Posts Tagged ‘Amiga’

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Wings of Fury (Kris Hatlelid)

July 4, 2010

Wings of Fury (1990) is one of the Amiga games I remember playing the most – mainly because it was about the only “real” game we had for the computer. I got it for free at an Amiga club meeting and played it off and on for about ten years when I finally sat down and played through the rest (there’s no ending to speak of, which was disappointing). In this game, you fly an F6F Hellcat (best plane of World War II) to destroy Japanese bases and ships from the carrier USS Wasp. There’s a little bit of historical accuracy including the F6F’s superior diving speed, the scorched-earth methods of winning, and nice little touches such as downed planes and dead soldiers remaining on the map until the end of the level along with night missions. Oh yeah, and the little guy who flags you in for landing! The music appears only in the intro, title, and level select screens.

“Wings of Fury” – (Kris Hatlelid)

This is an arranged piece from the intro. There is a LOT of text there, and even though it scrolls a little quickly, there’s literally about 50 seconds before the music changes, so I’ve cut down on the ambiance a little and also extended the fade-out at the end. The ambiance is actually quite interesting, sounding like a purring engine. It provides a nice build and tension as we wait for the main theme (particularly with the few bars in the middle), but also reflects the darkness of war. Then the main theme explodes with strings and trumpets, creating this excellent bit of hero music, and anthem to march to the airplane to go out and blow shit up. Due to storage limitations on the system, the main melody is only a few bars long and loops quite frequently, but it’s only for the intro screen, so it doesn’t have to be that long anyway. (In case you’re wondering, the only other song on here is a straightforward military drum march).

Because of this, “Wings of Fury” has quite a melody sitting there waiting to be unlocked, and I was a little surprised there are actually two remixes of this song that are both quite decent. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Alien Breed – “Alternate Title” (Allister Brimble)

July 2, 2010

Alien Breed is a classic Amiga title that borrows unabashedly from Alien and has gameplay inspired by GauntletAlien Breed gave players the ability to blast up the monsters that fueled their nightmares and like so many other games, cashed in on a franchise and aesthetic that 20th Century Fox wasn’t pushing in the action arcade. Team17 has recently revived the series on XBLA, and the alien designs are farther removed from the Geigeresque originals. The music in the game was composed by Allister Brimble, a competent English composer whose extensive credits include Descent II and Alien Hominid, as well as the rest of the Alien Breed series. Alien Breed: Evolution doesn’t seem to contain a remix of the title theme, even though it supposedly does…

Alien Breed – “Alternate Title” (Allister Brimble)

The “Alternate Title” contains many sound sketches of the game, but isn’t really used within it. It’s kind of a shame the music wasn’t used throughout the game as background, as some of the sketches could really add to atmosphere – though some of the other sketches are pretty bad, so it’s hit-or-miss. By far the best section is the introduction, with an INCREDIBLY creepy bass, electronic warbles, and monster growls: this sounds like it came straight from the bowels of alien hell. There are some great drum samples here as well.

The entire song is 16:51, making for an incredibly long piece. There is a wide variety of themes here, with other sections include organs and some crazy high-pitched synths (the ending is also pretty awful, so don’t be afraid to turn the track off once you get tired of it). Read the rest of this entry ?

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Donkey Kong (Amiga) – “Bonus Stage” (Christian Blaha)

July 1, 2010

Admittedly, the background ‘music’ to the extra stage in Donkey Kong on the Amiga (1993) is pretty awful – let me just put that out up front. While the track follows the mix and DJ scene of the early 90s and integrates game sound effects with the beat (that crying is the Game Over SFX), it’s not really that interesting. In fact, most of the work of Chistian Blaha (aka The Fox) seems to be straight-up ports of existing songs (the soundtracks to Donkey Kong and Frantic Freddy/Fast Eddie). As a result, the song is really more important for its context rather than its composition.

Donkey Kong (Arcade) – “Bonus Stage” (Christian Blaha)

Back in 1993, a shareware company called Bignonia ported Donkey Kong from the Commodore 64 to the Amiga. The final product closely resembled the arcade original in terms of graphics and levels (it includes the elusive pie factory stage). While the game is missing the between-level “How High Can You Go?” screens, it did add an extra stage that seemed to make some decent use out of the game physics. It also included this mix track that in some ways prefigures Hirokazu Tanaka’s better version from Super Smash Brothers Brawl. Anyway, this video includes a full playthrough. This was pretty cool at the time because it was not until Donkey Kong 64 that it was possible to play the complete version of the arcade original on a home console. You see, there were many perks to owning an Amiga!

There is, however, one good original piece in the game, and that is the ‘cracktro’ screen that plays when the game loads. It creates a C64-esque chiptune aesthetic, which makes sense given the game’s context as a port. Nice bass feels a little Donkey Kong-esque.

Donkey Kong (Amiga) – “Cracktro” (Christian Blaha)

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Trailblazer – “Alchemy” (Robert Wells)

June 30, 2010

Trailblazer (1986, 1992) is a classic C64 game that was later ported to the Amiga via shareware. You control a rolling ball through a racetrack in outer space. There are different kinds of tiles: blue ones speed you up, red slow you down, whhite sends you at warp speed, purple are walls, green make you bounce, and the black ones are holes. There are also cyan colored blocks that reverse left and right directions. You can also bounce your ball, but depending on the game version, there may be a limited number you can make. Trailblazer was recently re-made for Gizmondo. The original design was by Shaun Southern, and it was ported to the Amiga by Alchemy, which is also the name of this song. The music is by Robert Wells (Ginseng).

Trailblazer – “Alchemy” (Robert Wells)

“Alchemy” is the only song playing in Trailblazer – it plays on the title screen and within the levels as an endless trance. It’s a nice active theme with a forward-rolling bass line and drums upon which additional layers of electric piano and bass flares. There are plenty of drum and piano solos. The synth piano accompanied with a drumline makes the track feel a bit like commando music. It’s a little monotonous after awhile, but the style is very consistent. Out of all the Amiga games I had on my system (and here I didn’t have anything really cool like Turrican…), this was the most memorable simply because the song was so good. Here is the original MOD for reference (had some trouble looping it!).

There is little information on Robert Wells, though his complete discography (or in this case MODography) is on Amiga Music Preservation (an awesome site that archives Amiga MOD files (playable in Winamp and Foobar out of the box) and catalogues information on who composed them (though it sadly does not include the names of the games in which these tracks appear)). Google suggests he lives in Australia.