ReMix: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 "Forbidden Memory (of a Forgotten Dream)" 6:49

By Random Hero

Arranging the music of one song...

"Hidden Palace Zone"

Primary Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega, 1992, GEN), music by Masato Nakamura

Posted 2008-10-11, evaluated by the judges panel

Ryan writes:

"If anyone is familiar with the rumours/stories that have been going around the internet concerning the one of the mysterious unfinished level in Sonic 2 known as "Hidden Palace", then they have probably heard about the story line in which Tails was originally supposed be a some sort of guardian stationed at this place. In this song I wanted to convey the loneliness that might have been felt by Tails as he spent all that time, alone, performing his solemn duty. The boy's choir was used to hopefully represent Tails' seemingly young, innocent nature.

Compared to my other songs, especially the two which can be found at OCRemix, this one is a very sad, emotional piece (it almost made TWO of my friends cry). I have been working on it off and on since 2005. It has changed dramatically since then, and now is probably the song with the most original material of all my work to date.

The song finally started to take shape earlier last fall. It was 60% complete when, on November 12, 2007, my grand father passed away due to a massive heart attack. This may have coloured the last part of the development and might be the reason for it sounding as sad as it does. If this song does make it onto the site, I would like to dedicate this song to my grand father, Klaus Staeben. He was a man who loved music of all types, no matter the source or what other people may have thought about it, a lot like myself."

This posted version is actually a resub, fixing some issues with samples/instrumentation, so I'll also throw in RH's follow-up:

"The biggest thing I did was transposed the whole song down 3 semitones, allowing the violins to play their parts without straining too much and also opened up the top registers of other instruments that can better handle the high notes. I also reworked a few areas, added some humanization, added some harmonies, added another instrument (a very sparingly used flute) and used a much better Harp sample then before (no it wasn’t pizz strings, it was a clean, unprocessed harp sample hahahaha). I think it sounds much better now. Hope you guys think so too!"

You don't hear too many orchestral arrangements of material from the Sonic franchise; so much of it is funk/electronica oriented that I think folks tend to hone in on that and amplify rather than subdue it, but Ryan's done an excellent job turning this source into a very emotive and expressive piece. Understanding the dedication and the back story regarding the mix's creation only increases this response, but it's a wonderful piece of music that easily stands on its own merits, especially after the revisions, which I think helped achieve the original vision. Shariq writes:

"This is great. Very emotive; I love the piano and harp. Voices are appropriately used; nothing over the top. I've always wanted to try this song in this style and now I don't have to, because you did it so well for me. Nice work. Dynamics are great, progression is great. I wish there was a little more brass, but that's just me. xD"

What I like about this mix is that it has very clear moments... there's connective "tissue" that takes the arrangement from point A to B that's less engaging, perhaps, but there are more than a few points where the dynamics are constructed to really leave an impact with the listener. Without knowing the specific circumstances, I think you can still tell that this was a special piece for Ryan, something that he poured a lot of himself into, and I think it'll resonate. A unique arrangement in the densely populated world of Sonic ReMixes, and an effective conduit of the artist's expression.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2009-04-25 13:29:35

Just WOW! There's just so much emotion in this song I'm surprised I could handle it all. I really couldn't find a single flaw, besides the fact that it's not real instruments, but you did a really good job.

I'm not sure if this would ever happen, but I think this song should be played live. It would be epicly epic, but I think everybody in the crowd would cry from the sheer beauty and sadness.

on 2008-12-06 21:10:18

A beautiful piece...I wish people would do symphonic/classical arrangements of Sonic music more often, I think there's a lot there that can be worked with but people tend to go the easier route and make something that more resembles the source.

Those are awesome lyrics, by the way.

Random Hero
on 2008-11-26 20:51:40

I Stumbled on to these lyrics that Rampaging-Poet wrote for "Forbidden Memory" and posted on

Ancient place, distant time, it feels so familiar

A marble hall, I sense I've been here before

Is it a dream I had long ago?

A dream...

I stand all alone now, no one

Comes to walk by my side

But where am I

As I walk through the night

So clear?

Ancient place I'm in, it seems not long gone

Distant time, I feel I've been here before

A vision thought forgotten

Of a time long ago

Marble hall, where I spent

Those long lonely years

Was it real? The cold,

The pain and the tears?

This hidden palace where I

Wait on my own?

A basalt maze and granite bars

To hold me down beneath the stars

A wondrous place, a gilded cage

'Gainst the barricade I rage.

Someday I'll be free

As the breezes

Someday, I will be there

Standing there by your side

Your side...

Am I here and trapped by my destiny?

Am I there and lost in my memory?

Was it a dream in memory's guise?

Did I escape to azure skies?

Was I ever stuck within that world

With nobody to hear me?

All alone in that hidden place

With nobody to hold me.


List of times the verses/stanzas come in:

1st: 49 seconds

2nd: 1 minute, 23 seconds

3rd: 1 minute, 47 seconds

4th: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

5th: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

6th: 4 minutes, 20 seconds

7th: 5 minutes, 20 seconds

you can find the original post here:

I thought it was neat.


Shadow Wolf
on 2008-11-03 13:16:12

Wow. Just... wow. I hear a lot of great stuff come from this site, but I have NEVER heard Sonic done like this. Gorgeously dynamic and moving. Beautiful work. My condolences on the passing of you grandfather. I only appreciate that you've taken all those emotions and forged them into a piece this moving. It's a true rarity.

on 2008-11-02 11:42:33
If anyone read my info about the track, They would have read that I completed this track some time after my Grandfather (Staeben) died last year.

Well, not 10 minutes ago a found out that my other Grandfather (Roberts) has passed away....

just thought i'd pass this on.... cus I have no idea what to do with myslef at this moment.


I'm soooo sorry to hear that... i know what losing a grandpa is like. you needs a over-the-web huh (jumps up, and glomps you)

Oh, and on topic with the song, i love it. tempted to make it bgm for an audio drama (could I have your permission for that? I know that sounds kinda wierd...) the dynamics are great, the transitions seemless, and the piece is overall gorgeous. I quietly disagree with all the people thinking that is needs more brassy instuments, because those create more of a lively/friendly sound, and that would clash with the overall piece. all-in-all, (bursts out crying, since i'm not in class now) I LOVE IT! (sorry, went fangirl for a second there. but I don't retract my statement.)

Martin Penwald
on 2008-10-30 16:12:57
Stylistically I'd have never guessed that the source to this was from the Sonic series. You've done a great job taking it and making it your own.


I really like the strings and the piano. My favourite part is probably the breakdown starting around 3:20.

on 2008-10-30 08:50:02
If anyone read my info about the track, They would have read that I completed this track some time after my Grandfather (Staeben) died last year.

Well, not 10 minutes ago a found out that my other Grandfather (Roberts) has passed away....

just thought i'd pass this on.... cus I have no idea what to do with myslef at this moment.


I'm sorry for your loss, I lost a grandmother to cancer recently who I had never had the chance to really get to know. I think she was quite close to my cousins though and I felt especially bad for those who were caring for her in the weeks just prior to her death.

However, you've been able to make this melody truly emotive, and it is long without being repetitive, dynamic while remaining memorable, and you've been able to really do the Hidden Palace theme justice. I'm very fond of atmospheric pieces, particularly when they bear a strong melody, and this one is sure to be marked as one of my faves.

on 2008-10-20 21:59:32

The best part about this song is easily the great use of dynamics. Especially in electronic music (as opposed to live orchestrated music) it's way too easy to create an entire song with no change in volume whatsoever.

On the other side, some orchestrated music can have too far of a dynamic range, so that when the orchestra is playing quietly, certain instruments and counter melodies are almost inaudible. Then, of course, they play the loud part too loud, leaving it distorted, and certain instruments and melodies are drowned out by other parts and melodies.

I love the dynamics in this arrangement because the range is significant without being excessive, and the overall effectiveness really shows off the emotion of the music.

Great work, Ryan, and condolences for your loses. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Random Hero
on 2008-10-20 15:56:23

Hey guys.

Thanks for your kind words. Last week was a hard week and the support helped a lot.

And also, thanks for the kinda words about the song. I am temped to put up the earliest version of the remix to show you how far it came. It was very close to being abandoned altogether. Glad I didn't.

Ah, to hell wit it.. Just listen:



Triad Orion
on 2008-10-17 15:26:55

Let it be known I did not like the original source tune. The Hidden Palace track in Sonic 2 felt very out of place, I felt.

But this? This takes a tune that I felt wasn't executed well and turns it into a thought-provoking, somber, atmospheric experience that is virtually unheard of for a Sonic game. Beautiful, full sound and a constant melancholy pervade the tune. It's something different, and it's done very well. The use of the source material itself was faithful, you expanded on it greatly, and it came out as something special.

You have my condolences for the deaths of your grandfathers. I understand the experience is rough, but this work can serve and celebrate their memories. I'm sure they'd be proud of that.

on 2008-10-16 12:14:13

Hey RH, I heard the 'demo' you had posted in the forums (at least i think it was yours) and I knew then it was going to be great.

I heard the 'original' incorporated right at the end there... Throughout out the song I had been listening, thinking it was familiar... then at about 3:30 I remembered where some of the stuff was from, and I just had to go to the 'demo' to get that imprinted in my mind, and go back and hear where you put it...

Beautiful peice, all in all, love it. Keep up the great work, and my condolences for your grandfathers' passings.

on 2008-10-16 11:56:42

Great intro, the choir, timpani, and woodblock create a very lonely feeling.

Some of the string passages are great and well sequenced, and some of them seem a little rougher, but overall this is really nice, and decently humanized.

Stylistically I'd have never guessed that the source to this was from the Sonic series. You've done a great job taking it and making it your own.

on 2008-10-14 20:34:00

Oh man, this song is gorgeous. You can just hear the emotion and feeling in the music, it's a very moving piece.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost another grandfather Random Hero, my sympathies out to you and your family.

Random Hero
on 2008-10-12 11:47:33

If anyone read my info about the track, They would have read that I completed this track some time after my Grandfather (Staeben) died last year.

Well, not 10 minutes ago a found out that my other Grandfather (Roberts) has passed away....

just thought i'd pass this on.... cus I have no idea what to do with myslef at this moment.


on 2008-10-12 06:56:34

This track leaves me speachless. But I have to say this: This is dreadfully awesome. Enphasys on dreadfully.

edit: speech back. A long time ago, I used to listen to the source tune on repeat, amased by it's potencial. This remix is a dream come true for me. Many thanks!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Sega, 1992, GEN)
Music by Masato Nakamura
"Hidden Palace Zone"

Tags (5)

Orchestral, Piano
Origin > Resubmission
Time > Duration: Long

File Information

6,381,235 bytes


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