Street Fighter EX3, "Strange Sunset (Guile’s Theme)"

So goes the meme: Guile’s theme goes with everything. But does it go with ….. Guile’s other theme?

The Street Fighter EX games are primarily notable for not being made by Capcom. They were published by Capcom, but developed by Arika, nowadays probably better known for their 3D rereleases of classic NES titles on the 3DS eShop, as well as being the engineers of torture behind the Tetris: The Grand Master series.

To date, Street Fighter EX and its sequels remain the most significant deviation from popular Street Fighter norms. Although the fighters still fought on a 2D plane, Street Fighter EX marked the first time Street Fighter had ever been rendered in three dimensions. Arika introduced loads of new original characters that were never seen outside the EX games, and gave returning characters new musical themes that sounded nothing like the iconic tracks laid down by Yoko Shimomura and Isao Abe for the arcade and SNES versions of Street Fighter IIIn some cases, the results were pretty mindblowing—for example, Dhalsim’s theme. Prog metal with sitar? Sign me up yesterday!

Then there’s ….. this. Don’t take the ellipsis as hesitation to endorse it; it’s a great song. I can’t rightly say, however, that the type of music that comes to mind when I picture an all-American military hero with, in the immortal words of Grandpa Simpson, a haircut you can set your watch to is synth-driven smooth jazz following by some of the most brain-massaging lounge piano you’ve ever heard.

It takes about a minute to get hype, not to mention turn in a pretty thumpin’ bass line, but all of it is great (especially the guitar solo at the end). Even if it all adds up to something that doesn’t feel very “Guile” as we know it, it’s an interesting track, and definitely not the sort of deep left-field direction a game in such an established series would take today; video games today blur the lines between past and present so much that the choice to use the iconic SFII theme in any Guile-related adventure would be a nearly inevitable one.

I’ve heard the “regular” Guile theme a billion times, so I tend more toward this one these days. It’s a great listen for when you’re feeling more at-ease than attention.
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