Streets of Rage 4, beyond video game music

A long time ago, a console called the Sega Genesis gave gamers a chance to explore the unknown. From RPGs, to shmups, platformers, and beyond. Even though it had limitations compared to it’s rival the Super Nintendo, the sound capabilities went above the norm. Within the Streets of Rage series, it was a brawler, an arcade game where a player had control of a selection of characters racing against time to stop a villainous organization from hurting the city.

But it was more than that premise alone. Within SOR, it contains a soundtrack inspired by the club scene back in the late 80’s to mid 90’s. With similar sounds that emulated Kraftwerk, Robert Miles, Chemical Brothers, Orbital, and more. The crazy part was, this amazing array of music was brought to life within a cartridge. Even with a limit of data, the immersive soundtrack delivered so much hype, and untapped capabilities.

Yuzo Koshiro, and Motohiro Kawashima
Two noteworthy composers who lead the way back then. A moment in time within video game music, where it wasn’t a simple melody, but ideas that were unreachable before. You felt as if you walked into a club, where the music is blaring, thumping, and you cannot help but submit to the beat.

The Sega Genesis gave a unique sound style to the SoR series. Each level had its own theme, and it would change depending on where you were within a level. Similar to a DJ playlist transitioning from track to track in real-time.Twenty nine years ago, something amazing crossed over and would continue to inspire the future of the gaming and music world.

2020, Streets of Rage 4 finally is released. After teasers, and mini trailers hinted at the newest entry. But one thing that everyone wanted to know was: who was creating the music? On a positive note, it returns to form, that energy and rush, nods to the past, hyper, and frenetic beats that keep you going. SOR4 soundtrack was mainly composed by Olivier Deriviere. An artist known for more orchestral and dramatic compositions. However he totally nails that sound style that made the series unique.

The soundtrack also includes music by:
Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima
The forefathers of the past games series soundtracks.

Here is some info about the additional composers that brought this stellar soundtrack to life:

Yoko Shimomura: a composer whom many know for RPGs, but she in fact also worked on Street Fighter, Final Fight, and many more hyper, and stylized titles over the years. Also includes Kingdom Hearts, Final Fight, Super Mario RPG, Parasite Eve, Legend of Mana, Final Fantasy XV etc…

Keiji Yamagishi: composer for the classic Ninja Gaiden, with that beat driven sound style. Tecmo Bowl, Tecmo Super Bowl, Onimusha Tactics, The Messenger

Harumi Fujita: known for Mad Racer, Ghosts n’ Goblins, Strider, Mega Man 3 and more

Das Mortal: an indie artist and producer that gives that hard style kick. Also worked on Hotline Miami 1 and 2

Groundislava: member of the group Weddit, also an electronic artist. Another neat fact, he is the son of the director that made the A-Ha video “Take On Me”

Streets of Rage 4 official soundtrack is now available on Bandcamp

The vinyl edition of the OST is also available for pre-order thru Limited Run Games

How to summarize this.. holy cow this soundtrack is insane. As a gamer growing up, I loved the sound style consoles were capable of back then. But to imagine what they can deliver in the present, is a dazzling experience totally worth sharing. Within video game music it crosses barriers, and limitations that others rarely tread. Even if you are not a gamer, but a music lover. Streets of Rage 4’s soundtrack is a love letter to the past, present, and future.

It is a must buy, listen, and experience that everyone needs to dive into. Or should I punch and kick? Go straight!!

Bonus goodie: a live mix set performance by Yuzo Koshiro, and Motohiro Kawashima
At Red Bull Concert Series.
It is a playlist of tracks from the series past, intertwined into one of the most insane sets ever.
Video by YT user Underlogic

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