After a fairly successful run with their first album, "Time & Space" (a Chrono-related album made as a tribute to Yasunori Mitsuda), North American VGM arrangers "The OneUps" decided that their second project would focus on our friends with the pet hedgehog. That's right, it's THE VERY BEST OF SEGA!
But then...is it really the very best?
Generally, yes. The OneUps managed to hit all the big names. But for those of us who love ye olde RPGs, the album is...lacking. Yes, the three-part tribute to Skies of Arcadia is nice (and well-arranged, I might add), and music from two Phantasy Star titles is a wonderful treat. But I have to ask, where's Shining Force?
And even outside of RPGs, there was plenty of ground to cover that simply didn't fit on this CD. Though they would later arrange "Green Hill Zone" on "The OneUps Volume 2," it's surprising to see no arrangements from the original Sonic the Hedgehog on this album.
It should also be noted that, due to stipulations from Sega regarding the licensing of copyrighted material, the OneUps weren't permitted to bring "significant change" to the musical arrangements. As a result, these aren't all real-live-instrument arrangements. A lot of synth work is put into this, but it is not in vain. For example, check out Dale North's arrangement of the Skies of Arcadia Main Theme. What a beautiful way to end the album! The dynamic treatment of the music is excellent, on par with the original work. I am pleased.
Of all the albums released by OneUp Studios thus far, I have to be honest and say that this one is my least favorite. But then, I was never big on the first-party Sega titles. If you are a big Sega nut, then you'll probably adore this album. In which case, I implore you to get a copy and support your (relatively) local musicians!
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann