Death Egg Zone (Act 1), Sonic 3 (& Knuckles)
When you think about the Sega Genesis, you likely think of a small blue hedgehog with the sweet red sneakers who was “way past cool,” and with good reason. Sonic and his companions were a video game staple in the 90’s and to this day serves as the mascot for Sega. Something that you might not give a lot of thought to, however, is the music. It’s got to be good to be looped nine or ten times in the span of ten minutes, right? But you were probably too busy screaming at Sonic because you couldn’t time that jump just right to make the spinning platform in Carnival Night Zone Act 2 to notice. (We don’t blame you. We got frustrated, too.)
Still, the music pushed the limits of the Sega Genesis sound chip in a way that the SNES wasn’t able to, and the franchise has a slew of memorable and timeless tunes to show for it. Below are the best tracks from the Genesis Era, in no particular order.
It’s a shame that much of this track is covered up by the whirs and beeps of the machines in this level, because it’s fantastic. It has a fast-paced industrial vibe that perfectly fits the urgency of stopping Doctor Robotnik from putting his evil plans into motion.
Aquatic Ruin Zone, Sonic 2
This track sounds exactly how you’d expect it to. It’s upbeat, mysterious, and has that nautical undertone that is somehow in every single water level in every game ever. Still, there’s something mystical about it that when you close your eyes you have the sudden urge to go all Indiana Jones and explore aquatic ruins.