The King of Fighters '96 - Original Soundtrack
Artist: SNK
Label: Scitron/Pony Canyon

The King of Fighters '96 Original Soundtrack CD was released as a companion to the Neo-Geo title of the same name. It contains all the pieces of music from the game, including storyboard and ending tracks. There are also 12 additional tracks composed entirely of vocals (in which the seiyuu run through each character's speech clips), and one final sound effects track. This brings us to a total of 38 tracks.

The spinecard for this CD is rather drab. It features "Pony Canyon Scitron 1500 Series" proudly at the top, followed by the katakana for the Cd's title, followed by a brief passage indicating that this is a soundtrack to a game. (An "Original Sound Trax" image is also displayed a little lower down)

The booklet is very nice. The cover artwork is identical to that of the game's - a picture of Kyo Kusanagi with a flame in his hand, with the KOF logos. This image is repeated a few times inside. There are a couple of pages of Japanese outlining this instalment of the series' storyline, followed by listings of the teams selectable in the game, with their motives for entering the tournament. Very nice artwork all 'round. (Especially Geese Howard's picture - very cool.)

We are then treated to a full musical score for one of the tracks on the CD - Arashi No Saxophone 2. A very nice touch, one which must make creating a MIDI of that track considerably easier.

Track Listing

  1. In 1996 - Game intro
  2. Roulette - Character select
  3. Esaka? - Japan team theme
  4. Ora Ora - Victory music
  5. Big Shot! - Fatal Fury team theme
  6. Rumbling on the City - Ikari team theme
  7. Psycho Soldier Remix '96 - Psycho Soldier team theme
  8. Seoul Road - Taekwondo team theme
  9. Kamikirimushi - Art of Fighting team theme
  10. Here Comes Challenger - Player 2 character select
  11. Get'n Up - Women's team theme
  12. Arashi No Saxophone 2 - Yagami team theme
  13. Geese Ni Katakori - Geese Howard theme
  14. Dust Man - Mr. Big theme
  15. Dies Irai - Wolfgang Krauser theme
  16. Storyboard 1
  17. Fairy - Chizuru Kagura theme
  18. Storyboard 2
  19. Trash Head - Leopold Goenitz theme
  20. Storyboard 3
  21. Den! - Ending 1
  22. Den! Den! - Ending 2
  23. Den! Den! Den! - Ending 3
  24. Self - Credits 1
  25. Rising Red - Credits 2
  26. Japan Team voices
  27. Fatal Fury Team voices
  28. Ikari Team voices
  29. Psycho Soldier Team voices
  30. Taekwondo Team voices
  31. Art of Fighting Team voices
  32. Women's Team voices
  33. Yagami Team voices
  34. Geese, Mr. Big and Krauser voices
  35. Chizuru Kagura voices
  36. Leopold Goenitz voices
  37. Announcer voices
  38. Sound Effects

Out of all the King of Fighers games, this happens to be my favourite. And the soundtrack is also right up there as one of the best. Every musical track is memorable, excellently-done (for Neo-Geo) and perfectly suiting the team it represents. While some old favourites, such as Geese's theme, make a return, others are brand-new compositions, like the now-classic "Esaka?".

If one wishes to listen to actual instruments playing the music, there is an Arranged sound track. This CD, however, is of the actual music pumped out by the Neo-Geo, so if early-nineties MIDI isn't your thing, then this CD may not be for you. If you like videogame soundtracks, however, this is an excellent purchase.

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