Music plays a huge part in games. From the bombastic nature of the Mass Effect soundtrack, to the emotional sounds of Journey, I love listening to game OSTs more than any other. And the music of the 16 bit era holds a special place in my heart.
Having a job where I’m able to put headphones on and listen to any musical choice I desire, there’s many times I omit the popular music of today in favour of some 16 bit flavour, and there’s one I particularly love to listen to – Streets of Rage 2.
Composed by Yuzo Koshiro, the music inspired by electronic dance, perfectly fuses with the action on screen. After all, if the soundtrack doesn’t feel like it mimics the on-screen action then it could feel ultimately disjointed.
There are so many great tracks in the game it’s impossible to put them all here, so here’s a few choice favourites.
First up is the track from the opening level, a perfect introduction to the quality of music you can expect. Listening to this walking down the street often makes me want to smash a phonebox with a pipe. I probably shouldn’t listen to it outside.
A perfect track to show what I meant when I said the musical choices perfectly match the environment. This is simply titled, “In the Bar”. As the name suggests, you’re in a bar! Smashing chairs and hitting ladies with whips. Naturally.
Then when you make your way through the bar you come across your first boss fight. A fight in a raining back alley, the music setting the stage.
Final boss music is some of the most important, especially of the 16 bit era. And in SOR2 it doesn’t disappoint as its high intensity perfectly matches the sight of Mr X moving across the screen shooting our heroes with a tommy gun.
There are more of course, it’s probably the only game I’ve played where there’s not a single track I hated. With its easy availability, in full on iTunes, it’s well worth the price for this perfect slice of 16 bit nostalgia.