Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Collector’s Box
Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Collector’s Box
Capcom (US Edition); Suleputer (JP Edition)
September 18, 2012; July 10, 2013
Buy Used Copy
If you ask any gamer what the most important fighting video game franchise of all time is, the response will be almost unanimous: Street Fighter. Before Street Fighter, video games were just out of their infancy and only testing the waters of becoming a mainstream medium. Arcade venues were now becoming widespread, and companies were quickly gaining new heavy hitters in their software line-ups. Of those was Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise, a game series that revolutionized the fighting video game genre forever. Setting the template for all others of its kind to come, this new title brought to the table complex gameplay mechanics, controls, and move sets that had never been seen before. Today, the series is stronger than ever. Street Fighter consists of four numbered titles with numerous spin-offs, expansions, and crossovers in between.
To celebrate 25 years of fighting, Capcom released perhaps the most ambitious collection ever seen in video games. Containing the series’ best games, a high quality Ryu statue, a martial arts belt, an art book, and various movies, the most notable “extra” was the collection’s soundtrack. Containing a whopping eleven discs of music, the entire soundtracks to Street Fighter, Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III Third Strike: Fight for the Future, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, and Street Fighter X Tekken were featured. Additionally, the tenth and eleventh discs contained specifically chosen fan remixes and originals of the series’ music. The entire package was available for 149 USD for a limited period during 2012. The soundtrack box was later sold through the Suleputer label on its own for 12600 JPY. In short, that’s well over ten hours of music. But does all that quantity necessarily equal quality and and the steep pricetag?
The original Street Fighter is really nothing more than an interesting footnote to the overall franchise’s legacy. That may be an odd thing to say for the series’ first game, but this title often gets overshadowed by its bigger brothers, specifically the seminal Street Fighter II. The game was originally released in 1987 for the arcades and later saw home release on the TurboGrafx-CD with the lamest title ever, Fighting Street. Afterwards, it was ported over to countless home consoles and computer systems. Many have stated that this game has not held up well in modern times and that stance would mostly be correct. But like the first beat em’ up Renegade, Street Fighter’s importance as one of the earliest tournament fighting games should not be disputed. The music for this game is quite the disappointment, unfortunately. I wasn’t really expecting much when I went in, but I wasn’t prepared for the poor quality of what I heard.
First off, the dated age of the synth is almost unbearable. I know that this is an early arcade game, but there were far better sounding games at the time. Secondly, none of Yoshihiro Sakaguchi’s themes here are at all memorable. They all sound repetitive and completely forgettable. Perhaps they worked in the context of the game, but on a stand-alone basis, they simply fall flat. Interestingly, all of the character themes run at 1:44 exactly. Perhaps due to hardware limitation, the composer had to create short themes within a set time limit. There are five countries in all (Japan, USA, China, England, and Thailand), with two characters for each. I guess the themes sort of match their respective country, but the poor synth quality makes this really hard to tell. There’s little point in going over each character theme individually, because they all have the same style of repetitive composition. I’d even go as far to say that this is one of the most disappointing game soundtracks I’ve ever listened to. Overall, I simply cannot stand the sheer blandness and monotony that this score evokes. To my knowledge, there has never been an official soundtrack to this game before now and I can clearly see why. Do yourself a favor and skip this one at all costs.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
After we pass over that fluke, we move on to the most famous and well known game in the series, Street Fighter II. Considered by many to be the quintessential fighting game of all time, the legacy that this one game left on the entire industry is still everlasting. The game has seen countless expansions and ports, all featuring different characters, stages, and music depending on the console. Let me reiterate something here. The music is a huge, huge, huge step up from the original Street Fighter. The difference between the two soundtracks is night and day. These themes are absolute classics and should be mandatory listening material to any lover of retro game music, ranking among the likes of Mario, Zelda, Castlevania, and Mega Man. Since there are so many versions of Street Fighter II, many listeners will have personal preferences of what game has the best soundtrack. The version presented on the disc is Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Since Turbo was the last ever expansion for SFII, this version was likely chosen since it had the most characters and thus the most music. The presentation here both succeeds and fails at the same time. While the synth quality is pretty good, the overall music sounds way too quiet. Turning up the volume does somewhat help, but the listener does sacrifice some audio levels which is unfortunate.
Street Fighter II’s soundtrack succeeds on many levels, mostly because of how fitting and memorable it is. “Intro Theme” is a rock inspired track, perfectly setting the theme for the hard-boiled and gritty setting of the game. Even something as non-essential like the character select theme gets a memorable rock melody. “QSound Logo,” “Versus,” and “Victory Screen” still prove to be enjoyable, though by being very nostalgic tracks. Unimportant jingles that would plague later albums in the series are thankfully kept to a minimum. Instead, the bulk of the soundtrack is focused on the characters. There are 17 character themes in all, as well as ending themes for each character. Ken and Chun-Li, notably have two part ending themes.
From Yoko Shimomura herself, “Ryu’s Theme” is a fitting and heroic theme for the martial artist who is known as the iconic main character of the series. It feels both rock flavored, but also peppered with hints of Oriental music, since Ryu is Japanese. The hard rock approach is more noticeable with “Ken’s Theme” which reflects upon Ken being American. His theme is simply one of the best and most memorable pieces of video game music out there. Then we have “Guile’s Theme.” Really, what else needs to be said about this one? There’s been so many remixes online and this track is only even more popular with the whole “Guile’s Theme Goes with Everything” internet meme. The track bears some similarities to Ryu’s theme, but sets itself apart with its deeper bass riffs and a bolder melody. If I could think of one track that defines the entire series, it would be Guile’s.
“Chun-Li’s Theme” is a charming Chinese-inspired piece mixed together with techno flavors that make it sound definitely like a scene on a busy Asian street. “Zangief’s Theme” is the perfect theme for the burly Russian fighter with its low octave synth and booming melody. It still manages to give off some groovy vibes, though. Then we have the theme to everybody’s favorite monster with “Blanka’s Theme.” This track mostly relies on jungle beat rhythm paired with an Eastern-styled melody. The theme for Japanese sumo wrestler E. Honda is exactly what one would expect. A Japanese-sounding theme paired with heavy percussion that fits the sheer presence and brute strength that he gives off. Speaking of ethnic pieces, “Dhalsim’s Theme” sounds appropriately Indian and foreign.
Moving on to the new challengers, “Cammy’s Theme” is an excellent mixture of jazz fusion with rock thrown into the mix. “Fei Long’s Theme” is also rock-inspired, but gives off a no-nonsense attitude of a trained martial arts master fighting in the urban environments of Hong Kong. “Dee Jay’s Theme” is simply fun to listen to as it features jazzy piano bars and synth. The theme for T. Hawk, a Native American fighter, combines Eastern and Western styles in addition to orchestral/techno fusion. Balrog is somewhat of an odd character to Street Fighter fans, as he’s an actual boxer competing against martial artists. His theme uses excessive amounts of synth and is extremely “video game music like.” One of the biggest surprises to me was the complex composition of “Vega’s Theme.” Being the theme to a Spanish character, the theme is fast paced, acoustic, and sounds quite a bit like a flamenco piece. “Sagat’s Theme” is bold and brassy, but also feels like a combination of jazz and funk.
After battling through all these characters, we come face to face with the final boss, M. Bison! Brooding, percussion heavy, and menacing, it truly is a theme worthy for the Mighty Bison! Just as you are about to savor your victory, Akuma come in and challenges you to one last duel. The true final boss! Exclusive to this version of Street Fighter II, “Akuma’s Theme” is an excellent new track with hard rock, percussion, and Oriental flavorings. Congratulations, player! You are now worthy of the name Street Fighter! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ending. As mentioned before, there is an ending theme to each character. Each reflects upon the characters’ traits and ethnicities, sounding both heroic and bittersweet at the same time. Whew! What a ride! Simply put, this is the best soundtrack in the entire series. Fitting, memorable, and ethnically diverse; the soundtrack to Street Fighter II hits all the right notes (no pun intended). A must listen!
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Interestingly, we have the music to Street Fighter Alpha 3 on discs three and four. The Street Fighter Alpha series (Street Fighter Zero in Japan) is a prequel/interquel to the main Street Fighter series, taking place after the original Street Fighter, but before Street Fighter II. The spin-off series consisted of three games, and brought in new gameplay mechanics that set it apart from the main Street Fighter series. Exactly why only Street Fighter Alpha 3 was included here and not Alpha 1 and 2 is a mystery to me. The soundtrack here is kind of an odd one for Capcom games. Instead of utilizing the upbeat rock/synth melodic approach like previous games in the series, Alpha 3 instead utilizes a more contemporary techno style. Is this a good thing or not? While the soundtrack was progressive for its time, it doesn’t make great stand-alone listening. Overall, the soundtrack to Street Fighter Alpha 3 is a pretty big disappointment.
The first four tracks, “Nobody Blink (Opening Title),” “Triumph (Ranking Display),” “Who’ll Be Your Double? (Character Select),” and “Beginning (Story Demo 1)” are all rather repetitive in nature and rely on bland, uninspired techno/rock riffs for the majority of their short running times. Then we have the character themes. Oh, the character themes. What were they thinking when they composed these? Almost all the tracks here are unlikable and not memorable at all. Would it have been that difficult to simply just remix the old character themes from Street Fighter II and just provide new ones for the new characters? Instead, we only have generic themes that barely pass as suitable for their respective fighters. Remember the awesome theme that Ryu had in Street Fighter II? Not so, anymore. Ryu’s “The Road” exhibits none of the great qualities the original had, and is again only a forgettable techno track. On the other hand, Ken’s “Active Red” is more tolerable, having an interesting mixing of techno blips and a slight hint of rock. Nowhere near as good as Ken’s original theme, though. Then we have the tracks with more “Eastern-sounding” characters. Chun-Li and Dhalsim, Chinese and Indian respectively, have lame themes that only vaguely sound like their own countries. The theme for Spanish fighter Vega completely throws out any ethnical music and instead uses an awful string of repetitive techno beeps. Adon’s “Proof of Divinity” and Sagat’s “Shining One” are both low-frequency synth tracks that perhaps worked in the context of the game, but falls into the pitfalls of repetitiveness when listened to alone. Speaking of repetitiveness, I can barely stand Sakura’s “Breeze” because of this.
One of the few tracks that I actually liked on a stand-alone basis was Dan’s theme “Performance” with it being a groovy techno mix. Another of these is Cammy’s “Doll Eyes” which again utilizes funky synth and clapping beats. The most redundant tracks are the sound effect and voice narration “medleys.” It may seem somewhat amusing to hear Ryu’s “Hakouken!” or Guile’s “Flash Kick!” cries the first time, but I can see no reason why someone would want to listen to them more than once. I’ve so far talked about half the tracks on this soundtrack and I feel little need to go into detail about the rest since it suffers exactly the same problems. In total, we have a very small handful of tracks that I like, and a whole myriad of tracks that I can’t stand or find boring and repetitive. This has been the biggest chore of a soundtrack for me to listen to. The other two Alpha games actually had soundtracks that were quite good. Why on Earth would Capcom choose the worst soundtrack of the trilogy and include it on this collection? Do yourself a big favor, and steer clear of this one at all costs.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
After the many expansions of Street Fighter II and countless other spin-off and crossover games, Capcom finally decided to come out with a true sequel to the main series with Street Fighter III: New Generation. The game was radically different from what had come before in the series, both in gameplay aesthetic and sound design. In typical Capcom fashion, two expansions were released soon afterwards with Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. The music presented on the fifth disc is from 3rd Strike. Rather than remixing older themes from the previous versions, composer Hideki Okugawa crafted new compositions that reflected upon the game’s heavy urban environment. The style of music was a mixture of jazz, drum and bass, electronica, and hip hop; something never before seen before in the series. Does this new style work in Okugawa’s favor?
The two beginning tracks, “Opening Demo,” and “Player Select,” while short and perhaps even cheesy, appropriately set the tone for the rest of the album. Both are groovy tracks with rapping lyrics in the background. We then move on to the character themes, which are the bulk of the soundtrack. “Jazz NYC ’99 (Alex & Ken Stage)” just like the title implies is a jazzy-themed track. Another jazzy, but slightly generic track, is Necro and Twelve’s “Snowland (Necro & Twelve Stage).” The (synth) saxophone is somewhat creative, but the overall arrangements come off as lackluster. “The Longshoreman (Sean & Oro)” is probably the better of the jazz tracks on this album, though that’s not to say that it’s the best I’ve ever heard. Remy’s “The Beep” and Makoto’s “Spunky” are both electronica inspired tracks that give off some good vibes with their melodic-focused direction. Elena’s “Beats in My Head” is an odd track featuring distant saxophone and pulsing disco along with fragmented female vocals. Whether or not the track is “good” per se is up for debate, but it is worth the listen to just hear the overall strangeness. Another odd track is “Psych Out” for Gill but for a different reason. The minimalistic electronica goes for a more atmospheric approach that makes this theme stand out from the rest.
The next tracks described are what I like to call “ethnic, but still urban.” With “Kobu (Ryu Stage)” we return to Ryu’s Japanese roots. The heavy percussion feels very Eastern, but the electronica synth reminds us that this is an urban fighting game. “China Vox (Chun-Li Stage)” is an interesting fusion of the Oriental ethnicity of the character in combination with the urban backdrop of the city. The Chinese melody is only hinted at, though, as the drum and bass line takes center stage. “Twilight (Ibuki Stage)” is a great pairing of Eastern flute melody and electronica. Akuma’s “Killing Moon” is a similar track, but feels more “wild”; reflecting on the animalistic nature of Akuma. Hugo’s “The Circuit” and Urien’s “Crazy Chili Dog” are both rock-centric with their jamming electric guitar riffs, but are otherwise not really notable. “Crowded Street (Yun & Yang Stage)” sounds like something out of an action film, mixed in with some jazz and electronica. The background beat reminds me a lot of James Bond. Dudley is given a new theme with “You Blow My Mind” which combines some catchy beats and addictive electronica. The most mysterious character in Street Fighter, Q, is given an equally mysterious theme. The electronica mixing really gives this character the aura of intrigue and mystery that he exhibits.
Besides a few miscellaneous jingles and an unnecessary voice collection, what remains are two ending themes and staff roll. “Ending 1,” is out of place with the rest of the soundtrack, being an odd synthesized piano piece. “Ending 2,” is more upbeat and funky, but is underdeveloped with its short running time. “Staff Roll,” is a mixture of jazz with drum and bass, but again feels slightly underdeveloped. The music for 3rd Strike proves to be an enjoyable listening experience, but can feel very uneven. I enjoyed the various styles of music presented here and I genuinely liked most of the tracks. It’s a whole lot better than the Alpha 3 soundtrack, but most will likely prefer the music from the superior 2nd Impact soundtrack.
Street Fighter III: The 3rd Strike Online Edition
In 2011, Capcom released a new version of the 3rd Strike as Street Fighter III: The 3rd Strike Online Edition available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. The new release was an exact port of the original version, but added new visual settings, achievements/trophies, and most notably, a remixed soundtrack. The remixed music comes on Disc 6 and is currently the only official retail release of the soundtrack, making it exclusive to this collection. Does this new soundtrack improve upon the original? The album opens up with four tracks that were originally included on a special bonus disc that came with the Japanese soundtrack. Just the fact that Capcom included these songs from a rather obscure Japanese bonus disc is astounding enough. As for the tracks themselves, I’ll say that these songs are pretty good. The mixing is great, the lyrics are well written and performed, and really just plain fun to listen to. The first three tracks are full length rap songs by Canadian rapper Infinite. The fourth of these tracks is simply a remix of the first rap song “Third Strike.”
After that, we move on to the actual soundtrack. “Knock You Out” and “Let’s Get It On” are both brand new compositions made specifically for this version and feature Swedish rapper Adam Tensta. These new tracks are absolutely fantastic and prove to be superior to the previous rap tracks. Tensta’s voice is deeper and has more resonance than Infinite’s rapping. These songs also benefit from improved mixing and synth, since they were probably recorded in a different recording studio with superior technology. The rest of the soundtrack consists of the character/stage themes. I’ve already gone into detail about the original tracks themselves in the last paragraph, so instead I’ll focus on the remixing over all. Simply put, it’s a big improvement over the original. The tracks are of higher quality, the mixing is great, and any tracks that I previously complained about have been substantially improved. The overall melodies remain the same, but the way they are now handled is completely different. Gone is the generic synth saxophone and jazz tracks, replaced in favor for a far superior pulsing techno/electronica vibe. I have nothing but praise for this soundtrack. Some purists will prefer the originals, but I can say with utmost certainty that this is the definitive version of the soundtrack to the 3rd Strike. It’s a shame that the only way to properly listen to this soundtrack is through this collection, as it would make a fantastic stand-alone release.
Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition
Street Fighter III may have been the next numbered sequel in the series, but many fans were disappointed towards how radically different it was from the heralded classic Street Fighter II. After a long and painful wait of almost 10 years, Capcom finally delivered what fans had been waiting for with Street Fighter IV in 2008. Basically, this was the next-gen version of Street Fighter II. It catered to the demands of both new and hardcore fans alike, and was lauded by critics. Despite being labeled as the fourth title in the series, the game took place several months after Street Fighter II, chronologically. For the music, fan-favorite Capcom composer and freelancer Hideyuki Fukasawa was assigned the daunting task. With previous soundtracks in the series being mostly experimental, many were curious to see how the game’s music would be handled. Needless to say, the soundtrack was a rousing success. Going back to the traditional melodic roots of Street Fighter II, Fukasawa was able to compose memorable stage themes that paid excellent tribute to the series’ original beginnings. Old themes were lovingly remixed and new themes were splendidly crafted. The improved synth and mixing of the audio only sweetened the deal. This was the modern Street Fighter game and soundtrack that fans had been begging for. Being the money-making giant that Capcom is, they followed up with two expansions, Super Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack featured on Disc 7 is not the original Street Fighter IV score and is instead every single character theme from Arcade Edition. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the character themes are still enjoyable. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wish for a full, proper soundtrack. What we have here are the 39 themes for every single Street Fighter IV character. As mentioned before, Fukasawa has succeeded in being able to properly remix the old themes and still show respect for the original themes. The 17 original themes are back, and they have been sorely missed due to all the lackluster arrangements that they’ve been given over the years. Listening to these character themes reminded me of what made the originals so great. From Guile’s heroic and memorable theme, to the sheer epicness of M. Bison’s brooding theme, the remix songs benefit from high quality synth, instrumentation, and mixing.
There are plenty of new character themes here as well. Guy is portrayed with a funky mixture of jazz, techno, and pop music, while Adon’s theme features jamming hard rock. Rose’s theme also utilizes a similar rock style, but throws in slight electronica and orchestra elements as well. “Theme of Dan” feels ripped right out of a 1980s arcade game with its funky synth. “Theme of Sakura” is a mellower track than the rest, and uses a deep electronic beat paired with violin and piano for an altogether rather nice and even calming theme. “Theme of Gen” takes the character’s Chinese nationality and fuses it into a successful combination of electronica and techno, while jazzy “Theme of Ibuki” combines saxophone with ethnic instruments. “Theme of Cody” utilizes urban orchestration and vocals to create a theme very reminiscent of the music from Street Fighter III the 3rd Strike. Theme of Abel” also reminds me of this format by starting out with rock/electronica, but then going into a mellower mid-section.
“Theme of Dudley” is a groovy theme that uses electronic bleeps and orchestral elements. The auto-tuned vocals sound slightly cheesy and repetitive constantly saying “Get on the dance floor!” “Theme of Makoto” combines jazzy piano bars along with retro synth and electronic sounds. C. Viper’s theme sounds like a fusion of rock and electronica put together in the same sound. The middle section does slow things down a bit with piano and chorus. The electric guitar takes over before the piece fades out. There’s quite a bit of combination going on with “Theme of El Fuerte.” Fukasawa cleverly mixes jazz, rock, Spanish flair, and techno all together into one spectacular character theme. “Theme of Rufus” is an interesting fusion of techno and rock with yells that remind me a lot of Bruce Lee’s yells from his old martial arts films. “Theme of Gouken” is absolutely fantastic with its combination of Japanese string instruments, deep electronic beats, and tribal chanting based on Akuma’s theme. For the controversial last boss of the original game, “Theme of Seth” has a slightly cinematic feel to it using epic orchestrations. Juri’s theme is a fast paced electronic/techno piece that goes into a slower section before fading out, while Hakan’s is an odd one with its combination of retro synth, electronic blips, orchestrations, and weird background sound effects.
Exclusive to the Arcade Edition are these four final character themes. The twin brothers Yun and Yang get their own separate themes. While both feature the same melody, they are arranged differently. The former takes a hard rock approach, with the latter being more techno themed. The theme for Dark Ryu is a warped version of the original theme. The old heroic and Japanese theme feels desperate, being constantly covered with the dark electronic synth. Should Ryu succumb to the demonic force Dark Hadou, he will become a fighter for evil and hate. Unfortunately, Akuma has already fallen victim to the evil and has become the being known as Oni. Like before, “Theme of Oni” takes the original theme and modifies it, this time with off-key rock. The music for Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition reminds me why I loved the music to Street Fighter II. Every single track here is interesting and Fukasawa is always creative in how he composes and remixes. It’s a shame that the original area themes were not included. On the plus side, this is the only release that contains every single character track. This is a minor complaint, but these themes only play once and do not loop. This is likely due to the fact that the soundtrack already runs over 70 minutes. Problems aside, I can definitely recommend the music here and would even go as far to say that it’s one of the best soundtracks to a modern fighting game.
Street Fighter X Tekken
In 2012, Capcom released the much anticipated crossover fighting game, Street Fighter X Tekken.Like the title suggested, the game pitted characters from both universes into one epic tournament. For the soundtrack, Hideyuki Fukasawa was brought back once again. Can he replicate the success of Street Fighter IV? The soundtrack itself feels very similar to that of his previous score, though it still manages to stand out on its own. While Street Fighter IV had a variety of different styles, Street Fighter X Tekken seems to have one overarching theme. Specifically, it utilizes hard rock and electronic techno for a majority of these tracks. The first disc contains the various stage themes. With the stages in the game being divided into multiple separate areas, each is given its own piece of music. Although each has the same basic melody, the way it’s presented in each section varies. For instance, “Jurassic Era Research Facility (Upper Floor)” is an energetic techno piece meant to convey the beginning blows of the first round. As things heat up with “Jurassic Era Research Facility (Bottom Floor)” the techno synth becomes heavy and more pulsing as the match gets more intense. “Mishima Estate” has three parts, each with its own distinct style. The “Upper Floor” track is a combination of techno, rock, and ethnic woodwinds. The “Middle Floor” has the rock take center stage, while the “Bottom Floor” is mostly techno.
“Pitstop 109” while kind of out of place for a fighting game, is just plain fun to listen to. The “Day” portion is hyper-active, high powered techno dance music. The “Night” track goes even further by being faster-paced and even crazier as the battle heats up. Another set of tracks that breaks the standard trend is “Half Pipe.” The “Upper Floor” track uses slow-tempo heavily auto-tuned vocals while the “Lower Floor” portion is more of a faster paced DJ style piece. Both really feel distant from the rest of the soundtrack, and really come off as experimental. A highlight, though, are the “Mad Gear Hideout” tracks. I really enjoyed the mixture of retro and modern synth in addition to the pulsing techno beat. “Cosmic Elevator” utilizes intense techno synth and orchestral styles. “Blast Furnace” is mainly rock-centric for both portions. “Urban War Zone” and “Antarctica” are both similar in their compositional techniques (rock, pulsing techno, fast tempo, etc.) but manage to be both fresh and exciting. The “Pandora’s Box” tracks are more “cinematic,” relying on epic orchestrations and stringed instruments, rather than the rock and techno themes of the rest of the soundtrack. This is probably due to the fact that it serves as one of the later stages for the game, and the stakes are higher than ever at this point.
The second disc contains all the secondary tracks from the soundtrack. The “VS Battle” tracks match the respective universes of Street Fighter and Tekken. The first Street Fighter VS track has the SFIV theme splendidly performed on electric guitar while the second part is techno. This similarly applies to the Tekken tracks, only obviously with the Tekken theme. We then have the “Mid Boss” and “Final Boss” themes which serve as the final stages. With this being the final fight of the tournament, the music appropriately matches the upped intensity. In addition to the hard rock, orchestral elements such as choir vocals are thrown into the mix. Now that the battle is over, how do we end this game? With a spectacular ending theme of course and Fukasawa does not disappoint.
The final end credits theme proves to be a successful homage of both games’ universes with the piece beginning as a rock type of theme that seems to mesh both of them together. The mid-section even has a solo choir voice that evolves into the full chorus and then the orchestra. The orchestral section evokes pure nostalgia and memories from the two games and provides suitable closure to this epic game and soundtrack. Beyond a few miscellaneous themes that continue to use the game’s musical style, this soundtrack draws to a close. Despite feeling a bit experimental at times, Fukasawa does a fine job crafting a soundtrack that mirrors the one he did for Street Fighter IV. If there are any problems, it’s that the music doesn’t really change styles like he did previously. It focuses on new melodies and fresh mixing to create different tracks, though the soundscape is largely the same. It’s a minor complaint, but one nonetheless. I would definitely recommend this soundtrack to fans of the game, as well as other works of Hideyuki Fukasawa.
Fan Remixes Disc
Exclusive to this collection are two brand new discs. The tenth disc contains fan remixes of already existing Street Fighter themes while the eleventh contains brand new compositions that pay tribute to the series. In all honesty, I was quite surprised with what I heard. With this being done by amateurs, I expected these discs to be all over the place in terms of quality. Not so! I genuinely enjoyed the compositions that were included here. “World Warriorz” is an absolute blast to hear with its creative mixing of character stage themes and voice acting put together with an epic dubstep remix of the themes. “The Warrior Within” is a heroic orchestral theme that could easily fit in with a serious Street Fighter movie or television show. “Shadaloo March” is a percussion heavy militaristic theme worthy of the great Mighty Bison. “Mind Blowing Love” and “Snow Train” are both mellow electronic themes that feel very laid-back.“Here Comes a Giant” is a lovely acoustic guitar piece, while “The Fire Shoto,” “The Abel Rock,” and “Wrath of Bushinryu” each go for a high-quality hard rock approach. That’s another thing that I should mention about this disc. The sound quality is phenomenal. Seriously, the audio quality is so crystal clear that it sounds better than the actual official soundtracks!
Tracks that were slightly disappointing would be “Fallen Hero of Metro City” and “Guile’s Theme on Violin.” The former is a rather repetitive urban piece that tries to be creative in its mixing but really just falls flat, while the latter features poor sound quality on the violin. Besides, Guile’s Theme is so simple that even I could play it. A remix rather than a straight play-through of the track would have been a far better choice. “The Legendary Tomahawk” is another forgettable track that has a repetitive melody along with bland techno synth. “Victory…” is the shortest track on the disc and is simply an underdeveloped acoustic track. “No Play 4 Ibuki,” takes the theme and hands it over to various other instruments to create the remix. I especially enjoyed the part where the piano takes over. “Spiral Arrow” begins with the trademark Capcom logo theme and then shifts into everyone’s favorite female fighter Cammy’s theme. It combines her voice acting along with a dubstep/techno remix of the theme. The result is an interesting and creative remix that’s proves to be enjoyable. Surprisingly, the fan remix for “JazzyNYC’ing DatBeat” sounds even better than the original version. It still does not surpass the version found in Third Strike Online, though. “Blanka in Brazil” utilizes jazzy piano bars and background percussion that sounds very South American.
“Ibiza in My Head” is another superior version to the original, though the female vocalist’s repetitive lyrics may be a turn off to some. The synth and deep percussion are still a plus, however. “Vega’s Theme 2012” is more of a mixed bag. Though the overall mixing and synth is good, the piece loses most of its Spanish flair that the original was known for. “I Want You to Know” is actually a vocaloid song. In case you don’t know, vocaloid refers to a type of music made on a Japanese computer system that has the (usually female) vocals completely synthesized. There are two types of people. Those that like vocaloid and those that don’t. I happen to fall in the former category. I think that it’s an interesting genre of music that’s constantly evolving as the technology gets better. As for the song featured here, it’s nothing special if one is comparing it to other vocaloid songs; but it does prove to be an enjoyable track nonetheless. “Shienkyaku Upskirt” uses the same theme, but as an excellent hard rock theme. “Fight Like a Rich Snob,” is primarily a techno theme that also uses some retro synth as well as a refined piano and harpsichord melody towards the end. “Juri’s Theme 8 Bit,” is just as the title implies: Juri’s theme as an 8 bit track; nothing more, nothing less. The synth is directly reminiscent of music found in the Famicom/NES era and would perfectly fit an NES version of Street Fighter, if such a game existed.
Following that, we then move on to the final disc on this collection that contains fan original compositions inspired by Street Fighter. “Prime” combines rapping vocals, piano, and “gamey” synth. While the vocalist is pretty capable, I find it to be a notch lower than the rappers from 3rdStrike. Speaking of 3rd Strike,“Balrog’s Love For The Game” is a track in the same vein as that found in the game. It’s uses rhythmic beats and synth, but sort of feels repetitive. “Night at the Arcade” is an enjoyable track that features guitar (both acoustic and electric), along with laid-back vocals. This proves to be a nostalgic track as it will remind fans of the long hours spent in the arcades. “The Fighter” is a fast-paced instrumental composition that successfully fuses retro synth from the series with more modern rock. One of the absolute highlights on this disc is “25 Years.” Haunting and fitting lyrics are paired along with sounds from the game that are perfectly in sync. The lyrics may come off as cheesy to some, but will make complete sense with the die-hard fans. Similarly “Street Fighter Frilla” is a slow moving industrial rock track that includes voice clips from SFII’s over the top narrator. “Are You, Ken? So, You’re Ken (Street Fighter Rap)” is another track in a similar style, though I found the singer to not be as strong as “25 years.” On the plus side, the background mixing is pretty solid.
“A New Challenger Has Appeared” is an acoustic track that unfortunately falls flat due to poor sound quality. “Tagging In” is a rap battle put in the world of Street Fighter X Tekken, though I found the lyrics to be laughable. “Hadouken!!” could have been an interesting remix, but is instead a repetitive and grating track that only repeats Ryu’s signature catchphrase over and over again while record-scratching can be heard in the background. “The Vega Anthem – Bloody High Claw” sounds similar to a rap music recording session. The lyrics are perfectly fitting for our claw-bearing Spanish bull-fighter.
“Downtown Alleyway Round 1 + 2” is a jazzy track that uses synth and piano in its first section, but then shifts into fast paced techno in its second section. “Never Gonna Be,” is another vocal theme that combines rock and brass together. “Street Fighter II Ryu’s Path Of A True Warrior” is a more “retro” theme that I guess is supposed to show Ryu’s journey, but the problem is that it doesn’t really go anywhere. “Ryu: My Own Worst Enemy” combines electric guitar with saxophone in the background, but the track is way too quiet and the mixing uneven. “Gigaton Punch” is a rap song about boxer Balrog, though I didn’t really like the singer or the piece’s lyrics. “Flawless Victory” combines the Capcom logo sound, SFIV’s narration, and character voice clips (mainly Chun-Li) from the game. “Satsui No Hadou” is yet another rap song (I’m really sensing a pattern here). The vocalist is surprisingly strong and almost sounds on par with the rap songs of 3rd Strike.
Ending this disc as well as the entire collection is the appropriately named “Final Stage (SF25th Anniversary Edit).” It starts off with rather basic synth, but develops more as the track progresses. While not the best ever, I would consider it to be suitable closure by being a more laid-back piece. Overall, the music found on these two final discs is pretty impressive, though the fan remix is far stronger than the fan original. It’s great that Capcom let the fans do something like this for the collection and I view the results as quite successful. There are few fluke tracks here and there, but nothing really terrible. It’s miles better than the soundtracks to games like the original Street Fighter and Street Fighter Alpha 3, so that’s really saying something!
Before I close off this review, I would like to briefly talk about the packaging of this collection. The eleven discs themselves are housed in extremely cheap plastic slip cases. Would it have been so hard for Capcom to put these discs into proper jewel cases? I can imagine that was done to cut costs, but this set is in limited supply anyways! Secondly, the overall packaging of the entire collection is disappointing as well. All the content is housed in a black felt chest with a cardboard sleeve slipped over it. This wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that the chest has sharp metal corners. If one is not careful, the cardboard sleeve can snag onto the metal, ripping easily. The metal corners themselves come off as cheap with the metallic paint being easily scratched off and the screws loosely fastened, causing them to fall out. The worst offender though is that there is absolutely no track listing for the music with the exception of the last two discs. It would have been easy to simply print the tracks on the discs themselves (like discs ten and eleven) or to simply put them in the included art book. Despite all these problems, there is no doubt that this collection is a huge value and will definitely cater to the hardcore fans.
This is an odd soundtrack box to recommend. For starters, it’s included on the limited edition game collection whether you want it or not and die-hard fans will be purchasing this package regardless. However, it would be a crime to simply write off these discs as a mere “extra” and ignore them completely. Street Fighter and Street Fighter Alpha 3 may come off as bland and forgettable, but the classic sounds of Street Fighter II Turbo, the jazzy tracks of Street Fighter III: Third Strike, and the more modern scores to Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Street Fighter X Tekken are all enjoyable. Even the fan discs are able to hold their own when compared to Capcom’s official works. It should also be noted that most of these soundtracks have never been released outside of Japan and are now really rare. Presentation issues and questionable design choices aside shouldn’t deter any fan from buying this collection. The good outweighs the bad, and this collection is an excellent value. As of this writing, it can still be found online, though Capcom has stated that it will only have a limited run and will not be re-released. There’s even an import version being sold on CDJapan and Play-Asia that contains only the soundtracks, though honestly I’d simply recommend the domestic version as it contains way more content. For fans of the series, this is a definitive purchase and an excellent way to celebrate this important franchise’s 25th anniversary. You have reached the end, Warrior! But the fight continues!
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on March 16, 2014 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on January 17, 2016.