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Fighting Vipers Sega Saturn Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Fighting Vipers Sega Saturn Original Soundtrack Album Title: Fighting Vipers Sega Saturn Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Polygram
Catalog No.: POCX-1053
Release Date: September 26, 1996
Purchase: Buy at eBay


In the mid 1990s, rock-based soundtracks for fighting games had become the norm and composers from Sega, Capcom, SNK, and Tecmo were competing to see who could offer the hardest grooves. Sega put in a respectable entry with 1995's Fighting Vipers, a game similar to Virtua Fighters except with armored characters and walled arenas. The game was ported from the Arcade to Saturn during 1996 and David Leytze returned to offer a few enhancements to the soundtrack. Unfortunately, the results don't entirely satisfy in their own right or compared to their predecessor...


The Arcade and Saturn versions of the Fighting Vipers soundtrack are largely thematically continuous. There are plenty of recurring themes on this soundtrack, except with novel arrangements and synthesis. Quite a few of the Saturn arrangements are almost identical to their original versions, however. "The Trouble with Raxel", for instance, only features a few adjustments from "Big Factory" and most of them are detrimental. There are some technical improvements in the synth, but the track sounds a little more hollow and disjointed overall. Regardless of whether an improvement or not, there's just not enough novelty for the track to be interesting for those who have listened to the Fighting Vipers Original Soundtrack already, though it should still appeal to those who haven't heard the previous score.

The majority of the rock arrangements are similar to their originals. "Sundance Kids" is a likeable as "Armstone Town Bay" originally was, featuring the same catchy melodies and extravagant guitar solos as always. The synth improvements are nevertheless minor — in part since the original was so accomplished already — and much of the track still feels a little dated due to the overreliance on the rock organ. More significantly, "King of the Mountain" fails to significantly improve upon the already generic and underwhelming final boss theme "Top of the Mountain". It's still a pile of generic rhythm guitar riffs and the disjointed additions of a few more gritty chords or a little electronic noise does not change that. A lot more could have been offered given the relative technological freedom that the Saturn offered.

While the majority of the album consists of 'resampled tracks with frills', there are a few genuine transformations. "Bay Side Blues", or instance, is a clear attempt to give a bluesy touch to the original "Bay Side" theme. The result is quite enjoyable and brings a little more stylistic range to the album, though I can't help but find the arrangement quite contrived and clichéd. There are also a handful of completely new themes that flank the stage themes. With the exception of the groovy opener "Fallen", these tracks are too short and simple to be of much interest out of context, though, and merely fulfil their designated roles as menu themes.


When looked at purely in its own right, the Fighting Vipers Sega Saturn Original Soundtrack is an effective, enjoyable, yet utterly ordinary fighting soundtrack that captures the Fighting Vipers experience. When compared with its Arcade counterpart, the score does feature more diversity and enhanced synth, but is otherwise very similar and not entirely satisfying. For those looking for a soundtrack for Fighting Vipers, the port soundtrack is the one to go for, but don't expect anything special and certainly don't purchase it if you already own the Arcade soundtrack.

Overall Score: 6/10