Three Dirty Dwarves – “Track 02” (Appaloosa Interactive)December 12, 2009
I decided this week was a good time to start showing off more western vgm. Here is a piece from a little-known Sega Saturn game, Three Dirty Dwarves (1996), a beat ’em up featuring…well, three dwarves who escape a fantasy land and crash-land into a modern-day sporting goods store. They fight the orcs who come through the portal with a baseball bat, bowling pins, and a shotgun (excellent). The game has some ridiculous cartoon graphics, humor, and grungy rock music to match. There were even a few cinepack movies that weren’t very well drawn and had bad audio, but were funny nonetheless.
“Track 2”, just like the other music in the game, uses sampled voice effects and sound effects mixed in with the music, and this matches with the uncouth nature of the Dwarves. Belches, grunge, and dirty audio all work together to fit the game’s aesthetic. The instruments seem to be live recorded, with compositions from András Magyari, Héger Attila, Attila Dobos, Sallai Tibor, and Bikics Tibor. Some of these guys later went on to compose Contra: Legacy of War. Appalooosa Entertainment is a Hungarian studio, so this is a nice European feel, ca mid-90s.
Three Dirty Dwarves uses redbook audio, a more or less standard of CD-based games at the time. (Incidentally, this is why I don’t know what the title to the song is.) For this reason, you can take many Sega CD, Sega Saturn, TurboCD, and PS1 games, stick them into a CD player, and play a few tracks used in-game. I believe this tune plays in the menu screen, but to be honest I couldn’t tell when I popped the game in and played it. This is actually interesting when you apply it to games that had a soundtrack release: sometimes the same music you could purchase on CD would already be freely available on the game disc!
Anyway, Three Dirty Dwarves is a lot of fun, though perhaps a bit difficult and tedious. There are many insane enemies, including a crazy old man with some tape who mummifies any dwarf he encounters in tape. If all three dwarves become incapacitated, the game is over. It’s also two player, which is a lot of fun. I picked the game up through a tip from an old issue of Play magazine, and it was well worth it.