Fatal Fury -Real Bout Special-
Fatal Fury -Real Bout Special-
February 5, 1997
Buy Used Copy
Though it featured no new characters, Fatal Fury -Real Bout Special- featured enhanced presentation and gameplay compared to its predecessors. The soundtrack for the game primarily recycled themes from the main trilogy, although some new tracks were offered here and there. Nevertheless, a soundtrack release and an arranged album soon followed, only to be made redundant by yet another upgrade: Fatal Fury -Real Bout 2-.
A large portion of the soundtrack is dedicated to arrangements of existing character themes from the franchise. The sound team carefully selected tracks that matched the personalities of the featured characters, while resonating with series’ followers. For example, they selected Terry Bogard’s popular theme from Fatal Fury 2 in favour of his Fatal Fury 3 portrayal, while doing the reverse for his brother Andy. For the most part, the returning tracks are a diverse bunch. Ranging from the racing guitar riffs of Billy’s “London March”, to the wild sounds of Joe’s “A Special Poem…”, to the softer traditional sounds of Tung’s “How Can China Have 4000 Years of History?”, most will be accessible to newcomers and nostalgic for veterans alike. For those that love voiceovers, there’s even Duck King’s returning theme from Fatal Fury Real Bout.
The extent of the elaborations varies greatly from track to track. For example, Terry’s theme is completely revamped — the Neo Geo Music Performance Group wisely ditch the Peter Gunn influence in favour of a free-spirited big band-styled arrangement. In contrast, Andy’s theme hasn’t changed much from its latest incarnation. The samples are considerably richer and there are a few other tweaks, but not enough for it to stand up as novel entity. Given most tracks emerging from Fatal Fury 3 were already accomplished, the sound team saw little reason to change them. Yet other tracks are given major facelifts, for example the themes for Billy and Joe; they stay close to their originals, but benefit from more balanced arrangements and enhanced samples. They’re clearly superior to the original, but won’t exactly wow series’ collectors.
The sound team nevertheless produced a few new themes to match the returning characters. The most inspiring examples are the new themes for Hon Fu and Mai Shiranui. “Donchika!! Chi!! Chii!!” couldn’t be a better fit for the Hong Kong detective, mixing strong urban influences with some Asian flavours. While Mai Shiranui’s meditative themes were enjoyable in previous soundtracks, SNK decided the alluring character would suit a more upbeat pop-flavoured track better. Other shifts were less inspired. “Blue Mary’s Blues” is catchy enough, but is nowhere near as creative or emotional as her Fatal Fury 3 incarnation, while “GOLI-Rock” is a cookie-cutter rock piece that lacks the charm of Franco Bash’s original portrayal. There are also two orchestral contributions for the ultimate bosses, the motivating march “Determination” to portray the Jin brothers and a broken reduction of “Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s requiem for Wolfgang Krauser.
Disappointingly, the returning themes for Bob Wilson and secret character Geese Howard do not loop in their incarnations here — apparently cramped to give more space for bonus content. Geese’s arrangement also leaves quite a bit desired, given the flute lead sounds too mild-mannered and contrasts jarringly with the guitar riffs. Aside from the featured character themes, there isn’t much other content on the soundtrack, aside the obligatory title, select, and ending themes. While a little brief, “S-WIND” is a decent closer — filled with old-school rock sounds and bright synth melodies reminiscent of the series’ roots. There are also a line of voice collections tracks and two sound effects collections on the stand-alone release.
There isn’t enough original content on Fatal Fury -Real Bout Special-‘s soundtrack to justify a purchase. The majority of the tracks are just upgrades — for major and minor — of favourites from the series. The remaining tracks are something of a mixed bag and will only appeal to series’ collectors. In addition to recycled content from previous releases, nearly all the tracks from this release were reused for Fatal Fury -Real Bout 2-. Nothing to see here… Moving on…
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.