Fatima Al Qadiri’s Favorite Underrated Mega Drive Soundtracks

As part of the second season of Red Bull Radio’s Diggin’ in the Carts, our series on video game music, we’ve asked artists to provide the soundtracks that they remember the most. For this edition, Nick Dwyer spoke to producer Fatima Al Qadiri about her favorite underrated soundtracks for games released on the Sega Genesis, AKA Mega Drive.

Tune into Diggin’ in the Carts Wednesday at 7 PM EST on Red Bull Radio.

I decided to do a Sega Genesis / Mega Drive underrated soundtracks because there’s a lot of love for the SNES [Super Nintendo Entertainment System], and I was the generation that grew up with the 16-bit console wars, and thought that was really dumb – like, I loved and had both the Super Nintendo and Mega Drive.

Devil Crash MD / Dragon’s Fury

This was a pinball game produced by Technosoft in 1990. The soundtrack as a whole is a beast, and one of my favorite soundtracks of all time on any console. It was composed by Toshiharu Yamanishi, Takeshi Yoshida and Naosuke Arai, and the standout track on the game is the opening theme, which features some of my favorite elements: bass sweep, Baroque sound, choir melody, minor key and lurching… It takes that Mega Drive chip to its max capacity.

Devil Crash MD - Full OST

Devil Crash MD is literally the most beautiful pinball game you’ll ever play. So, not only was the music out of control for its time, but the game itself was really graphically stunning and exciting. It was actually my older sister’s favorite, the only game that she played on the Mega Drive religiously.

Alisia Dragoon

Alisia Dragoon was released by Game Arts in 1992 and is a platformer. This game was lush, but also really hard – I never finished it for that reason.

Alisia Dragoon - Stage 7

Its sound palette is very distinct and super Baroque. It had effervescent, fizzing synths, and my fave track amongst many on this game is [the] Stage 7 music, a stage which I never got to! The intro to this track, especially, is delightful to the ears melodically.

The music for Alisia Dragoon was actually composed by five people: Fumihito Kasatani, Nobuyuki Aoshima, Mamoru Ishimoda, Yoko Sonoda and Mariko Sato. Fumihito founded Mecano Associates LLC specifically to compose music for video games in the ’80s and Alisia Dragoon was one of many games soundtracks they composed.

Arcus Odyssey - Act 2-1 - Prison

Arcus Odyssey

Arcus Odyssey was developed by Wolf Team in 1991 and was an action RPG. The title of the song I picked was “Act 2-1 - Prison.” This was the beginning of the second stage – I know because I’ve played this game relatively frequently. The composer is Motoi Sakuraba, and this song just starts with a very simple bell melody and is deceptive in its simplicity. I found it very soothing. Wolf Team used the same sound palette for many of the games they developed at the time.

The Legend of Galahad

This was actually a game, like several on Sega Genesis / Mega Drive, [that] was ported from another console, the Amiga. The original iteration of this game was called Leander on the Amiga, and the original composers were Tim Wright and Matthew Simmons. A year later it was ported to the Sega Mega Drive as The Legend of Galahad, published by Electronic Arts, and the music was adapted/converted by Matt Furniss.

The Legend of Galahad - Title Theme

Matt Furniss, some of you may know, did the soundtrack for Mortal Kombat, amongst others. The most notable thing about The Legend of Galahad is, the title theme is three minutes and 39 seconds of continuously changing music, which I thought was bonkers at the time. You were able to hear the whole track by just turning on the game and leaving the title visuals on loop, which of course I only discovered by accident, probably turning on the game and going to the bathroom or something, coming back and being like, “What the hell’s going on?”

My personal sweet spot is from around 2:15 seconds to the end. I would describe this soundtrack as medieval electronic, with lashings of heroism. It was a beautiful game, it was a beautiful soundtrack. I know I use the word beautiful a lot, but kudos to Matt Furniss for adapting this and making it pop. It’s definitely one of my fave underrated game soundtracks.

Decap Attack - Intro

Decap Attack

Last but not least, Decap Attack, developed by Vic Tokai for Sega in 1991. It is a platformer and this soundtrack, basically to me, sounds like classical music on crack, especially the intro track. The composers were Fumito Tamayama and Hiroto Kanno. The game is a story of Chuck D. Head, a headless mummy created by mad scientist Dr. Stein and his associate Igor, sent to defeat Max D. Cap, a demon.

It was really fun: You’re a mummy, you’re throwing your head around and the music is very driving, very sugar-rush, dark hooks, with minor keys of course. It also featured one of the sleaziest sounding lead synths ever. The Intro is completely different – a bit like Galahad but way crazier.

By Fatima Al Qadiri on November 14, 2017

On a different note