It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
[ Company: Sega | Year: 1993 | Console: Sega CD ]
After conquering the Sega Genesis, Master System and Game Gear, there was only one place left for Sonic the Hedgehog to mark his territory -- the Sega CD! Released in 1993 (between Sonic 2 and 3), this exclusive CD game features time traveling, robot monsters and a love story for our speedy hero. It also featured the music of Spencer Nilsen, who had a thing for screaming guitar solos and synthesizers. The result is Sonic Boom, Sonic the Hedgehog's very first theme with lyrics!
Don't believe Sonic's lies! Catchy chorus and upbeat lyrics aside, this Sonic CD theme is rife with inaccuracies. Contrary to what the song says, if you're strong you will NOT be able to fly. Also, trouble does not actually make you run faster. And while it may sound empowering to say that you can handle any obstacle, I would draw the line well before single-handedly battling a megalomaniacal psychopath dead set on destroying the world. Unrealistic lyrics aside, I really like this theme. This isn't "Stairway to Heaven" or anything, but it's a catchy pop song with an inspirational message. Sometimes I can't tell if I only like it out of nostalgia or if it's simply a well-produced song. As of today, I'm leaning towards admitting to myself that Sonic Boom is a damn good theme song.
Surely one of the earliest console games to have a theme song with vocals, Sonic CD's theme goes all out with two verses and a catchy chorus. Of course, having vocals leads the instruments to dumb down a bit, with only the keyboardist getting a busy part full of arpeggiation. The drums hold a simple rock beat while the bass and guitar mostly get sustained root notes and chords respectively, with an occasional screaming lead note from the guitar. None of this is really detrimental to the song, but the pop rock feel and structure lead to it sounding very dated twenty years later. It's hard to fault it too much for that though, and it serves as a great introduction to the game with its inspirational lyrics.
I could tell you how the song starts, but a few minutes in it switches to something completely different. It's stealthy like that.