ReMix: Street Fighter II: The World Warrior "High-Five... Hundred"

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Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

Once upon a time (August of last year) I was at work in DC when I got a phone call from Mr. Shael Riley about some rather urgent business. He explained to me that he'd been contacted by Capcom and that they were interested in using music from Blood on the Asphalt - which he and Malcos co-directed - for their upcoming XBLA and PSN remake Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. There was a moment of great OMG, followed by skepticism that this wasn't just some community tomfoolery. We agreed that we needed to do a conference call with this "Rey" character Shael had spoken with and see if it wasn't Ashton Kutcher in disguise. An hour and a phone call later, we had tentatively established plans for what would be the largest fan involvement for a major video game soundtrack in the history of everything - OC ReMix would be doing the remixed soundtrack to the next incarnation of the legendary Street Fighter II franchise!

I grew up on these games. SF2 was the title that inarguably defined the fighting genre, and with each iteration Capcom refined things (and lengthened the title) to the point where pros (i.e. NOT me) could learn mechanics to pixel-perfect precision. Its music stuck in our heads at arcades and followed us home, with Dhalsim's sitar droning and Chun-Li's pentatonic motif repeating ad infinitum in our hadoken-filled dreams. How stoked was I when I learned that OC ReMix, the online community of video game music fans I founded late one night in my mom's basement, was going to be doing the music for a game this iconic, this legendary, this HUGE? Pretty effin' stoked. Also, intimidated - sure, this was a fantastic opportunity, a chance to show the world what fans are capable of for the first time in such a setting, doing VGM for an A-list title... but there was also a lot to live up to.

What followed can only be described as a learning process, through which eventually evolved a score that was cohesive, but represented the plurality and diversity of artists and styles that make this site what it is. Sure, Capcom probably could have worked with one or two ReMixers and still gotten some great stuff, but what makes this project truly special is that so many people worked on it, and so many different musical styles - electronica, rock, hip-hop, etc. - are represented. In this way it reflects what we're all about, the soul of what we stand for. We worked with Rey Jimenez, who in turn worked with the developers at Backbone, going back and forth on revisions of existing tracks from BotA and OCR itself as well as new material that needed to be created. Instruments were replaced, tempos were altered, loop points were added, and while they never asked for more cowbell, it was a pretty cool back-and-forth process tailoring the music to fit in-game use. The biggest takeaway for me was that what works as a standalone track doesn't necessarily work in the context of actual gameplay; sometimes a given track will work, but often it'll draw too much attention away from on-screen action, not fit the environment, or evoke the wrong mood.

It's a relevant point, because the mix I'm posting here actually wasn't selected for use in the game. It represents a refinement and extension of my original first draft, which Capcom thought was groovy... but didn't make a lick of sense given that E. Honda's stage is set in a Japanese bathhouse. They were looking for something a little less aggressive and a little more "bathhouse," and I eventually came up with a totally different mix that met those criteria. So yes, yours truly, djpretzel, got rejectified. Slapped down. Tore up from the floor up, etc... But I lived, learned, and my revision worked for them and constitutes my single bit o' music on the OST. I'm happy with the arrangement they accepted, but I also thought it might be fun to revisit this take on the theme, spruce it up a bit, and post it here, as sort of a behind-the-scenes, making-of, extra-special look at what was going on a few months ago while we were still actively working on the project.

So, my initial idea for arranging this theme was to take the concept of Honda's Hundred-Hand Slap and put together a drum track that had a lot of beefy kicks and snares... you know, to symbolize getting bitch-slapped times a hundred by gaming's most famous Sumo... and what not. From that evolved an aggressive, big-beat electronica track that incorporated the standard cliched Japanese instruments, namely shakuhachi, shamisen, and taiko drums (sorry koto, you're sittin' this one out)... which got me to about a minute's worth of material, at which point I submitted the WIP to Rey and he said they wanted something different. I started over and used some of the same ideas but took a much mellower, more hip-hop approach, which worked rather well and ended up in the game.

I only came back to this original first draft a couple weeks ago, and decided that, with my newfound freedom in not having to worry about in-game usage, I would do pretty much whatever I wanted. In this case, that meant taking the second half of the mix in a 70's direction, with EP, wah clav, and - my favorite - talk box guitar. I also upped the tempo by 15 or so BPM, which would have been silly in-game but worked better for this particular arrangement. The end result isn't something I would necessarily have put together as a ReMix in the first place, had it not been done initially for the game, but which has some bright spots and transitions I'm more or less happy with. I still like the idea of a ReMix that visualizes E. Honda sauntering along half-tempo and moving his considerable girth forward while pummeling his opponent with flying fists of fury, and that's what I was going for here. For the record, I agree with Capcom, it wouldn't have worked in-game at all, but hopefully you'll get a kick (or a few hundred punches) out of it. Stay tuned for some new mixes that DID actually end up in the game, as Ken and the 'Gief take the stage.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
WesternZypher
on 2012-02-08 16:03:30

Can you see Mr. Honda dancing to this shizz? I can. :lol:

Holy Land
on 2010-09-01 12:42:37

God, I love ze pretzel's mixes. This is one of my favorites from him.

Interestingly, I don't think I ever cared much about this particular SFII theme (nor do I do now), but I can't seem to forget this mix. Great atmosphere and choice of instruments, it certainly enhances the original's mood.

And "Red Cyclone" is way more obtrusive than this and it works just fine in the actual game, so I don't know why they didn't accept this direction. Well, at least we have it here I guess...

42
on 2009-02-01 22:30:31

Ethno-electronica.

I like it, it labels this track perfectly.

This is great and worth a download.

Awesome work. :nicework:

Martin Penwald
on 2008-12-09 15:31:46

I can see (or rather hear) why this wasn't bathhouse-y enough for Capcom, but as a stand-alone track, this is pretty kickass. Ethno-electronica is always welcome, and the talkbox adds a certain weird, but funky element to it (and reminds me of Shpongle, which is always a good thing).

Nice work.

DramaNoMore
on 2008-12-08 04:27:27

After about twenty listens, I've come to the conclusion that this is awesome.

And that it should be in the game...

Project R2K
on 2008-12-07 15:24:56

This is awesome stuff; both this and the final version on the album. Thanks for the insight into the creative process. And congrats to everyone featured on the album! Great work!

Lucentas
on 2008-12-06 17:16:26

Love the ethnic flavor; other than that, I can't really pinpoint any particular reasons why I like this mix, just that djpretzel is that good.

OA
on 2008-12-02 16:46:06

Great faux intro that dives right into the...bath? :-)

The kicking percussion and a funky syncopated bassline is the perfect foundation for the breathy flutes and counterpoint koto. I really think those sections are the most effective, though I love the synths and talkbox section. I wish the flutes were explored a bit more with the juxtaposition of the syncopated and slick riffage underneath.

Great use of a halftime section, it hit exactly when it needed to. Pacing was great until the ending, but given the concept of the album, it's loop pretty well, so I can see how it is intended.

Probably one of my favorite djp tracks, this one is recommended!

DragonAvenger
on 2008-11-28 23:50:17

First off, congratulations to everyone on HD remix.

Nice groove on this. I can see how it wouldn't have worked in a real videogame setting, but as a standalone it works quite well. DJP's style is apparent in this track. I like the bass throughout, and the drums.

The only drawback is the ending, which is a little too uprupt for my taste. Aside from that, nice work!

evktalo
on 2008-11-26 19:46:19

I was sold when the bass came in. What a sound. I also like the soft, steamy stuff in the background. Usual djp goodness.

--Eino

Palpable
on 2008-11-26 18:39:56

Damn, sweet track. I love that percussive static or whatever the hell it is. I thought your version in the game was nice, but this is definitely more my style.

WillRock
on 2008-11-26 10:09:03

At first, I wasn't sure if I liked the style, but it has a unique charm to it that I just love :D

Really liking this, awesome stuff :P

big giant circles
on 2008-11-26 09:03:42

NeEdZ MoAr AzN CoWbElL!!

Nice work, dave! Glad to hear a finished version, haven't heard this since you let us hear the 40 second or so WIP.

It's ethno-electronica, one of my favorite styles. And it's got that hint of trademark pretzel funk to it, I dig.

YES

Liontamer
on 2008-11-25 19:36:25

Strong stuff; glad you worked on it some more. This is niiiiice. Congrats on 70 mixes as well!

anosou
on 2008-11-25 19:18:26

A rejected work of epic proportions. Welcome back to the world of us mortals Dave :)

Fantastic tune though, loving this.