Aug 262015


Three classic bike-em-ups from the 16-bit days bring us one step closer to 100 episodes. Hope you like FM guitars!

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0:00:00 – Main Theme (Road Rash)

0:10:01 – Grass Valley (Road Rash)

0:14:37 – Pacific Coast (Road Rash)

0:18:01 – Redwood Forest (Road Rash)

0:25:21 – Hawaii (Road Rash 2)

0:31:19 – Vermont (Road Rash 2)

0:33:25 – Main Theme (Road Rash 2)

0:37:18 – Alaska (Road Rash 2)

0:42:26 – Tennessee (Road Rash 2)

0:46:43 – Italy (Road Rash 3)

0:52:21 – Tokyo (Road Rash 3)

0:54:55 – UK (Road Rash 3)

1:06:44 – Cross the Road (Coq Roq)

  18 Responses to “VGMpire 99 – Road Rash Rules”

  1. Yikes. Yeah I remember playing Road Rash 2 at a friends house on his Genesis. It was a fun game. But uh… yeah this music is hard to go back to.

    I’m excited for #100 !

  2. Sorry Brett, I quit listening about two-thirds of the way through. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Most Genesis music just sounds so bad now to my ears outside of the absolute classics. Maybe in the context of the games it is a little bit easier to take. I am looking forward to ep. 100 as well!

  3. I personally love the Genesis sound, always have. Nothing quite rocks out like the ol’ Genny. I had no idea so many people disliked it. I appreciate the Genesis-centric episodes whenever they come up!

  4. That Coq Roq song intrigues me more then it should. The song is titled “Cross the Road” about Burger King chicken fries. In 1989 Kentucky Fried Chicken launched the “Cross the road to Kentucky Friend Chicken” commercial.
    Could it be because both companies were owned by PepsiCO. Or just a coincidental variation on the “Why did the chicken cross the road joke”?

    … maybe this isn’t as interesting as I thought.

    • I’m sorry, I just can’t hear “Coq Roq” without thinking of dirty jokes. I guess it’s Road Rash nostalgia tainting my virginal mind……

  5. WHOOOOOOEEEE that was painful! Great strategy, Brett, preceding the mighty Centepisode with Road Rash tunes. Now, it doesn’t matter what you choose to play next; it will sound amazing.

    Jokes aside, I never cared much for early EA stuff, and Road Rash is a good example of why(see also Budokan, Sword of Sodan, and so on). In addition to reverse engineering, the early EA excelled at poorly implementing clever ideas. Their graphics were usually chunky, the controls were sluggish, the control schemes quizzical, and the music was often so, so bad. Respect to Rob F. Switch(Legacy Music Hour co-host and bafflingly unabashed Rob Hubbard fan….or “L Rob Hubbard”, as he likes to call him), but Rob Hubbard made some of the most gratingly painful Genesis music out there. He was the poster child for what NOT to do with the Genesis sound chip(s), and the most popular reason to bag on both the Genesis, and western composers in general.

    That having been said, whoever made the music to RR3 must have been a major sadist. In most of the tracks, you can hear the faintest hint of actual notes, and everything else that might have been music sounds like it was replaced by somebody violently shaking the silverware drawer, or using a brillo pad on a chalkboard. Pure pain.

    The EA stuff for Genesis(and SNES) got a lot better as time went on. Some of the Jeff Van Dyk Genesis stuff is actually pretty good, although they shortchanged themselves by their approach. EA’s sound programmers for the Genesis squeezed more performance out of that crappy sampler than perhaps anyone else, but they were still trying to use it like the SNES chip(which as you know was exclusively a sampler). They only used the Genesis’s Yamaha for light synth duty, and as far as I know, they didn’t use the PSG at all. Consequently, games like Skitchin’ and FIFA Soccer sound pretty good for Genesis, but the best samples on the Genesis still couldn’t touch what the SNES was putting out at that time. Not that I care anymore, not me! Nope, no system bias left over from a bygone era here! It’s all gooood!

    • ……I have to add that Rob Hubbard was a dynamo for the C64. Not my bag, but I have to give credit where it’s due. Which is not on his Genesis work.

  6. Amazing that we were able to listen to this in long stretches when we were younger, playing this on the Genesis right?

    Trying to listen today, and it’s painful. They definitely used the metallic sounds that the Genesis was used for. Oddly enough, I picked this up on 3DO a few weeks ago as well.

  7. I think everyone is being wayyy to harsh on this, the music’s not bad, and Road Rash 2’s music was especially good. Really dug “Main Theme” and most of the Road Rash 2/3 stuff. In fact I think the music here was a lot less jarring than the X-Men Genesis music you guys played in that X-Men ep. The soloing in the “UK” was ridiculous, haha.

    We need to have a “Terpsichorean” episode that’s nothing but Hitoshi Sakimoto’s Genesis/Megadrive sound driver. I’m talkin’ Gauntlet IV, Verytex, Kingdom Grandprix (ok so that last one was Arcade/Sega Saturn, but still!).

    • Was Master of Monsters in that club? Also Devilish, that fishing game I can never remember, and so on. Hitoshi Sakimoto was amazing on the Genesis, and I for one would love to hear a composer/sound programmer focus on him. Everything he did was great, not just the Genesis stuff. Incidentally, I only just recently gave Gauntlet IV a go, having passed it over when it came out originally on account of it being Tengen and therefore a “Western” game(further irony: I only recently discovered that both Tengen and Atari are Japanese words). That is just a fabulous game, especially in 4-player mode, and I really missed out on a lot of years of fun.

      I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on the Road Rash issue. RR3 was literally painful to listen to and I wasn’t being melodramatic when I said it sounded like someone shaking the silverware drawer. As for 1 and 2, the music falls into a lot of the traps that Western composers made at that time. The tracks are very long compared to their Japanese counterparts, which isn’t a negative in itself, except that like most electronic music that is crappy, the RR tracks also do that “play a pattern 4 times, then add or change a sound, play it 4 times” bit. It gets really boring. There are a lot of stretches in these tunes that have very little variation on them, especially in the drum sections. That the instrument choices are grating is a matter of opinion, sure. But beyond that, they’re very repetitive compared to other VGM tunes of the time.

  8. Road Rash certainly has an, interesting OST spanning the three games. Never played these games, but it’s cool to hear the BGM to the games that the LaserTime crew have admired for so long.

    Excited to see what is in store Episode 100!

  9. Not a great episode for me, as I didn’t grow up owning a Genesis. Sure, some of my friends had one, and I got to play one a lot like 2 years ago, but I have no nostalgia for the sound of FM synthesis. There was some great commentary on this episode as per usual, but I couldn’t make make it through.
    That said I’m excited for whatever you have in store for episode 100, I am very much looking forward to it!

  10. About a year and a half ago, I came across this podcast and absolutely adored it from the very first moment, it’s taken me a while but I’ve finally made it to the light at the end of the tunnel and listened to every episode of VGMpire (althoug there is the significant downside of having to wait for episodes now). I’m so glad i can be up to date for the 100th episode, and i look more forward to it every day. As a young Australian composer who dreams to compose for games, work can sometimes be hard to find, but this podcast has reminded me that video game music is something very special and it drives me to make my own music every time i hear you guys talk about how you enjoy this music. Thanks so much for continuing to make this podcast, here’s to another 100 fantastic episodes.

  11. Forgot to mention, Chris talked about Super Hang-On – that game needs the spotlight at some point! The Genesis/Megadrive version of “Outride a Crisis” is one of my favorite tunes from that system.

  12. this music was kinda’ hard to listen to, but… some how made me feel nostalgic for a very old era of gaming and my life. I kinda’ felt sad, I guess out of nostalgia. but I couldn’t get too sad because this music was really rough and distracting. well, it had moments where it would shine. but they were brief and not recognized or capitalized on in the least. well.

  13. People are wayyyyyy to harsh on the Genesis sound chip. It always kind of irks me when people try to compare it (which was a watered down version of the Yamana FM chip in the System 16 arcade board) and the SNES sound chip (which was essentially a fancy MOD file player with some very basic synthesis bolted on to it). Almost an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    Programmers had to write custom sound drivers for the Genesis sound chip back in the day, and the results were very mixed – it’s pretty obvious that some devs put a lot of effort into their sound programming (i.e. Konami, Sega of Japan, Treasure, Nihon Telenet) while others (EA + tons of western devs) either tried to emulate the C64 SID sound or used the GEMS driver that Sega of America contract developed for (more info:

    GEMS, for the most part, sounds like hot garbage and is a large part of the reason why people equate screeching/fartnoise sounds to the Genny chip.

  14. This episode was super interesting since i never played Road Rash. It’s a real snapshot of a time and era of video games…80s action flavors, driving basslines, cheesy sound effects…all of it actually working pretty well, actually, most of the time.

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