The King of Fighters 2003

Sound chip: YM2610
System: Neo Geo
Composers: Frederic Chopin Masahiko Hataya Yasuo Yamate
Developer: SNK Playmore
Publisher: SNK Playmore
Release date: 2003-12-12
01. 2003 (Title) 1:00
02. Beats (How to Play & Ranking) 0:16 + 0:16
03. Select (Player Select) 0:10 + 0:10
04. Stage Effect 1 (Stage Screen In ~ Fight) 0:15
05. Splendid Evil (New Hero Team [Ash/Duo Lon/Shen]) 2:08 + 2:01
06. Prolongation (New Fatal Fury Team 1 [Terry/Joe/Tizoc]) 1:42 + 1:33
07. Winner (Winner Demo) 0:15 + 0:10
08. I'm Hot for You (Women Fighters Team 1 [King/Mai/Mary]) 1:15 + 1:08
09. Inside Skinny (Ikari Team [Leona/Ralf/Clark]) 1:44 + 1:26
10. Fairy (Chizuru Kagura) 2:04 + 2:04
11. The Next Assassin 1 (Intermission Demo 1) 0:21
12. Esaka? 03 (Kusanagi) 1:53 + 1:23
13. You Feel for ME (Women Fighters Team 2 [Athena/Hinako/Malin]) 1:21 + 1:21
14. Seoul Love (Kim Team [Kim/Chang/Jhun]) 1:45 + 1:45
15. Joyrider (Japan Team [Benimaru/Shingo/Daimon]) 1:27 + 1:18
16. Kyoku-Gen (Art of Fighting Team [Ryo/Robert/Yuri]) 1:46 + 1:37
17. Great Man (Beaten the Win Record) 0:05
18. Villainous (New Fatal Fury Team 2 [Gato/Billy/Yamazaki]) 2:29 + 1:43
19. KD (K' Team [K'/Maxima/Whip]) 1:29 + 1:21
20. Cool Jam 2 (Iori) 1:30 + 1:29
21. Blaze (Kyo) 1:45 + 1:21
22. The Next Assassin 2 (Intermission Demo 2) 0:34
23. Prelude to Fate (Intermission Demo 3B [Before Adelheid]) 0:37
24. Stage Effect 2 (Mid Boss - Adelheid Stage Screen In ~ Fight) 0:24
25. Revolutionary Étude ~ R II (Mid Boss 4 [Adelheid Ver.]) 2:12 + 1:11
26. Melody of Sorrow (After Adelheid Demo) 0:24
27. Heartless World (Intermission Demo 3A [Before Chizuru/Maki]) 0:28
28. Stage Effect 3 (Mid Boss - Chizuru/Maki Stage Screen In ~ Fight) 0:08
29. Sacredness ~ Fairy (Mid Boss 2 [Chizuru/Maki Kagura Ver.]) 2:46 + 2:04
30. The Final Door (Before Boss Demo) 0:58
31. Stage Effect Boss (Boss Stage Screen In ~ Fight) 0:07
32. Styx (Boss) 1:13 + 1:13
33. KO (Final Character KO) 0:02
34. The Neverending Battle (After Boss Demo) 0:34
35. A New Current (Hakkesshu Demo) 0:12
36. Serious (Multi Ending 1) 0:47 + 0:47
37. Presentiment (Multi Ending 2) 0:58 + 0:58
38. Conclusion (Multi Ending 3) 0:54 + 0:53
39. Pops Beat (Multi Ending 4) 0:50 + 0:49
40. Heavens (Staff Roll) 1:52 + 1:34
41. Continue 0:11
42. Game Over 0:06
43. R II (Adelheid, unused) 1:23 + 1:11
Total: 43:59 + 32:35
History
Version Date Author Description
1.00 2016-02-13 The Green Herring Initial release.
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[Source]
The King of Fighters 2003 Original Sound Tracks
Scitron / SNK Playmore  SCDC-00337 Mar 24, 2004
[Generator]
MAME 0.152 (modded by Valley Bell),
Universe BIOS Jukebox Player

2003 marked the release of the first "King of
Fighters" game since SNK, resurrected as
Playmore, bought back the rights to their games
and promptly rebranded themselves as SNK
Playmore to solidify the connection. It was
also, however, the last game in the series to
be released on the Neo Geo, as by then the
hardware was definitely showing its age, and
SNK eventually discontinued it in favor of
developing for Sammy's Atomiswave hardware. It
also debuted a major change in gameplay, in
that you could now switch between characters in
the middle of a fight like in Capcom's "Versus"
games. To say this changes the feel of a battle
is putting it lightly. It also debuted a new
storyline that would continue to "King of
Fighters XI" and finally "XII", with a
non-canon rush-job game in between.

SNK also finally had something resembling a
budget again compared to 2002 and especially
2001, and it shows most relevantly in the
soundtrack. The instrument samples are still
noticeably low-quality but they're used a lot
better than in 2002, and the overall sound is
easier on the ears. We also get more complex
compositions this time around, like what we'd
see in KOF games prior to 2001, signaling that
SNK was back on track again. "Splendid Evil"
is the best example of this, especially with
its different sound compared to previous Hero
Team themes--appropriate for a team that's so
different. Chizuru and Adelheid's boss themes
also have whole, extended intros before their
themes actually begin.

Adelheid's theme even has a diegetic element
not seen in previous games. It starts with a
performance of Frédéric Chopin's "Revolutionary
Etude", which is played in-game by his sister
Rose on a piano in the background. This part of
the song is rendered as a series of ADPCM
samples, giving it a more authentic sound as
was previously seen in Krauser's famous
orchestral theme. However, this also means
seeking through that part in your player won't
work as it normally would. Still, it works to
make the boss fight seem cooler--even if
Adelheid's not the true final boss of the game.

That would be Mukai, who gets a battle theme,
"Styx," that is as dark and otherworldly as his
presence and his battleground. The inhuman
sounds swirling about the melody definitely
sell the fact that you're no longer in a place
comprehensible to mortals. Similar music of an
even more otherworldly nature could be heard
in "SNK vs. Capcom: SvC Chaos", released the
same year as this game, where the final boss
fights took place in Heaven and Hell. It all
goes to show how adept the sound team was at
atmosphere.

One thing to note with this pack is that this
is the only "King of Fighters" game with an
unused song, which is track 43. It's a version
of Adelheid's theme without the piano intro.
Chizuru also has a version of "Fairy" minus the
"Sacredness" intro which is used when you play
as her, so this suggests Adelheid was intended
to be playable as well. However, you cannot do
this in any version of the game, so this
version of the song ends up unused.

Finally, I must note something about the song
list. Four pieces on the soundtrack (tracks
30-32 and 34) are simply noted as "Boss" themes
without any character's name shown to avoid
spoiling the boss' identity, since the
soundtrack album came out just a few months
after the game's release. This is because all
of these songs are associated with Mukai.
Nevertheless, for accuracy's sake, the song
names are preserved as listed. However, the
Notes show the boss' name.

Enjoy!

The Green Herring

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