Monday, September 22, 2014

Soundtrack September: Street Fighter II

Game: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991)
Platform: arcade et al
Composers: Shimomura Yoko, Abe Isao

Like Gradius III, Street Fighter II is an example of a soundtrack sounding better after being converted to the SNES (.SPC) sound format. So even though the soundtrack was written for the 1991 arcade original, I am primarily honoring the SNES version in this post.

Make way for another Capcom soundtrack composed mostly by a woman (the third such soundtrack I have written about this month, after Strider and Mega Man 2). Shimomura and Abe wrote a theme for each character, effectively cementing that model as the norm for fighting games. The matador guy's music sounded Spanish. The yoga guy's music sounded Indian. The sumo wrestler's music sounded Japanese. And the muay thai fighter's music sounded strung out on heroin.

These themes would become synonymous with the characters in the SFII roster. Subsequent games would experiment with other music, but if you ask a fan to hum Ryu's theme, that person is going to hum Ryu's theme from this game, not Ryu's theme from Street Fighter Alpha 3 (although Alpha 3's music wasn't bad for the most part).

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