Top 25 Soundtracks 2011: Number 23

Number 23: Sonic CD US

When gaming busted onto the CD scene in the early 90s, it did so in a big way. Where a cartridge at the time could anywhere from 2-4 megabytes of hard data, CDs could hold almost 700. Which meant a whole lot more space for graphics, levels, effects and of course music. One of the earlier console games to come out on a CD was the famous and well publicized Sonic CD.

With so much extra space to play with, the developers went all out making Sonic CD and made time travel a central element. Not only could you play a zone in the present time, but you could time warp into that zones past and its future, which would change based on what you did in the past and present. Of course, that still didn't fill up all of that space so they decided that not only would each zone have it's own music, but each time as well. Cue soundtrack of awesome, because as long time fans of the blue hedgehog know, one of Sonic's biggest strengths has always been his music.

Interestingly enough, there are actually two different soundtracks to Sonic CD thanks to some sort of copyright issue. As a result, two soundtracks exist, one for the US, and one for Japan/Europe. The only similarity is the music in the past. This actually led to quite a bit of trouble for a certain reviewer when he dropped the US versions review score by a full 30% from the Japanese edition after hearing the soundtrack. Reviews were a little more flexible back then it would seem. This ended up creating no end to controversy among fans, controversy which still exists today. In any case....

What makes Sonic CD US a great addition to the top 25? Well, its largest strength is sheer variety. This is an old school 16-bit composer given CD level instrumentation and told to run with it. The result is a soundtrack that varies by an incredible amount with a large degree of skill. Take for example the Present Mix of the Tidal Tempest Zone. Now listen to the Past Mix. Now the Bad Future Mix. Now the Good Future Mix. Now that is some variety!

Its the polish of this soundtrack. A lot of the mixes are unfortunately quite short (although extended versions are all over online) but the music itself is gripping, well composed, and catchy. It's also very unique, I have never heard another song like this one. And no, I don't know what they are saying.

Is Sonic CD a grand ranging epic? Not likely. But its solid, clever music that shows the skill and talent of composers of the retro era. Its happy. Or its not, its downright foot tapping in some places. And how could I not mention the music that ran over the opening animated intro, which blew minds back in the 90s. Or the ending.  From start to finish, Sonic CD US is just plain likeable. In my book, Sonic CD well deserving of a spot on the top 25 for its style alone, but it makes its splash with plenty of other flair to earn its place.

Sonic CD US
Enjoyment: 4
Stand Alone Quality: 3.25
Composition: 3
Emotional Reaction: 3.5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 0
Nostalgia: 1
Total: 3.69

Number 23--Sonic CD US by Spencer Nilsen.
Number 24--Megaman II by Manami Matsumae, Yoshihiro Sakaguchi, and Takashi Tateishi
Number 25--Dawn of War II by Doyle W. Donehoo

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