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SoundScape: Why Do These Street Fighter Themes Sound Top Tier?

Capcom’s Street Fighter fighting game series are legendary and genre-defining title. Not only because of its gameplay and tight controls, and not only for its colourful roster and attention to game balancing (at least from Street Fighter III: Third Strike onward). It’s also because the games boast some of the most iconic music and sounds ever. From VO samples of Ryu shouting Hadoken and Shoryuken to the bone-crunching sounds of pain dished out by each World Warrior, these SFXs will live rent-free in your head.

We’re going to highlight a few of each famous Street Fighter here in a few SoundScape mixtape videos, starting from the original 1992 themes up until their recent remixes. Check out how they sound like here:

Ryu

Why it’s good & iconic: Ryu’s theme always sounded heroic from the get-go. Its loud bass and thunderous start echoes the determination of a world warrior who fights with his all.

Ken

Why it’s good & iconic: Basically the yang to Ryu’s yin, Ken is fiery, passionate, arrogant, and headstrong. Though he’s as determined as Ryu in a fight, Ken’s more “Western” theme song is more charged and full of fire, with some light crescendoes in-between. Perhaps that’s why the song sounds similar to Cheap Trick’s Mighty Wings: Ken truly soars like a fiery dragon when he’s in the zone with his aggressive shoto fighting style.

Chun-Li

Why it’s iconic: Ex-Capcom composer Yoko Shimomura added a ton of ethnic flair in each of the World Warrior roster on the original Street Fighter 2. Chun-Li’s theme happens to be one that’s China-themed with great oriental instrumental melodies (synths of them at least) and appropriate basslines to make sure it doesn’t become “too mellow”.

After all, arcade games need to make the most noise to attract folks and also stand out from the public noise.

Cammy

Why it’s iconic: Cammy’s theme is less “country-driven” and more “heroic” and “dramatic” in nature, given her backstory of being a former brainwashed Shadaloo elite. Composed by Syun Nishigaki, I dig the uplifting anthem-like nature of her theme and also its fast-paced percussions to remind us that she means business.

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