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Game music of the (holi)day: Sonic 3

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Song: Ice Cap Zone

Composer: Bobby Brooks, Brad Buxer, Jun Senoue, Michael Jackson (?)

Above: Ice Cap Zone

As 2010 comes to a close and winter's ice-cold deathgrip wraps its frigid claws around our increasingly sore throats, it seems like the perfect time to share the best snow and ice themed game music from years past. We'll kick things off with one of the most popular andremixedsnow levels of all time - the Ice Cap Zone from Sonic 3.

Such a piece of work. Both chilling and upbeat, Ice Cap somehow mixes the inhospitable excesses of a freezing landscape with a backbeat fit enough for clubbing. It's easy to see why this song, above all others from Sonic 3, has persisted over the years. The Sonic 3 composers were apparently aware of how strong their work was, and in a Sonic first, created their own remixes of each Zone's theme:

Above: All Sonic 3zones contain a re-imagined Act 1 song that plays in Act 2 - here's Ice Cap's

Above: The final boss theme is one of the best "final battle" songs I've ever heard. Go nuts!

But what of the alleged Michael Jackson connection to Sonic 3? The rumor has persisted for years that Jackson, who was already on good terms with Sega viaMoonwalker, lended some of his considerable skill to the Sonic 3 soundtrack. However, this was never 100% officially confirmed, leading mostlytoelaborate speculationand"evidence" like this:

Above: Did Jackson use the Sonic 3 ending song as the basis for "Stranger in Moscow?" Maybe!

Above: How about "Who Is It?" Isthis thegenesis of one of my favorite VGMs? Could be!

But did Jackson really collaborate with Sega? Thisaforementioned videoseems to think so, and recently Brad Buxer "confirmed" the decade-old rumor in aFrench magazine interview. However, Sega'sofficial stance says Buxer's accountis incorrect, so we actually STILL don't know the truth. If it were true, it seems strange that Sega would continously deny involvement with one of the most popular humans who's ever walked the Earth... unless Sega and Jackson's armada of legal defense came to some kind of understanding. I could add to the speculation, but Ken Horowitz has doneenough legworkfor all of us, whichsuggests the Sonic 3 score is more"inspired" by Jackson than an actual team-up.A fascinating read, for sure.

Oh right... Sonic 3. Really good music, every last song. Buy the game in whatever manner you see fit, fire up the sound test and go to town. Or just find 'em all on YouTube, that works too.

Dancing with DomZ by Christophe Heral

Surprisingly funky tunes from Fukami, Takenouchi, Nakano and Hashimoto

Aquatic Ruin Zone by Masato Nakamura