SEGA Tunes: How Thunder Force III’s OST made the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive shine

SEGATunesTHUNDERFORCEIIIOn this entry of our ongoing SEGA Tunes series, we will be looking at how Thunder Force III‘s fantastic soundtrack cemented the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive as a musical powerhouse. The SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive’s sound usually gets negative responses from gamers due to some big games having bad sound, thus they assume its the system’s fault. If you know some gamers that have that opinion about the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, pop in Thunder Force III. If they don’t change their minds, find new friends. Of course, there are many other SEGA games that had fantastic sound on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, but today we will be looking at Thunder Force III.

Let’s look at some of my favorite Thunder Force III tracks:

Seeing as how Thunder Force III is a pretty hard game to get through, I probably heard the first stage’s music like a billion times. Stage 1: Hydra is an excellent track with nice changes in tempos, really crisp sound and really shows you what the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drvie could accomplish in terms of music. There is quite a bit going on in this track and changes it up, showing that the SEGA’s 16-bit machine had the ability for more complex tracks.

The track Stage 5: Ellis really makes it easy to hear the difference from all the instruments and really hard to believe that its running on a 16-bit console. Its a huge evolution in terms of sound compared to 8-bit consoles. I love the start of the song where the drums kick off the track. Any metal band of this era would be lucky to compose a great song like this. Very well done music by both Toshiharu Yamanishi and Tomomi Ohtani.

Nothing gets more epic than the final stages music, right? That is why Stage 7: Orn Base is very melodically epic from the moment you hit start the stage. Another great example of what the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive’s sound was capable of with a developer that knew what they where doing. I love the drumming on this track too, very catchy. If you haven’t heard the whole soundtrack before, you can hit play on the bottom and enjoy a little over 37 minutes of musical bliss:

Not to make this a SEGA vs Nintendo article, but Thunder Force III got a port of sorts on the Super Nintendo called ‘Thunder Spirits‘ and the OST on that game isn’t up to par with the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive version. Thunder Force III on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive just sounds really crisps and more depth than Thunder Spirits did on the SNES. Does that mean that the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive had better sound? Nah, just means that the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive soundchip was more suited for this type of electronic rock tracks.

Oh, screw it. Genesis does! 

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