may be best known
for their assembly line of cheap, sadistic bastards
, but hey, at least the stellar soundtracks
made the beatdown
something to look forward to. Enjoy!
All tropers are encouraged to find the arranged versions of these songs ASAP.
The King of Fighters
- Showdown R&D, Rugal Bernstein's theme. Very energetic, and a song you'll be hearing quite a bit since you'll be losing to Rugal so often. This is the arranged version.
- And, just like Geese, "Ketchaku R&" has been subject to a few remixes over the years: XXX in KOF '98 and Unlimited R in KOF 2002: Unlimited Match.
- Now with a NES version.
- His other themes, Guitar, Omega, and Rugal in '95, The RR in '98, and Last Dance in 2002, have their fair share of fans too. Although "Last Dance", to be honest, has the smallest circle of fans compared to the other themes. Thank you, Eolith.
- And there's the theme of Rugal's son Adel: Revolutionary Etude~R2. It starts out as a Chopin piece, and then goes into full-blown techno. His XI theme, King is even better.
- Trash Head, Goenitz's theme. Militaristic, imposing, and fits the "wind" theme behind the boss.
- Control Crisis, the Orochi Iori/Orochi Leona sub-boss theme for '97, sounds more like a Guilty Gear track than something SNK would do.
- Rhythmic Hallucination, the '97 Orochi team theme. Ominous and imposing.
- In '98, this got expanded even further, with "Rhythmic Hallucination" being given to Orochi Yashiro alone. In its place, Orochi Shermie gets the subdued yet fitting Fanatic Waltz, and Orochi Chris gets the downright sinister Mad Fantasy.
- And eventually culminated into this for KOF 2002: Unlimited Match. Fun.
- The New Faces Team's non-Orochi forms also had pretty killer music (no pun intended) in the form of Bloody. Naturally, this too was remolded when Unlimited Match came along. The end result? Re:Bloody.
- The Origin of Mind, for Orochi himself. Trippy, ominous, oddly serene, and hard to identify. It fits Orochi completely.
- Tears and Sadistic Eyes are among two of the best boss themes in '99, used for the two "hidden" final bosses, Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami.
- Krizalid and his theme Dear Falling Angel from '99. Good use of techno and machine noises. This is the arranged version.
- Also worth mentioning in '99 is the K' Team's Theme KD-0079. What a way to open up with a new hero for the saga.
- This is the arranged version and this is supposedly the original arranged version of KD-0079. Holy...
- Slasher Zero, for Clone Zero in 2000. Nearly all percussion and of an impossible-to-identify musical genre, it's one of the darkest themes in the series.
- The arranged version features a very Indian-ish tune near the end of the song.
- On the subject of Zero, both the clone and the original were given pretty slick tunes in 2002: Unlimited Match. Original Zero's theme is Testament of N.E.S.T.S., an imperialistic march that has a hint of undying duty and sadness while Clone Zero was given Dark Gravitation, a song that has split some fans on whether or not it's better than "Slasher Zero" (a song that was heralded as "pure evil in audio form".)
- An Improvised Concerto, for Magaki. As classical piano, it's surprisingly subdued, but no less awesome.
- The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match made up for 2001 and 2002's rather poor soundtracks with a new soundtrack, and oh, what a difference it makes.
- The King of Fighters 2000, essentially the old SNK's swan song, has an appropriately awesome soundtrack. Nowhere is this exemplified more than in Kyo's theme, the appropriately titled Goodbye Esaka. You can pretty much feel all the emotions of SNK's (brief) demise.
- At the other end of the spectrum are Iori Yagami's jazz-heavy themes with screaming saxophones, the Arashi no Saxophone (that's "Stormy Saxophone" for those who don't know Japanese) series: It started in The King of Fighters '95 with Arashi no Saxophone (which was popular enough to be rearranged in KOF '98 and again in XI), then continued with Arashi no Saxophone 2 in '96 (ditto in 2002 and XIII as EX Iori ), Cool Jam (Arashi no Saxophone 3) in '97, Stormy Scream (Arashi no Saxophone 4) in 2000, and Cool Jam 2 in 2003.
- Whenever Benimaru and/or Shingo end up on a team without Kyo, their themes tend to rival (or even surpass) his themes in the same game. See Still Green in KOF '97, Inner Shade in 2000, Joyrider in 2003, and Asia Sangokudomei (Triple Alliance of Asia) in 2002: Unlimited Match.
- If any of Kim's themes have the word "Seoul" in them, that song is usually guaranteed to be awesome. It began with Seoul ni Ikou! (Let's Go to Seoul!) in Fatal Fury 2/Fatal Fury Special. Then came Seoul Town in Real Bout Fatal Fury/KOF '98 (the '98 version was bashed to the point that the music team one-upped the song into Seoul Town ~Ver. Justice in KOF 2002: Unlimited Match). Next was Seoul Road in KOF '96. Seoul'ssu followed in Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. Finally, Seoul Love in KOF 2003 rounds out the series.
- While not "Seoul" per se, Attack Me! from Fatal Fury Wild Ambition stands out in a game where the music was probably the only remarkable feature.
- The Way to Rebirth from '99 and Wild Party from 2000. Ever since "Seoul Road" in '96, Kim and his Korean cohorts have received a fair share of awesome.
- Fairy, Chizuru's theme from KOF '96, as well as Sacredness ~ Fairy from KOF 2003. Rock and gospel have never sounded so great together.
- London March, Billy's theme from KOF '97 (and a majority of Billy's other appearances) also sounds like it'd go hand-in-hand with Guilty Gear. N.D.R., his theme from Real Bout Fatal Fury, is also rocking.
- In Spite Of One's Age, the theme of the Oyaji/Master Team from KOF '98. And if you thought that was good, wait until you hear Ver. Immortal from 2002: Unlimited Match.
- Psycho Soldier K.O.F Remix from KOF '94. It's a catchy and memorable J-Pop/J-Rock song. The OST rendition from KoF '96 pumps up the bass!
- In a series filled to the brim with rock, jazz, and pop, Slam No. 5 (or is it Slum No. 5?) from KOF '94 stands out as a cool hip-hop track. Also, make sure to catch the '98 version.
- K' seems to have his own string of pure, unadulterated awesome. Aside from the aforementioned "KD-0079", there's KD-0084 in 2000, KD in 2003, and KDD-0075 in XI.
- New Order, Rinrin, and Secret Circumstances, all from XI. The first is a essentially a fusion of "Esaka" and "Arashi no Saxophone" (see above); the second is jazzy; the last one sounds like the score for the next James Bond.
- The Ikari Team has some rocking tunes as well. See Jungle Bouncer from '94, Desert Requiem from '95 (Remixed for 2002 UM), Rumbling on the City from '96, W.W.III from '99, The Trooper from 2000, and Inside Skinny from 2003, and Smell of Gunpowder from XI.
- While it might not have the staying power or nostalgic value of "Esaka" or "Tears", Blaze, Kyo's other solo theme from KOF 2003, has its own merits.
- Love him or hate him, Ash Crimson's themes are deliciously sinister, a testament to just how far he's strayed from the typical protagonistic mold. Splendid Evil in KOF 2003 kicked it off and Joker in XI eventually becomes something akin to Guilty Gear-lite (thanks in part to a killer guitar).
- The Art of Fighting Team have written plenty of awesome music. Most songs have an Oriental flair to them, which serves to only amp up the awesome and keep you pumped for the fight. Try Ryuuko to Ken (Dragon, Tiger, and Fist) in KOF '95, Ryu-Ko in '99, Beauty and the Beast from 2000, Kyoku-gen in 2003, After a Long Absence in XI, and Art of Fight ~ Ryuko to Tsubame (Art of Fight ~ Dragon, Tiger, and Swallow) in 2002: Unlimited Match.
- Zhe Prime, the riveting and yet melancholic theme of Nameless. Fitting doesn't even describe it.
- The Women Fighters Team were not without great music either, which usually either fell into the category of catchy (think club-type beats) or soothing. See Ne! from KOF '94, Tsuchi o Hau Bass (Ground Creeping Bass) from '95, Sha-La-La from '99, Come up Smiling from 2000, and Destiny from 2002: Unlimted Match.
- Antinomy ~Mutually Exclusive Dichotomy~, the theme of the Kyo Clone Team from KOF 2002: Unlimited Match. It starts out a contender for the darkest BGM you'll ever hear in a fighting game (which is fitting considering that evil, magical doppelganger Kusanagi is depicted as looking downright Ax-Crazy with a Slasher Smile that would put Yamazaki to shame). Then, around the post-1:00 mark, the song picks up and starts to feel... oddly heroic. Of course, you're right to back to square one after that brief moment of uplifting.
- Probably a Fridge Brilliance moment for me; they're clones of the hero, after all. Then just when you think they did something heroic, it turns sinister once more.
- A cruel subversion with The King of Fighters 2001, which is almost unaminously hailed as the series' low point in musical score (justified; this was when SNK was paired with Eolith due to bankruptcy). Even with the extreme repetition found in the songs, fans still have their favorites like Kare Koso Saikyo (He is The Mightest), The Invincible Flame, and The Undying Sun/The Immortal Mirror of the Sun.
- The King of Fighters XII also had a very well-done soundtrack. Unlike previous games, the music used is based on the stage rather than the team or character. There are two versions each as well with one only slightly differing from the other. However, the real eye (or ear) opener is the AST versions of the soundtrack. Here is a preview, and the whole AST can be heard here.
- KOF: Maximum Impact was not without some banging tracks as well. Feast your ears on The Usual C'mon, Can You Listen Until the Guitar Solo, At Toyotsu-Chou Suita City, The Trumpeter Under The Bridge, Dangerous Parking Lot (watch out for the Cluster N-Bomb starting at 1:21), Gaining Strength Under the Waterfall, Flying Tremolo Arm, and Requiem for 50,000 People.
- From 2, we have a new version of The Usual C'mon, There's a Semi-Sale in That Forest, The Japanese Parisian, Gloom of the Cowman, Mozokusu in the Mosque, and Giving a Manicure to the Fingernails of Darkness.
- Regulation A gives us Please Select. Perhaps the catchiest menu select theme ever.
- DENGANAMANGANA, a remix of Mizoguchi's theme from Fighter's History.
- ENRIEDO ~The Detached Impure World~ is the perfect theme for the final boss stage. It's also originally from Sengoku 3 and served as the final stage theme for that game.
- SOUTEN KUMOGAI ~Blue Heaven~, the theme for the alternate Kyokugen Dojo stage. Also taken from Sengoku 3, where it served as the Italy stage theme.
- Regal Old Woman, the credits music.
- And now that KOF XIII's been released, you can treat your ears to a new batch of great music:
- The character select theme does a very good job getting you pumped for the many battles to come.
- The Second Joker, Ash Crimson's theme.
- The revamped Elisabeth Team joins the fray with the very Castlevania-ish Each Promise.
- The original Japan Team (Kyo, Benimaru, and Daimon) return to the ring with Esaka Continues... Yes, it does sound almost exactly like "New Order" from XI.
- Continuing his trend of melancholy jazz, Iori Yagami brings you Arashi no Saxophone 5.
- Why don't you do K' a favor and rock out to KDD-0063 as he wipes the floor with you?
- The Lonely Wolves' newest theme, Wild Street. It's like Street Dancer from XI, only injected with 250% more rock.
- Kyokugen Training! ~ Mountain Seclusion. Ryo & co. must workout to this.
- It's time to go on an Irregular Mission with the Ikari Warriors!
- Purity Soldiers, the lighthearted theme of the Psycho Soldier Team.
- The Women Fighters Team and their sultry theme, Who is Queen.
- Kim is going to Tame a Bad Boy with JUSTICE!
- Fate, the calamitous theme of Saiki, which seems to incorporate elements of Magaki and Mukai's themes, fittingly enough.
- And how else to bring the Ash saga to a close than with Diabolosis, the theme of Dark Ash? It's a very chilling, atmospheric piece, fitting of the final battle's nature.
- Similarly, the menu theme for KoF-i, as heard here. It's also the Main Menu theme to XIII.
- While 2002's soundtrack was somewhat lacking due to SNK's financial crisis at the time, Napolitan Trance, the theme of K9999 and the NESTS Team, was quite good, despite the repetitiveness.
- For some people, it may also be the intro and player select themes, even if one's based on the other.
Art of Fighting
- Geese Howard's recurring theme. The minute you hear that, you know that you're gettin' an asskicking.
- Dies Irae, Wolfgang Krauser's theme. Mozart is the perfect tune for a fight with a big German guy.
- It gets quite the imposing remix in the form of Maximum Impact's Requiem.
- All the music in Garou: Mark of the Wolves qualifies. Take a good long listen to Invincible Mask and tell me it doesn't fit the awesomely heroic pro wrestling phenomenon that is Tizoc, the Griffon Mask.
- Rock Howard's theme, Spread The Wings.
- The apple apparently doesn't fall far from the tree, as Kim's sons also get in on the action, especially Jae Hoon. Listen to Too Honest and experience the awesome.
- Slacking off can be awesome, especially with more rocks on Loose Genius, Dong Hwan's theme.
- For something more heartfelt (no pun intended) and relaxing, there's Full Moon: Heartful, Hotaru Futaba's theme.
- Exceed the Limits, Rick Strowd's theme from Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 fits the character well; that is to say it's pure awesome.
- Pandora's Box n°1, Encounter, theme of Jin Chonshu in Fatal Fury 3 and Real Bout Fatal Fury.
- One word: Kurinkinton (Well, actually, it's four: "Chestnuts and Mashed Potatoes"). Odd name aside, Terry's peppy and upbeat trademark theme is always a great addition to any game. The KOF 2002 version deserves special mention, as do Kuri To Itsu Made Mo ("Chestnuts and Forever") from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special/Real Bout Fatal Fury 2/KOF '97 and Kurikinton ~Gomame Guitar Ver.~ from KOF '98.
- Blue Mary's Blues from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special/Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 and KOF '97. Not only it is a soothing yet melancholy song, but Harumi Ikoma, Blue Mary's seiyuu, actually provides the vocals. (For those who want to hear the non-vocal version, here you go.)
- Much like the refreshingly good hip-hop provided by the American Sports Team, a similar case can be made for the themes of everyone's favorite Southtown DJ, Duck King. Whether it's Shitamachi no Abarenbou (The Wild Boy from Downtown) from the original Fatal Fury, Duck Dub Dub from Fatal Fury Special/KOF XI, or Duck Duck Duck! from the Real Bout series, the sound team knows how to churn out snazzy tracks. Props to Kong Kuwata (as in the seiyuu of Duck King and Geese) for actually rapping in a few of Duck's themes.
- Ole! Laurence Blood, bullfighter extraordinate from Fatal Fury, has some fiesty themes backed by a magical Spanish guitar. There's Hataraku Tougyuushi (The Hard-Working Bullfighter) from 2/Special and Ushi to Otawamure (Playing Around with Bulls) from Real Bout Special/Real Bout 2.
- Ti!! Ti!! Ti!! Ti!!, the hard rock theme of Hot-Blooded composite Jackie Chan-Bruce Lee Clone Hon Fu from Fatal Fury 3/Real Bout Fatal Fury. WAAAATAAAAA!!!
- Pangyago Houho, the Fatal Fury 2/Special theme of Acrofatic Chinese brawler Cheng Sinzan. It even gets a remix in the form of Hapushu! Fuuu in the Real Bout series.
- Gori-Rock, Franco Bash's theme from Real Bout Fatal Fury Special/2. What do ya know? The guy wasn't lying when he said he was a "DYNAMOOOOOOO!". OH MY GAWWWD!
- Fatal Fury Wild Ambition is a bad game with even worse graphics... and awesome music. The themes for Billy and Raiden for example.
- Speaking of Raiden, his original theme is also very kickass
- The theme of Ryuhaku Todoh from Art of Fighting, which will return in Art of Fighting 2 as Ryo Sakazaki's theme Uma-to-Boku, and one more time in KOF 98, cementing its status as theme of Art of Fighting series.
- Jack Turner's theme is okay, but it's the PC-Engine arrange that makes it awesome. His theme in the sequel, however, is awesome on its own.
- Lee Pai Long's theme, which was also remixed for the sequel.
- King's theme and Kabocha-To Piero in the sequel.
- Mickey Rodgers's theme in the first game perfectly captures his design as an gritty underground boxer, while his theme in the second game does so again with more Rocky atmosphere.
- John Crawley got some awesome themes.
- Mr. Big's theme, returns as Blue Moon Factory in the sequel. During his appearance in KOF 96 as a part of Boss team, he got Dust Man.
- The first game has an awesome arranged music on PC-Engine.
- Robert Garcia is Swinging the House.
- Yuri Sakazaki is in the middle of the Diet!. Also serves as the Women team theme in 2002, and makes another appearance in XI.
- Eiji Kisaragi makes his debut with Shinobi-no-Michi.
- The music for the third games is stage based and most of them are based on the same tune, but that doesn't stop it from being awesome.
- An ethnomusicologist actually wrote a thesis regarding the music of the franchise. The fourth game, in particular, is said to have a unique blend of Western and Japanese scales for a stylistic result that might have literally never been heard before in video games.
- From Samurai Shodown, Tuna, the theme of series' staple McNinja Galford D. Weiler. It even has a live version, and a few awesome remixes.
- Samurai Shodown Warrior's Rage has a brilliant arranged soundtrack and may be the single greatest music SNK has has ever done. First off, there is Asura's theme which is very dark, yet very tragic sounding. Then we have Haohmaru's appropriately named theme which probably suits him as a character as well as any theme can possibly suit a character. Galford and Nakoruru get probably the best versions of their themes to date, and to say nothing of the boss themes... Gandara has a fittingly ominous track for a giant... THING and Yuga's theme has a dark and terrifying sound that lets you know what kind of being you are up against.
- Speaking of Samurai Shodown, Three Destinies Of Lamentation, the theme of the insane ghost, Basara Kubikiri. Arranged version is even more awesome!
- The dark, gritty tone of the fourth episode is accompanied by a fitting soundtrack made of ominous minimalism.
- The arranged version of Demon's Song -Revised-, notable for being the only other hard rock track in the game next to Tuna, and actually being better than the original version.
- From the fifth game, Yoshitora's theme is best described as "Tuna + Shamisen + Awesome."
- This ending music from the original Metal Slug is cool.
- Metal Slug 3 keeps the trend of awesome music alive.
- Secret Place, the final stage music of Metal Slug 4, (misnamed "Furiously" on the OST). Especially when the piano part starts playing.
- Metal Slug 5 may be unfinished, but it still manages to have the most hard-rocking soundtrack in the series:
- Metal Slug 7 picks up the awesome music gauntlet thrown down by the other games and hits back in kind.