The WORST Sounding Sega Genesis Games! – Game Sack

The WORST Sounding Sega Genesis Games! – Game Sack


(Game Sack Theme) – Hello and welcome to Game Sack. You know, I don’t care what anyone says, the Genesis has some awesome sound. Games like Thunder Force 4, (awesome Thunder Force 4 music) Streets of Rage 2, (awesome Streets of Rage 2 music) Vapor Trail, (awesome Vapor Trail music) and those are just to name a few specific ones of many. But it took skill to make
those games sound good, and back in the late 80s early 90s there wasn’t much of
that skill to go around, or people just didn’t want to put forth the effort to learn. And that’s what I want
to show you here today, the worst of the worst. And no, I’m not going to talk about games that weren’t finished or released like Sonic Eraser or Crazy Bus, those don’t count. Anyway, let’s get on with it. (awesome music from Midnight Resistance) When Street Fighter II came to the Genesis as Special Champion Edition, it’s audio was one of the most criticized aspects, and for good reason, it’s pretty bad, at least the voices and other digitized sounds are. The music itself actually
sounds pretty beefy and closer to the arcade than the Super Nintendo version. (Street Fighter II game music) But there’s just no getting around the awful voices which were down sampled so more than one digitized voice could play at the same time. They had to do this since the Genesis only
has one audio channel that can play back sampled sounds. Compared to the Super Nintendo version it kind of hurt to
listen to on the Genesis. But honestly, it never really felt like Capcom never gave it
their all on the system. But you know what sounds even worse? That’s right, Super Street Fighter II. Despite having 40 MEGA POWER!!!!!, this might just have some of the worst sound on the system. Firstly the music itself
is much worse now. It’s very light and
packs absolutely no punch thanks to the week percussion. (Guile’s theme) Not only that, but the music will sometimes even slow down, especially between rounds. And yes, somehow they managed to make the voices and sampled sounds even worse than the
Special Champion Edition. Lots of other voices were
changed for no reason. Guile’s “Sonic Boom” now sounds more like a polite suggestion. – Sonic Boom?? (mocking voice) “Sonic Boom”! The digitized sounds are also much longer in length which of course takes up a lot more
space on the cartridge. Since the Genesis doesn’t have that fancy-schmancy reverb, they literally baked it into the recordings, not that it really gives
it the same effect. Also the game as a whole was extremely quiet, meaning
you really have to turn up the volume. Actually, you probably
don’t want to do that, so just keep it low. When it’s all said and done, the quality of the audio in this game is almost insulting. It’s still a great game of course, but it’s not a game you’re gonna use to show off how awesome
the Genesis really is, and make no mistake,
the Genesis is awesome. – [Ryu] Hadouken! – [Game Announcer] You win! – [Joe] Next up is Double Dragon from Ballistic, a subsidiary of Accolade. This was released on the system without a license from SEGA. Just let me set up my controls here and okay, let’s begin. (distorted sounds) And hey what do you know, they work exactly the way I set them. Weirdly, I recorded the
same game yesterday, but since I’m an idiot, I
managed to delete the file. And yesterday the controls would not be the way I set them at all. I mean I was still able
to beat the game, though. But rerecording the game today the controls work just fine, same console, same
cartridge, same controller. Maybe there’s some sort of
random bug in this game, I don’t know, but unfortunately I’m hearing the same sound today as well. The graphics look good,
I’ll give this game that, but everything moves way too fast and you can’t escape from anyone, they’ll just keep following
you around closely. In fact it almost feels like you’re controlling the
enemies directly sometimes. And when the screen advances you’re right up against the edge of it, and you know how much I hate that. Still, this one can be
beaten pretty easily, especially if you’re familiar with the backwards elbow smash thingy, but not before you get
plenty of ear torture. The melodies and composition
are good, of course, since they are based on
the original arcade game, but all sounds extremely
cold and metallic, sometimes piercing my ears with pain. (high-pitched video game music) Enough of this, on to the next game. Super Off-Road was also
released by Ballistic, but in order to explain
this game properly, we need to start with
the super NES version which was released first. I rented it and I had a ton of fun racing around the tracks, collecting nitros and money and then upgrading my truck. The graphics were good and the music was even better. (awesome video game music) It was composed by Geoff and Tim Follin and they managed to do some fairly convincing electric
guitar riffs for the time. (twangy guitar sounds) The game also had music
from 90s Toyota Commercials between the rounds, which I thought was absolutely hilarious. But it wasn’t long before I learned that the game was coming to the Genesis from Ballistic. I knew it would never sound as good but of course I had to rent it anyway. And here is the kind of music my Genesis greeted me with as I played. (distorted video game music) It’s very very abrasive. Despite how bad the audio is, and it is bad, especially compared to the Super Nintendo version, the game is still fun to play and the graphics are very well done. Heck they might even
be a little bit better than the Super Nintendo version. The tracks actually look more like dirt instead of red or whatever’s going on over on the SNES, and plus the Super Nintendo version is cutting off the side of the screen since it’s running in a lower resolution. But sadly, audio was
certainly a very low priority over at Ballistic back then. (distorted video game music) Alright as you can hear, we’re already off to
an extremely bad start, but the Genesis’ reputation for bad sound would be cemented with a very special sound engine called GEMs. (upbeat yet crappy game music) In late 1992, Batman Returns came to a lot of different platforms, including the Genesis. At this point the only Batman games I had ever played were on
the NES and the Genesis, both by Sunsoft based on the 1989 movie. They both had absolutely
amazing soundtracks, (Batman Genesis music) So I was a little trepidatious when I heard that Batman Returns was going to be handled
by Malibu Interactive, which was an American developer. I had very little confidence in Western developers back then, because well, let’s face it, the difference in quality between the content that they produced and what came out of Japan was huge, and my fears were realized
when I rented the game. First off it’s not really
a good game at all, it’s almost playable though, mostly. For every hit you give to most enemies, especially Catwoman,
you’ll take about three. And yes, the music and sound are both awful as well. (crappy video game sounds) In case you didn’t know, each Genesis game has its own sound engine that the developer uses to make its sound, and this was one of the first games to use the GEMS sound engine. That stands for Genesis Editor for Music and Sound Effects. It was created by a firm
called Recreational Brainware, under Sega of America’s direction. It was intended to make lives easier for people doing sound in games as the sound person wouldn’t need to do any actual programming at all to create the music, they could just hook up a MIDI keyboard and choose from a few
different crappy instruments. But in this case ease of use comes at the expense of quality, and lots and lots of games going forward would use this sound engine. It’s responsible for that familiar, low quality Genesis sound that people equate with buzzing and farts. Now, this isn’t to say that games that use GEMS can’t sound good. Comix Zone uses it, and honestly the game sounds pretty darn nice. (video game sound effects) But make no mistake, Comix Zone, as well as the games that
Tommy Tallarico worked on, are the exception to the GEMS rule. In Batman Returns here, you’re lucky if the music can even stay in tempo. (out of tempo video game sound effects) I thought my Genesis was broken when I first rented it. The first stage is the worst and later stages sounded a little better but first impressions are not good and that first stage is pretty bad. (awful video game sounds) An even worse game is Batman Forever from Acclaim and Probe. Batman games just somehow
kept getting worse and worse, DC and Warner Brothers
sure didn’t seem to care. Man, I miss Sunsoft. Actually never mind, I take that back, because Sunsoft started
farming out their games, and they were getting
less than stellar results. So I guess we were doomed no matter what. Anyway, the controls, level design, and everything about Batman Forever is awful, and of course
the sound and music do not do the game any favors. Amazingly, it doesn’t use GEMS, instead it uses sound
programmer Andy Brock’s own custom engine. Unless you want to listen
to your Genesis vomit, stay away from this one. (video game sound effects) (Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude by J.S Bach) Bible Adventures is yet
another unlicensed game, this time from Wisdom tree, and it was released in 1995. This is said to be one of the worst games on the system, and I
certainly don’t dispute that. It’s broken up into three smaller games that all control the same way. The first is Noah’s Ark,
where you get to save two of every animal before
the world is flooded. Fortunately, as everyone knows, there’s only six different kinds of animals in the world, and they’re all hanging around within a few hundred feet of you. So just gather them all up and place them in the ark. The next one, you’re carrying baby Moses, and I think it’s supposed to toss him in the water or
something, I don’t know. The last one is David and Goliath, and it seemed like you need to carry the lion to the arrow. Doing anything with a modicum of quality certainly wasn’t on the mission
statement at Wisdom Tree. They used only one channel for music, and the other one for sound effects. It’s like playing the
keyboard with one finger. (monotonous music) The only thing interesting about this one is that if you play it on
an early model 1 Genesis, there’s no sound and music at all. I had to play it on my model
2 to capture this game. So because of that I recommend playing it on an early model 1 if you
absolutely must play this game. Yes you can turn the music off in the title screen even on the model 2, but you don’t want to take any chances. (monotonous music) Okay, so not as bad as it could be, my ears are only bleeding a little bit, but we’re almost halfway done, I think I can make it. Chakan the Forever Man
from Sega of America is the poster boy for
the GEMS sound engine. Chakan is a Forever Man, which means he can’t die, but of course he does and he does often. It has potential, and I wanna like it because I think they could do really cool things with this character, but that’s not what they did. The graphics are all so dark and grainy. As bad as it is though,
the music and sound make it a much, much worse
experience all around. (distorted video game music) The musical instruments are
often grainy and abrasive and the sound effects are
extremely warbly and shrill. The sound was handled by
New Romantic Productions, and somehow Sega kept
contracting them to do sound. They even eventually hired its founder, Mark Steven Miller, wow,
they really like that guy. Some of the bass lines here and there are actually pretty good, but they certainly can’t save you from the audio punishment that this one brings. (distorted video game music) Marble Madness from Electronic Arts has got to be one of the
worst offenders on the system. Anyone who has ever played
the Genesis version here surely knew that this game
would make it into this episode. Your goal in this one is simply to guide the marble through the obstacles to reach the goal in time. But musician Steve Hayes must have been in a very bad place in his life at the time, otherwise why would he want to stab everyone’s ears so badly?! (shrill video game music) At least the game plays well, but man, it is quite literally
painful to listen to. (distorted music and sound effects) But did you know the Japanese version of Marble Madness for the Mega Drive was made by Tengen,
reprogrammed from scratch? I believe I’ve mentioned this
one before a long time ago. The audio in this version
is infinitely better and quite close to the arcade game. It’s even in stereo. (video game music) Unfortunately this doesn’t play anywhere near as well as EA’s version, even if you use the Mega Mouse. So, which would you rather have, a poorly playing game with pleasant audio, or a well-playing one with hideous audio? Because those are your choices here. (annoying video game music) Nobody would expect Barney’s Hide and Seek from Real-Time Associates to have good audio, and of course it doesn’t. It’s full of Barney’s voice, which itself is annoying in any quality. – [Barney] Please play
hide and seek with me! – [Joe] But there are so many
Barney voice samples here that the quality is really,
really low as a result. – [Barney] Remember, I love you! – [Joe] But it doesn’t end there. Sometimes, seemingly randomly, Barney’s voice will shift from the center and travel to the left or the right for no reason. This seems to be a bug in the programming and it might have to do with whatever is going on with
the music at the time. Obviously, either no one
caught this during testing, or no one cared. Bottom line is that kids don’t care, they’re not going to complain
about something like this, but still, it makes the list. – [Barney] Let’s play the bass drum! – [Joe] How about Ultimate Qix from Taito? Taito! TAAAIITO! Listening to the title screen music, it actually sounds kind promising. But then we get to the gameplay where your goal is to draw lines and stuff until you fill 80% of the screen. I’ve never been a fan of Qix style games, to me it just feels like I’m messing with an Etch-a-Sketch or something. Seriously though, listen to this. (blaring siren that won’t stop) Yeah, that’s not annoying. It never changes either, ever. Who decided that we need to listen to an unchanging siren the entire time? Imagine listening to
this, stage after stage after stage after stage? Why? Okay, so a little bit more ear blood now, and perhaps a little bit of PTSD, but we’re going to get through this. I’m going to do it for you. And how can I not mention Sonic Spinball, or Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball as it’s officially called? This is another wonderful
GEMS masterpiece. What makes a sound even
worse than it probably is is how good Sonic 1 and
2 sounded in comparison, both of which proceed at this
game by quite a long time. (distorted video game music) The music composition
doesn’t sound like anything you’d hear in a Sonic game, even if it had the benefit
of better sound quality. That’s not to say that
the compositions are bad, I’m sure it would be much
better on the Sega CD if such a version existed, but again this is using GEMS. The instruments are scratchy and farty. Same goes for the sound effects. It’s like you’re bouncing around in Sonic’s lower intestine when he’s not feeling so well. As a game this was kind of controversial, as lots of people like it and lots of people don’t. I admire SEGA’s intentions, and even the board designs here, but I just wish the game had the presentation
quality that it deserves. (bad video game music) Here’s Turbo OutRun, and this one was handled by British developer Tiertex. OutRun games always have great music and sound quality, right? Not this one. In fact, this game
doesn’t do anything well. Turbo OutRun here ruins your day with Tiertex’s own custom sound engine. Fortunately this one was only released in Europe and Japan, but thanks to the worldwide nature of the internet, everyone gets to suffer equally. Ah yes, of course, the first X-Men game. This gives you a nice taste of that lovely buzzsaw sound that plagued some games that feature lower quality sound engines. Yes of course this is another game that uses GEMS. Not that things improve from here, not at all, you even get to hear the typical farty music that you hear so often
in games that use GEMS. Then, besides the lovely 30
frames per second gameplay, you’re privileged to enjoy gurgling sound that this game calls music. A lot of people like this game too. No wonder so many people have bad opinions about the sound quality of the system. Finally, not all bad
sounding Genesis games were Western made,
though most of them were. Witness Osomatsu-kun, which was only ever released in Japan on the Megadrive. This is a very early game for the system from Sega themselves. It turns out that the
programmers hated it, the creator of the
Osomatsu anime hated it, and the public especially hated it. I remember renting this and the store called it Mr Hatsu-Matsu, but really it should be called trash, as that is exactly what this nonsensical game is. I’ll admit here are some decent colors and some nice parallax scrolling, but seriously that’s all
this game has going for it. The audio is harsh and
very metallic sounding. And the sound effects are just stupid. Can you imagine buying the Megadrive when it was released, and only having three other games available
to play in all of 1988? This will only work on
early model 1 consoles so if you have a model 2 or a console that throws
up a license screen when you power up, count your blessings. Unless you have a Game Genie, then you can play it even
without entering codes. Lucky you. Guys! The ears they’re really hurting now and there’s more games
that I want to include but I don’t think I can, so let’s take a really quick look at the ones that weren’t able to make it into this episode with
me talkin’ about ’em. Let’s just call these dishonorable
mentions or something. (distorted video game music and sounds) So there you go, the worst
sounding games on the Genesis, and man are they bad!
It takes a lot of skill to make games sound good on the system and when they do sound good it’s awesome. Anyway, let me know what games you think sound worst on the system, or even which ones sound the best. In the meantime thank you
for watching Game Sack. (Game Sack Credits Theme) Well I tell you I’m in
the mood for video game but I really need that video game to be some flavor of Pac-Man,
what am I going to do? – Well, you could play Miss
Pac-Man on the Sega Genesis. – Miss Pac-Man? But I’m a misogynist! – There’s also Pac-Man
2 the New Adventures. – The New Adventure? But the original adventure is the best! – Well why not try the quarter scale Pac Man mini arcade
cabinet from Numbskull? – Okay, I’ll give it a try. – The quarter scale mini Pac-Man arcade is a faithful replica of the real thing. – Wow this is neat! – With the Pac-Man games on the Genesis you need to play sitting
down like a weakling, but with the mini Pac-Man arcade you’re forced to play
standing up like a real man. – Well that’s not true you can
play just fine sitting down. Look you made me lose a life, you owe me a quarter scale quarter! – The mini Pac-Man arcade
takes up a lot less space than a real arcade machine – I can’t fit it on myself though and every collector knows that games are meant to be displayed not played! Ms Pac-Man fits though! – The mini Pac-Man arcade is portable so you can play it anywhere! – Well I jut hit a power pellet! Whoooaaaahh!!!!! – Get your mini Pac-Man
arcade machine today! – That’s not the only thing
that I have that’s mini, right Ms Pac-Man? Wait I mean–

100 thoughts on “The WORST Sounding Sega Genesis Games! – Game Sack

  1. Are there any rom hacks that take the audio from the Japanese version of Marble Madness and add it to the EA version of the game?

  2. Fanboyism is a sad cancer. Blaming companies that won't learn Genesis ways? I'm really sorry but if you think Thunder force had "awesome" sounds you really need to go back to the 90s. Snes had a Doom 16bit port with rendered guitar and drums on the OST. How the hell fart sounds on Megadrive can be considered awesome? Even on a video admitting the sounds were awful, you still try to defend it.

  3. I think Sega Genesis's (a.k.a. Mega Drive outside North America) sounds quality in general is inferior to the Super Nintendo (a.k.a. Super Famicom in Japan) because of the Super Nintendo's powerful sound chip from Sony.

  4. I'm surprised Grind Sormer didn't make the list! Event the title fits the audio haha. Just go have a listen to the track "Heads Up" and make sure to survive the insane guitar solo at the end!

  5. " mostly all of them "

    But then again, that's part of the charm of the sounds on this system.

    Chakan: forever man? Amazing soundtrack even if half of it sounds like random fart sounds…

  6. My first time watching this channel, and I'm glad I found it 😂😂 Awesome video & great on the uptake, great to see originality and somebody passionate about the right side of gaming. 😎

  7. Great video, though I feel like this needed a cross over with AVGN… the "Nerd" would have some good one liners to describe this stuff!

  8. I just got a Genesis about a week ago with a copy of Sonic 2, and I hate that games soundtrack so much. Sonic 2 sounds like nails on a chalkboard.

  9. I had batman return back in the day on my mega drive. I never had any of the sound slowdowns. Not back in the day (j had the mega drive II though) and not today on the atgames flashback SD. The game isnt that bad too i think

  10. I don't think Super Street Fighter II should have made this list, yeah it maybe not the best on the system but it's no where near the among the worst! I noticed the majority of the games here use GEMS which figures. 

    Robocop Vs The Terminator was another awful soundtrack! And it was composed and programmed by Tommy Tallarico and the guy that did Ballz 3D and it's a stinker! I hate it when Mega Drive music uses PSG noise for percussion, no, I don't mean the periodic hi-hat cymbal, I mean white noise sounds that make up snares and hats which is what GEMS does alot of the time. Why did they insist on using PSG to make up the bulk of the percussion when FM or PCM was readily available? No wonder the system got a bad name when it came to audio.

  11. I can probably make a better sound engine even if i'm a beginner. I have a program called Deflemask that allows you to use the Megadrive/Genesis soundchip and i had decent results messing around with it.

  12. Most of the Sonic Spinball tracks have much-better sounding remixes on the album Virtual Sonic by Howard Drossin, which also has some remixes of his tracks from Sonic and Knuckles plus some original compositions.

  13. I agree with most of these but I never got the hate for Sonic Spinball's music, it can sound like ear torture with bad emulation, but I dunno, aside from that infamous menu music I like the soundtrack, it was done by Howard Drossin who also did the music for Comix Zone, which you spoke of positively in this video.

  14. The Genesis/Mega Drive uses FM Synthesis which is very complex to program as any DX7 or FM8 user would tell you. Having said that, this is a fun video and I liked how you briefly highlighted some great sounding ones (Target Earth is my fav). The Genesis’ FM does great metallic, aggressive FM sounds that SNES can’t touch but is a recipe for disaster for those new to programming FM who aren’t experienced enough to milk out the smoother sounding side of FM. The programmers of a lot of these games sounded like they just didn’t know how to modulate the FM Operators and threw their MIDI melody over whatever terrible sounds they came up with lol.

    I guess the difficulty of programming FM is why so many developers just used crappy soundbanks (aka sound engines).

  15. It´s about time to review the Wii. Yes, you hate it, more reason why to review it. That´s the point. If you can review "bad sounds", you can review something you consider it to be a bad console. That's more interesting that sounds :/

  16. I don't like the music or the speech samples on the Mega Drive as most of the games sound very tinny compared to the snes.
    but the Mega Drive had some cool games and that's why I still have one..

  17. Wrestlemania the Arcade game is one that I can't decide if the sound was terrible or impressively awesome. There is so much sampling, and it is good sampling at least as far as genesis goes. The game just bombards you with the sound effects though. It is constant sound effect on top of sound effect. It is hard to listen to it.

  18. I'm disappointed that you didn't mention Stephan Dallongeville's ROM hack that replaces the sound driver on Super SF2. Completely cleans up the voice samples so that they sound even better than the SNES version, nearly arcade-perfect. Combined with the palette hack that fixes up the garish, overly-saturated palettes, it becomes arguably the best home version of the game from that period.

  19. I disagree Sonic CD sounded lovely… Oh, well… Sonic Spinball sounds “better” in either Sonic MEGA Collection or Sonic GEMS collection, I at least thought that at the time but, menu/option music was great… Whatever, I blocked out the truth Toxic Caves, was the great song not the almost terrible options music…

  20. What’s up with your copy of Batman Returns? Lol I popped mine in cause I don’t remember it sounding so choppy and it was fine 🤔

  21. Was there Sega genesis emulators or clone systems with options that "enhance" the music/audio that plays better samples?

  22. 16:46 how aweful can "background music" be??? Sounds like someone got a tantrum while playing a piano with only one key and makes we want to puke.

  23. Wow. I definitely didn't have the same problems with Batman Returns. It was okay from start to finish, so there must be some troubles with cart or console itself. Funny thing I had some sound problems with Batman on NES. It seems the console itself was bad since all in-game music had strange fade-out.

  24. I wondered in my mind whether or not Chakan would make on to this list. I was gonna buy it and checked a playthrough video and there were hundreds of commentsnpraising the gameplay and ESPECIALLY THE MUSIC!!! I wrote a comment where i said that the music was the most awful thing that i had heard in a while, the gameplay looked somewhat decent. I got attacked by dozens of comments saying that this soundtrack was a gem of 16 bit era, one of the best that genesis has to offer etc. In one part of that game the music sounds like they took 3-5 different soundtracks, all awfull, and put them all playing on over each other. Its a mish mash of shitty music.

  25. I didn't mind Double Dragon 3 back then but I see how it sounds awful.
    Taz Mania and Krusty's Super Fun House sounded pretty awful too and they're not good games either.

    As far as games I think sound good are Captain America and The Avengers, Zombie Ate My Neighbors, X-Men 2 Clone Wars, and QuackShot.

  26. You left out Road Rash, and Mutant league football. I’m seeing a trend with all of the Electronic Arts games and this list. Thanks for the fun video man!

  27. Fantasia!, Jurassic Park, Taz Mania, basically all games produced by Sega of America, but also Accolade and Acclaim, honorable mention for the worst sounding Japanese game: Mazin Saga

  28. I wonder how much effort it would ultimately take to turn Osomatsu-kun into a Bart Simpson game. It would give me an excuse to compose an entirely new and properly decent soundtrack, but would enough people appreciate the humor of the idea?

  29. Quite honestly… i actually like the music on sonic spinball, that metalic and scratchy sound seems ok with that kind of composition, i dont know. That option screen sounds bad, but the level music in general is pretty decent (specially level 1).

  30. the irony of the genesis super off road ost being so bad is that it was composed by Sam Powel, who did the music from the arcade version.

  31. Its often the americans that produce potato tracks, the japanese on the other hand. (Streets of rage, Musha, master of monsters, thunder force 4 for example)

  32. You suffered so much for our amusement – more, please! Also, never knew the Off-Road soundtrack for SNES was chock full of BANGERS

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