Game developers are rarely able to showcase their efforts in video game preservation. Publisher and developer regulations may prohibit this material be preserved for future generations to learn and understand from to avoid competition and protect resources. In a rare opportunity developers may uncover unreleased materials they held in their personal collection. Some recent examples include prototypes of games such as the Super Nintendo version of Rayman discovered by series creator Michel Ancel or Twelve Tales Conker 64 dug up from Rare’s archives. Recently Traveller’s Tales founder, Jon Burton, has pulled out pitch videos and prototypes of his company’s earlier efforts on his YouTube channel GameHut. The most recent videos at the time of this writing the first known prototype of Sonic R for SEGA Saturn shown off to SEGA as well as prototype footage of Mickey Mania 2 running on Mega Drive hardware.
Note from the writer: This was originally a forum post I made over on the Sonic Stadium, but since that post I’ve learned even more about the surprising history of this soundtrack, and so I’ve decided to update it to celebrate Saturn month; enjoy!
Who loves Sonic R?
Released in late 1997, Sonic R (ソニックR ) was first released for the SEGA Saturn, the under-appreciated 32-Bit powerhouse amongst SEGA’s console lineup. Sonic R had 10 characters to choose from, and presented 5 tracks to race across.
I gave my thoughts on it in my web series This is Saturn, which you can find here:
So, who does love Sonic R?
…not that many people to be honest. Some see it as an average racer, whereas others such as ScrewAttack see it as the absolute worst Sonic the Hedgehog game of all time.
We’re not here to discuss the game though – you probably could have guessed that from the topic title and the huge bloody banner saying “Sonic R – THE SOUNDTRACK.”
This is Saturn is back to talk about one of the few Sonic games on the Saturn, Sonic R, in which Sonic and company go Super Sonic Racing! Sonic R was a game I’ve played on many a system, and it was actually one of my first Sonic games – but does it hold up today? Or is it a blemish on the hedgehog’s wonderful 90s career?
This is Saturn is a video series created by British teenager Liam ‘TrackerTD’ Ashcroft, aiming to give an alternative and in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of SEGA Saturn gaming, all whilst maintaining a somewhat strong accent.
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I’ve been struggling to figure out just what tune to feature this week. Panzer Dragoon’s Flight seemed so fitting! After all, it was used in the All Stars Racing demo Jason and I got to try out. Unfortunately, Flight had already been featured during Panzer Dragoon month. In the end there could only be one choice, another classic SEGA song from Saturn era.
Ladies and gentleman, Richard Jacques’ Super Sonic Racing! Sonic R is known for its cheesy lyrics and energetic singer, so much so that the PC version actually had an option that allowed players to turn them off. Frankly, I can’t imagine playing Sonic R without this music. It turned what was otherwise a mediocre racer with poor controls into one of the most memorable spin-offs in the mascot’s history. Fans don’t remember this game for the tracks or the characters, they remember it for its over the top soundtrack!
If you have never used GOG.com (aka Good Old Games) than you are missing out. The service is a retro store of PC games, most of these older games don’t work on Windows 7, so the team tinkers around to get them running. Games are reasonably priced and have zero DRM. Zero DRM means you can download and install it on as many PCs as you want. No limit. You can install it in all of your friend’s computers and force them to play Sonic games all day.
GOG.com has a ‘wishlist’ section where users cast a vote for games they would love to have on the service. Luckily for SEGA, the wishlist is packing quite a few Sonic titles…