Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter Original Soundtrack & Arrange
Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter Original Soundtrack & Arrange
First Smile Entertainment
September 19, 1997
Buy Used Copy
Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter was the second game in Capcom’s VS fighting series. As far as the game went, it was basically a yearly update to X-Men VS Street Fighter, with some fine-tuning to the frantic gameplay (character balance, adding in assist attacks) and some changes to the roster (mostly taking out the X-Men characters for other familiar Marvel faces, like Spiderman, Hulk, and Captain America). Luckily, the Capcom composers who’d done X-Men VS Street Fighter‘s soundtrack, Yuki Iwai and Yuko Takehara, chose a completely different route for this game’s music: Instead of arranging all of the familiar Street Fighter themes as they did in X-Men VS Street Fighter, they decided to give the “Street Fighters” new themes. The result is arguably the weakest in the VS series soundtracks trilogy, but when you come up with new themes that hold their own against the original Street Fighter themes, it means you’re doing something right.
Of course, not all of the content here is original. Some of the tracks for the Marvel characters, which appear in other games, are remixed superbly. My own familiarity with the origins of these Marvel tracks is limited. Of the ones present, I do know that Captain America and Spiderman’s themes originated in Marvel Super Heroes, and Omega Red’s comes from X-Men: Children of the Atom. Anything else, I can’t say if it’s original or not (I would assume the themes for Blackheart, Shuma-Gorath, and Hulk were also used in Marvel Super Heroes). I do know that those I’m familiar with have been beefed up and are much stronger than their original counterparts.
For this review, I’m going to play a little game. I’m going to give a couple of adjectives to describe each character. In just about every case, the same adjective will hold true for the character’s theme. Case in point: I would use the words “consistent” and “steady” for Ryu, the Street Fighter who calmly goes about his business, and for Cyclops, the ever-present leader of the X-Men. The same adjectives are those I would use for their themes. Nothing fancy, just two consistent and steady pieces that calmly alternate a guitar and a saxophone. On the other hand, Ken is the polar opposite of Ryu. His adjectives would be “flashy” and “frantic”. Indeed, his theme starts out with a blaring of saxophones and never loses steam as it plays through. For both Akuma and Wolverine, I would use the word “dangerous”. Well, both of these themes use a menacing series of beats to complement the guitars and saxophones that are heard in the melodies. This may seem like a kid’s game, but it’s exactly what you should be able to do with a good fighting game soundtrack, as opposed to the generic techno-crap Capcom seems content with spoon-feeding us nowadays. Let’s keep going with this:
– Captain America / Spiderman… Heroic, Action-Oriented… Captain America’s theme comes in blasting with fanfare fit for a superhero arriving to save the day, and continues as he ‘kapows’ the bad guys to death. Spiderman’s theme is perfect for the web slinging crime fighter who swings high above the city.
– Vega / Blackheart / Omega Red… Evil, Villains… Blackheart’s theme uses an eerie sound effect to complement the guitar in his theme. The melody for Vega’s theme is played by a loud bass guitar, complemented by heavy drumming and an overall dark tone. Omega Red’s theme uses a spooky-sounding synthesizer with a very slow melody that builds anticipation as it moves throughout the piece. Yep, no doubt about it: these are definitely villain themes.
– Shuma-Gorath /Dan / Dhalsim / Norimaro… Wacky, Off-The-Wall… Shuma is a squid-like monster that attacks by throwing eyeballs and rolling itself into a ball to attack. Dan is a joke character, made to look like Ryu and Ken to poke fun at characters in SNK’s Art of Fighting games. Dhalsim has always been sort of a parody of mid-eastern culture. Norimaro is Capcom’s version of a wacky Japanese comedian. Not surprisingly, all of these themes are wacky, off-the-wall, and a lot of fun to listen to.
– Zangief / Hulk… Powerful, Heavy-Hitters… Both of these themes are heavy-hitters, adding an extra layer of bass making the music even more powerful.
– Sakura / Chun-Li… Cute, Light-Hearted… For the ladies of the game — Chun-Li, the lightning-kicking chick from China, and Sakura, the Japanese schoolgirl who idolizes Ryu and likes Street Fighting because it’s fun — these themes are perfect.
No doubt about it: This soundtrack has personality to spare. At the end of the soundtrack is an arrangement of Zangief’s theme, mostly using a high-quality MIDI set-up and a live saxophone. This was one of the first game music arrangements I had the chance to hear. I loved it back then and to this day, I’m so less impressed with this arrangement. After the first playthrough of the theme, it morphs into a wicked dance-like piece and uses a series of solos to get back to the main melody. Finally, a wicked sax solo sets up the ending, as the main portion of the theme loops, with the sax complementing it until the very end. A full disc of these kinds of arrangements for the rest of the themes would be something worth killing for.
This soundtrack is very special to me, as it was one of the first three game soundtracks I had the chance to own. At first, I was disappointed that the familiar Street Fighter themes weren’t included (Marvel VS Capcom Original Soundtrack was sold out at the time, so I chose this instead). I quickly got over my initial disappointment and came to appreciate the genius of these themes for what they were. Despite now having collected game music for about six years, pieces like Dan’s theme, Sakura’s theme, and the Zangief arrangement at the end have yet to lose their sparkle. I’ll never forget the Chinatown-inspired wackiness that ensued the first time I fired up Dan’s theme or the charm of Sakura’s, or the sheer thrill of hearing my first game music arrangement. This was my first truly blind pick, and I’m grateful I chose it that day. I couldn’t have started my game music obsession out on a better foot than this, and despite the sometimes-erratic nature of their work, Yuki Iwai and Yuko Takehara will have a fan forever in me (As a side note, these composers also worked on the Mega Man 2 The Power Fighters soundtrack, which I got at the same time — you can really hear the influence they had on both that soundtrack and this one).
If it’s classic Street Fighter themes you crave, look to the X-Men VS Street Fighter Game Soundtrack — you won’t find them here. What you will find here is one of the best original soundtracks to come out of the Capcom camp, loaded with killer melodies, tons of character, and the best arcade-based sound system around. Nowadays, I don’t expect Capcom to go back and rehash their old themes, but if they do something original, I do expect them to at least match this soundtrack. This has been quite problematic recently. If Satoshi Ise (the talentless idiot who composed both Capcom VS SNK 1 & 2, plus served as a sound designer for Marvel VS Capcom 2) is interested in pumping out generic crap that is best suited to line the techno, jazz, or hip-hop sections of American music stores, he should do it on his own time and not inside of Capcom’s biggest fighting games. Maybe it’s time for Iwai and Kadota to beat some sense into this guy before his “music” (and I use the term interchangeably with “noise” in this case) potentially ruins another good fighter.
It may be the weakest of the three Marvel VS series soundtracks, but Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter Original Soundtrack & Arrange has the biggest heart of the three. If it pops up, be sure to snag it. It belongs in any serious game music fan’s collection.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andy Byus. Last modified on August 1, 2012.