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Music Monday: Sonic 3

There are so many great tracks from the Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic games that I could share with you, but these particular selections from Sonic 3 have always resonated with my subconscious.

Both themes for Marble Garden Zone are apparently by Miyoko Takaoka – one of eleven composers who worked on the 1994 game (twelve if you include Michael Jackson. Yes, that Michael Jackson – a fascinating backstory of PR, politics and pop megastars that’s well worth reading up on), and for me possess that mysterious, ethereal quality that can take one’s head to a strange and wonderful place.

I was 21 years old when I first played Sonic 3 (launch day, naturally), but found it one of those games that had the power to make me feel as heady and optimistic as a young boy again. For me the two Marble Garden stages evoke similar feelings to walking on a mountain ridge under a clear, pale blue sky on a crisp and breezy day. Oddly, they sounded achingly nostalgic to me from the first time I listened and they’ve lost none of their power over me today.

How and why exactly that works I don’t know, and I don’t much care to know. Perhaps my soppy cerebrum is just highly suggestible (look at the farthest layers of parallax in the appropriate stages and you’ll see what I mean).

The Act 2 version is a slightly remixed and key-shifted version of the first (I think, although I’m no music theory student).

By the by, I still think the full Sonic 3 & Knuckles experience might be my favourite Sonic blow-out, even if I’ve played the previous brace of titles through more times.

No wonder I still treasure my Sonic Jam disc for my Saturn. To my knowledge it remains the only subsequent rerelease (of the many times Sonic’s 16-bit adventures have been repackaged) that retains the crucial cartridge lock-on feature.

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