” is certainly the most charismatic thanks to its infectious melody and elaborate melody. With each of these tracks, it’s commendable that SNK was able to preserve the essence of each style with their cutting-edge synthesis, though they’re all quite derivative. Terry’s theme is especially grating on repeat, while the synthesis of Joe’s track leaves much to be desired.
“Pangyago Hoho” and “Flame Dragon God” are far superior Asian-inspired compositions than “A New Poem…” Dedicated to idol Mai Shiranui, the latter is especially enjoyable with its alluring melody and mesmerising instruments; the blend of traditional and pop elements is tastefully done to capture the modern day setting, thanks in part to the superior sound board of SNK’s cabinets. SNK also took plenty of opportunities to incorporate their signature rock sound on some of the other tracks. Kim Kaphwan’s “Let’s Go to Seoul” and Big Bear’s “Tarkun and Kitapy” are decent fighting tracks that capture the kickass nature of the characters. But just like similar tracks from Fatal Fury, these are more about riffs than melodies — in fact, the latter is fittingly an arrangement of Raiden’s theme from the original.
Some of the most enjoyable additions are the themes for the boss characters Billy Kane and Axel Hawk. Their heavy rhythms sound very cheesy 20 years on. But in the context of the game, these themes are hard-hitting and sound pretty formidable — the guitar parts in the latter sound especially mean. Just like the character, the theme for the penultimate boss Lawrence Blood is a blatant rip-off of Vega’s theme from Street Fighter II, and an inferior one at that. It still left plenty of room for a great arrangement on the image album, though. In a surprise move, SNK dedicated a reduction of Mozart’s “Dies Irae” for the final boss, Wolfgang Krauser. While fans are split as to whether this was an inspired move or lazy gimmick, the synthesis certainly has nothing on a live performance.
The soundtrack is rounded off by a range of jingles. From the imposing title theme, to the lively “Play Select”, to the ethereal name entry track, all the tracks do their job despite being a little short. The ending theme “The Sunset Sky Part III” is bound to inspire all the desired emotions in players with its warm jazz mood. It also receives an impressive arranged version, “Center Circle”, at the start of the soundtrack by original composer Toshio Shimizu. Completely dominated by Hiroyuki Shiotani’s beautiful soprano saxophone performance, this five minute performance has a hazy and romantic atmosphere. For curious players out there, the album release also features voice collections for all the characters and an extended sound effects medley.
Though this soundtrack isn’t bad, there is little development here compositionally or technologically upon its already solid predecessor. While SNK create a whole roster of new character themes, most are derivative and few are memorable. What’s more, with the unfortunate exception of the bonus arrangement, nearly every significant track here was included in the soundtrack release for the expanded game Fatal Fury Special. This release, along with the series’ box set, makes this already unspectacular album obsolete.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.