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What's your preferred Sonic 3 Soundtrack?


Plasme

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Sonic 3 has two official soundtracks, the Mega Drive OST and the PC Collection OST. It's difficult to say which one came first, as the PC songs may have been written before Buxer got on board or made after but were later discarded for some reason before the final release.

Which one do you prefer? I think I prefer the PC one on balance, especially the Genesis prototype versions. But the PC Midi and Synth were always pretty good in hindsight (I've listened to them all a fair bit) and the tracks were only really ever discarded in fandom because they lacked legitimacy. It's difficult to say whether the Midi or Proto Genesis versions represent the more finished tracks. Carnival Night Act 1 sounds far more incomplete in the Midi version than the Genesis Proto, but we know that other songs on the prototype from non Buxer leves aren't quite finished.

I think the PC tracks fit the rest of the OST better than the songs directed by Buxer. Buxer's team's songs are good, some really good, but I feel their style clashes with the rest of the levels, it's hard to explain what I mean. Although some people may like the more varied theme in the Mega Drive version.

Launch Base Zone isn't quite fitting for the level I don't think but it is really good. It's difficult to say whether it was recycled music (as the Blue Sphere theme) or was made specifically for the level.

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4 hours ago, StaticMania said:

The "actual" soundtrack is better than the other music.

 

There isn't really an "actual" soundtrack anymore than either the JP or US version of Sonic CD's soundtrack is 'canon'.

Sonic 3 on Genesis and PC are both official releases.

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It's hard to shake the association of the Mega Drive tracks with those stages, since they're the ones I know best, but I have to admit, I loathe their inconsistency with the rest of the soundtrack, mainly due to how little effort went into their Act 2 remixes. They literally just remove a couple of instruments and call it a day, they're so out of style when compared to the first half of the game, where Act 1 and Act 2 are worlds apart.

I think if we finally got the remaster we're all hoping for and they used the PC/"original" tracks, I'd get used to them as the "real" versions soon enough, with the Mega Drive soundtrack becoming just a nostalgic thing. But in the meantime, despite my gripes with the Act 2 versions, the mega drive tracks remain what I associate with the stages.

When it comes to comparing each song one on one, I definitely prefer original Carnival Night to Mega Drive - it's so much more fun and melodic, whereas the Mega Drive version is just kinda very typical cliché annoying circus music but to a Micheal Jackson beat. It sure is catchy, but not really in an enjoyable way - easy to hum and get stuck in my head and yet I don't actually like it much as a song, I just enjoy the beat.

Original Ice Cap is really enjoyable, but I will admit, this one changes the feel of the zone more than any.  I miss the desolate wasteland feel that Mega Drive Ice Cap's melancholic melody provides - though I will say I do find Mega Drive Ice Cap overrated. I get why it's so popular, that main melody is fantastic... but there's 10 seconds of it. The song is so repetitive.

Original Launch Base does retain the same summery, chilled out mood for me that I really love about Mega Drive Launch Base's music (it's so wonderfully subversive for a final stage theme - or even the midgame climax that it is when playing S3&K), so that's good, though I will say I do think the melody starts to lose it's way towards the end of the loop. It's good but tends to meander around and constantly subvert my expectations of where I'd want it to go to sound as appealing as Hydrocity or Angel Island.

Then we have the credits theme - I do REALLY love the Mega Drive version for this one.  Thankfully the original captures the same mood so it's no bad thing, but I do prefer the mega drive in this instance.  As for Knuckles' theme, I can leave both the original and the mega drive one. If we ever get a remake, I'd prefer they consistently use the S&K theme all the way through as in S3&K, it's much more fitting for his character.  Perhaps repurpose the original Knuckles' theme for cut-scenes where miscelleanous trouble is happening, like Egg Robo's appearance in Knuckles' story, or when you're following Knuckles through Hidden Palace to give chase to Eggman after the Master Emerald is stolen.

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I've been listening to Sonic 3's prototype music a lot since the ROM originally got released, and that's something I don't really do with the classic trilogy's OSTs otherwise- not least because they've been burned into my brain at this point.

I never really gave the proto soundtrack a second thought when all we had was the PC collection's MIDIs to work off, mainly for two reasons:

  • Obviously nobody at the time knew that they had anything to do with Sonic 3's development, and it was reasonable to assume that the changed music was composed for the collection by a different music team
  • The format and arrangements. MIDI in general isn't great to listen to- at least not via the default instruments on a modern OS- but many of the MIDIs themselves in the S&K Collection in my opinion can't even be salvaged by means of a good VST or soundfont. Some sound fine enough, but a lot of them seem to suffer from bum notes, weird tempos or additional notes/riffs that clash with the mood conveyed in the 16-bit versions. (it's been speculated that the MIDIs were probably sourced from the game's original demotapes and that the Mega Drive game "fixed" these problems rather than the other way around, but I had no way of knowing that back then)

As for my thoughts on the tracks themselves, now that we know what they were meant to sound like? Well I really do like proto Carnival Night- it's much more melodic than the final (which is the main reason why I prefer Sonic CD's JP OST over NA) and completely changes the atmosphere of the level from creepy and sleazy to upbeat and fun. It seems to suggest that Carnival Night's development history played out like Casino Night's in reverse. I also do like that act 1 and 2 arrangements of proto-CNZ are actually different to each other.

I'm not a huge fan of prototype Ice Cap however. It's basically just two chords repeated and sounds like a slower version of Sonic 3's invincibility music which I already hate. I remember saying years ago that much of Sonic 4's soundtrack sounds incomplete in the sense that a good number of tracks just sound like the first few bars of what should be a longer tune, and proto-ICZ has the same problem. It doesn't help that act 2 is basically exactly the same except for a few different instruments and added percussion. Final ICZ is still repetitive, but it feels like there's more going on.

Launch base is an interesting one. I think the final music fits better as a final stage, with the uneasy atmosphere created by the strings and ethnic percussion indicating that something big is about to happen. Prototype act 1 sort of works as a triumphant prelude to the game's climax (akin to Wing Fortress) but act 2 doesn't sound like a final level at all. It's a great track that won't leave my head, but it sounds far more like something you'd hear in a 2-player level than anything else.

The context of the game's story also leaves me torn regarding the credits music. The prototype credits theme is an absolute bop, and sounds just like something you'd hear in J League Pro Striker 2 (Which is a soundtrack I'm quite partial to), but the final credits theme works much better in the game's context, where you've claimed a small victory but the battle's not over yet.

I don't really have a preference regarding the competition menu themes. I like the final track for sounding a bit different, but the prototype tune sounds like a third act of Hydrocity, which is by no means a bad thing.

And I guess I ought to mention track 2E, which I quite like. I'm not convinced that it was intended to be Super Sonic's theme like everyone seems to say, though. Based on its position in the sound test I'm inclined to think it was written for the competition results screen, before it was replaced with the No Way theme.

In conclusion I think that the final game's soundtrack works better in the context of the game's story (particularly towards the end), but at the moment I think I prefer the prototype music to just listen to.

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Speaking as someone who grew up with the PC/prototype soundtrack, I definitely prefer Carnival Night and Launch Base from that version over the Genesis versions, primarily because the melodies actually differ from each act, in addition to the songs themselves being good compositions. Conversely, I feel the Genesis version of Ice Cap is well ahead of the PC/prototype version away for similar reasons.

Meanwhile with respect to the tracks outside the main zones, I feel the prototype/PC version of the Credits music does a very good job but it's still outshone a bit by the Genesis version. The Super Sonic music in proto/PC wins hands down over Genesis for going the Sonic 2/Mania route of being an original track, instead of reusing the invincibility music. I think I like the more basic, droning version of Knuckles' Theme in Genesis more, but do feel the more maniac proto/PC version deserves more recognition (IIRC, it was used as a theme for Fang the Sniper in the the first Sonic Classic fangame, and it worked really well there). Can't quite remember the Competition music in the proto/PC version to definitively pick which one I like more.

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lol "Buxer"

 

 

I prefer the one that came out with the game originally. If the prototype tracks had been fully mastered and finished for the final game that may be different; but what we have now to choose from on that side of the equation is unfinished versions of which may have been abandoned well before the prototype came out and crappy versions lazily butchered to fit in line with lowest common denominator mid-90s PC sound hardware.

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Hard to say, I think the PC tracks are more fitting and consistent with the rest, while the Genesis ones are more interesting. I lean more on the Genesis as they're the ones i grew up on. Gotta say though, hearing the proto FM versions of the PC tunes made me appreciate them a lot more.

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10 hours ago, Tornado said:

lol "Buxer"

Buxer himself says that he directed his side of the soundtrack and that Jackson had litle interest in it. He's credited in the game, Jackson isn't. It's a Buxer team side of the soundtrack.

I give you a 10/10 for snark effort but unfortunately, I'm right.

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lol "difficult to say which one came first"

lol "later discarded for some reason"

 

 

It's not at all hard to say which soundtrack was made first, and it's not at all hard to understand why the soundtrack that was made first was discarded. That you loaded the thread OP with stuff like that and "directed by Buxer" and "Buxer's team" makes it evident enough that it's just another round of trying to continue to force your "um, actually" tortured theories about how Sonic 3 is just a really unpopular game that Sega doesn't see a point to rerelease and that Michael Jackson has nothing to do with anything regarding the game beyond wild conspiracies. You're not that slick.

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3 hours ago, Tornado said:

lol "difficult to say which one came first"

lol "later discarded for some reason"

 

 

It's not at all hard to say which soundtrack was made first, and it's not at all hard to understand why the soundtrack that was made first was discarded. That you loaded the thread OP with stuff like that and "directed by Buxer" and "Buxer's team" makes it evident enough that it's just another round of trying to continue to force your "um, actually" tortured theories about how Sonic 3 is just a really unpopular game that Sega doesn't see a point to rerelease and that Michael Jackson has nothing to do with anything regarding the game beyond wild conspiracies. You're not that slick.

Put your wild assumptions away.

Firstly, I no longer believe Sonic 3 doesn't have music license issues stopping it from releasing. I also no longer believe that SEGA aren't re-releasing it because of it's 'unpopularity'. I was wrong about that and I admit it. You just assumed that I still believe something I said months ago.

And actually it is hard to say which soundtrack was made first. The PC tracks are in the prototype but we have no way of knowing whether A - they were just about to replace the PC tracks with the MJ/Buxer Team tacks or B - they were actually in the process of removing the MJ/Buxer Team tacks with the PC tracks at the point of the proto (which in this case they would be new), but for some reason decided not to go through with it and released the game with the MJ/Buxer Team tacks as originally intended.

I just think we have to be careful in assuming how much Michael Jackson might have had to do with the soundtrack of Sonic 3. Brad Buxer himself says he wasn't interested in working on it and that he didn't do much for it. MJ might not be credited simply because he didn't end up having much involvement in it.

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I tried to listen to the pc version. It sounds like something id expect in busby. its pretty ear splitting and goofy. Compared to the original genesis tracks

Lord

But then you get the original track and my lord it hits so hard compared to this. Specifically in a cool factor way

 

but thats just mo.

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