Need For Speed Redbook Audio
Need For Speed Redbook Audio
June 28, 1996
Buy Used Copy
The Need for Speed is the very first game in the popular racing series Need for Speed which has spawned multiple titles to date. Released back in 1994 across multiple platforms, the game was critically acclaimed for its realism and precise vehicle data. Complementing this, the music featured on The Need for Speed Redbook Audio comes from the Sega Saturn version of the game itself, and although a few tracks which appear in the game have been missed out, it is still fairly representative of what can be heard. This, of course, means that both rock and electronica styles are present.
The redbook audio for the game is split into two distinctive sections: rock and electronica. The first section, which features the rock themes, is made up of five full frontal and aggressive themes. The tracks mostly take upon the same relentless style, with pumping drums, belligerent electric guitar solos, and finger-defying guitar riffs. Though the tracks form a competitive racing nature, it’s key to point out that they sound mostly the same. The aptly named “Relentless” and the catalytic converter-lacking “Toxic Exhaust” are a good example of a lack of variety or exploration of the rock style, with each utilising the same sequence at times.
However, not every track in the first section is ridiculously fast-paced. “Route 99” and “Power Slide” are two slower, brooding tracks that offer a slight contrast. They are just as aggressive as the likes of “Relentless”, but seem to get their power from elsewhere. It shows that the tempo of the music does not have to match the pace of the gameplay to still have an immersive effect. This selection of tracks isn’t great to listen to collectively, but in isolation (as they would be in a race), they get the message across.
The electronica section of the redbook audio is much more creative and well-formed than the rock contributions, and they are what I feel are the game’s best tracks. Just listening to “Chronos” and “Hideous” can show you how much more original the team are when given the chance to explore other sounds. Jeff van Dyck, in particular, shines in this section towards the beginning of his eminent career. It’s just a pity these aren’t mixed together with the rock tracks on the album.
The two tracks which are really worth a listen though are “Odyssey” and “Aaeeyaaeeyaa.” “Odyssey” starts of just like any other trance track with a simple beat and creative sounds, but what I feel differentiates it from others is how it constantly develops, reforming itself through its playing time. Sure, the same persistent beat is present for most of the track, but the overlying motifs change a fair amount, reeling in the listener that little bit more than a rock track with clichéd guitar solos. The same is true for the fantastically developed “Aaeeyaaeeyaa” which constantly reinvents itself. A key part of the track to point out is at 2:02 where it takes a shift into a more ambient section with vocals which sing the track’s title (though it looks like more of an Indian tribal chant when written down, it’s actually fairly pleasant).
I was fairly impressed by the score to this game, and was pleased to see some experimentation in terms of the styles of music present. Though the rock themes are fairly plain, I feel that the electronica additions create that little bit of drive and originality which I feel is key for the success of a game score. With a fair few of the later games featuring music from licensed artists, it’s great to be able to witness the origins of the little original music in the series. Certainly, with Jeff Van Dyck, Saki Kaskas, and Alistair Hirst’s each later contributing to the sequel, Need for Speed II, it’s fairly apparent that they did a good enough job here to land themselves the lead composer roles once more. If you get a chance to play The Need for Speed for Saturn, take a listen to the disc on a CD Player, and see what you think.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.