Classic SEGA Music: Ride The Tiger

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Virtua Fighter 2 is the 1994 sequel to Virtua Fighter, a long-running series of 3D fighting games created by SEGA-AM2 under the supervision of highly influential producer and director Yu Suzuki. Originally released in arcades running on SEGA’s Model 2 system board, the game was later brought over to other platforms, including the SEGA Saturn, Windows, and was also included as part of the SEGA AGES 2500 series released on the PlayStation 2. The music of Virtua Fighter 2 draws from a very diverse collection of influences and styles, ranging from traditional Eastern music, heavy guitar driven rock, keyboard and synth laden overtures, and jazz-inspired instrumentation — sometimes all within the course of the same song.

This time we’ll be taking a look at the theme of Japanese fighter and mascot of the Virtua Fighter series, Akira Yuki.

Where it’s heard:

This song is heard during Akira Yuki’s stage, a traditional martial arts training dojo decorated with large bronze statues and hanging scrolls. In the standard ladder of opponents faced in the game’s arcade mode, Akira is the second to last character fought before facing the game’s final boss, Dural. The tune’s exuberant energy and intensity really cuts through, creating an sense of triumph as the player overcomes yet another challenge on their way to the confrontation with Dural. “Ride the Tiger” stands out as a powerful piece in an already very strong soundtrack, and through its dynamic nature, truly exemplifies the Virtua Fighter experience through music.

Other versions:

Genesis / Mega Drive version

Due to the technical limitations of the Genesis/Mega Drive hardware, a port of Virtua Fighter 2 in full would have been hugely impractical, even with its 32x and CD add-ons. Instead, the game was remade as a two-dimensional fighter, utilizing many — though not all — of the same features as the original, while taking some liberties with its design. In addition to being Akira’s theme, the song was also used as Pai Chan’s theme in this version of the game.

Fighters Megamix version

This version of the song appears in Fighters Megamix, a 3D fighting game developed by SEGA-AM2 that pits characters from Virtua Fighter against characters from Fighting Vipers, yet another fighting series created by SEGA-AM2. Several songs from Virtua Fighter 2 make appearances in this game, including Akira’s theme. The arrangement for this version is largely unchanged from the original, but is notable in having a more layered sound, while also featuring higher production values.

Virtua Fighter Kids / Fighters Megamix version

In 1996, SEGA-AM2 released another entry in their popular fighting series — Virtua FIghter Kids. Originally developed in order to test their latest facial animation technology, Virtua Fighter Kids was a retooled version of Virtua Fighter 2, featuring its original cast as super deformed characters with greatly exaggerated expressions. This version of the song reflects the lighthearted nature of the game with its cheerful sound and dance-infused undertones. This song was also featured in Fighters Megamix along with the above rendition.

Fan remixes: classicsegamusic

– Piano version by YouTube user easton888

– Electric guitar version uploaded by YouTube user jeace99

– “Juunen Hayaindayou” – OverClocked ReMix Project

Virtua Fighter is truly a scientific marvel — it began as a humble experiment, but over nearly two decades, it has grown and evolved into something so much more, paving the way not only for fighting games, but for all games in general. It’s advancements in both design and technology transcend all conventions seen at the time of its release, and even now, it’s influence is unparalleled. Today, the Virtua Fighter series is celebrated as one of the industry’s finest, and has been consistently ranked as among the best fighting game series of all time. With a lasting legacy already under its belt, the only question that remains is what’s next? Well when you’ve got Virtua Fighter, nothing else matters.

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