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Top 10 Sega Saturn OSTs [Best Recommendations]

The Sega Saturn is probably one of the most polarizing consoles during the 1990s but has progressively become a must-have for hardcore retro gamers who love Japanese exclusive games. Despite that, a good number of Japanese exclusive and internationally released Saturn games still provide quality soundtracks, which have always been a staple for Sega’s games since their arcade origins. So for today’s list, we would like to share some of the best original soundtracks, or OSTs, for the Sega Saturn.


10. Fighters Megamix

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Team AM2
  • Release Date: Dec 21, 1996 (Japan), Apr 30, 1997 (US)

Due to this game sharing many characters from a good number of Sega’s products, you’re getting a 5-for-1 deal, most notably from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers (but also including Rent-A-Hero, the car from Daytona USA, and Janet from Virtua Cop 2). While it uses tracks from Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers, they are given a proper remix with better audio quality from the original games they came from.

One notable song that fans will enjoy is Rent-A-Hero’s theme song that has a sci-fi vibe with its sound effects but with some heavy instruments to give it an epic feel to appropriately feel heroic. The Japanese version of the game also includes a lyrical version of the song. Janet’s theme song is very intense and gets your blood pumping since it sounds like something you would hear in a police action movie. As for the ending theme (notably if you take the H course), one notable track with its orchestral arrangements shares numerous qualities with the theme song from Yu Suzuki’s cult Dreamcast hit, Shenmue.

But with numerous characters available, you’re getting a theme song appropriate to them from their games of origin. If you play as some of the Sonic Fighters characters, you’ll get something akin to the Sonic franchise and you also get a variation to the Daytona USA theme song. So if you want numerous soundtracks into one game, Fighters Megamix has it.


9. Silhouette Mirage

  • Publisher: ESP Software
  • Developer: Treasure
  • Release Date: Sept 11, 1997

One notable Japan exclusive Saturn title (though it would be released on the PS1 in the US) we would like to introduce is Silhouette Mirage. Many hardcore fans of this game unanimously agree that the Saturn version is far superior, especially with its soundtrack, which had some changes on the PS1. Despite being a fantasy side-scroller, much of the soundtrack feels like a dance track with its fat beats. The instrumentals in the melody also effectively capture its cuteness and intensity. The songs also perfectly suit its shoujo art style by coming across as playful. If you enjoy some good humor with your games, the soundtrack of Silhouette Mirage can certainly give you something to relax to as you enjoy old school in every sense of the word.


8. Nights into Dreams

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Team Sonic
  • Release Date: Jul 5, 1996 (Japan), Aug 31, 1996 (US)

If any game worldwide can be considered the face of the Saturn, it would certainly be Nights into Dreams, a product of Sonic co-creator, Yuji Naka. The game masterfully uses a mix of orchestrated percussions and synthesizers to emphasize the freedom of the gameplay and the serene and mysterious nature of its stages. As you fly through the stages, the music feels like a true guide to where you must go as you fly.

In addition to its in-game soundtrack, Dreams, the ending theme, has two versions with one sung by adults and another sung by children. Many fans recommend the children’s edition because it is a better representation of not only the game but also the innocent content of the lyrics where it is about making your dreams come true and never giving up.


7. Guardian Heroes

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Treasure
  • Release Date: Jan 21, 1996

In this criminally underrated fantasy beat ‘em up that uses some RPG qualities (which was unique upon its release), you have a very loud soundtrack that’s in your face, and perfectly sets the mood. Its overly dramatic use of synthesizers perfectly balances its fantasy/horror setting and anime art style. Once you start playing, the music just doesn’t stop and you won’t ever want to turn off the console or push pause.

For some other tracks, it has some jazz like hooks to spice things up a bit. The ending theme feels very uplifting in the same way Van Halen’s songs were when Sammy Hagar was the lead singer but is presented in a way that is appropriate to this game. Sometimes people get frustrated when playing certain games, but listening to this music will motivate you to play to the end. Putting this into words any further is just very difficult to do because it’s one of those things you have to play first-hand to truly enjoy and appreciate.


6. Magic Knight Rayearth

  • Publisher: Sega (Japan), Working Designs (US)
  • Developer: Sega
  • Release Date: Aug 25, 1995 (Japan), Nov 30, 1998 (US)

Though a good percentage uses the soundtrack of the original anime, most notably Yuzurenai Negai as its opening, or some of the background tracks like Clef’s or Zagato’s theme songs, the original game tracks also live up to the same standard of the anime series. Since this game is based on the anime, it is natural it uses some of the tracks and the English version does an excellent job of localizing Yuzurenai Negai, even more so than the anime’s English version to it.

As for the game’s original tracks, they do a great job of capturing the atmosphere. When you start the game in Tokyo Tower, it has an upbeat 90s techno track to set its urban feel. Or whenever you visit this town by the sea, its theme song with its chiming percussions perfectly reflects that you’re in a serene town with much beauty and no worries. Other than that, much of the soundtrack is in-tune with its fantasy setting and whenever there is a comedic moment such as when Hikaru’s dog shows up at Tokyo Tower, it plays this fast-paced melody with quirky instrumentals to reflect that. So fans of action RPGs akin to the old Zelda games and the original anime series should enjoy this.



5. Daytona USA

  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Developer: Team AM2
  • Release Date: April 1, 1995 (Japan), May 11, 1995 (US)

Whether it would be behind the wheel of your car or on a controller of your Saturn, I’m sure we enjoy listening to some music to help us pass the time. If there were any game soundtracks that can get that job done, it would certainly be Daytona USA’s. The fast beats and synthesized instrumental arrangement of the soundtracks do pump you up for some high-speed action, but the perfectly captured and yet heavily accented notes of the singer (sung by in-house Sega composer, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi) also perfectly immerses players into the open nature course tracks of the game makes you forget the competition.

While many gamers can laugh at the accent of Mitsuyoshi, especially in the yells of The King of Speed, nobody can’t help but get a kick out of it. It gets you into the game and makes you want to get the soundtrack, play it in your car and speed down the highway as you scream to the screams of this song, or just scream “Daytona! Let’s go away!” in your best Japanese accent to get the best enjoyment out of this game as you leave the competition eating your dust. Heck, why doesn’t the real Daytona 500 use the song in their events?


4. Burning Rangers

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Team Sonic
  • Release Date: Feb 26, 1998 (Japan), May 31, 1998 (US)

While there are no in-game tracks as you play the actual game, Burning Hearts, its opening theme song, truly stands out among opening themes in general and still holds up to this day (since it has also been featured in Project X Zone and Phantasy Star Online 2). The song along with the animation feels like you’re watching an anime opening. It has a very energetic hook and the singer sounds a lot like Takayuki Miyauchi, a famous theme song singer for Super Sentai shows, programs that become Power Rangers outside of Japan. Considering that Burning Rangers shares some basic common qualities with Super Sentai such as working as a team, it is natural that Miyauchi’s influences resonate in this song.

Dennis St. James, the singer of the English version of the song brings a jazzy passion that perfectly compliments the instruments. The lyrics perfectly capture the nature of the game about heroes and what they truly do. No matter what language you play, every time you hear this song, you just want to get up and do a little dance. As for the ending theme, I Just Smile, feels like a perfect reward for saving many lives and lets you relax as you enjoy the credits. The Japanese version has a much more quiet delivery while the English version has more energy. Either way, both versions capture the melody in their own distinct ways for players to get a feel of.


3. Sakura Taisen

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Overworks
  • Release Date: Sept 27, 1996

A good number of you reading are probably aware of the anime but how many of you were aware it debuted as a Saturn game? Even if you didn’t know, it’s ok because not only was it one of the console’s biggest hits in Japan, it had one of the best soundtracks. If you have seen either the anime, then you know of its opening theme, Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan. And yes, the song also originated from the Saturn game. The theme song is very bombastic and uses instruments that are very reminiscent of how the Teikoku Kagekidan is based on traditional Takurazuka musicals, an all-female musical troupe.

The remaining in-game songs perfectly suit its numerous qualities in context to its time period (the 1920s) and culture. For certain stages and scenes, it uses traditional acoustics and percussions, and there are other instances that present a more orchestrated feel to symbolize the unity and nature of the Teikoku Kagekidan. And there are some other tracks with gas-like sound effects to emphasize its steampunk qualities. So if you want something of everything in terms of a masterful mix of traditional Eastern and Western music, then Sakura Taisen is the game you may want to scope out.

Sonic-Mania-game-Wallpaper Top 10 Sega Saturn OSTs [Best Recommendations]


2. Panzer Dragoon Saga (Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG)

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Team Andromeda
  • Release Date: Jan 29, 1998 (Japan), Apr 30, 1998 (US)

In addition to Nights, Panzer Dragoon Saga is another cult classic for the Saturn with an amazing soundtrack. Due to its fantasy setting, some of the songs give a very tribal feel like Nights but is much darker in tone as opposed to the free feel of Nights. But when it comes to the battles, its orchestral tracks are comparatively majestic. The soundtrack ultimately does a great job of bringing gamers into its barren and yet open world.

As you fly around the world on a dragon, on one hand, you may feel free but danger can leak at any random encounter and the composition of the background music knows how to capture that. Its heavy drum beats in the battle theme song get you pumped up for battle and knows how to get you focused on what’s going on. So if you want the ultimate sci-fi/fantasy RPG soundtrack, Panzer Dragoon Saga is the undisputed king of that.


1. Sonic R

  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Traveller’s Tales
  • Release Date: Nov 18, 1997 (US), Dec 4, 1997 (Japan)

While Sonic R is controversial like many games within the Sonic franchise, nobody can deny it has a fly soundtrack. Much of it features actual songs with lyrics, which is rather unique for not just a racing game, but gaming as a whole, especially during the 90s. Even though some of the tracks from later games like from Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast and up tend to stick out more due to the success of those games compared to Sonic R, many hardcore Sonic fans feel that R probably has the best soundtrack of the entire series.

The songs are appropriately fast-paced and catchy. All the songs are performed by British performer TJ Davis, and she shows amazing talent with everything she contributes, most notably Super Sonic Races, which has been re-featured in other Sonic games. While some game reviewers from back then criticize the soundtrack for being out of place, no one can overlook Super Sonic Races is a great song that is in tune with the overall spirit of Sonic. The songs are so fun to the point that as opposed to playing the game, you just want to put the controller down and sing and dance instead.


Final Thoughts

Many gamers who managed to open themselves to Saturn’s criminally underrated library can unanimously agree that their soundtracks are truly amazing. They all suit the respective atmospheres of their respective contents and are memorable once you hear them. They all bring a unique sense of energy and spirit. And for that, we would like to make an honorable mention to the theme song of Segata Sanshiro, the official spokesman for the console in Japan. So what are some soundtracks that are exclusive or originated on the Saturn that you think deserves some mention? If you have any thoughts in regards to that, please give them out in the comments.

Sonic-Mania-game-Wallpaper Top 10 Sega Saturn OSTs [Best Recommendations]

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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