Here is the first of my sort of soundtrack breakdowns. It’ll mostly be going into individual tracks, why I like and don’t like them and I think for now these are going to be more negative. It’s not because I like to post about soundtracks just to hate on them, (I would rather post about soundtracks I do like) but these are just kind of left over write-ups and I’d like to have a good place to post them, even if they’re not inherently positive.
As a note, Breakers and Breakers Revenge soundtracks are essentially the same. About the only notable difference is that Revenge brings in one more character, Saizo, which means that it’s one more theme than Breakers’ soundtrack. But aside from that, there don’t seem to be any differences in any of the themes from Breakers to Breakers Revenge.
30 seconds in length
This is a theme that’s so close to being a favorite. It gives me “training montage” vibes and it fits pretty well with the character and stage. I do really like the track up until it actually loops. It does not loop well at all with the intro of the track; it’s an abrupt and not at all smooth transition. I feel like if this were a bit longer and had a better end to the loop, it’d be a better track.
20 seconds in length
This feels absurdly short even for this game’s standards. It lasts about twenty seconds but so much of it spent repeating the intro melody that it feels like there’s barely anything covered in those 20 seconds. It feels very, very barebones and it’s kind of unsurprising given the average length of tracks in this game.
20 seconds in length
Now this one is pretty great. It is repetitive and it seems to be composed in a very simple manner, but it feels good for its length. It doesn’t build up to anything and then not
deliver because of length limitations. It establishes an overshadowing yet heroic vibe that loops into itself and I feel it’s good at achieving that.
30 seconds in length
Another one that I actually like. It’s a bit similar to Condor’s in that it’s very simple in its structure, with only minor variations as the song progresses. But again it feels good at establishing a certain looming, dangerous mood and it also loops pretty well into itself, so that’s good enough for me.
(Barely) 30 seconds in length
A more melancholic and atmospheric track. This one feels very “meaty” compared to most of the tracks in the game. The progression is relatively fast so it feels like it covers a
lot in 30 seconds (compared to something like Pielle’s theme which barely covers anything in 20 seconds). Unsurprisingly this is another favorite because of focus on atmosphere
rather than build up.
Alsion III’s Theme
35 seconds in length
At almost 35 seconds, this track is fairly lengthy compared to other tracks in this game. The background melody* is very catchy and it feels a bit meatier than Tia’s theme. But I’m
torn between how good that catchy background melody and how repetitive the rest of the track is (it actually feels a bit too long, and I’m surprised I’m even saying that considering
the length of all the tracks here). I say that last point because the track’s last ten seconds is just repeating more of the track (instead of ending on a good, solid 25 seconds like Maherl’s theme)
*is that the right word? I don’t have a particularly good musical vocabulary so I’m unsure if that’s the word
Another theme that I like. This one, just like Condor and Tia, has an overwhelming presence in teh track but unlike either of those themes, there’s a very frenetic pace and
sense of imminent danger (rather than just the threat of it). It also sounds rather villainous in parts, which is something I really like. The length is about perfect in my opinion.
Dao Long’s Theme
(A bit over) 35 seconds
One of the lengthier tracks in the game. Unlike Alsion III, it feels like it makes good use of all its alloted time and I think it’s the “meatiest” track in the game that also sounds
reasonably good for its length. It’s a bit hard (for me) to describe the mood I get (again I don’t have much of a musical vocabulary) but I do really like this track.
Whereas Pielle’s theme may be too lacking musically, I feel this track is far, far too busy. It probably has the most “meat” of any track in the game, but that’s a big problem.
There’s too much trying to be crammed into 25 seconds. There’s this looming vibe, then a dangerous vibe and finally there is a positive end to the track. There is not nearly
enough room in 25 seconds for any of these moods to set in so it just feels like a very messy track.
The theme of the final boss character Bai Hu, this theme is at a whopping forty seconds long, which isn’t all that much by the standards of other fighting games, but is long enough
for Pielle and Condor to have their themes played twice. There’s a good introduction and overall looming vibe here. It is a very solid theme but I think it just misses out on
greatness for the very same reason that Sho’s theme does; the part of the song that loops into the beginning is not good. It really sticks out and sort of breaks the flow of the song
in my opinion.
I listen to a lot of loopable music and there are two ways I like my music. There must be a seamless transition into a loop for shorter tracks. And for longer tracks where that’s
not really feasible, I think that the song should at least end satisfyingly before it loops again. This track does neither of these and while it seems really nitpicky, having neither of
those really takes me out of listening to a track.
Aside from that, I also feel that the track just doesn’t feel imminently dangerous as Maherl’s theme. It’s about as good as Rila and Condor’s theme at establishing the mood but it doesn’t feel like it capitalizes on it like Maherl. To describe it, the theme doesn’t feel like it’s in your face. I don’t think all final boss themes have to do it (Fighter’s History, which I will be talking about in a later post, has Karnov’s theme which is really understated and great) but the theme doesn’t feel like it’s going for that, it feels like it’s meant to be a booming and dangerous final boss theme, and it doesn’t feel like it fully achieves that.
Anyway that’s about it for the character themes. The character select screen theme is okay I guess? Though as far as Street Fighter clones/ripoffs go, I freaking love Fighter’s History and its select theme better. The rest of the music in this game, I barely remember so that’s not good either. Anyway, this missed out on an Honorable Mention in a thread on another forum because I feel the tracks are just way too short. There doesn’t seem to be a single track longer than a minute long and while you can get the gist of the character from certain themes (Rila’s theme suits her wild jungle woman persona and Sho’s theme makes it clear he’s probably the protagonist of the game) that’s about it. There’s not enough to substance to any of the tracks musically that would make it fine to listen to on its own.
So in all the soundtrack, does what it sets out to achieve but save for certain themes, I don’t see myself really wanting to listen to the soundtrack. I don’t think it’s terrible by any means, and it certainly helps when you’re actually playing the game (which btw is surprisingly good fun to play through) but it’s nothing really special.