Play it again Saturn...
I've been wanting to write a piece on my favourite video game music tracks for ages and I find myself in a position this month where Holidays and summer sickness leave me being the only one in a position to put together a Top 10. I was going to take the opportunity to run with it and track my Top 10 video game tracks, but I hit 1 problem, there's probably too many! So I've decided to split it down this time to my Top 10 Sega game soundtracks. Depending how its received I'll follow up with others.
As always I like to work with rules;
The version of the song needs to be a Sega release. That is made by Sega or for a Sega Console (and to be the Sega console version of that soundtrack). For example, there's probably a couple of Street Fighter Tracks I'd throw in here but the Megadrive version of those tracks were not the best so they won't make this list.
Also, I'm looking at original music, not playlists, otherwise I'd be filling this with Crazy Taxi and Tony Hawk.
Usually we'd list out the countdown with an image but today I'm going to provide links to the tracks in question for certainty to which I'm referring (They'll still be obvious from the preview images!). Kindly note all links are provided from non-affiliated sources (on YouTube).
Here's my Top 10 with a brief explanation as to why - Enjoy!
I appreciate this is a bit of an odd choice for a Sonic entry. The whole series has great music but some songs I hum to myself more than others and this is one of them. Like many I’m a fan of the Casino Night (and Carnival Night to a decree) levels in the games but these are not really famed because of their speed. Balloon Park is clearly inspired by these stages but with a spin (geddit?) on racing in the multiplayer. So it stands to reason the music should be livelier to back this up and the result is what you hear here. It’s an honourable mention I honesty so don’t look to much into it!
In an era where video game music was constructed of repetitive bleeps at best along came OutRun with its radio selection of ditties which just inspire you to drive fast. The nice thing about Magical Sound Shower is that it builds to a memorable chorus that you’ll be humming every time you drive alongside the sea on a sunny day (as often as that happens).
Also called Mega Twins for our international audience. For me this is the quintessential first stage music. Hearing it just makes you think of green hills, blue skies and it announces itself like an adventure that’s about to begin. Lively and energetic, LETS GO!
My second choice for a Sonic game jumps forward a decade or so to Sonic Adventure 2. It was a toss-up between this and the Emerald Coast track but this just about pips it for me as it just makes you want to run faster. Which is kind of Sonic’s thing in the later games no?
Check 42 seconds or so into the video on this one. This isn’t the only ending tune on here but it deserves a special mention because of how damn happy it is. Completing a game should be a celebration, especially when the ending was successful and without sacrifice. Golden Axe had some very atmospheric music given the fact it came out so early on and the credits track is so memorable as it’s such a contrast to the rest of the game. At least you have no question, you’ve definitely succeeded!
I’m usually happy to let the random option do its thing when it comes to stage select on a vs Fighter (especially when the stage has no bearing on the action). I found myself drawn to playing the rooftop level in Project Justice however and this was due to the great marriage between the location and the soundtrack. Harmonica’s don’t feature heavily in videogame music but here combined with the typical J-Rock the rest of the game exhibits it creates a great feeling of being exposed on a high, blustery plateau.
There’s not much that can be done with the limited sound capacities of the humble Sega Master System. What we’re hearing here is someone who rather than imitating other machines of the day has dived into what’s available and made it their own and the result is probably the best soundtrack on the console. It was actually recently playing the remaster on PS4 that reminded me how much I enjoyed this track.
Like all good franchises Skies of Arcadia had its own signature fanfare which makes you instantly remember the title. When playing on the Rogues Landing stage of S&SAR Transformed you’re give a flyover with this tune and my nostalgia glands started twitching uncontrollably. The simple tune actually doesn’t feature much in the original rendition so I’m erring toward this short remaster over that. Still makes me smile every time.
So this is the stage music for Raiden. Raiden is the biggest, strongest and slowest character and in a game about fighting mechs that is saying something. You won’t beat him easily head-on so your best option (like most actually) is to run fast around him and counter. This music compliments that tactic tremendously!
Guardian Heroes, as well as being a phenomenal game, has a phenomenal soundtrack. The biggest issue with it is that the frantic action often means you’ve cleared the stage of enemies before the chorus kicks in! Fortunately one of the greatest tracks is reused for the secret coliseum so it can be enjoyed on loop in all its glory!
Another ending track but this one very different to the other on this list. The story sees you reunited with your friend/brother (depending who you chose) and lets that emotion take precedent over the fact that you’ve just toppled the city’s biggest crime organisation. It’s a soppy one but upbeat at the same time and I don’t think there’s much else like it on the console.
That's me put out there. What do you think and I'm sure I missed something. let me know in the comments below.