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Sonic the Fighters Soundtracks :: Review by Chris

Sonic the Fighters Soundtracks Album Title: Sonic the Fighters Soundtracks
Record Label: Alfa Music
Catalog No.: TYCY-5521
Release Date: September 26, 1996
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Sonic the Fighters was an Arcade game that, thanks to an unconvincing plotline, placed Sonic and co. in a relatively violent fighting game. Whereas most Sonic games have been developed by Sonic Team, this one was handled by Yu Suzuki's team at Sega AM2 given their prior experience designing the Virtua Fighter series. Its score aimed to be a catchy and upbeat accompaniment to the action and depicted stages rather than specific characters. The majority of the score was handled by temporary employee Maki Morou, though fan favourite Takenobu Mitsuyoshi still made a guest contribution.


Despite his naive musicality, Maki Morou demonstrates time and time that he knows how to create a catchy hook. The first featured stage theme "Lovers" struggles to depict a tropical island with its humble synth, but is still highly enjoyable thanks to its ecstatic melodies and bouncy accompaniment. "K.I.Y.O" an "Come On, Mr. Sonic" are reminiscent of some of Tekken 2's industrial-influenced themes, but they are comparatively superficial compositions that depict very little. However, this doesn't matter out of context as the former still features its infectious piano riffs and the latter really benefits from all the pumping beats. Even the two versions of the character select have a timeless quality to them thanks to their persistent catchiness.

Despite the continual melodic focus, there is still quite a bit of diversity in the soundtrack. "Black Bed" and "Try Again" are jazz-influenced stage themes with quite different moods, the former a relatively laidback accompaniment to Aurora Icefield and the latter a fast happy-go-lucky accompaniment to Dynamite Plant. Meanwhile the casino stage's "Here We Go" and the ending theme "Take Me Away" can be very broadly categorised as rock music, but they're by far the most upbeat elated rock tunes I've heard and enjoyed. I'm not sure what got Morrow so high on life, but these themes are certainly great at the end of a hard day. Even when Morrow finally composes a more dramatic orchestral theme, "Fire Stone", he couldn't resist inserting some stimulating dance beats and groovy melodic hooks.

Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's role on the soundtrack was limited to a few themes. It's pretty obvious he didn't have much time on the production, as he only manages to solely compose the "Continue" jingle and the "Sunset Town" bonus track. The latter is nevertheless a fun jazz cue featuring some of the composer's characteristic piano work. Mitsuyoshi also assists Morrow by co-composing the relaxing tropical-flavoured "Canyon Cruise" and polishing a handful of tracks as an arranger. In the latter role, he most notably ensures the second version of the character select theme is as attractive as it can be to gamers, enhancing its aforementioned timeless quality.


While Sonic the Fighters was often criticised for its violent depictions of Sonic, its music indicates that he's still as positive and endearing as ever. The soundtrack is arguably a poor fit for a fighting game, since it features no aggressive qualities and barely characterises the stages, though the former point didn't stop Street Fighter II from being a success. It follows the Street Fighter formula in other ways too with its emphasis on catchy figures, though keep in mind that these are mainly short melodic and rhythmical hooks, not Yoko Shimomura's expansive and individualistic melodies. In fact, few hooks are memorable after listening, but they're usually enough to keep listeners entertained during the listening process. Even though the soundtrack has absolutely no substance to it, it's hard to condemn it as it can be so enjoyable to listen to its ecstatic yet somehow tolerable tunes. There are few soundtracks as catchy and positive as this one out there, just don't expect to here any action.

Overall Score: 6/10