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Street Fighter EX2 Plus Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Street Fighter EX2 Plus Original Soundtrack Album Title: Street Fighter EX2 Plus Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPCA-1038
Release Date: February 19, 2000
Purchase: Buy at Game Music Online


In 2000, Arika attempted an ambitious remake of the Arcade's Street Fighter EX2 for the PlayStation 2. In addition to various new stages, moves, and enhancements, the game offered a revamped score. A team comprising returnees Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, and Takayuki Aihara and newcomer Yasuhisa Watanabe offered a range of arrangements and new compositions for the score. While they make formidable attempts to bring the series' music into the new century, they're ultimately limited by the capacity of the hardware available for them...


Street Fighter EX2 Plus is mostly dominated by arrangements of the Street Fighter EX2. The quartet made a clear attempt to offer inspired new takes on the original themes with plenty of new sections, harmonic intricacies, and instrumental solos. In addition, every theme has been resynthed with crisper and clearer — yet not necessarily more realistic or appealing — synth compared with the Arcade version. Some tend to benefit from the changes, such as the altogether warmer and groovier "White Field" or the utterly dramatic and eccentric "Mahatma Temple". Others like "Flash Train", "The Infinite Earth", and "Crash Power Plant" have problems in a few passages, but mostly stand out as vibrant arrangements; the guitar solo in "The Infinite Earth" will be especially appealing for old-school rockers. And then there are far more tracks where the arranger and sound designers clearly pulled off more than they could chew and the results are disastrous...

There are plenty of examples of such arrangements in the soundtrack, but one particularly stands out as unfortunate. The original version of Hong Kong's "Crowded Town" was a vibrant blend of pentatonic melodies and punchy techno beats. Saso attempted to elaborate on this hybridised sound with a two-tiered arrangement. She more-or-less nails the bass section with her hard, yet subdued, electronic beats. Far more unfortunate is the treble section, which blends both plucked and bowed Chinese instruments. Neither force is appropriately synchronised with the electronic beats and the high-pitched bowed instrument unfortunately sounds more like a cat being strangled. The newly added section from 0:55 and 1:53 is another interesting twist, but ultimately sounds too tangential and cutesy to be a welcome one. While the inspiration for this arrangement is clear, mistakes during the polishing, synthesis, and balancing ensured a very awkward final result that ultimately pales to its tight original.

Do the new compositions serve as a saviour for this deeply flawed port soundtrack? For the most part, the newly added themes tend to be an exciting deviation from the arrangements and bring a range of new flavours. The slow-developing "Phantom Bomb" brings a refreshing change of pace and ethereal atmosphere to a largely bombastic soundtrack. "Irene" meanwhile seems well-suited for the Goddess of Freedom with its divine electro-acoustic soundscapes and multifarious cultural influences. There are also a range of themes for newly added novelty stages too, such as Latin jazz for the jungle, abstract electronica for a refridgirator, and an ecstatic anthem for outer space, all of which are pretty decent and seem well-engineered for the console's hardware. There is also a new final boss theme, "Battle of the Flame", that seems to hybridise all sorts of ethnic and electronic features once again into a formidable yet exciting track.


Overall, it's admirable that the four composers had so much ambition when creating this album. However, in the majority of the cases, the arrangements weren't definitive improvements on their originals due to problematic sound design. The sound is technically clearer and enhanced, but the balance is generally off and the synthesis is unconvincing. Not everyone feels as negatively about the changes, but the consensus seems to be that the originals are generally more enjoyable listens. Thankfully, this album is not a complete disappointment, since there are some excellent new compositions and some inspired arrangements. However, most will want to think carefully about buying it above its predecessor. It's clear that this album

Overall Score: 6/10