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Sonic 2: Two Soundtracks, One Winner!


eXtaticus

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In an age of pixels and bleeps, a time of SEGA and Nintendo, and an era where one could describe something as "rad" or "hip" without the slightest hint of mockery or sarcasm, Sonic the Hedgehog reigned supreme as the ultimate videogame icon on the block (sorry, Mario; we all know it's true). His psychotic speed and platforming prowess earned him a superb reputation amongst virtually all non-Nintendo gamers, and the excellent quality of his games' soundtracks further showcased the blue blur's indisputable brilliance. Little did people know, however, that the 8-Bit versions of Sonic's first two titles had almost completely different soundtracks to their MegaDrive counterparts - so, without further ado, allow me to present to you a short comparison of the two different iterations of Sonic 2's music! Which will come out on top? Read on to find out!

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Sonic 2 OST: 8-Bit Vs. 16-Bit

Undoubtedly, the main problem with the soundtrack to the 8-Bit iteration of Sonic 2 is the boredom factor; there just seems to be a distinct lack of any kind of excitement or variation throughout the whole thing, and it almost sounds like a lethargic and dull version of Sonic Chaos’ superb music. Hell, it even uses similar note sequences to its successor, although they were far more polished and improved in the latter game than they were in Sonic 2. Save for some points of Underground Zone (the intro was rather repetitive and dull) and the Boss theme (Master System version only), the entire OST was generally monotonous, uncreative and uninspiring; a huge disappointment for all who were expecting a stunning follow-up to the first game’s awesome soundtrack.

The MegaDrive version‘s musical score, on the other hand, is a marvellous concoction consisting of nothing but purely excellent electro and synth-pop, played out on the astonishingly outstanding YM2612 synthesizer chip. Masato Nakamura really outdid himself with the likes of Chemical Plant Zone and Emerald Hill Zone; making excellent use of the vip-vip-vow synth sounds of the MegaDrive and conveying shockingly good melodies and basslines, they both shine out from all the other tunes as the absolute finest pieces of music on the game, and completely blow the 8-Bit version’s soundtrack out of the water and into orbit. Additionally, catchy classics such as Aquatic Ruins Zone and Metropolis Zone will be lodged into your brain for years; you’ll doubtlessly find yourself involuntarily humming them in public toilets for all the world to hear!

Best Soundtrack: 16-Bit Version

Favourite 16-Bit tune: Chemical Plant Zone

Favourite 8-Bit tune: Boss Theme (Master System Version)

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So, what do you think? Do you prefer the shameless collection of incoherent bleeps, or the synth-ridden and frequency-modulated masterpiece?

P.S: Click here for the full TSS article!

Edited by Extaticus
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Sonic the Hedgehog reigned supreme as the ultimate videogame icon on the block (sorry, Mario; we all know it's true).

Where I come from, we would say "hoo-ah" to that.

I for one am very forgiving when it comes to hardware limitation vs. designer intent (also keep in mind that Sonic 2 was designed for the non-FM Master System while its sequels were designed natively for the Game Gear). If you would like to hear what could have been:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJD8hpb5CI0

Of course DCT would not be topped, and there is a world of difference between the Master System PSG and the Genesis, which uses as its sound processor the same model that was used for the Master System's central processor. I look past that, and I find much more to enjoy. Seriously, there is a run for the money on this contest, even though 16-bit clearly is on top. Of course, this is really a "your mileage may vary" issue.

Ideas like this make me consider what it would have been like if Sonic came on the scene during the 8-bit era (though he kind of did, being single-handedly responsible for ushering in the true 16-bit era, but you know what I mean); or if the Master System was a greater success; or if the West got the FM2413 in their Master Systems.

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Fantastic example there Baron! This is kind of what I think people should be conjouring in their mind when they listen to the MS/GG soundtrack - it's just as rich as the MD/Genesis version, the only limitation obviously being what was output.

This sounds wonderful...anyone know who re-engineered this?

T

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Well, while my article remained unbiased throughout, I do overall WAY prefer the 8-bit one. I realise it's probably because I grew up with it, but I just prefer the general attitude and melodies in it.

I wish wish wish someone could do a giant remix (hell, even just a re-arrangement so they're real instruments instead of bleepy bloops) project for Sonic 2 8-bit (actually all the 8-bit soundtracks are pretty deserving of some a treatment) because the music is just so goddamn good. The first three zones are pretty good and catchy, Crystal Egg is fun stuff, but it's the trio of Green Hills/Gimmick Mt./Scrambled Egg that get me. They're just brilliant. Green Hill is amazing, Gimmick Mt is beautifully surreal and Scrambled Egg is just epic.

Sonic 2 16-bit's music is just kinda... I dunno. It sounds ordinary to me. Safe. Non-offensive. Run-of-the-mill. A lot of it just doesn't have that SONIC feel. Especially stuff like Aquatic Ruin, Oil Ocean and Wing Fortress. Fitting? Yes. But Sonic? No, not at all to me. Everything in the 8-bit soundtrack sounds Sonic to me. Well, I'll be honest, Crystal Egg is trippy as hell but so is the level so I can forgive that. Likewise, the ending themes aren't terribly Sonic-y but they're BEAUTIFUL so I don't care again. D8

Overall I'm not afraid to admit I'm biased though so I can't be arsed to explain my opinion anymore.

Baron, that mix was BEAUTIFUL. I WANT THE REST OF THE SOUNDTRACK NOOOOW. D8

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the shameless collection of incoherent bleeps, or the synth-ridden frequency-modulated masterpiece?

>=I

Edited by JezMM
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This sounds wonderful...anyone know who re-engineered this?

T

After combing through the related links on YouTube (including that AWESOME Bridge Zone), I'm 95% sure that these were all done by Marc (Cinossu) from Sonic Retro.

He's the mastermind behind "Sonic the Hedgehog: Extended Edition" among other things.

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The 16-bit version is very hit-and-miss for me. On one hand, Emerald Hill is the weakest of the 16-bit first-stage tracks, Oil Ocean and Aquatic Ruin are rather uninteresting and Sky Chase is positively snooze-inducing. On the other hand, there are tracks like Chemical Plant, Mystic Cave and the boss music, which are some of my favourite tracks of the era.

The 8-bit version has a couple of clunkers as well (Crystal Egg...) and nothing as good as the 16-bit version's best, but it's much more consistent in quality. I'd call it the better soundtrack to actually play the game to: some of the worse tracks in the 16-bit soundtrack tend to suck the fun out of the game, while the 8-bit version doesn't have that problem... maybe because it's so goddamn frustrating on its own, I dunno. :P

The 16-bit version wins out for me overall, though only barely. I'd definitely be interested in hearing more remixes or rearrangements of the 8-bit tunes, though. Green Hills is love.

Edited by Octarine
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After combing through the related links on YouTube (including that AWESOME Bridge Zone), I'm 95% sure that these were all done by Marc (Cinossu) from Sonic Retro.

He's the mastermind behind "Sonic the Hedgehog: Extended Edition" among other things.

I was curious myself. I just discovered that on YouTube several months back, and it put a whole new perspective on things (even for me, who is almost as big a fan of the 8-bit soundtracks as the 16-bit). It was said there is a rom full of those music revisions, but I could never find a link to it.

Remember, someone back in the day like Green Hills so well that its penultimate remix ended up as the Sonic CD theme.

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I'm fond of 16-bit Sonic 2's music but it seems so....unmemorable. There's nothing particularly stand-outish about say, Hill Top zone's music, Casino Night or Mystic Cave or Aquatic Ruin. They're just functional pieces of music, nothing much more. Emerald Hill's music is certainly classic but compared to 8-Bit's Green Hills music? Close but no cigar. What I love about Green Hill's music is not just the fact that it's the inspiration for "Sonic- You can do anything" but because it lends a magical quality to the typical Tropical Paradise, Green Hill-esque Sonic level.

Sonic 2 8-Bit music has such an edgy kind of....seriousness to it (Can't describe it better than that XP). It's as if Sonic's desperation to find his best friend is echoed throughout the game in the songs. Scrambled Egg seemed to portray this very well aside from it's music accurately summising it's manic, confusing layout. The Bad Ending music is a very strong contender for saddest Sonic music ever whilst the Good Ending could comfortably contend for happiest Sonic music ever. Sonic 2 8-Bit's music gets serious and happy down so well.

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There's nothing particularly stand-outish about say, Hill Top zone's music, Casino Night or Mystic Cave or Aquatic Ruin.

I think it is universally agreed that the ending theme ("Sweet Sweet Sweet") is one of the most epic in all of video gaming history. The Super Sonic theme drove home the point that all bets are off with the Chaos Emeralds, to say the least. The transition from Sky Chase to Wing Fortress is flawless in that "impending final feeling" feeling (which only happens so often, and was probably best-executed by the Final Fortress theme in Sonic Heroes). I have never heard a negative opinion about the 2-player Mystic Cave theme. It may not be an all-around outstanding soundtrack like that of the first Sonic, but my point is that everything definitely has its standout moments. Or maybe I am just the kind of person who likes to enjoy the good from the not-so-good.

Edited by BaronSFel001
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The transition from Sky Chase to Wing Fortress is flawless in that "impending final feeling" feeling (which only happens so often, and was probably best-executed by the Final Fortress theme in Sonic Heroes).

Really? I find Sky Chase and Wing Fortress totally inappropriate myself (as said in the article), though Sky Chase as a standalone piece is a great song.

Wing Fortress is just so... boring and not even vaguely Sonic-ish.

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Really? I find Sky Chase and Wing Fortress totally inappropriate myself (as said in the article), though Sky Chase as a standalone piece is a great song.

Wing Fortress is just so... boring and not even vaguely Sonic-ish.

Your mileage may vary: the rule of tastes.

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Was the Game Gear version of Sonic 2 8-bit mixed in stereo? I've never heard any of the songs from the game suggest it, but its possible.

I am not 100% sure, but I do believe Sonic 2 was designed for the Master System, which lacks stereo. The port tends to follow the original, but the best comparison I can make is playing both in an emulator, and they sound alike.

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I'm going to be honest Extaticus, I don't see why you made this thread. The first post is filled with so much bias against Sonic 2 MS/GG, you're not really giving it a fair chance at all. It's like you made the thread just so you could bash S2GG and praise Sonic 2 Genesis, rather than actually wanting to hear peoples opinions on the matter. Normally when people make "X vs. Y" threads like this, they give balanced reasoning for both sides and let the other posters debate it, but all I'm seeing is phrases like "shameless collection of incoherent bleeps", which is basically trolling those who do enjoy the Sonic 2 GG soundtrack.

But as for my opinion on which is better, I don't think I could say. I like Sonic 2 MD's soundtrack better because it's better quality, but some of it is very generic, and I feel like S2GG, using the Game Gear's pisspoor sound chip, never had a chance. I'd have to hear a 16-biticized version of the Game Gear soundtrack for me to judge fairly.

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I'm going to be honest Extaticus, I don't see why you made this thread. The first post is filled with so much bias against Sonic 2 MS/GG, you're not really giving it a fair chance at all. It's like you made the thread just so you could bash S2GG and praise Sonic 2 Genesis, rather than actually wanting to hear peoples opinions on the matter. Normally when people make "X vs. Y" threads like this, they give balanced reasoning for both sides and let the other posters debate it, but all I'm seeing is phrases like "shameless collection of incoherent bleeps", which is basically trolling those who do enjoy the Sonic 2 GG soundtrack.

Can I not voice my opinions without being slammed into the ground and called a troll? Can I not be controversial without being seen as vindictive? Can I not speak my mind without people accusing me of being ignorant?

What's all this garbage about "freedom of speech"? I'm shot down in flames for complaining about some shameless collection of incoherent bleeps!

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I'm going to be honest Extaticus, I don't see why you made this thread.

Since you seemingly want to know the purpose of this topic, I will tell you immediately; I am the man-in-charge when it comes to creating topics that correspond with the front-page Sonic Stadium Soundtrack Squad articles, and my initial post is simply my personal review with intro and ending paragraphs stuck onto the front and back of it respectively. In short, I made this topic to raise awareness for a TSS article - happy now?

It's not that people have a problem with you speaking your mind.

It's that people have a problem with you being unable to speak your mind without making yourself sound like an ignorant cock.

I did not, however, create this topic to be insulted, personally attacked or trolled; take note, Velotix...

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