A lot of games ported in the late 80s from console and arcade to home computer saw major changes. Aside from differences in graphics and sometimes level design, the music was often altered by Western composers who enjoyed the greater storage capacity and flexibility of the Amiga as well as their freedom of expression. Ghouls ‘n Ghosts was one of these, with an original soundtrack composed by Tim Follin (Ecco the Dolphin, Rock ‘n Roll Racing). This remix comes from the fantastic Immortal 3, a collection of original and remixed Amiga tunes. The album is WELL worth picking up.
The Amiga version of Ghouls ‘n Ghosts has a noticeable change of tone from the original. For one thing, it had a lot more atmospheric, creepy music (with the Commodore 64 version featuring some really funky sound), and overall a more gritty, orchestral feel. The track here (“Level 2”), was remixed with a strong medieval feel to it. The pipes, guitar, and drum all come from the time period you’d expect to find knights – especially ones fighting the undead. I really love the flute in here – it gives a sense of dancing as well as ‘come on and follow me!’ It follows up quite nicely with the underlying beat of the guitar and drum.
While I enjoy Masaya Tsunemoto’s originals, it’s fantastic to see something new. Sadly, Immortal 3 will set you back 25 Euros, plus shipping for the two-CD set. It’s a shame they didn’t put this one on iTunes, unlike Symphonic Shades, which you can get for $10 there. There’s a reason nobody buys VGM, and it has nothing to do with the quality…
Along with his brothers Geoff and Mike, Tim composed plenty of famous soundtracks across a wide range of consoles (Amiga, Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, NES). In fact, their work is so original that Dwelling of Duels ran a special just on their work. Follin actually left game composition in the early 90s after becoming disenfranchised, mainly due to the irregularity of the work, but also citing “distress and illness” from the work. He now composes for film and TV. Henning and Ingo Nugel, another fraternal collaboration, have composed for Tom Clancy’s Endwar and Settlers II, among other titles.