Bare Knuckle III :: Review by Don
Bare Knuckle III (aka Streets of Rage 3) was the last part of the side-scrolling fighter genre. Joined once again by Motohiro Kawashima, Yuzo Koshiro takes the helms of this project. After the success of the Bare Knuckle II soundtrack, and with Kawashima taking a greater role in this project, how does it compare to the soundtracks of past?
If Bare Knuckle II was the high point in the series in terms of music, Bare Knuckle III is easily the low point. The style is music is hard techno, but it is otherwise typically Bare Knuckle. However, there just seems to be this lack of magic. This might be partly attributed to the automatic composition technology that the composers used to generate musical scores quickly.
Kawashima seems to focus more on an inclusion of an industrial sound throughout his works. While not all of them are bad, I find a lot of the pieces to be very repetitive in nature. There is also a bit of sameness heard across the soundtrack. One highlight of the soundtrack, at least to me, is "The Poets I". I think that Kawashima did a really nice job with this one and it reminds me of the Bare Knuckle soundtracks of the past.
Koshiro's works, unfortunately, aren't too much better. The repetition is still heard across the soundtrack and, while he's a bit more diverse, I don't find his contributions to be strong. To me, there really isn't a stand out track of his I can confidently say is worth a listen. They are all rather nice to listen to, if you can get past the repetition, but it's more of a generic listen than anything. You might find something you like, though.
To me, Bare Knuckle III is the worst of the bunch. After the stellar Bare Knuckle II, I was quite disappointed with this one. Very few stand-out tracks, a sense of repetition, and an overall generic feel to the soundtrack make this one worth skipping. Enjoyable, yes, but at the same time, you might find yourself just passing through this one onto another soundtrack, with nothing really to go back to for a second listen.
Overall Score: 3/10