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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

8-bit Sonic Soundtracks

I really should have made a post about these sooner as I've known about them for some time now. With all the Sonic posts I made last year, this would have been right at home in celebrating Sonic's 20th anniversary. But, better late than never, I suppose.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles 8-Bit Soundtrack
Chiptune artist Daniel White, better known by his handle of 8BitDancoot1 has undertaken the task of making covers for some of the most memorable early Sonic tunes in 8-bit audio glory. Ever imagine what Green Hill Zone would sound like if it were done on NES hardware? Or how about the Casino Night Zone 2 Player stage theme? Maybe you've wondered what an 8-bit rendition of Chrome Gadget (one of my all-time favorite Sonic songs) would sound like. Well wonder no more. Daniel has put out no less than three albums of 8-bit Sonic soundtracks. The first album, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles 8-Bit Soundtrack, covers all the music from the mammoth sized Sonic game. Not a single tune was left unconverted to 8-bit. The second album, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 OST, covers all the music from the first two Sonic games. Lastly, the most recent release, Sonic Spinball NES Arrange OST covers the music from Sonic Spinball.

Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2 8-Bit OST
The first two albums feature some enhanced audio instruments, which may have some scratching their head about the beefed up sound. Daniel explains why.

"If you're wondering why it does not sound as "8-bit" as say, a game like Megaman 2, it is because I used the Konami VRC6 expansion chip when creating this album. What this does is allow for a few extra sound channels to be utilized, enabling me to use those sound channels for added harmony and fullness.

In short, the expansion allowed me to create a better listening experience that can still be played on an actual NES with the right equipment. "

Personally, the inclusion of the VRC6 chip doesn't bother me one bit. The music still sounds fantastic. With the Sonic Spinball NES Arrange OST, Daniel took a different approach.

"Once again, it's time for another Sonic 8-bit album! This time, it's Sonic Spinball, in glorious 2a03-alone NES 8-bit! That's right! No "cheating" expansion chips or Sawtooth bass enhancement, it's nothing but pure NES! About 40 hours of work went into this project, and I am very pleased with the way it turned out."

Sonic Spinball NES Arrange OST
One of the earliest spin-off titles, Sonic Spinball had some amazing tunes, like Toxic Caves, Lave Powerhouse, and that incredibly dope Boss Battle track. They really don't lose much in the transition to 8-bit and like the previous two 8-bit Sonic scores, are very pleasing to the ears.

It's always interesting to hear good 8-bit versions of classic video game music and Daniel has put out some extraordinary work. What could be better than getting sweet 8-bit covers of Sonic music? Getting them for free. These digital albums won't cost you a dime. Highly recommended for Sonic fans, lovers of 8-bit and those that love video game music.

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