VG Music Spotlight showcases soundtracks from some lesser known video games. Everyone knows that Castlevania, Final Fantasy, or Streets of Rage are excellent. What more could be said about how great the Chrono Trigger music is? What about other games that are not obscure, but hardly mentioned in the lists of great video game soundtracks?
Today the VG Music Spotlight focuses on both the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis adaptations of Jurassic Park.
There was a time when video games would have vastly different versions on separate consoles. Some of this was attributed to the various standards, quality and content, each console maker held. The most famous example was the arcade port of Mortal Kombat. The SNES had superior graphics and sounds, but lacked the original fatalities or the blood and gore. The Sega Genesis had inferior graphics, worse controls, but retained all the blood and violence players wanted from Mortal Kombat.
Sometimes the different adaptations would manifest in vastly different games in unrelated genres. Jurassic Park in 1993 for the SNES and Genesis was one such game. The SNES version was a top-down action adventure game with a large map and crude FPS sections in building interiors. The Genesis version was a side-scrolling arcade game in the same vein as X-Men with the ability to play as a Velociraptor. The two versions also featured two distinct soundtracks.
Jurassic Park - Developer: BlueSky Software (1993 - Sega Genesis)
The Sega Genesis was known for its funky, bass-heavy tunes, and Jurassic Park is no exception. The soundtrack takes a few minutes to ramp up, but starting with the Map Music, you'll have that glorious grime-filled, electronic synthetic sound. Jungle Jive continues with a classic bass track conveying a sense of urgency. Power Station has a slightly more jazzy and playful feel that is really indicative of this era of video games. The rest of the soundtrack is good enough. It lacks any real memorable track (though that Map Music is pretty good). However, when the music of the Visitor's Center kicks up, the entire experience rises up a few notches. For less than two minutes, the hard driving beat and bass propel this fairly decent, serviceable soundtrack into overdrive. It seems like this track was hijacked from a lost Streets of Rage sequel. Visitor's Center is everything that the Sega Genesis does best: a tangible sense of cool with a hint of danger.
Jurassic Park - Developer: Ocean Software (1993 - Super Nintendo)
To be honest, I don't have much recollection of the soundtrack until I looked it up for this retrospective. The actual game, while looking great with lots of innovative ideas, was a slow and boring mess of a game. It was simply too timid and stiff, while the Genesis let you play as a Raptor and eat other dinosaurs. So it was a happy surprise to find a very unique and interesting soundtrack for the SNES version of Jurassic Park. Most SNES games sound great, but the Jurassic Park soundtrack is really funky and weird. Right from the start, the game has a really crazy beat and heart for days. It is a crazy mix of an awesome bass line with like a million other layers on top of it. The track sounds like a hot mess, but I think it works. Next, Gallimimus Gallop puts to rest any thoughts of this being just another game soundtrack. There is a synth sound here that just sounds so awesome to my game music-filled brain. I'm surprise to never have heard of a remix or nerdcore rap version of this. Triceratops Trot brings all of the weapons of the Sony-designed sound chip in the SNES to bear. Atmospheric, tons of layers, and clean, the track shows what the SNES was really capable of. At this point, you'd be forgiven to think the entire soundtrack was a long, lost Deep Forest album, but Jurassic Park manages to sneak in another great track. The Hi-Score Theme is just great. It is playful and original in ways that video games should be. This whole game is a hidden gem of Super Nintendo music.