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Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack -Blue Blur- :: Review by Joe Hammond

Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack -Blue Blur- Album Title: Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack -Blue Blur-
Record Label: Wavemaster
Catalog No.: WWCE-31261/3
Release Date: January 11, 2012
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Sonic Generations is Sega and Sonic Team's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It features new versions of some of the most famous stages from many of the main games in the 20 year history of the franchise, as well as the ability to play those levels in two different styles. Classic Sonic controls very much like the much celebrated Mega Drive games, while Modern Sonic's gameplay is very similar to that of Sonic Unleashed (not the werehog gameplay) and Sonic Colours (or if you're playing the 3DS version, Sonic Rush). Combined with a plot and cutscenes, which like to make fun of certain elements of the series (such as Dr Eggman/Dr Robotnick's name and some of the ridiculous plots of previous games), the game is very enjoyable overall, taking all of the best parts of the two gameplay styles and putting them in one game. Despite a few weaker Sonic games with nice ideas but flawed execution, and one really bad, borderline broken game, Sonic has, in my opinion, seen a return to form in recent years, with modern gameplay that works well, and is satisfying to play.

The soundtrack takes the tunes from their respective levels and creates two different remixes of each, a classic 16-bit style remix and a modern remix. Disc one features all of these level tunes from the PC/PS3/Xbox 360 version, while disc two features all of the unique music from the 3DS version of the game. Disc three contains all the additional music from the game such as boss battle themes, jingles and cutscenes. Featuring a wide range of composers and arrangers, including Jun Senoue, Richard Jacques, Cash Cash, and Hideki Naganuma, the soundtrack is certainly varied. In the games, by completing certain challenges and collecting special rings, you can unlock numerous tracks from across the entire catalogue of Sonic games.


The soundtrack opens appropriately enough with a slightly modern Jun Senoue remix of the main title theme, which should be instantly recognisable, and is a great opener to the soundtrack. This is followed by Naofumi Hataya's remix of the classic "Green Hill Zone". This remix is very similar to the original, but works well — the tune and main lines of the piece are played using the original 16 bit sounds, with the bass and drum sounds being updated to sound a bit edgier. The next track is a modern rock remix of the track from Jun Senoue. The faster pace, as well as the brass and rock band backing, creates a great sound. Personally I'm not a big fan of the synth sound used for the tune (it sounds a bit like a duck!), but it doesn't detract too much from the overall sound. I particularly like the section where the drum go into half time about a minute and a half into the piece. The next track is a fast version of the previous track, where the drums go into double time and the guitar is faster paced too.

"Chemical Plant Zone: Act 1" is almost identical to the original from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with a few additional sounds and updated bass and drums. In contrast, Act 2 is completely different — an electronic rock remix with a cool slap bass and complex drum rhythm driving it. The main tune sounds about half time and the great overall sound is riddled with some cool effects. In "Sky Sanctuary", Act 1 is again very similar to the original from Sonic & Knuckles, with some nice additional synth sounds, as is Act 2 surprisingly. The tune is still played using sounds that are remarkably similar to the original with a rock bass and drums accompaniment. This arrangement has a nice strings sections towards the end, and as oppose to just suddenly stopping, this remix has a proper ending. The Act 2 remix also has a fast version, which is pretty similar but with a heavier rock feel. Both versions are great, and all of these remixes from the Mega Drive games are very well thought out and interesting.

Now we come to the more modern Sonic games, starting with the Dreamcast generation of Sonic games. Cash Cash's Act 1 remix of "Run Through the Speed Highway" from Sonic Adventure is synth based, with heavily effects processed electric guitar playing the catchy riff. They did a good job of making it sound more in line with the 16 bit games, while Jun Senoue's version for Act 2 sounds more like the original track with a rock focus. They also included the short track that plays on the skyscraper part of the level as a bonus. It's a similar story with "Escape From the City" from Sonic Adventure 2. For me, the vocals in the Act 1 remix abuse the auto-tune too much, though this is not a problem in the Act 2 remix, which does a good job of expanding on the rock riffs of the original, and "The Mad Convoy Race" is fast and exciting, appropriate for a giant killer truck chasing you.

For Act 1 of "Seaside Hill", I would've liked to have heard a more electronic sound on the tune than the electric guitar, which feels a bit out of place. A stronger drum beat would have been nice too. Overall, this remix is a bit weak and unlike Richard Jacques. Act 2's sound is just like the original from Sonic Heroes, with some additional sections of music. After one and a half minutes, we get a new second tune with some additional synth brass, which leads into a really cool section that leads back into the main hook. It's a great expanded version of the piece. Next up is "Crisis City" from 2006's Sonic The Hedgehog, the worst game in the main series. Act 1 is a mixed bag; the bass sounds, percussion work, and faster-paced section are great, but some of the effect sounds and processed guitar used for the melody are a bit ugly. I found Act 2 to be a bit bland, the strings in the melody doesn't feel like it fits with the Drum and Bass style beat.

Act 1 of "Rooftop Run" from Sonic Unleashed does a much better job at this, with a cool piano riff backing the main melody, and an exciting if a bit random double time section half way through. Act 2 retains the speed of the original, while adding some new electric guitar riffs to the framework of the original. Act 1 of "Planet Wisp" is pretty bland, mainly because the bass is really boring, preventing many harmonic changes, it's a shame because the rest of the texture has some nice ideas. Act 2 is better for this reason, though I prefer the more passive drums of the original track from Sonic Colours. They also included the jingles that play when Sonic uses a wisp power, but they're pretty ugly out of context, so a mixed bag from Tomoya Ohtani and Kenichi Tokoi. Disc one ends with version one of the "End Roll Medley", similar to the credits music from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, it starts out with a little tune before cycling through each tune form all the levels in the game. It's a great track, as all of the individual tunes are strong (apart from maybe "Crisis City"), and the track flows well linking into each tune effectively before ending with the main Sonic The Hedgehog theme everyone knows.

Disc two then covers all the music unique to the 3DS version of the game, starting with "Casino Night Zone" (which is also a DLC bonus for the other versions). Act 1 has a pretty similar sound to the original, though I don't like the updated drums, since they don't fit the jazzy feel of the tune. Act 2, on the other hand, is a really cool 1930's style jazz arrangement featuring some great improvised solos. I wasn't a fan of the original version of "Mushroom Hill Zone" from Sonic & Knuckles, but I like the two versions on offer here; they're very funky, and Jun Senoue's obsession with slap bass works particularly well in Act 2. "Emerald Coast" is pretty much identical to the original from Sonic Adventure in both acts 1 and 2, while "Radical Highway" and "Water Palace" have pretty cool riffs, even if the vocals in the latter are slightly annoying. Act 1 of "Tropical Resort" is identical to the original, while Act 2 is a faster rock version, personally I prefer the original.

The next three tracks are the bosses from the 3DS version. Cash Cash's remix of "Big Arms" from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is driving and intense. "Biolizard" is OK, with a cool bass line, but not much else too it, and "Egg Emperor" is a pretty generic rock track. "Special Stage" is surprisingly good, with a great beat, cool effects, and an intact tune. "End Roll Medley ver 2" is the same idea as version 1, but with the 3DS level tunes; it also works well, with each tune flowing into each other well. The disc finishes with the music from the challenge missions. The highlights are the first and fifth ones, the first is a beat heavy remix of "Super Sonic Racing" from Cash Cash, and the fifth is a cool dance track from Richard Jacques.

Disc three covers everything else, mainly from the main console versions, beginning with a cool, fast paced rock track. Then we get the tunes that play during the 'rival' boss fights with Metal Sonic, Shadow and Silver. The US version of the Metal Sonic battle is the better version, with its dark electric guitar riffs. Shadow's music is pretty bland, with the main track feeling empty and only 50 second extracts from the Crush 40 songs "Live and Learn" and "All Hail Shadow", which are a bit pointless. Silver's music fares better, with a cool beat and some dark electronic effects.

The main boss battles have better music overall. In particular, I really like the orchestral rock version of "Death Egg Robot", the final boss from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, even if I think the Dragon Force style drums at the end detract from the rest of the track. Circuit Freq's remix of Crush 40's "Open Your Heart" for the first part of the battle with Perfect Chaos is interesting, even if I prefer the overall sound of the original from Sonic Adventure, particularly the drums. Part 2 on the other hand ("Perfect Chaos Revival") is a properly intense orchestral track from Richard Jacques, the first of these on the whole soundtrack. This sound is combined with his signature beats for "Egg Dragoon" and "Time Eater ver 1" to great effect, with version 2 being a more electronic affair, and "Final Attack" being a triumphant rock track.

"White Space Medley" is the highlight of the third disc. It's a medley of the different states in which the music can play while selecting a level in the white space area, with new versions of all the level tunes. Most of these are light-hearted string based versions, and are all well arranged, with the track being well put together for the soundtrack too. The next few tracks are all jingles which Sonic veterans will easily recognize, my favourite being "Timer" for when you're running out of air underwater. "Skill Shop" is a modern version of the sound test music from the mega drive games, while "Collection Room" is a cool string tune with rock backing and "Gallery" is a relaxing Desafinado style track. The final 10 tracks are the background music for the games cutscenes. They're all pleasant, generally orchestral tracks that work well as mood setters.


There is a lot in the Sonic Generations soundtrack and the variety on display here is astounding. After all, it encompasses all the original and remixed music from both the big console version and the 3DS version, and features styles and tunes from across the history of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The result is a mostly successful soundtrack, with many tracks such as "White Space Medley" being surprisingly well put together, and many of the remixes offering an impressive alternative take on their original counterparts. It's not perfect: the inclusion of some music feels a bit pointless, a few of the original tracks are bland, and several remixes try too hard to be different, modern or edgy, but for the most part they work. The overall package is a great one, and should appeal to all Sonic fans in some way, both new and old.

Overall Score: 8/10