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Street Fighter III 2nd Impact "Giant Attack" Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Street Fighter III 2nd Impact 'Giant Attack' Original Soundtrack Album Title: Street Fighter III 2nd Impact "Giant Attack" Original Soundtrack
Record Label: First Smile Entertainment
Catalog No.: FSCA-10025
Release Date: December 17, 1997
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The Street Fighter III series had three editions and each new addition offered technical improvements and new characters. Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack was released shortly after its predecessor so only six months separated the New Generation and 2nd Strike soundtrack releases. Despite the short production time, the music for the game was a massive improvement on its predecessors thanks to the evolution of its composers Hideki Okugawa and Yuki Iwai. They crafted the score principally by arranging stage themes from the original in a cool electronic style, but there was nevertheless plenty of diversity and even some new compositions to be heard. The biggest improvement was technological, however; the Arcade synth used was exceptional for 1997 and was even unrivalled by 3rd Strike's. Let's look at the soundtrack in more detail...


The best feature of 2nd Impact's score are the creative remixes of the various stage themes from the original. "Crowded Street", for instance, receives an action movie edit featuring the chromatic chord progression from the James Bond theme and Barry-influenced horn punctuation. The melody from the urban original fits surprisingly well. Towards the end of the score, the theme also receives a second remix that helps to tie together the saxophone-influenced jazz sound of New Generation with the electronically-oriented of 2nd Impact. "Get on a Train" is dominated by complex and invigorating drum & bass mix while the lounge jazz of the original is only touched upon. There are nevertheless themes that stick fairly closely to the original. Ryu's "Good Fighter" isn't changed much, but it is still a major improvement given the cleaner samples and better balance.

Moving on to the other remixes, the classic "Jazzy NYC" is given a thin and airy post-production mix exhibiting some house influences. London's "Leave Alone" is another laid-back electronic mix with subtly different cultural influences. The originally imbalanced "Tomboy" and "Cave Man" are transformed into accomplished light jazz mixes here, the former preserving the cultural influences of the original by modestly integrating ethnic voice samples. They work surprisingly well in context while maintaining the characteristic style of 2nd Impact. Another highlight is "Sharp Eyes", which blends the ethnic tinges of the original with an increasingly elaborate piano interpretation of the original melody. Evidently, each arrangement is either a definite improvement on its predecessor or an interesting transformation, so Hideki Okugawa and Yuki Iwai did fantastically in this regard.

There were also some new stage themes composed for 2nd Impact. Perhaps the best is the San Francisco's "Funky Bay" with its infectious funk-influenced piano and synth licks. Serving as an alternative Brazil stage, "Sao Paulo" provides the most exotic addition to the soundtrack with its steel drum beats and beautiful flute melodies. Japan also receives an additional stage theme, "The Flame", with a blend of rock and shakuhachi wails. The Egypt stage theme "Nile" recalls the laid-back jazzy sound of New Generation in conjunction with light African influences. The alternative arrangement for the secret stage emphasises the drum & bass style of 2nd Impact and is even more enjoyable. Finally, the Germany stage "Bottoms Up" is full of rhythm and character with its combination of lead saxophone melody and disco beats. The new themes don't offer that much new to 2nd Impact's stylistic palette, but fit nicely regardless.

The subsidiary themes of 2nd Impact are just as effective as those of those of New Generation. Most are light electronic themes continuous with the style of much of the rest of the soundtrack. However, there are still some brash themes like "Bonus Game" and the introductions of several other themes. The ending themes for 2nd Impact are actually resynthed versions of the ending themes from New Generation. These themes offer a mix of easy listening and big band work that sounds even better here thanks to the new samples. Though it might seem like a cop out not to produce new compositions or extravagant arrangements, it was a decent choice given just how ignored ending themes usually are. The "Staff Roll" theme is nevertheless a new composition featuring a sentimental alto saxophone solo against light strings and percussion. "Giant Attack" offers a brilliant jazz-electro mix to round off the score. The soundtrack technically ends with a voice collection.


Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack is definitely my favourite of the Street Fighter III series soundtracks. It offers a novel light electronica approach that, while not as innovative as its predecessor or as influential as its successor, is wonderful for stand-alone listening. The arrangements are almost all top-notch, staying faithful to the melodies and influences of their originals, but nevertheless enhancing or transforming them. The new stage and subsidiary compositions are fine additions too and add to the character throughout the album. The fantastic synth implemented by Hiroaki Kondo is another big plus. Overall, a strong purchase for those interested in a different but still very cool approach to the Street Fighter III series' music.

Overall Score: 8/10