Yes, that's the first thing I asked myself when I listened to this CD. Typically, fighting games have those short and fast-paced songs that pick up the mood for the game, and the arrangements are rarely different. But in King of Fighters '99 Arrange Sound Trax, the SNK sound team decided to throw in a nice twist on many of the tracks.
The CD's first track, "Burning D.N.A.", sounds enough like a fighting game, with a hard techno beat and those other "interesting" sounds - drills, heavy breathing, bubbling water, and the like. The second track is very similar, with a more toned-down beat, but the third track, "176th Street", is drastically different. SNK really gets to show off what they can do with their arrangements in tracks like this, totally turning the in-game music upside down with piano, saxophone, and a slower - but still very upbeat and addictive - rhythm. I always find myself looking forward to this track, despite the fact that it seems out of place between some of the harder styles.
That brings us to the next style present, in "RYU-KO", which is more of a hard rock arrangement. Even the classic guitar riffs are present about halfway through the song, which make it seem more whole; it's very good, to say the least. "W.W. III" continues the same style, and is one of my favorites on the entire CD. The title itself lends to the opening of the song, with sounds of bullets flying and grenades exploding, and then the song itself explodes into a frenzy of battle. It's one of the songs that does remind you that yes, this CD originated from a great fighting game.
Then SNK throws in another twist. Track 6, the traditional Psycho Soldier remix present in most KoF albums, turns into more of a light techno arrangement, much lighter than the opening to the CD but still very good. I do tend to skip over this track a lot though, because after a few plays through, it becomes repetitive. One of the few flaws of this CD is that some of the songs have little variation throughout the track, and you may be tempted to hit the skip forward button early. It's a very minor flaw, and only happens if you listen to your CDs as much as me, which is about twice a day.
By far, the best track on the CD is track 9. Any KoF fan will instantly recognize this song when it hits the 53 second mark and bursts into one of the greatest themes in the KoF series - the theme of the Japan team. Not only that, the style is heavier than ever... and really fits the personality of the team leader, Kyo Kusanagi (who, similarly, is also one of the coolest characters in *any* fighting game). I don't know how to describe the style of this track, as it seems to blend all three of the previously heard styles in the disc to some degree.
The disc closes with a few unique tracks, to say the least. "Mechanical Bless" is a mainly mechanical song, as its title implies. It reminds me of listening to a strange factory, with pounding, drilling, beeping, and a steady beat throughout. Very odd... at one point, for several seconds, all you hear are bursts of air every 5 seconds or so. I like the song, regardless of this, mainly because my favorite non-game style is techno.
It might seem like this disc over-uses some styles, but I've heard so many arranged albums that have a disjointed feel because they can't unify the feeling found in the OST. This disc really does feel complete and whole. I know, so what else is new... SNK turns out another masterpiece. I have only recently become a fan of the KoF series, as well as other SNK fighting games, yet the music is on par with some of the music turned out by JDK Soundteam and Square's composers. This CD remains one of my favorite arranged albums, I suggest to pick it up while you can.