Here is a bit of opening trivia, this game was one of many developed by Ancient, published by Sega for the Sega Genesis and was the “largest adventure game EVER for the Genesis.” Did you guess right? I’m going to throw some of you off with this one. Most of you have never heard of this game.
Most of you have never heard of this game.
What if I told you that the music was written by the same composer who worked on ActRaiser 1 & 2, Shenmue and Streets of Rage 1-4! Did you guess the composer? If your answer is the legendary, Yuzo Koshiro, then you are correct!
Beyond Oasis is one of my childhood and adult favorites. I can play this game over and over and NEVER get tired. The game is super well polished and dates extremely well. Looking at it today, you would think it was a triple indie game.
Quick Synopsis: Prince Ali stumbles upon an island finds a gold armlet. As you put the armlet on you learn that it belonged to a wizard and that there was a silver armlet. Your gold armlet has the power to summon four strong spirits that empower you through the game once you release them from their respective shrines. However, the silver armlet is wreaking havoc and has begun it’s evil destruction and more. The game is secretly an RPG except with no grind. The way to level up is to collect the gems you find. Beyond Oasis also has some similar elements to Legend of Zelda. There is a HUGE plot twist in the story but I encourage you, as always, to play for yourself.
As soon as you turn on your Sega Genesis and see the Ancient splash screen, the title screen follows shortly after with a euphoric theme of announcing royalty and adventure. This theme is known as the overworld adventure since it also plays when you are in the open are fields.
Your gold armlet has the power to summon four strong spirits.
Thinking about the technology from back in the day, listen to the orchestration of this on the FM. The skill of making a soundtrack to this calibur is magnificent. If you have had the experience of composing music in Sega FM style, you’ll know first hand how difficult it can be. So, for Koshiro to make the soundtrack be more than pleasant, catchy and fitting for the game is absolutely masterful. I’ll take the time to highlight a section from the soundtrack. This time I choose: “Fortress.”
I took the time to orchestrate the first 30 seconds. With it’s ambiguous opening, the ostinato lures the listener in the first four bars.
This opening section is so powerful because it emphasizes a triplet feel in simple quadruple meter. The pieces is saying “caution, it’s not safe here.” Immediately it punches out of the trance ostinato and hits with booming brass and a low bass drum.
Notice that in the C section, the 16th notes flourish down in repeating form, while the melody and countermelody sustain the tension. Koshiro is alerting the player, this is no picnic stair, this is the fortress..the stronghold. I chose to orchestrate the fast movement in the flute and have the sustains played by the Trombone, doubled by the Oboe and Clarinet.
One of the key things to notice is the dynamics. They are done so well and that is no easy task, I assure you. I took the liberty of orchestration that here.
Lastly, let us watch how the music fits in context because after all it is a video game. This gives us the bigger picture to how the entire artform is pieced together with the rest of the game development assets.
This gives us the bigger picture to how the entire artform.
My favourite Tracks: The Story of Thor, Burning Cave, Fortress, Indication, Stone Place, Boundless Cliff, Abyss (lullaby), Encounter, & Deep Hole. There are about 34 tracks total including ,small jingles for items collected and others. As we all know by know, Koshiro-san has written in a lot of styles very well. The Beyond Oasis soundtrack is still my most beloved. Maybe it’s because of the nostalgia. I grew up on Streets of Rage but this is the Ancient Classic!
Beyond Oasis widely available on most of the Sega Genesis Classic Collection released over time. I can certainly vouch that it is on the ones released for PS3 and Nintendo Switch. I played them myself and you should too. Happy playing and listening.