Background music – the eternal mortal enemy of combo video makers everywhere. It certainly has been the bane of my existence over the past four years. And what better way to treat my anguish than to give you all the opportunity to profit from it. See, that way it’s not for nothing.
Problem: In the (MAME) arcade version, one of two sound channels handles sound effects while the other predominantly handles music. Unfortunately, some of the sound effects such as the impact noise and the kick whooshing sound come through the music channel. Therefore, muting the music channel leaves the sound effects sounding flat.
Solution: PS2/Xbox Capcom Classics Collection 2 includes a version of SF1 with an audio option menu which lets you adjust music and sound effects levels individually. It’s not available from the main menu before loading the game, so it’s easy to miss. You have to load SF1 and then press Select to bring up the Pause Menu. Access Audio Setup to take Music Volume all the way down while leaving SFX Volume alone.
CPS1 SF2 Trilogy: World Warrior, Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting
Problem: Same problem, except the other way around – some of the musical drum beats are handled by the sound effects channel.
Solution: Creating a MAME save state and loading it from any of the three introductory game loading screens (hardware check, game identification, regional warning) magically mutes the background music where the state was loaded. Unfortunately the soundtrack changes when one of the characters gets under 30% vitality and that brings back the music. So if you intend to do a combo with 1P against 2P, beat up the 1P character until the music changes and then save the state. That way the music won’t change even if your combo does 100% damage against 2P. This limits your options somewhat but it should be good enough for most cases.
CPS2 Library: SSF2/ST, Alpha series, Marvel series, Darkstalkers series, etc.
Solution: Kawaks does the trick with Sound -> QSound options -> Disable QSound music and other emulators have similar options. Otherwise, you can request custom soundtrack muting cheats, which simply silence the music without altering anything else.
Street Fighter Collection: SSF2 and ST
Solution: PSX/Saturn versions let you shut off music within the Option screen by lowering the BGM Volume stars down to zero while leaving the SE Volume setting alone. (This is the version that gives Guile access to CPS1 chains in both SSF2 and ST.)
HSF2 and HSFA plus the rest of SFA Anthology
Solution: While neither of these PS2 titles offer BGM muting options, they do benefit from the awesome PS2 feature of being able to eject the disc during gameplay. Since the music is read off the disc in real time, removing it stops the music while preserving all other sound effects. The game will keep running as long as you don’t encounter any loading screens. In most cases you can even change characters without having to put the disc back in.
SF3 Trilogy: New Generation, 2nd Impact, and 3rd Strike
Solution: Dreamcast versions of Double Impact and 3rd Strike as well as PS2 3S (SFAC) all have convenient soundtrack muting options.
Street Fighter IV and SSF4
Problem: Xbox360/PS3 versions let you shut off music via Options -> Sound Settings but it still remains faintly audible even at the lowest volume level.
Solution: The best way to completely shut off background music in SF4 is to create a silent MP3 file, put it on a USB drive, load it onto the console, and play it after you start the game. I do it when i reach the mode menu and it stays in effect until i turn off the PS3. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own, here’s mine. (Unfortunately there’s no way to isolate the announcer samples and shut him up without disabling the character voices too.)
Capcom vs SNK, CvSPro, and Marvel vs Capcom 2
Solution: Dreamcast versions don’t have any volume control options whatsoever, so you’ll have to create custom soundtrack remixes with silent non-looping audio files. It’s kind of a hassle, but fairly straightforward as far as hassles go.
Capcom vs SNK 2
Solution: The Dreamcast version lets you shut off music via Option Mode -> Sound Option. You can even save VS Mode matches onto your VMU and then watch them in Replay Mode after turning off BGM from the menu. But personally i keep BGM off at all times because there’s no bigger waste of time than having to rerecord a combo due to this oversight.
Capcom Fighting Evolution/Jam
Solution: Xbox/PS2 versions can disable music via Option Mode -> Sound Option -> BGM Level.
Solution: Kawaks has a great little feature where you can press numpad + or – keys to scroll through the game’s music selection. Using this feature, you can flip through all the stage soundtracks until you reach one of the short samples like the Game Over tune. Let it play out and you’ll have the rest of the round to do whatever you want in silence. For other emulators, you’ll probably have to go through the cheat code route to artificially silence the music without altering anything else.
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Solution: Xbox360/PS3 versions can turn music off through Options -> Sound -> BGM Volume.
Well, that covers basically every major Capcom fighting game series of the past twenty years. If anyone happens to have similar information regarding other titles, please post it as a comment to help us gather every solution in one convenient place.