Classic SEGA Music: Awaken


Gain Ground is the 1988 action-strategy arcade classic set around 350 years in the future where The Federated Government has created an era of peace. Because war ceases to exist the human race has begun to lose their fighting spirit; Worried of threats from outside of Earth, it is decided that a virtual reality simulation of various periods in time will be created to re-introduce their civilization to conflict. An unforeseen problem occurs and instead traps everyone inside the virtual world, turning the test of strength, knowledge and courage into a dark reality.

Included after the break are numerous variations of the ‘Origin’ zone, the first location in the game.

Where it is heard:

The song Awaken is heard through the Origin levels of Gain Ground at the dawn of strategic human combat where only basic spears, swords and bows are used. Societies are still not organized very efficiently, so the setting is more adventurous, rather than tactical, like later sections of the game are. Unique to this zone as opposed to future levels is the encouraging style lost with the later, much more challenging locations, making it the perfect start to an incredibly difficult game. The title ‘Awaken’ gives the song numerous meanings, and it fits perfectly with the setting.

Other versions: classicsegamusic

Genesis/Mega Drive version

Although an early title on the weaker Genesis/Mega Drive console when compared to the System 24 arcade platform, this remains an excellent version of the song and maintains the same feel and length as the original, although some riffs are considerably weaker in direct comparison. It is likely the most heard rendition of the song.

PlayStation 2 version

Designed for the SEGA AGES 2500 series of budget remakes, the style of this version is unique in that it blends vintage-sounding chiptune sounds with modern electric guitars and drums. This was remixed by famed Japanese composer S.S.H. best known for his work in the Guilty Gear series of games.

PC Engine Super CD version

Arguably the most unusual official remix of the song Awaken to date. Composed to take advantage of CD sound available on the PC Engine/Turbografx-16’s CD add-on, yet with a more calm design compared to the original. Although most pass this rendition off as weaker than the original, the more adventurous style mixed with instruments one would expect from Jungle-themed music is fitting in it’s own right.


This version is designed with more emphasis on the original song’s transitions instead of focusing on how it would sound in-game, making it more exciting for listeners in concert or listening to it while driving their car. Another wonderful rock and roll remix of a great SEGA tune by the official SEGAROCK band. Although this is one of their less-heard songs, many of the band members have admitted in interviews that it is one of their favorites.

Closing Thoughts

Although considerably one of SEGA’s less popular titles during it’s original release and modern times, the game is almost always included in Genesis/Mega Drive compilation discs. A sequel exists as Gain Ground Again, but only as an obscure mobile phone release in Japan that appears to no longer be listed on their site after only a year of it’s original release. With all of the re-releases it is likely that SEGA has bigger plans for the IP, so we may not be far away from Gaining Ground… Again.


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