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 7vsBlast Processing). So when Donkey Kong Country came along and strutted its pre-rendered sprites across the screen, making theSNES appearmore advanced than itreally was,Sega had to retaliate with a similarly gimmickypresentation. 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 acrossthisancient interviewin which he let the world know exactly how he felt about his work on Vectorman, and Sega Genesis music in general.

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!

Even Rats by The Slip, one of Harmonix's fave local bands

Ragnarok Canyon by David Wise

Soothing orchestral tunes from Jun Senoue

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.