Classic SEGA Music: Conditioned Reflex


SEGA Rally Championship is the 1994/1995 arcade rally racing classic developed by SEGA-AM5 and later ported by SEGA-AM3 to the Saturn console and eventually several other platforms. Designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, whom would go on to later create and be best known for several music-focused titles such as Space Channel 5, REZ and Child of Eden. A different style entirely, SEGA Rally Championship was no different by the importance of it’s music as the soundtrack was assembled to best emulate the frantic and unpredictable nature of the world of rally racing.

This time we will we will be listening to the song featured in Desert, the first course of SEGA Rally Championship. Included after the break are several remixes across various platforms.

Where it is heard:

Composed by video game music veteran Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Conditioned Reflex was used in the first course of the game. Simply titled ‘Desert’, the track starts near a group of on-lookers on a basic road, only to move into dirt, which eventually leads into a muddy oasis before coming back to a large stretch of land littered with a group of animals and a helicopter flying by viewing all of the action taking place. What is especially unique about this setting compared to most racing games even now is how portions of the song are specifically lengthened as to where the player is expected to be in that point of the race. In the Saturn version (above) this is readily apparent by the use of guitar solos when the racer is lifted into the air by driving fast enough off a mound or how the synthesis kicks in at the time players see a helicopter fly overhead. Although any two laps will rarely ever be the same, the song’s pacing manages to make each lap feel fresh and engaging.

The CD version of the song is noticeably longer and features new portions to surprise players who play the Time Trial mode.

Other versions: classicsegamusic

Arcade original

Along with Virtua Fighter 2, SEGA Rally Championship was one of the first games built on the revolutionary Model 2 arcade board. As constant sounds from several cars at once were necessary, it would have been expected from most for the sound quality to be very poor, but music and sound director Takenobu Mitsuyoshi managed to make several surprisingly long songs, many of which sound authentic to the instruments intended. Clips of his iconic voice can even be heard throughout the song.

SEGA Touring Car version

Considered one of SEGA’s weaker racers of the time, SEGA Touring Car Championship had a much faster pace than what was expected of the genre, making techno a better fit than rock for this remix. Initially the song is hard to identify, but that may have been done on purpose to surprise players who realize what they are listening to during the race.

SEGA Rally 2006 version

Titled Hyper Conditioned Reflex, this was first featured in the limited PlayStation 2 release SEGA Rally 2006 and was designed with a modern spin, although it is significantly shorter than the Saturn version. It was also used in the arcade SEGA Rally 3 and the downloadable SEGA Rally Online Arcade in the re-imagined Desert course.

Desert Replay

A different tune entirely, it can be argued that this song is just as iconic to the course as Conditioned Reflex. It is accessed in CD-based versions of SEGA Rally Championship after players complete the Desert level, the game loads up a replay of everything they did while the camera watches from multiple view-points.

Closing thoughts:

Although Daytona USA was more popular, SEGA Rally Championship spawned a much larger franchise across dozens of platforms to the point it is now one of the company’s most converted games of all time. The future of the series has been put into question as each release in recent years has been lower-key than the last, but with SEGA’s confirmation for a more digital-driven future in games, the odds of seeing more SEGA Rally games only makes more sense. Game Over? Naaaah.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: