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Virtua Fighter 2 Soundtrack :: Review by Charles

Virtua Fighter 2 Soundtrack Album Title: Virtua Fighter 2 Soundtrack
Record Label: Toshiba EMI
Catalog No.: TYCY-5410
Release Date: February 22, 1995
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Though the Virtua Fighter series isn't principally known for its music, the scores have still been quite important for adding to the pace and characterisation of the game. The Virtua Fighter 2 soundtrack achieves this through a rock-oriented sound. Mainly co-composed by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi and Takayuki Nakamura, the soundtrack was at the top of its class for its time. But what about 15 years on?


Whereas the Virtua Fighter soundtrack had quite a relaxed vibe, the music of Virtua Fighter 2 is more hard and aggressive. This is evident straight from the first stage theme featured "Man of the Fist". The music is typical Japanese instrumental rock music — highly energetic thanks to a combination of thrashing riffs and bright melodies. This certainly adds more vibrancy to the gameplay and makes the experience somewhat more immersive. Furthermore, in terms of stand-alone listening, it's potentially enjoyable if one likes that kind of thing. There are even some guitar solos added in, which is quite exceptional at a time dominated by linear 'verse and chorus' tracks.

That said, the rock focus of the soundtrack can be a bit one-dimensional. There isn't much expressed about the characters through this type of theme and some are also pretty boring out of context. Tracks such as "Virtua Fighter 2", "Song of Sorrow" or "Escape" are more run-of-the-mill fighter style with a repeating guitar riff over and over. They're not particularly intrusive in the game, but become repetitive and boring when listening to the album alone. When there is so much great rock music out there — of the instrumental and vocal variety — I can't say generic tracks like these will be worthwhile for the average listener.

Despite the rock focus, the team do make an effort to portray the fighters in the game in a distinctive way. "Star from Hong Kong" and "Mountain Hermit Shun Di", for instance, integrate ancient flutes and percussion to give a unique Asian touch. Such additions stop the pieces from being complete guitar noise like many of the other character themes. The energetic and catchy rock organ use in some of the themes is also a welcome contrast from the guitar leads in tracks such as "Black Cat Moon". Some will also enjoy the reprises of Virtua Fighter's "Jacky" and "Sarah" at the end of the soundtrack.


Put simply, Virtua Fighter 2 features a short but sweet rock soundtrack. Listening to it again really creates the feeling of being back in the Arcade. However, I honestly don't know if I could take much more at once than this, the music is fun and work with the game, but it's just a bit hard to listen to on it's own. It's a bit of a classic for its day, but doesn't stand up against the much more elaborate and memorable rock soundtracks of today.

Overall Score: 6/10