Wednesday, July 1, 2009

IIZ Trax Select #1: Green Hill Zone

I hope this isn't considered a "filler post" or anything, but in all honesty, this is sort of a "feature," if you will, that I thought I'd do should I ever get this blog thing up and running (because we all know how difficult that is [/sarcasm]).

I like music. Plain and simple. Funny that seven years ago I'd be saying the exact opposite. But, to be honest, I never really hated music. I just didn't listen to the radio or "real music." My favorite way of listening to music was always sitting down and playing a video game. Or, better yet, plugging in a game and going to the sound test menu (when it was available) and just selecting which song I'd like to listen to and let it play for as long as I wanted. I finally started listening to "real music" sophomore year of high school, as it provided some sort of escape from boredom during the school day.

With that said, I kinda wanted to do a "favorite game tracks" sort of thing with this blog, in addition to talking about all the other stuff Rave and I are likely to talk about. So I present to whoever is actually reading this: "IIZ Trax Select," our way of celebrating the music of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. I've spelled it as "Trax" as a sort of nod to all the "Vocal Trax" albums that have been made for the games since Sonic Adventure (though they started spelling it that way with Sonic Heroes and on).

So here's the first pick (thanks to YouTuber TrueSonic1 for uploading; I'll be uploading all songs personally from now on):

I was wondering what song to kick this off with, and I ultimately decided "Why not start from the beginning?" and picked the classic Green Hill Zone tune for the first pick. Cliche? Yes. But even with that in mind, it's still one of the most memorable and infectious songs of the franchise. I love loading up Sonic 1 and just zipping along the first three acts of the game and whistling along to this tune. Everytime. Can't hate. Don't hate.

I'll be honest though, Sonic 2 was my first Sonic game, so looking back, I don't think the original Sonic the Hedgehog is the absolute best of the Genesis games. It was a great start, and set the foundation for a run many thought would last forever. Has Sonic lost some speed these days? That's really a matter of opinion. For me, the franchise has never really hit rock bottom. Many will say that Sonic '06 and Shadow the Hedgehog are the lowest of the low points the franchise has seen, and I'd agree with the former to a degree, but I haven't actually played it. I've seen enough to be able to say with certainty that it actually looks awful. And I'm a Sonic nut, so for even a mainstream Sonic game to look unappealing to me in almost every way is just crazy (the music was sick though). Though, who knows? I might actually manage to squeeze some fun out of it, even with my predisposition that it probably is every bit as bad as people say. Shadow on the other hand is a spin off, and it's a decent game (I've played it A LOT), and while I hardly think it's the best of the 3D games, it's really hard for me to walk away hating it (I honestly think critics were extra harsh on Shadow).

Putting that aside though, there are some Sonic games with a less than memorable score, and the franchise has plenty of stand out tracks that easily outweigh all the weaker ones, but I think Green Hill Zone will always be the song most associated with everyone's favorite Hedgehog.

EDIT: As a bonus, I'm including the remix of the Green Hill Zone theme that was featured in Sonic Adventure 2 for the Dreamcast and Gamecube.

It's a great throwback to the original. Sonic Adventure 2 was the 10th Anniversary Sonic game, so it's actually rather appropriate that the classic Green Hill Zone level was included as an extra. Never mind it was a supreme pain to unlock, it was a great first attempt at turning a classic level into a modern 3D level. Unfortunately, the camera didn't work particualrly well, but it was still a nice extra and pretty fun. It's a shame we haven't seen any more classic levels remade in more of the modern games yet, but hopefully we'll see some in the future.

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