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Blue Blur manages to hit the big giant ring at the end of the stage

15/04/2011

Holy hell, it’s a good Remix OverClocked album!

I do love Remix OverClocked, the leading video game music remix community online. I have tons of fond memories of browsing the site’s archives, downloading interpretations of both tunes I love and songs I’ve never heard before and finding great many treasures that even today nest on my hard drive and which I pull out every now and again. There’s some staggeringly great works in the site (and an article with some of my favourites is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a long time). But that said, they’ve been inflicted by some terrible curse which, based on what I’ve sampled, causes their grand remix album projects themed on one specific game to fail in a really disappointing way. One of the ‘grandest’ examples being the Sonic 2 remix album project which turned one of the greatest game soundtracks ever into two disc compilation of boredom and tedium with absolutely nothing to keep afterwards. The Sonic 3 wasn’t much better.

Now though, they’ve tackled Sonic 1 and while the resulting Sonic the Hedgehog: The Sound of Speed is far from great, it’s actually consistently enjoyable. It takes a few nosedives (most notably the terrible lounge-jazzification of Starlight Zone on “Under Construction” and somewhat dull hard rock take on the boss theme on “Hogtied”) but overall the quality remains surprisingly enjoyable and results in a fair few rather interesting, fun and most importantly good re-interpretations of classic songs. Of particular note are “Clockwork Criminal”, “Bubble Junkie”, “Subsonic Sparkle” and “Shifting Islands” which all treat the original material with a sparkle of imagination and fun, from sound effect sampling to mixing up cameos of other tunes, and generally sounding like highly enjoyable, solid reworks of great tunes that do new things while still keeping the essence of what made the originals good. The title track, a remix of the legendary Green Hill Zone, nicely bridges between the series’ two eras by showing what the theme would have sounded like if it had been introduced in Sonic Adventure.

I’d guess the main reason for the success of this project is that the Sonic 1 OST is fairly short (in fact, the only reason this album reaches 13 songs is because there’s three versions of the special stage theme) which leaves a lot less room for error than the sprawling, several-disc OCRemix albums that have caught my interest and subsequently disappointed me before. That, or a really good project director. Whatever the case, it’s definitely a nice tribute to the Sonic 1 soundtrack, and really that’s the best way to describe the whole thing: it’s a tribute album, with all the good and bad that go with such things normally. Nothing here reaches the originals obviously, but it’s a bunch of really good attempts.

MP3: Sonic the Hedgehog: The Speed of Sound

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