I was inspired to write this because I was watching a TAS of Sonic CD, the american version. As everyone in here likely knows, the game came out in Japan (and Europe) with a soundtrack by Naofumi Hataya and Masafumi Ogata. For some reason the American team felt that the soundtrack needed to be “richer” and so they recorded new music produced by Spencer Nilsen and David Young, with some tracks by the keyboardist from Santana.
They didn’t or couldn’t re-record the chiptunes (all the “past” music) so that remained the same across all releases.
Listening to this American version again, the soundscape has such a naive optimism to it that I really appreciate it in its own right. There was absolutely no need to re-record the music for the american version of the game, the Japanese original music is lovely. But I really really like both, and am glad this basically superfluous music was created.
Here are a couple key american tracks that demonstrate that naive optimism to me:
Here are the more new jack swing influenced JP/EU songs for the same zones
I mean… all this stuff rules. There’s no way around it. I love that both of these soundtracks exist.
I’m thinking about other games where there were two distinct soundtracks and they were both good. Shin Shinobiden/Shinobi-X have a similar “let’s change this for a territory” vibe, where richard jacques was asked to re-record the music for the EU release, and he actually tried to make it sound more yuzo koshiro-ish vs the original! While this version of his isn’t super amazing, the JP version is maybe even less amazing, winding up sounding kind of like a SNES soundtrack for whatever reason.
I know there are other games that do this though - often the SNES and Genesis versions of the same game had completely different soundtracks for example.
Here’s my second big example - Valis IV.
Regular ole Valis IV on the PC Engine has a typically excellent soundtrack full of fake brass and slap bass.
The SNES one though is MUCH darker and absolutely has its own quality which I really appreciate, while still sounding 100% like valis to me:
So, what else have y’all got!? Dracula X PCE/SNES might also be a good one, hmm.