Call of Duty, Battlefield, Dota 2 – these are all modern day gaming titles that have come to define the current era of gaming. And while they might be aesthetically pleasing and technically brilliant, there’s something missing in terms of sentimental value that classic games possess. A lot of the time this value comes in the form of technological innovation (for the time) and the idiosyncratic soundtracks that accompanied the game. And it’s these 8-bit masterpieces that can’t be replaced. Just hearing them invokes a powerful sense of nostalgia for the games of that era.
How do we experience those soundtracks again? Well, if you look at the trajectory of gaming in the last thirty years, we’ve certainly come a long way. From the 80s with Commodore 64 and the Genesis, right up to the present when it’s possible to have your own private game server, there have been some giant leaps and bounds in gaming technology. It’s therefore no surprise that you can simply download a Sega emulator and relive the glory days of old, complete with the soundtracks you loved. Some console fans have even constructed a retro gaming system that can emulate a number of different consoles including various Atari systems, Game Boys, and of course the Sega 32X, CD and SG-1000, using a Raspberry Pi.
We now know how to access Sega games and soundtracks, but which ones are the best? Below we’ve listed some of the most wistful, tasteful, melodic and straight-up best Sega soundtracks of all time.
Streets of Rage 2
It’s not only one of the best Sega titles, but Streets of Rage 2 also possessed one of the best soundtracks to feature on Sega. Composed by the masterful Yuzo Koshiro, the score has a funky feel with an underlying club style that helped give the game a uniquely memorable vibe. Plus, it made for easy and enjoyable listening even when you weren’t dealing out knuckle sandwiches from the deadly fists of Skate Hunter.
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic titles have always had great soundtracks attached to them and it’s therefore tough to choose which one to include, but Sonic & Knuckles just had that something that elevated it above the rest. Each track was just perfectly tailored to the appropriate level, and provided an energy that augmented the gameplay rather than just accompanied it. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 might be the most beloved in the series, but Sonic & Knuckles takes the crown in terms of a superior soundtrack (especially the Flying Battery Zone).
There was nary a Sega gaming character in the 90s as iconic as Earthworm Jim. The game itself was full of interesting mechanics, bizarre humor and beautiful animations, but the soundtrack was also a show-stealer. It was something of a homage to a ton of classical music, such as Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and was composed by Tommy Tallarico. The result was truly unforgettable.