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Virtua Fighter 4 Soundtrack :: Review by Charles

Virtua Fighter 4 Soundtrack Album Title: Virtua Fighter 4 Soundtrack
Record Label: A2M Mix (Japan Version); Tokyopop Soundtrax (Import Version)
Catalog No.: AMMX-2001; TPCD 0219-2
Release Date: February 6, 2002; April 2, 2002
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Virtua Fighter 4 was ported to the PlayStation 2 in 2002 complete with a high-tech soundtrack. Fearful that the series was falling down musically against competitors in the Guilty Gear and Versus series, new composers Sachio Ogawa and Hideaki Matsumoto took a mainstream-inspired heavy rock approach. They also offered great sound quality and vibrant instrumental and vocal performances that weren't featured in earlier Virtua Fighter soundtracks. The music real gets a chance to show its energy here, but is energy all you need for the fighting-based Virtua Fighter games?


The composers immediately assert the harder, cooler image for the soundtrack with "Ignite Your Heart". Though the series has featured rock tracks before, the guitar riffs, drum beats, and bass licks here are much louder and meaner than anything before. The use of live performances and high quality performances massively enhances them in this regard. What's more, heavy metal vocals are heard throughout the track and are quite well done, though they are a select taste. Further vocals are heard in some of the most climactic moments of the soundtrack, most notably in the merciless "Melting Pot" and "Night Crawler".

The instrumental tracks used for the various stage themes maintain the heavy approach. The focus of these tracks is to pump up gamers for the fight and get them into the heat of the action. As a result, there aren't many intricate or melodic moments, just lots of loud head-banging rock. Many tracks actually little more than a series of chords played loudly. For example, "Blue Impact" or "Metal Dream" may be energetic and vibrant, but are totally annoying. There are just some megaphone-sounding bits in each track that make me want to turn them off. Wanting to turn the music off is never a good sign now, is it?

Nevertheless, there are plenty of tracks that contrast from the generic norm of the soundtrack. Some offer interesting riffs and melodies, most notably "Stand" and "Nightmare", that put them on par with certain additions to the Guilty Gear series. I also tend to enjoy the rock-techno fusions on tracks such as "Terminus" and "The Last Survivor". These are just so compelling and bubbly. Some stages also features some fusions with traditional Asian music, such as in "The Fort" with its gorgeous violin leads and "The Great Wall" with its passionate vocals, though these elements are less prominent than they were in earlier Virtua Fighter soundtracks.


Sachio Ogawa and Hideaki Miyamoto did a good job bringing Virtua Fighter 4's music to the 128 bit generation. The soundtrack feels top-notch in terms of implementation and usually offers quite a dense sound. That said, the music is flawed in that it is a fairly generic and expected guitar-noise soundtrack. It's flawed in that the guitar-noise soundtrack is extremely expected. However, it will be appealing for its target audience and still features plenty of interesting fusions. I recommend this to those people that liked previous Virtua Fighter music and felt all it needed was some extra energy.

Overall Score: 7/10