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Monday, April 23, 2012

Favorite Tunes #7: Capcom Fighting Themes

I tried to avoid labeling all my main features with numbers but it makes things easier on me so I decided to just roll with it. More Capcom themes but this time we're focusing on fighters. There'll be some Street Fighter here and there, but it won't dominate the list.

Them of Wolverine - Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter (Arcade, Saturn, PSX)

Wolverine is everywhere. You could argue that he was the star of the three live action X-Men movies. He even got his own (sucktastic) movie in the form of Wolverine Origins. In the recent X-Men cartoon, it was billed as Wolverine and the X-Men. So just in case you weren't aware who the poster boy X-Man is, yeah, it's Wolverine. When one thinks of the six-clawed Canadian, they probably don't think of a slow, jazzy theme. And yet, this is what he was given in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. Wolverine has been given more aggressive themes in Capcom fighters since this game and they've been good, but I've always liked the mood of those one.

Theme of Taiyo High School - Rival Schools (Arcade, PSX)

If ever there was a series that needed to be brought back, it's Rival Schools. With only a handful of games, Rival Schools faded into obscurity after Project Justice was ported to the Dreamcast in late 2000. Packing some of the most colorful, off the wall characters in a fighting game, Rival School wasn't anything revolutionary but it was a whole lot of fun and one of the better alternative fighters on the original PlayStation. Rival Schools' soundtrack isn't anything too spectacular but it does boast some memorable tunes. I've always enjoyed Theme of Taiyo High School. Its a good theme to beat down a teacher, classmate or principal too. Yes, even high school authority figures are not above issuing thrashings.

Street Fighter II - Balrog Stage (Arcade ver. CPS I)

Let's make one thing clear. I LOATH Balrog. That Dash Punch continues to haunt me to this day and is enough to make me want to break my controller, because, well I like to play my fighters with pads over sticks. That said, I LOVE Balrog's stage theme. It evokes a boxer at the top of his game while reflecting that Las Vegas vibe. I wouldn't hear the CPS I arcade version of Balrog Stage until almost 20 years after Street Fighter II was released when I picked up the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection for PS2. For those not in the know, there are two forms of CPS hardware, CPS I and CPS II. Said collection let's you choose between either CPS version. The audio differences between these two are like night and day. I'm quite fond of Balrog's SFII theme all across the board. I've yet to hear a version I did not like so this won't be the last time I mention his theme here on Favorite Tunes.

Street Fighter X Tekken - Mad Gear Hideout -Sodom Dancing- (PS3, 360)

Yes, it sucks that Capcom is screwing us over with the on-disc DLC characters. What doesn't suck is this theme, a rave-like combination of the Subway and Sodom themes from Final Fight, two of my favorite tracks from my one of the best beat 'em ups ever produced. Hideyuki Fukusawa seems to be getting worked like a horse when it comes to composing themes for Capcom's fighters. He's been a pretty busy fellow since Street Fighter IV and one could argue that some of his compositions are all starting to sound the same. Street Fighter X Tekken's music isn't on par with that of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but it does have some good themes here and there, this one being one of my top ranking songs.

Darkstalkers 3 - Fetus of God (Arcade, Saturn, PSX)

Known as Vampire Savior: The Lord of Vampire in Japan, it goes by the less mouthful Darkstalkers 3 everywhere else. In 2004 I found a complete copy of this game on the PlaySation for $7.99. This would be the first Darkstalkers game I would play and I fell in love with the character designs and music, especially Jedah's stage theme, Fetus of God. It's a perfect final battle theme and suits the disturbing background perfectly.

Orbital Ring Systems Cargo Bay - Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars (Wii)

The Wii is pretty slim pickings when it comes to fighting games but Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is a beast of an exclusive for the system. An enhanced port of the 2008 Cross Generation of Heroes, Ultimate All-Stars adds new features, chief among them being five new playable characters. How can you not dig a game that let's you play as Dead Rising's Frank West, dawn a Mega Man costume and shout "REAL MEGA BUSTER!!!" as one of his supers? You may not know who half the cast in this game is, but the fighting is so superb, that it really doesn't matter. Some may gripe about character themes being 86'd in favor of the techno/rave style music in Ultimate All-Stars, but as someone who played a Dreamcast version of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 with modded music to death, I'm not complaining. Acting as the stage theme for Tekkaman Blade, Orbital Ring Systems Cargo Bay is one of the liveliest themes in the game, and that's saying a lot. The song will undoubtedly remind you of Better off Alone by Alice DeeJay.

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