Today nostalgic gamers across the globe are commemorating one of the most iconic characters of all time: Sonic the Hedgehog. Since the original game's release in 1991, the spastic blue rodent has found a home in the hearts of millions of people worldwide.
At 20 years old today, Sonic is one of Sega's longest-running franchises. In celebration of his birthday, we encourage Sonic lovers to dust off their old cartridges or scour the internet for emulators and revisit the series.
As one plays, however, one cannot help but become entranced by the thumping, electronic beats in the games' soundtracks. We have compiled a list of what we think are the game's most memorable and catchiest themes.
5: Ice Cap Zone: Act 1, from Sonic 3
If slowed down just a hair, this could have been played at any dance club in the '90s. The house-sounding beat paired with the simple melodies could have easily appeared on any La Bouche record. Knowing Sonic, though, slowing anything down is simply not an option.
4: Special Stage, from Sonic 1
The first Sonic game had what was probably the most difficult and aggravating bonus stages ever conceived. Many a controller was thrown into a fit of rage when jumping from wall to wall in the rotating maze of flashing neon cubes. Luckily, the level's easy, soothing tune would put all frustration to ease.
3: Marble Zone, from Sonic 1
Seeing as this level was rife with spikes, lava, falling rocks, and hidden enemies, hearing this tune over and over isn't out of the norm. Luckily, it's pleasing to the ear.
2: Hill Top Zone, from Sonic 2
This song's twangy bass intro hooks the player right from the start. As a whole, it was a country, Southern feel to it as what sounds like a synthesized harmonica plays out over an easy-sounding beat, fitting level's outdoorsy setting.
1. Green Hill Zone, from Sonic 1
Of course, the theme from Green Hill Zone is our winner. The opening song to the first game in the series, everyone who has played it has this permanently etched into his mind. You see kids, in the olden days of videogaming, most games, especially not 2-D sidescrollers, didn't have fancy-pants features like "Save Game" or "Resume Game."
Every time the game was played, each level had to be beaten in sequential order, starting with Green Hill Zone. It was inevitable. Above all others, this theme is immediately recognized and has become the most covered song in the series' repertoire.
Honorable Mention: Scrap Brain Zone
This had to be included simply because of how bizarre it is to name a place, albeit a level in a videogame featuring a blue spike-coated hedgehog that runs at the speed of light, "Scrap Brain."
There is nothing in the level that even remotely resembles a brain. There are lots of metallic objects, sure, but nothing that would constitute "scrap." Pondering the meaning this had long reduced my brain to scrap, which is probably what the programmers intended.
Also, we wanted to throw in the music that plays when you are drowning just to make you panic for a few seconds.