It’s hard to believe that we once lived in a time where Sega and its console lineup were a direct competitor to Nintendo. Much like the war between Microsoft and Sony today, Nintendo and Sega duked it out over many years. While I did have a Sega Genesis growing up, I’ve always been a Nintendo guy at heart. But that’s not to say that I didn’t spend a lot my fair share of time with the Genesis though.
Today, in my recurring RPG Music series, we’ll be taking a look at some of my favorite tracks from various Sega Genesis RPGs. If you didn’t grow in that era, you may find it difficult to listen to Genesis music specifically, because of how its soundchip processed everything. There are some great pieces to be had, however, so I encourage you to press on and hear me out. If you’d rather skip over my commentary, you can find a complete, pre-compiled playlist at the very bottom of this article.
D&D: Warriors of the Eternal Sun – Wizard Theme
Warriors of the Eternal Sun was one of the first Genesis RPGs I ever played. It is a challenging game that, surprisingly, features both first-person dungeon crawling sequences, as well as high angled, ¾-ish perspective areas. The Wizard theme has the honors of playing in the background during the character creation process, and you will likely have it stuck in your head thereafter.
Landstalker – Let’s Go On An Adventure
I thought Warriors of the Eternal Sun was difficult as a kid, but it’s nothing compared to Landstalker. I think the majority of that difficulty stems from design limitations rather than a desire to actually be difficult though. Landstalker is an isometric action RPG that features some rage-inducing platform sections, but maybe my youthful self just needed to “git gud”. Regardless, I had a lot of fun with this game, and this track does a great job of starting your adventure off on the right foot.
Rings of Power – Guilds
Probably the least known title on the list, Rings of Power was kicking it open world style way before it was common practice. And I mean open world in the greatest sense, as you can literally go anywhere from the very beginning. Rings of Power puts a major emphasis on player freedom and decision making, as you can pretty much attack and permanently kill almost anything in the game. I would not necessarily recommend playing through it now, as it’s probably aged the worst out of this entire list. Not to mention its narrative is almost a direct knock-off of Lord of the Rings. Either way, I appreciate what Rings of Power managed to do in a time where these types of games simply did not exist.
Shining Force – Battle Theme 2
Shining Force was my first tactical RPG, and although I never finished it, I always remembered the soundtrack. Battle Theme 2 in particular is one piece that I’ve never been able to separate myself from. I actually used a remixed version of it in a non-commercial project of mine about 10 years ago, if that gives you any indication of how much I enjoyed it.
Bonus (Sega CD): Lunar: The Silver Star – Meribia
Lunar: The Silver Star is one of the first RPGs I played that projected itself in a way that made me emotionally attached to its cast. While I only had the opportunity to watch my friend play the Sega CD version, I did pick up the re-release on PS1 years later. Even though I prefer to play the PS1 version these days, I prefer the soundtrack of the original Sega CD release in almost every way. Meribia is one of the first cities you come across that is bustling with activity, and I feel like this track portrays that well.
Playlist – Great RPG Music On: Sega Genesis
Where’s mah Phantasy Star? Sadly, I have very little experience with the franchise. I’m sure that I missed some others as well, so please share your thoughts (and additions) below!