Classic SEGA Music: Star Humming

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Ristar (also known as Ristar the Shooting Star) is the 1995 platformer developed by Sonic Team and released for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive and later for the SEGA Game Gear. The game follows the titular young star as he travels across the Valdi Galaxy in pursuit of the evil space pirate Kaiser Greedy, who has kidnapped the Legendary Hero that watches over the galaxy and protects it from harm. Although it is often overshadowed by Sonic Team’s other popular series, including Phantasy Star, Samba de Amigo, NiGHTS, and, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog, Ristar has managed to hold its own over a veritable who’s who of video game classics, and today it is often considered to be one of the very best and most beloved games on the platform.

Without further ado, let’s blast off and take a look at a cheerful little tune called “Star Humming”.

Where it is heard:

The song is heard in both versions of the game and plays throughout the closing credits, after the player has defeated the game’s final boss. Unlike the credits found in many other games, which consist largely of plain text on static backgrounds, Ristar opts instead for a very vibrant and colorful credits sequence. It features a border that consists of animated sprites of the titular character performing various actions from the game, such as running, climbing, and swimming, while a number of beautifully detailed stills are prominently displayed over a textured background that changes color as the song progresses. All of these assets are perfectly timed to the music and to the individual pieces themselves, showing that a great deal of care and attention went into making the credits feel just as important to overall experience as the game itself.

The song itself is very upbeat and cheerful, as evidenced by its lively melody, which is “sung” by a chorus of happy creatures — presumably the denizens of the various worlds that Ristar has saved throughout the course of his journey. This concept works thematically because the core song features a remix of every world’s theme found within the game. While this is a very cool and neat little touch, its significance comes from the sheer brilliance of its execution, which, when combined with the visual aspect of the credits, creates a wonderfully crafted vignette — a piece that fully encapsulates the game as a whole, and thus touching upon the player’s own experiences and emotions that they associate with these themes. In this way, the song puts a cap on the game by rewarding the player with its sheer exuberance and lighthearted nature, which is enough to put a smile on just about anyone’s face. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself tapping your foot to the rhythm of the universe and gleefully humming this tune for many days to come.

Other versions: classicsegamusic

– Game Gear version

Released in the same year as the Genesis/Mega Drive original, the Game Gear version of Ristar retains most of the gameplay features found in the original, while some aspects, such as the level design, was changed to better suit the portable title. The music in this version remains largely unchanged, with the arrangements not straying far from the original — granted, they sound less fully featured due to technical limitations in the Game Gear’s hardware. Despite this, the track still manages to retain the warmth and sentiment of the original while also having a unique appeal of its own.

– Mega Drive Last Action Heroes arranged version

(Hey yo!)
Don’t worry, be happy, no time to look sad.
‘Cause when you look sad you make the CATAPILA mad.
Don’t worry, be happy, no time to look sad.
‘Cause when you look sad you make the CATAPILA mad.

How many times should I say?
Don’t let troubles get in your way.
How many times should I say?
Love is what we need right away.
How many times should I say?
We need to be strong every day.
How many times should I say?
You’re all I want, so let’s go away.

Oh yes, I know everything is going to be alright.
(Gunna be alright!)
Oh yes, I know everything is going to be alright.

Look around and what do you see?
All the lovely birds in the trees.
Singin’ sweet songs for you and me,
A melody that’s so pure and so sweet.
Look all around and what do you see?
All the lovely birds in the trees.
Singin’ sweet songs for you and me,
A melody that’s so pure and so sweet.
(Hey yo!)

Oh yes, I know everything is going to be alright.
(Gunna be alright!)
Oh, don’t you worry just sing with me tonight.
(Now everybody just sing with me!)

Do de, do da
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, da do
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, do da
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, do da

Don’t worry, be happy, no time to look sad.
‘Cause when you look sad you make the CATAPILA mad.
Don’t worry, be happy, no time to look sad.
‘Cause when you look sad you make the CATAPILA mad.

How many times should I say?
Don’t let troubles get in your way.
How many times should I say?
Love is what we need right away.
Oh yes, I know everything is going to be alright.
(Uh huh!)
Oh, don’t you worry just sing with me tonight.

Do de, do da
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, da do
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, do da
Do de, do de da de dadade
Do de, do da

Everybody got to know, what you want to do
Everybody got to know, where you want to go
Everybody got to know, what you want to say
CATAPILA on the mic along with a DJ

Released in 2010 under SEGA’s Wave Master record label, Mega Drive Last Action Heroes is a compilation album that features three discs of music from several Genesis/Mega Drive classics, including Pulseman, Virtua Racing, Ristar, and Comix Zone. The album includes all of the original tracks from their respective games, as well as several arrange versions of some songs, both new and old. One such arrangement is this interesting remix of the song “Do De Do Da”, also from Ristar. Done in a reggae-inspired style, this version also features an excerpt of the melody from “Star Humming”. Though admittedly a bit strange, this arrangement is perhaps the happiest and most upbeat song of the whole lot, with its cheerful imagery and positive message being used to great effect. In just five minutes time, the world becomes a picturesque place, as seen through the eyes of young children — a place of honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, loyalty, and magic.

This tune will shatter even the most cold and cynical shells, opening the hearts of all those the music touches.

Fan remixes:


– Mario Paint (SNES) version by YouTube user MrHotdiggitydog


– Remix/Mashup version by YouTube user freqrexy

Closing thoughts:

Despite being well received after its initial release, a lack of sales led to Ristar becoming a fairly large financial failure for SEGA because the title was released very close to the end of the Genesis/Mega Drive’s lifespan, and thus a it has never received any sequels or spin-off games. Even so, Ristar as both a game and a character has managed to remain very popular amongst SEGA fans, making the game something of a cult hit. As its popularity has grown over the years, so too has the company’s interest in the character, who has since made a number of cameo appearances in other SEGA franchises, including Shenmue, SEGAGAGA, and Virtua Fighter, amongst several others. This shows that, although he may be dwarfed by SEGA’s many other successful series, this little star still burns hotter than ever.

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