Racing Hero Soundtrack, Hikoshi Hashimoto, 1989
Starting with Hang-On in 1985, Sega commenced a run of classic arcade titles that made full use of the company’s revolutionary Super Scaler technology, providing a spectacular illusion of 3D gaming unrivalled by anything on home consoles. However, not all Super Scaler games are equally well-remembered. Take Racing Hero, an obvious update of the Hang-On formula of lighting-fast motorcycle-racing. With its colourful, impressively fluid graphics, varied courses and solid gameplay, Racing Hero was hardly a disappointment upon release – but it also didn’t do a lot to differentiate itself from previous Sega arcade racers (which by now had turned into a genre of their own). And since Racing Hero wasn’t included in any arcade compilations on consoles, the game has mostly slipped from view when fans consider Sega’s arcade glory days.
Still, there’s much to like about Racing Hero – including its soundtrack. It was the debut work of Hikoshi Hashimoto, who would kick off a decades-long game music career with this title. Of course, previous Sega arcade racers like OutRun had set the bar high with their pioneering scores. Thankfully, Hashimoto proudly and successfully walks in the footsteps of his predecessors, crafting a score that feels like a summary of everything that made these 80s arcade soundtracks such a blast. It’s certainly an auspicious debut by a composer out to prove himself – and as it turns out, Racing Hero ranks as the best score of Hashimoto’s career.