Insert 2 quarters to play
In the mid 90’s gaming was evolving, beyond 2d heading full force into the 3D realm. Arcade fighting game based titles were plenty across arcade and consoles, until they went quiet for a bit. A few hung around, and others emerged trying to grab attention on a fading genre (according to some critics). It was in the late 90’s Street Fighter had a resurgence, after taking a break with the Alpha series, set before SF2 but established enough of the series to move on. SF3 was different, set many years later, most of the roster is gone, but Ken and Ryu, the two long established characters like brothers, that went on their own path after SF2. It was earmarked as one of the best games because of its stunning visuals, animation, and the soundtrack giving it another chance, but 3TS is where that all changed.
Round One FIGHT!!
With the advent of higher storage media, a soundtrack could be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, even more. In a fighting game, you rarely hear a character’s theme playing no longer than allotted time of 60 seconds. But in Third Strike it was a bit different, each round you achieved a victory or loss, it would alternate to another mix of a character’s bgm. Round 1 = Mix 1, Round 2= Mix 2, and Round 3= Mix 3 (where the 3rd mix would incorporate both versions in a hyper state, taking on a more berserk style, amping up the intensity.) Not only would the 3rd Mix be more chaotic, it literally felt like a live DJ playing a set, where the themes blend into one shifting in tone and sound style.
Also, the 3rd Mix style was only featured on the home console editions of the game. Dreamcast, PS2, and Xbox. Later 3rd Strike was re-released as Online Edition (for PS3 and X360), with a remixed soundtrack, but it doesn’t come close enough to what Third Strike delivered previously. It is however good, but tries to make it more up to date, so it misses the mark on making it modern. The original soundtrack was perfect, it didn’t really need a touch up, but apparently someone thought so, to reach a new audience.
Another game on the Sega Dreamcast also used this sound style called Jet Set Radio. That is a discussion for another time.
Are you ready? GO!
This video game composer has worked on tons of titles for many years. Establishing his own sound, usually for platformers, and several arcade titles, plus numerous console games. Until SF3TS that he built on his growth as an artist, finding a different sound inspired by his travels. With the growth of music, from clubs, to just exploring a city, the energy conveyed was changing. No longer a simple melody that gets stuck in your head. But a prominent array of energy, that delivers a unique story for each character’s individual personality. Each character feels alive, their emotion, flow, and fighting style reflected within their theme songs.
No longer did a fighting game just have a soundtrack, but it was a core part of the experience. Tekken was also inspired by the club scene, but the character’s theme would play the entire allotted time in a round. In later entries, Namco eventually adapted the 3rd Mix style within their series.
Fight for the Future
An artist with a robust history, crossing paths with well known names. Being a part of a indie hip hop element, and label. Growing into his own, and finding his own journey thru all sorts of media. SF3TS is where his voiceover narration, and rapping slick style became so much more. From the intro of the game, to the credits, and even narrating a round as it begins, to using a super, or combo offsets, and parrying. His narration had its own synergy, connecting with the player on another level.
Twenty plus years later, this game left a mark in music, and gamers. Its energy and style is still felt even now, but the medium of videogames have not captured that essence it managed to contain. Maybe someday we might see something like it again
For more information, on the amazing evolution of video game music. Be sure to watch this awesome documentary “Diggin in the Carts”