Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – “Dr. Robotnik’s Theme” (Masato Nakamura)July 14, 2010
I’ll admit to not playing much of the Sonic series – we had a Super Nintendo while I was growing up and so simply never got that involved with it. However, one track from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 really stood out for me, the theme of Dr. Robotnik (Eggman) – “Boss the Boss.” Dr. Robotnik is a big, fat man with a huge orange mustache who tries to conquer the world with robots and pollution. At the end of some levels, he will show up with a crazy machine and try to crush the speedy blue hedgehog, Sonic. The game’s composer, Masato Nakamura, has worked on the first Sonic the Hedgehog and Final Fantasy VIII, among other scores.
Anyway, “Boss the Boss” matches the overbearing nature of Robotnik, his large size and his lumbering machines. It’s really about a big guy determined to smash things and the little guy determined to beat him; this combination of lightness and weight adds a level of comedy to this piece that I think perfectly suits the Eggman (a guy who seems to take himself too seriously). There’s some great percussion here – one of the things the Genesis did very well – as well as a crazy synth/choral line to listen for beginning around 0:15. Definitely one of my favorite boss themes out there.
I will say though that I’m not a big fan of the Genesis sound system – only a handful of composers were ever really able to pull great things out of this system, and even then, they sounded mechanical. They simply don’t compare with the fuller sounds of the SNES sound system (which I suppose had the advantage of being designed by Sony). In some ways though, these mechanical sounds work well with Dr. Robotnik’s theme – it’s almost as if the machine had been built for this roboticizer of furry animals.
There have been a large number of mixes of, but Hedgehog Heaven produced some excellent mixes of the game, among them Richter’s “Robeatnik’s Theme”, which seems to have better music and fuller arrangement than most of the others I’ve seen in a lighthearted coffee lounge mix.