Many regard Tekken 3 for the PlayStation as one of the console’s greatest moments. You could say the same for the soundtrack, which is an audio snap shot of the mainstream invasion of Big Beat Electronica.
Placed ahead of Tekken 1 and 2’s more melodious sounds and before the series’ attempts at a progressive and, at times, unconventional soundtrack, Tekken 3 is a block rocking answer to a world still caught up in the wave of distorted bass-lines, heavy breakbeats, rock guitars and synthesizer-generated loops..
So, let’s take a look at what influenced this soundtrack as well as some of its top tracks.
Cartoon Network‘s Toonami starts to transition into the anime-centric block it’s often heralded as with the addition of Robotech, Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.
Oh, and Big Beat is riding mainstream success in music.
Groups like The Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers could be found rubbing elbows on the music charts. Fatboy Slim was showing the alternative nation what a “Funk Soul Brother” was through a Lord Finesse sample. And music journalists couldn’t go two paragraphs without bellowing the end of rock music thanks to two turntables and a synthesizer.
Big Beat influenced a lot of people during its meteoric rise in the mid-to-late 90’s, including the sound team who worked on Tekken 3.
Originally released in arcades in 1997, Namco brought the title to the PlayStation in 1998. A team consisting of Keichi Okabe, Nobuyoshi Sano, Hiroyuki Kawada, Minamo Takahasi and Yu Miyake decided to make their own homage to the genre with their soundtracks.
See, the PlayStation version and Arcade versions are different due to the team’s efforts of either remixing some arcade songs or composing new ones. And while the arcade soundtrack is great in its own right, it’s the PlayStation version that just feels much more complete. There’s hardly a weak track on it, but below, are five tracks that probably show it at its best.
5. Jin Kazama
Okabe seemed to have a love for high-energy groove, as witnessed with the opening movie soundtrack. His theme for Jin continues where the opening left off, concocting some hard hitting dance track out of a blended mess of a heavy hip hop beat and a catchy guitar riff that just won’t leave the head. It’s all straightforward before he decides to have a trance moment in the middle as ethereal synths steadily rise and fall while the beat goes on, giving listeners a moment of zen in the middle of a bloody brawl.
In case you thought Okabe couldn’t chill, the composer decided to create the theme song to an urban spy show that never existed. The world will never see Le Femme Nina, but the wah-wah snyths’ mini steps over a funkified bass line just slink sexy spy/assassin. And the secret agent guitar line in the middle glues it all together.
3. Gun Jack
Kawada steps in with Gun Jack’s theme, which is like the soundtrack to a motherboard. You’d almost consider it going into rhythmic bleep bloop ambiance territory if not for that huge city shattering drum beat and pulsating synth loops to direct it.
2. Ling Xiayou
Sano decided to see what would happen if The Crystal Method had started composing music for kung fu films. This track bursts with some aggressive guitar riffs that end with a stutter and a synth line that shoots through the ears like a death beam, and rhythms just seamlessly counter each other like they were meant to be connected.
1. Forest Law
And then there’s Forest Law. If Tekken 3 is a mountain, then this is the snow-topped peak. I firmly believe this is one of the greatest video game songs ever crafted. Why? Let me break it down.
0:01-We start with a heavy bass line that snakes around a broken snare and bass drum combo. Pay attention to them, because later, things will get more interesting.
0:52-Energetic guitars come in, ending with a nifty slide and stutter. You could loop the song here and still have a great tune. Instead, it shows its true purpose as a builder progressing into another cool turn.
1:25- Someone decided to program a grandfather clock to play a really cool sequence. Meanwhile, it’s only a few seconds before another synth chimes in and decides to play a variation of what the clock’s cooking. Oh yeah—you have been paying attention to the drums and bass, right? No monkeying around as things are about to get Gwen Stefani.
2:08-I just, what?!
Thanks, Fei Long. Sums it up perfectly.
2:42-The spotlight shifts on the synths if only to give you a break from the awesome sauce poured on that musical burrito. But by now, I think you get the point. Forest Law is a brilliant electronica piece that keeps building on itself, concluding at point you didn’t expect, but makes complete sense. Plus, it just sounds badass.
Any highlights you would have chosen instead of the ones listed above? Please, let us know in our comments section.