Like many others, Streets of Rage 2 is my favorite beat ’em up ever and one of my top games of all time. It is a near-perfect gaming experience that can still be picked up and played at any time, alone or with a friend. SoR 2 does enough things “right” in the gameplay department to elevate itself above its numerous contemporaries, but I feel that maybe the biggest reason for its enduring legacy is the soundtrack.
With the Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack, Yuzo Koshiro managed to turn hip, urban, techno into memorable, catchy game tunes (and on the Genesis sound chip no less!). The music was absolutely perfect for getting the player pumped to fight through a seemingly endless sea of Donovans, Galsias, and Y. Signals. For the SoR 3 soundtrack, Koshiro apparently used an “Automated Composing System” to compose a soundtrack that was faster, less catchy, weirder, and to many, a disappointment compared to its prequel.
All of the complaints about Streets of Rage 3’s soundtrack are perfectly valid and I agree with a lot of them to a certain extent, but over time I’ve found myself gaining a new found appreciation for it.
For one, this gabber-esque track:
It definitely may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still interesting to me for being so much different than what was going on with game music at the time (note that SoR 3 came out over a year before the release of the Playstation in the West, where European-style techno began to be featured prominently in games such as the Wipeout and Ridge Racer series).
Another bizarre hardcore track that has grown on me:
Here’s one of my favorite tracks in the game. With so many parts and changes, this track could be considered a bit of a mess, but to me, it totally works:
Finally, who can forget punching Soozies in the seizure-inducing disco stage? A fun and crazy track:
Despite being a bit of a let down at the time, the Streets of Rage 3 soundtrack is one of the most bizarre, interesting, and maybe even ahead-of-its-time soundtracks of the 16-bit era and certainly worth revisiting.
Image and composer information taken from Streets of Rage Online.