Fatal Fury 3 Arrange Sound Trax
Fatal Fury 3 Arrange Sound Trax
June 7, 1995
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After the frustrating two-part arranged album release for Fatal Fury Special, SNK put things right here — packing arrangements of 15 character themes into a single wholesome 63 minute album. The composers from the original score returned to arrange various themes with bold stylings and live performances.
Following a brief arena rock-styled opening, complete with voice-overs, the album moves straight into a performance of “Big Shot!”. Arranger Masahiko Hataya stays true to his original composition, emphasising Terry Bogard’s extravagant Americanised melodies within a jazz-rock setup. But gaining a boost from the big band recording, the trumpet leads are excellently done, while the extended guitar solo from the 1:41 mark is filled with unashamed exuberance. It still sounds dated in places, but nonetheless brings a level of excitement the original only aspired to. After its underwhelming soundtrack version, “Thunderous Waves” receives a much more polished treatment here. The urban jazz vibes are considerably expanded upon, creating compelling rhythms and brooding soundscapes.
While most tracks improve on their originals, they still tend to stay very close to their original concepts. Joe Higashi’s “Taste of Crocodile”, Mochizuki Sokaku’s “Taku-Hatsu”, and Bob Wilson’s “A Taste of Honey” are primary examples — continuing to blend contemporary funk riffs with exotic instruments and chanting. Their groovy bass lines and catchy melodies are still their primary source of appeal. Nevertheless, the arrangers still shake things up towards the end of these pieces with major solos — the wild guitar improvisations on “A Taste of Honey” being a particular highlight. The traditional Japanese instruments of “Taku-Hatsu” wonderfully implemented, demonstrating SNK’s experience from the Samurai Shodown series.
Even with all their bizarre experiments and worldly samples, SNK still stay faithful to their core sound on this album. “White Franco” is likely to be a real standout for rock lovers. Guitarist Jun Kajiwara and keyboardist Nobuo Kurata really inject life into the juggernaut’s melodies and solos. It’s fantastic both melodically and rhythmically. Slowed-down and riffed-up, Ryuji Yamazaki’s “C62 -Shirokuni-” also sounds better than ever here. The two themes for antagonist Geese Howard, “That’s Geese” and “Kissed By Geese”, stay comparatively faithful to their originals — sometimes note-by-note. However, the impact of a full rock band ensures these tracks still sound pretty good. The latter isn’t quite perfect — primarily due to some dated samples — but it’s still a fine entry.
However, the most surprising entries on the album are those tracks that explore more intimate and acoustic tones. The classical training of SNK’s MARIKO stands out on “Wandering on a Piano and Harp Fantasy” — a romantic miniature featuring lavish piano work. Another gorgeous piano solo is featured on Blue Mary’s “Kiss Me” — this time of the jazzy, semi-improvised sort — giving way to moody hybridised interpretation of the secret agent. Macky closes the album with two incredible orchestrations, dedicated to the possessed Jin brothers. While their originals were impressive, these greatly elaborate on them with dark, romantic symphonic writing and cutting-edge sampling. These tracks were so well-received that SNK decided to record an entire symphonic album dedicated to the series.
The Fatal Fury 3 arranged album offers both quantity and quality. SNK’s sound team stayed faithful to the images and personalities of the various characters throughout the album. But relieved of technological and in-game restrictions, they offered much richer sounds and fleshed-out ideas. Whether the rocking anthems, jazzy improvisations, or the orchestral climax, everything is worth a listen here.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.