Short for Service Games, SEGA has been responsible for some of the best consoles and and helping bring about some of the most innovative games in the industry. Said innovations didn't always pay off, but at least this was a company that was willing to take risks. You can make the argument that SEGA isn't the company that it once was, but hey, at least they aren't nearly as bad as Capcom. SEGA still has some of the best composers in the business. Even SEGA games that are subpar usually have excellent music.
Route 99 Act 1 - Sonic Advance 3 (GBA)
What better way to start off a list of SEGA tunes than with the company's mascot? The Sonic Advance trilogy doesn't get the love it deserves, largely because they were portable Sonic games. Developed by Dimps, these were a collection of very competent 2D Sonic titles and Sonic Advance 3 could easily been viewed as the best of the lot. It certainly has the best soundtrack. The composers made great use of what I like to call the "Mega Man Zero Guitar" instruments in Sonic Advance 3's music and you can sample it as early as the game's first Zone, Route 99. This theme definitely needs more love in the remix department.
Scream Train - House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii, PS3)
Rail shooters are practically extinct so it was quite refreshing to see House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii, which was a perfect fit for the Wii Remote. In a huge departure from the traditional House of the Dead games, Overkill plays up the B movie angle to a tee. It's heavy on the gore and never takes itself seriously, the later being why those that play this game love it so much. Protagonists Agent G and Issac Washington provide some of the best back and forth banter this side of a cop flick. The game is also heavy on the profanity. If you played a drinking game with this one and took a swig every time some one dropped an F-bomb, you'd be passed out on the floor from alcohol poisoning in no time. The soundtrack was a hefty dose of funk, which I say video games need far more of. Overkill would recieve an enhanced port on the PS3 for the PlayStation Move controller under the name House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut.
Pressure - Phantasy Star II (GEN)
Confession time. I've never beaten Phantasy Star II. In fact, I've played very little of it. And yet I own it many times over. I bought a Genesis cartridge a year ago for dirt cheap, I have it on the GBA Phantasy Star Collection, The Sega Genesis Collection on PS2 and the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection on PS3. I've played just enough of the game to hear the song Pressure, a song that has since stayed inside my head. Yeah, I know, I'm a horrible gamer for not even scratching the surface of one of the best games on the Genesis.
The King of Speed - Daytona USA (SAT ver.)
I'd read about the Daytona USA games in issues of Gamepro in the mid and late '90s, but I wouldn't play a Daytona USA game until the summer of 2001 when I picked up my Dreamcast. I had a hard time getting used to the controls at first, but once I got a feel for them, the Dreamcast version of Daytona USA became one of my favorite games for the system. The music in the Dreamcast version is slightly different from the Saturn version. I'm quite partial to the Dreamcast version of The King of Speed, but the Saturn version is still perfectly capable of holding it's own. If I ever go out and see real life Daytona racing, I'll be crushed if the announcer doesn't say "ROLLING STAAAAAAART" at least once.
Chinatown - The Revenge of Shinobi (GEN)
This game didn't come to my attention until I'd read about it in magazine, years after SEGA had stopped supporting the Genesis. The Revenge of Shinobi is one of the system's earliest games and it still holds up remarkably well on all fronts. Yuzo Koshiro was behind this game's score, so I really don't need to go on about much I adore it.
Funky Dealer - Jet Set Radio Future (XB)
The Jet Set Radio series is one of the reasons SEGA was known for being such a creative force in the gaming industry. The games involved a band of misfits on roller blades expressing themselves through graffiti. Naturally, their activities don't sit too well with the local law enforcement, what with freedom of expression being outlawed and all that. So in addition to marking your territory, you had to keep the man off your back. Beat and a few Jet Set Radio themed tracks made an appearance in Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing as did a few audio tracks like the funkadelic Funky Dealer.
Wandering Warriors - Shining Force II (GEN)
Another series I've games I've been meaning to get into but just haven't gotten around to it. The first two installments of the Shining Force series are up for grabs on the Virtual Console and I also have them on the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection, but I lack a PS3 to play them on. Wandering Warriors is the overworld theme of Shining Force II so you'll hear it quite frequently. Composed by Motoaki Takenouchi, this theme has a very symphonic feel to it.
Go Straight - Streets of Rage 2 (GG ver.)
Tell a few people that Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 were also available on the Game Gear and you may get a bewildered look. Go Straight on the Game Gear version of Streets of Rage is speed up a great deal when compared to the Genesis version, but I actually like it for that reason. This version of the tune, like the Genesis version was also composed by Yuzo Koshiro.
Message from Nightophia - NiGHTS into dreams... (SAT, PS2)
The song may be from a NiGHTS game, but the first time I heard it was in Casinopolis in Sonic Adventure. The NiGHTS pinball machine has got to be one of my favorite distractions in that game. I liked it far more than the Sonic pinball machine and every time I'm in Casionpolis, I always head for the NiGHTS pinball machine just so I can hear this track. When I picked up NiGHTS into dreams... for the Saturn last year, I was so disappointed to learn that you don't get to hear much of this song in that game. If you missed NiGHTS into dreams... the first time around, you'll be able to play an HD version of it on PSN and XLBA this fall.
Monkey Island - Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)
The Super Monkey Ball games may have declined in quality over the years, but from my understanding, Banana Blitz was one of the better games during the series' slump. Thanks to the excellent Mario Kart clone, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars racing, this energetic tune was brought to my ears. This track is actually a remix of Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll's Wet 'n' Windy. The Monkey Ball courses in All-Stars racing were a lot of fun to race on and each time I got to play them, I'd always select this as my audio track.