The "Killer Cuts" CD is an arrange album of the soundtrack to the SNES fighting game Killer Instinct. I don't know how it was in other parts of the world, but in Europe this CD was distributed together with pre-ordered copies of the game, as well as sold separately for a short time by Nintendo of Europe. When you listen to it, it is obvious why...
I have a pretty open mind regarding music, and I like electronica-flavoured sounds, but I can't for the life of me imagine why any one would buy this CD separately (unless, of course, they were HUGE K.I. fans). Needless to say, I got it when I bought the game. The original OSV for Killer Instinct (as heard in the game) is very good, with quite a bundle of catchy, up-beat fighting themes that are well composed. Nothing major, like in a RPG, but OK in its own right. And I have to admit that some tracks are enhansed and arranged in a very good way. This applies to the two best tracks on the CD: "The Instinct" (track 8) and "Full-Bore" (track 7). Track 8 is the K.I. main theme, and on this CD it has been strengthened by stronger (real) guitars and synths, and it rocks pretty good. Track 7 is FullGore's theme, and it is a great industrial synth piece that really lifts the CD. These two are the kind of songs you could have on repeat for hours, but they are (unfortunately) the only ones of such brilliance on this CD.
Some of the later tracks, like "Trailblazer", "Rumble", and "The Extreme", are good also; they are typical up-beat fighting songs with added guitars. "Tooth & Claw" and "Ya Ha Haa!" are gothic, symphonic tracks that sound more in place in horror movies than fighting games. And though I like that kind of music, these tracks fail to make a lasting impression. Tracks 3-6 and 9-10 are some kind of bizarre mix of techno, rap, jungle, and acid house music, and they sound nothing at all like in the game. Some of them even have samples from movies, of all things! These tracks are, even though made with ambition and originality, poor in quality.
Sounds pretty okay so far, right? Well, here's the catch: "K.I. Feeling" (track 1), and "The Way U Move" (track 2). To say that these tracks are bad is to be nice. Very nice. I try to be tolerant towards most musical styles, but these tracks suck BIG TIME! The first two songs on this CD are the worst imaginable Spice Girls-type of dance-pop. Oh, and have I mentioned that they suck, BIG TIME? Well, they do! The fact that they were put in the beginning of the CD clearly shows that the manufacturers (Nintendo) either a) meant this CD to be purely commercial, or b) have a lousy taste in music (I suspect that both are true). I can try to describe these tracks more, but let's leave it at this: the first track opens with a girl whispering (in what is supposed to be a sexy voice), "She's a Killer!" Say no more! The rest of the lyrics on the CD are just as bad, and it makes me think of the much despised "Dracula Perfect Selection" rap album. All I can say is that these two first tracks completely ruin an otherwise okay arrange album, and sometimes I hesitate to listen to this CD just because of them. That's how bad they are, trust me! "It's the way you move, Yeeeaaah!" Aaaargh!
There is also a "hidden" track. After track 15 finishes there is a long silence while the empty tracks 16-29 click away. Then the last track (30) hits, and it is a arranged version of the "Humiliation" theme from the game. Nothing major. Also, at the end of tracks 8 and 15 are short, symphonic arranges of the player select theme and ending theme. These are very, very well arranged, almost to the point of being able to fit in a RPG! I only wish that they were longer and had tracks of their own, instead of sharing tracks with other songs.
In conclusion, "Killer Cuts" is an arrange CD with a few great highlights, and a few tracks which could be seen as okay listening at times. The variety of different musical styles is an unexpected plus also. But there are a lot of flaws too, not to forget the disgusting first two tracks. If they only hadn't put those vocals in there! That would have lifted the entire album. As it is now, I can hardly recommend this CD to anyone but fanatic K.I. fans (if there are any) and fans of the Spice Girls music. Besides, since 1996 it has been pretty impossible to find anyway, so don't bother. As fighting game music goes, this album is pretty good, but it's nothing against, say, Squaresoft's RPG soundtracks or Konami's Dracula/Castlevania soundtracks. Stay away from this, unless you get it for free, like I did.