Number 2: Sonic 3 & Knuckles
So I did. The number two position for the Top 25 Gaming Soundtracks this year is being handed over to none other then Sonic 3 & Knuckles. S3&K was one of the most ambitious genesis titles, a game so large that it had to be split into two separate cartridges that had to be combined in order to get the full game.
The reason was space, and once you hear the soundtrack it's not hard to see why. S3&K's soundtrack is gutsy, ambitious, and completely 100% jamming. It jams so hard that you'll be humming it's tunes for weeks after you've heard it, and there's a very good reason why. After all, it's hard not to be catchy when you've been composed by Michael Jackson.
That's right, Michael Jackson, the king of pop, had a hand in composing S3&K's music. He ended up uncredited for years following some legal disputes, but about ten years later the whole thing came out. Not that anyone had suspected otherwise. Michael Jackson has a pretty distinct musical style, and a large chunk of S3&K fit that bill perfectly. From start to finish, S3&K has a bouncy, upbeat dance style to it that leaves you feeling like you need to move.
As for the stuff that wasn't finished by Michael, it's also top notch. A lot of other composers (even a few from Jackson's personal sound team maybe) came together to work on it, and the depth and style built with the Genesis's 16-bit sound chip is quite simply epic.
I still will say this. This decision was borderline impossible to make. S3&K scored very high. It's catchy, fun, grooving music that captures the emotion of it's setting (namely hedgehogs, robots and rings) with solid aplomb and puts the listener on a thrill ride to the end. As for what made number one superior...well, that's for tomorrow.
For today, S3&K takes home the Silver Second place.
Sonic 3 and Knuckles
Stand Alone Quality: 4.75
Emotional Reaction: 5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Number 2--Sonic 3 and Knuckles by Cirocco, Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks, Geoff Grace, Doug Grigsby III, Darryl Ross, Howard Drossin and Michael JacksonNumber 8--Sonic Colors by Various
Number 10--Final Fantasy: The Crystal Chronicles by Kumi Tanioka