Retro VGM Selects: Art of Fighting – The Definitive Soundtrack

Developed and published by SNK for their Neo Geo arcade platform on September 24, 1992, Art of Fighting began a new series of fighting games for the company, who has already established their path with the release of Fatal Fury one year prior. Art of Fighting was set as a prequel to that series; taking place in the fictional city of South Town, the game saw protagonists Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, friends and rivals who are practitioners of the Sakazaki family’s Kyokugen Karate fighting school, undertake a dangerous quest through the crime ridden town to find and rescue Ryo’s younger sister Yuri from the dangerous mob boss, Mr. Big, and to also find out what happened to their father, Takuma. What set the original Art of Fighting apart from other fighting games was its presentation: massive sprites, a strong cinematic soundtrack, a story mode where only Ryo and Robert were playable characters, and its cinematic presentation of its storyline, with characters that had more developed personalities, unique fighting styles, and cutscenes that advanced the story, were a far cry from Capcom’s Street Fighter II, which was also released in 1991.

Art of Fighting proved popular enough in the arcades to be ported to several home consoles of the era, including the Super NES and the Sega Genesis. A sequel followed in 1994, which propelled several characters to playable status, including Yuri and Takuma, and, for expert players, introduced Geese Howard, the crime boss of South Town and the main antagonist of Fatal Fury, firmly tying the two series together. One more sequel arrived in 1996, which focused on Robert Garcia and a quest he must undertake. Since then, the Art of Fighting cast has been featured in SNK’s ensemble fighting game series, The King of Fighters, although there has not been another standalone game in the series since 1996. Nonetheless, the Sakazaki family and their friends and rivals have endured massive popularity with fighting game fans.

Regarding the soundtrack of the first game, which is the focus of this episode, Art of Fighting’s soundtrack was unlike any other fighting game soundtrack up to that point. The Neo Geo’s sound chip, the Yamaha YM2610, delivered 15 channels of sound; 4 FM channels, three SSG channels, a programmable noise channel, and 7 ADPCM channels. Utilizing such powerful sound hardware, SNK’s talented team of composers used loads of samples, including police sirens, warbled voices, electronic guitars, and plenty of juicy drums to deliver a soundtrack worthy of any martial arts movie. The soundtrack made the city of South Town seem alive and organic, and in a way, as if you were Ryo or Robert, stuck right there in the middle of a match, feeling the power and tension as punches and kicks flew and landed.

While video game soundtrack releases in Japan are a common practice, in the West, it was only recently that such soundtrack releases became more commonplace. The Art of Fighting soundtrack is no exception, and on October 13, 2017, Brave Wave Productions delivered to SNK fans their definitive edition of this brilliant soundtrack, lovingly remastered by the game’s original sound team, the NEO Sound Orchestra.

Make sure you’ve got enough quarters and your spirits are high, for we are about to experience the TRUE art of the fight in this special stage showcasing Brave Wave’s release of Art of Fighting – The Definitive Soundtrack!

(All tracks are from the Neo Geo version of Art of Fighting, composed by the NEO Sound Orchestra)

Download this episode directly HERE (right-click and choose “Save As”!)



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Please support Brave Wave Productions and purchase the Art of Fighting Soundtrack from their Bandcamp store.

===========Track Listing===========

1) ART OF FIGHT (Ryuhaku Todoh Stage)

2) Chinese Old Man (Lee Pai Long Stage)

3) Micha iya! (King Stage)

4) Flying Baaang! (John Crawley Stage)

Posted by Robert Menes

One of the hosts. Talks super fast. Drinks too much coffee. Loves DOS games, movies, vinyls, photography, beer, Amigas, and doing shit on computers. Sometimes hacker. Makes money doing shit with computers.