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Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack Album Title: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack
Record Label: OverClocked Remix
Catalog No.: OCRA-0012
Release Date: November 27, 2008
Download: Download at OverClocked Remix


OverClocked Remix's soundtrack for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix has the unique honour of being the first fan-arranged soundtrack featured in a major commercial release. The remix community were chosen to create the soundtrack after Capcom was impressed with their musically creative and technologically accomplished arrangements on the unofficial album Street Fighter II: Blood on the Asphalt. Malcos, José the Bronx Rican, and others from Asphalt united with famous guest arrangers such as djpretzel, AE, and Mazedude to create remixes of 66 themes from the soundtrack to Super Street Fighter II Turbo. OverClocked Remix proudly released the final soundtrack for download through their website last November. How does this soundtrack compare to its predecessors? Were Capcom right to choose amateurs to remix their classic soundtrack? Read on for my opinions.


The first of the character theme arrangements is Malcos' arrangement of Ryu's theme. The emergence of the unforgettable main melody at 20 second mark is simply euphoric and the rest of the remix maintains the passion and atmosphere of the original. Malcos' straightforward, bold, and emotional sound, though overly dominant in Blood on the Asphalt, is well suited for the shorter crisper arrangements here. For the most part, the OverClocked Remixers continue do justice to the originals; Chun-Li, for instance, continues to glide high even with techno beats down below while the electric guitar take on Guile's character sounds cool on so many levels. Most of the culturally inspired tracks are excellent too, such as Blanka's slightly tropical and laid-back remix. Although the original wasn't especially likeable, Dhalsim is given a dash of flair with its blend of traditional and modern Indian styles. A welcome surprise is that Zangief's theme diverted from the techno focus of other remixes in favour of a light electric guitar sound.

The greatest jewels of Blood of the Asphalt — Dee Jay's bouncy reggaeton and Vega's narcissistic hip-hop — were reprised on the soundtrack. The decision to remove their lyrics is understandable given the target audience, but it leaves the arrangements vacant shells of what they once were. Dee Jay's remix has rhythm but little personality while Vega's melancholic string work is only broken up by a brief Spanish guitar solo. There are a few other disapppointments too. Given it created by the daddy of OverClocked Remix, I expected a little more from E. Honda's remix than typical martial rhythms interspersed with the occasional shakuhachi wail. Balrog's sleazy jazz remix was a good idea, but the saxophone melody strips all the nostalgia and importance of the original with its derivative writing and feeble synthesis. A less prominent example of troublesome writing is in Cammy's stage where the strange doubling of the guitar line with warped synth disrupts some very nice synth jazz grooves.

Although a lot of the album is laidback and nostalgic, OverClocked Remix offer some hard-edged tracks too. Ken's theme is given the power rock remix bound to delight his fans with their air guitars. The gritty punctuation of Fei-Long's remix gives some insight into the martial artist while the bombastic Wild West interpretation of T. Hawk is also very effective for character and setting alike. Most of the Four Devas are given low-key remixes. In particular, Mazedude's lush synth blends even make Sagat seem meditative! However, Malcos makes M. Bison all the more formidable with edgy string motifs and heavy distorted beats. Put simply, this is the best remix of the mighty commander's theme I've heard — the cross-rhythms are just so effective in context. But that's not all as cult legend Akuma makes a special appearance in HD Remix too. Although AE's remix is intrinsically simply, it creates so much menace with its perplexing lead and punchy riffs. Oh yeah!

Each character theme is also given a rendition for when players incur heavy damage. Past Street Fighter soundtracks simply made the original character themes faster or louder for this purpose. OverClocked Remix is more artistic in their approach by offering altered mixes that subtly reflect the desperation of the characters. Even if they're not always interesting, these short remixes are perfectly listenable. The ending themes for each fighter are interspersed with their character themes. Given the originals were composed with brute efficiency, each ending theme is 30 seconds long and rather musically superficial. They range from personal wrap ups to character theme arrangements to parodies of famous tunes. Nonetheless, José the Bronx Rican considerably refines most ending themes both musically and technologically. While they still will be interruptive and troublesome for many, their inclusion ensures the album is complete and their presentation is faithful to previous Street Fighter II soundtracks.

Moving on to the miscellaneous tracks, the album is opened by a straightforward rendition of the Street Fighter II title theme. The subsequent menu theme instantly provides a special and nostalgic feel to the soundtrack — following an awesome opening riff, it springs into an ecstatic new arrangement of Ken's theme. A total fan service, but it's a very good one! The short fanfares for the game are given pretty faithful renditions and, though their placement in the soundtrack can be jarring, they remind listeners that even some of the shortest themes on Street Fighter II's score were memorable. Some of the other subsidiary tracks are quite daring though — such as the warped and experimental rendition of the famous character selection or the ambient soundscapes of the briskly cut options theme. Another Soundscape's credits theme is pretty good too — blending the retro tones and melodic emphasis of the original with OverClocked Remix's characteristic electronic manipulations.


Overall, Capcom made a good decision by choosing OverClocked Remix to handle this soundtrack. They received a set of technologically competent and stylistically varied remixes that kept the worldly, personal, and nostalgic feel of Street Fighter II alive. The fact most involved were fans of the game helped to ensure the remixes were suitable in the game and, more challengingly, compatible with fan's tastes. To boot, Capcom's decision to hire this community generated far more publicity and excitement than any choice of professional arranger would. Despite this, the soundtrack can be an interruptive listen due to the heavy damage and ending themes. Furthermore, some remixes were given far more time and thought than others with the likes of Malcos, AE, and Vurez generally outshining Neostorm, José the Bronx Rican, and djpretzel. Though this album is promising, I think most members of OverClocked Remix would benefit from further training so they can successfully attempt more ambitious arrangements and grow out of their niche. It's still definitely worthwhile giving the album a try, especially since it's free to download.

Overall Score: 7/10