One must keep in mind that story was an integral part of Art of Fighting, and this shows in the soundtrack. There are several tracks that accompany character dialogue in the game. Unfortunately, these are usually around thirty seconds long and aren't all that exciting to listen to. The main shortcoming of the soundtrack is its brevity. Forty-five minutes may seem like enough time, but a significant amount of that, namely the last ten or so tracks, is mostly voices. This is nice for those who like sound samples, but it may prove annoying for those who like to shuffle the tracks while listening.
The standard thematic tracks are rather short, being usually within the two minute range. Lee's theme, while a nice Asian tune, loops over about four times and gets old rather quickly. Still, it's nice to own a CD that has everything on it.
The CD's strengths lie in its composition. Several tracks like Todo's and Mr. Big's themes feature deep synths for the primary melodies. Pipe-like percussions are also prominent throughout the soundtrack, giving a good, martial feeling.
There is also a good mix of variety. King's theme starts out with a bouncy techno synth that switches to piano while Mickey's theme has a cool street-wise beat.
No track stands out as well as John's theme. I usually don't like rock guitar in my soundtracks, but in this case it is simple, even, and adrenaline pumping. I have heard very few tracks complement the concept of fighting as well as this one.
There is also excellent use of sound effects such as sirens, helicopters, and distorted voices that sound like a scrambled radio broadcast.
All in all, if you can accept its shortcomings, Art of Fighting is a great buy, especially for fighting fans.