Game music of the day: Vectorman

Game: Vectorman

Song: Field

Composer: Jon Holland

Above: Field from Vectorman

At the height of the 16-bit war, Nintendo and Sega were locked in a dead-even battle for first place. Whatever one system offered, the other would try to top, whether it was with aggressive advertising (Genesis Does What Nintendon't) or ridiculous buzzwords (Mode 7 vs Blast Processing). So when Donkey Kong Country came along and strutted its pre-rendered sprites across the screen, making the SNES appear more advanced than it really was, Sega had to retaliate with a similarly gimmicky presentation. We got Vectorman, a hero made of hovering green balls. Stupid as it sounds, it was actually damn fun and had a surprisingly listenable electronic soundtrack.

At the time, I was 100% Nintendo, so I couldn't sully my hands with such filth. Once I grew the hell up and got over what I'd like to call "being an idiot," I finally sampled Vectorman and realized it was a pretty OK run and gunner, and the music, while sorta basic and game-y, made the experience feel grittier and harder than a SNES game. The track above's a bit slower and moodier than most though, so here's another:

Above: Music from the train stage. Still kinda background-ish and light, but good listening

Above: And then a fierce remix from Beatdrop, courtesty of OverClocked ReMix

I assumed the composer had to have other work, but I couldn't find a single other reference to Jon Holland. However, I did stumble across this ancient interview in which he let the world know exactly how he felt about his work on Vectorman, and Sega Genesis music in general.

“Music filled with gun noises! Just kidding. I would describe it as rhythmic. That is what I was striving for. I tried to get close to a dance feel much of the time, but it's especially difficult to get good techno sounds with FM on the Genesis. I used GEMS on the PC for the sound editing. It's a rather primitive program.

"Trying to make interesting music with the Genesis is like trying to write a concerto on a ukulele."

Aw c'mon man... I know Genesis music can be grating and even ear-shreddingly awful, but there's a ton of impressive work on the system. That's part of the process dude - working with what you've got. Like I can give him any shit though, as I've been listening to his Vectorman OST for over 10 years now. Hope he knows how much people still like it!


Game music of the day: Guitar Hero
Even Rats by The Slip, one of Harmonix's fave local bands



Game music of the day: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
Ragnarok Canyon by David Wise



Game music of the day: Dark Wizard
Soothing orchestral tunes from Jun Senoue


  • bball42242442 - October 5, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    the music on the 1st 2 levels are better IMO, i have both of those tracks on my PS3
  • Gorillaman23 - September 30, 2010 10:47 p.m.

    FUCK YEAH VECTORMAN! I wonder if I still have this game on my PC. Brb, nostalgia.
  • philipshaw - September 30, 2010 12:45 p.m.

    I only played this game last year in the Sega mega drive collection, I thought the game was kind of throwaway but I kept playing because of the phenomenal music
  • powerpc127 - September 30, 2010 6:58 a.m.

    Personally I think Vectorman's music doesn't get much better than the title screen, especially if it's with the visuals. That's also if you don't count the sega tunes cd that Sega produced with remixes of most of the tracks from the game. Observe: watch?v=b3vkktalnFo
  • 510BrotherPanda - September 30, 2010 5:34 a.m.

    I was in a similar situation at the time too, Brett. But it wasn't because I was hardcore Nintendo, even though it still is the only stuff I get. It was because my parents weren't the type to get me a Genesis when I had a perfectly fine SNES. Vectorman is still one of the only Sega games that piqued my interest, but never had the chance to play. I might get the PSP Genesis collection now because of this article. It's under $15-20 now, so what the heck.
  • JohnnyApplesperm - September 30, 2010 4:32 a.m.

    Pretty simple but surprisingly kickass music. You're right Brett, it does sort of sound like the stereotypical game soundtrack, but in a good way I think. That remix is amazing!
  • bball42242442 - September 30, 2010 4:24 a.m.

    woulda chose dif tracks but nice 2 see some Vectorman love. One of my favs growing up, too bad i sucked at it lol
  • JayBeat - September 30, 2010 3:05 a.m.

    OC Remix is better than a sex massage.
  • SenatorPepper - September 30, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    That remix is BLAM! But I'm not sure it's BLAMMO!-ness has much to do with the original track.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - September 30, 2010 2:17 a.m.

    Awyeah, Vectorman. :D
  • enlargedhousecats - September 30, 2010 1:43 a.m.

  • enlargedhousecats - September 30, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    that first sound hurt my ears but it's a reall good song (aside from the *SHRIUFT* sound)
  • mEgAzD - September 30, 2010 1:33 a.m.

    BLAM!! Quite amazing
  • Koouunn - September 30, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    damn, vector man was great and the songs were superburb (spelling ?)
  • KREATIVEassassin - September 30, 2010 12:37 a.m.

    More like VectorBLAM! Amirite!?
  • batmanboy11 - September 30, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    Good stuff.
  • Redeater - September 30, 2010 12:33 a.m.

    While I'm at it could I suggest some Earnest Evans? Loved the first level music.
  • Redeater - September 30, 2010 12:31 a.m.

    Excellent choice.

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

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