As part of Diggin’ in the Carts, our series on video game music, we’ve asked artists to provide the soundtracks that they remember the most. An alumni of the 2014 Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, Mumdance’s music has always been influenced by the 16-bit tones of video games. (Many of his song titles reference his favorites.) To narrow things down a bit, we asked him to give us a list that was just Amiga-related.
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Shadow of the Beast
This would have came out in 1989 by a games company called Psygnosis, which were one of my favorite games houses. David Whittaker was the composer of the soundtrack. Basically, the game was sort of a platform game. It was really dark, and it actually scared me and my friends. We were super young when we were playing it, and we were actually very scared by this game, even though if you look at it now, it looks super tame.
A lot of my tracks are actually named after Amiga games, and I’ve highlighted a few here. “Shadow of the Beast” is a track I’ve done in the past named after this game. It doesn’t sound anything like the actual soundtrack, but it’s just named after it because I used to love it.
Shadow of the Beast III
The title music of this one was produced by Tim Wright. I think they used the Korg M1 synth, but I think it was sampled. They used a thing called the Paula chip, which gave everything a very unique sound.
This one was done by Chris Hülsbeck. This is another one that I’ve named one of my own tracks after, with Logos. We both really like the game. It was a platform game. You were a robot, and you could crouch down and turn into a switchblade sort of thing and you could roll around and kill people.
A lot of the games from the Psygnosis games house were dark and weird. In this one, soundtracked by Tim Wright, you were an owl and flew around killing all these insects. The soundtrack was piano, almost classical music piece. Most action games were hi-octane, but the title music for this one was gothic and mellow, which was quite a contrast.
The Chaos Engine
This game from the Bitmap Brothers was kind of steampunk-inspired. I remember the soundtrack was kind of rave-y. Logos and I named a track after this one. This theme, I think, runs throughout a lot of the game. All of the games were quite difficult, so by the time you finished, it’d be ingrained in your head.
Golden Axe: Fiend’s Path
The whole Golden Axe soundtrack is very strong, but Fiend’s Path is my favorite. The game is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up where you can choose one of three characters. You could either be a Xena Warrior Princess type girl, a muscly Conan the Barbarian guy or a dwarf. I was usually the dwarf with the axe. Me and my brothers spent hours on this computer game.
Cannon Fodder came out in 1993, and it was produced by Sensible Software. Richard Joseph composed the soundtrack, and it’s kind of like a soft reggae intro, which is quite unusual at the time. Also, it’s got full vocals in the track, which was also unheard of, for me anyway. Maybe I didn’t know. It was the first track which I heard which had a full vocal in a computer game, so that was quite exciting at the time. The track was super catchy as well.
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge 2
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge 2 had a strong soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch. I think it came out in 1991 or 1992. It’s a super rave-y soundtrack. Lots of 909 drum machine. Loads of rave hits. It’s really, really enjoyable. I played it in a club actually, one or two of them. It really suited the fast-paced feel. All the tracks are interesting, but “Twilight Zone” was my favorite. It had a city-scape behind it. Another game I just spent hours and hours and hours on when I was young.
Gods came out in 1991 and the music was made, again, by Richard Joseph. It came out on Bitmap Brothers games. I’m not actually sure if this game had any in-game music. I think it was just sound effects which reacted if you killed someone or if you were swinging your sword. The intro music was super strong though. Again, it was a very rave-influenced track. It had sampled vocals in it, actually just one phrase which repeats over and over.
I’m not actually sure who composed this one, but it was one of those games which only had this one song which looped over and over and over again. I can sing it from memory. It’s not the coolest track, but it’s just a really catchy track one that sticks in your head for days after you finish playing the game.
Me and my friends used to really like this one. It’s a really cool game. It was a platform game, but it was up-scrolling. What you did was you shoot out rainbows to kill things. Then you could walk on the rainbows, but the rainbows only stood there for five seconds or something. It was a really frustrating game, but also really fun at the same time.