Dick Tracy Soundtrack (Game Boy), George Sanger, 1991
The success of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman kicked off the first wave of comic-book movies to hit cinemas. Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy – released the following year – might have looked like it was riding on the caped crusader’s coattails, but in fact the project had been in development since the early 1980s. It turned out to be one of the decade’s more artistically and financially successful comic book movies, with its extravagant visual design drenched in primary colours still impressive decades later. Unfortunately, none of the film’s many video game adaptations – mostly for 8-bit platforms – could hope to match that kind of visual splendour.
Prolific developer Realtime Associates handled Dick Tracy’s NES and Game Boy versions – which meant gamers had another soundtrack from in-house composer George Sanger to look forward to. Interestingly enough, the NES and Game Boy ports turned out to be sufficiently different from one another to warrant one score for the NES game and another one for the Game Boy title. Of course, Sanger wrote both soundtracks, with the Game Boy one coming out on top. The NES version is jazzier, but in its adherence to that genre’s stereotypes, it’s also less interesting than the ambitious Game Boy equivalent. What also helps is that the compositions on the Game Boy score are significantly longer and more substantial than on the NES.