The SNK Neo-Geo games Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, and Art of Fighting received many conversions to (other?) home consoles, varying in quality typically from one game to another, and one system to another, but one thing remained constant as a sort of throughline on all the games, as they were being ported...
For whatever reason, the SNES versions of these games tended to have music that was utterly amazing by comparison to the other versions, up to and including the Neo-Geo originals, at times. Is there a story behind this?
For example, take Geese Howard's theme from Fatal Fury Special/Garou Densetsu Special (probably one of the more pronounced examples of this phenomenon).The Neo-Geo OST:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ-SG_CqFEM
In terms of offering my opinion as a musician, I can say that it's a fair piece of 90s video game music. This is enough to get pumped to fight a boss in a game to. Sure. There's some drama in it, but mostly it comes off as merely content to espouse the skill of Geese as a fighter, and sort of stop there.The SNES Version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUVQN46_RCQ
The Super NES version of the theme, however, has this coda that occurs near the end, before the loop, that is far, far too long to have been simply some afterthought, and has a dynamic that brings down the 'forte' to a sort of 'piano' for about 16 bars, with some truly interesting lines on the (synthesized) bass guitar. The Drama Level goes through the roof here. If you're playing as Terry or Andy, this is supposedly the crime boss who ordered the murder of their father, and that backstory seems like it could have informed the choice to extend Geese's theme, if not some other consideration.
Either way, this sort of elevates Geese Howard's theme from merely being fighting game boss music to some form of storytelling. Is there some background info on why the SNES version got such a plethora of remixes of SNK's original tunes, whenever Takara ported an SNK fighting game to the SNES?
Another (and probably far more obvious) example is Mr. Big's theme from Art of Fighting/Ryuko No Ken.The Neo-Geo OST:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeSKasbRT24
There are some voice samples playing, which I can't quite make out. The track has a sort of weird, funky, messed-up sense of what time signature it wants to be in, and there is definitely an 80's-90's Rhythm and Blues vibe going on, similar to something Quincy Jones might have produced, but mostly, it stays in the background. I have to wonder if the idea was that they knew this was mostly going to be heard in loud, noisy arcades, and therefore barely heard, and that this might have sort of hamstrung the production of it?The SNES Version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TkANl0GELM
Look. I do not have many friends at all, but I have hung out with people from many walks of life in my life. I'm a musician, and a Democrat, and also raised by hippies who listened to everything from Robert Johnson and B.B. King to Yes and ZZ Top. I have a wide musical, cultural palate. This is maybe one of the FUNKIEST things I have ever heard, particularly from a fricking 90'S HOME CONSOLE. It is jarring enough to be shocking.
This is THE FUNK. Holy crap. There's even some hella clean guitar riffs in here. This is great stuff.
What gives? Why were these tracks so heavily remixed on the SNES? And, why are they amazing???