I had high hopes for Sonic Adventure. I was a big fan of the 16-bit Sonic music and hoped that this soundtrack would have the same instant appeal of the poppy Genesis music. At the same time, I was eager to hear music from the latest thing - the Sega Dreamcast. After five minutes of listening, I was completely satisfied with my investment. Sonic Adventure is two CDs of goodness.
Concerning sound quality, the music sounds pretty realistic, even though it's synthesized. Actually, some selections contain samples of electric guitars and contemporary vocals. For the most part, the sounds are very good, but not much better than the best of the 32-bit platforms. For the poppy nature of the music though, the bright, crisp synth is perfect.
The music itself is excellent. Much of it is very unique, resembling the Sonic music of old, but with a more mature sound. Even so, none of the old themes make cameos - Sonic Adventure is 100 percent fresh. The stage songs are upbeat, with outstanding, bright melodies... very enjoyable to listen to. Listen to "Azure Blue World" for a good taste of what the music is like. A fast beat with crisp sounds and unobtrusive sampled electric guitars combine to produce a great melody and one of my favorite tracks. Besides the great run, spin, and jump songs in SA, there are great boss themes a la Final Fantasy. I especially like "Theme of 'Dr. Eggman'" and "Perfect CHAOS Revival". There are even a couple RPG-like "sadness" themes.
The main theme of Sonic Adventure is "Open Your Heart". This is something akin to the vocal songs of Sonic CD. It is a tasteful arrangement, performed completely with live instruments, including distorted guitars and heavy drums. This is another good addition to the soundtrack, but the song itself isn't spectacular. It, along with a few other tracks, resembles contemporary instrumental pop. Perhaps that is the reason I wasn't especially impressed with it.
With two discs of music and close to 70 tracks, some may worry about the length of the songs. Actually, the best songs on the soundtrack are of satisfactory length, between three and four minutes. Some of the shorter tracks include "Invincible... No Fear!" and "Choose Your Buddy". Each song runs long enough for its style and purpose.
Overall, this CD was very much worth the purchase price. It's a great OST that could spawn some great remixes. If there is one reason to buy this CD, do it to experience the ongoing metamorphosis of the classic upbeat style of Sonic... and game music in general. If Sonic Adventure hails the next generation of game music, there is much to look forward to.