SID-licious #11: Lightforce

SID-licious is a series of blogs where I post Commodore 64 SID tunes. They'll be available for download until the next entry goes up, when I'll be pulling the previous file(s) down. I'll probably have the mp3 floating around, though, so if there's some tune you're reading about in a past blog and want to grab a copy, shoot me a PM.

I'd loved the music for Lightforce for years before I even knew it was the music for Lightforce.

Among the many games on the many disks for my Commodore 64, there was a game called Cyber Trap. It was nothing that special, just an Othello/Reversi clone that I'm guessing was some sort of public domain project. I'd play it occasionally, but more because the music in the game was stunningly good. I used to marvel that such a fantastic, Terminator-style tune was buried in some pissy little title that had nothing to add to a well-worn concept. Most of the time, instead of playing the game, I just used to load it up and have the music play, looping in the background while I did something else in the room. Put simply, I was in love with this song.

Then, disaster struck. My parents left town for a trip, and had left me alone and in charge of the house (so it was their fault, really). As is to be expected, a party happened at the house pretty much as soon as they walked out the door. Much stupidity was engaged in, many drinks were drunk, and just as many memories of the night's events were drowned and killed.

Hard to believe I'd be so upset about not having a copy of this, huh?

When I awoke the next morning to survey the damage, I noticed that a bunch of my C64 disks were placed in a pile next to the computer, out of their covers. A half-empty bottle of Coca-Cola, minus cap, sat next to this stack of disks. Beginning Operation "Make It So The Parents Have No Idea What Happened Here" I grabbed the disk on top of the pile to place it back in a cover... only to have the rest of the pile come with it. Yep, the drink had been spilled all over the disks and become stickier than the situation I was going to be in if I didn't clean the rest of the house before my parents got home.

While I was pulling the morass of disks apart I suddenly noticed in horror that one of them contained Cyber Trap. Slightly panicked, I wiped it off as best I could and tried to load it. It failed. I tried again. Failed. Again! Failed! AGAIN? FUCK!

Crestfallen, I figured I'd lost the Cyber Trap music forever, and that was that. Years later, when the internet was actually becoming a tool that you could actually use to actually pursue this kind of thing, I sometimes used to search online and post in forums, desperate to track down a ROM of the game. I rarely even got a response; on the few occasions someone did reply it was only to say they'd never heard of it.

And, as is so often the case, the High Voltage SID Collection came to the rescue. Browsing the songs of the legendary Rob Hubbard, I started up the file for Lightforce... and there it was, this holy grail I'd been searching for all these years. Apparently the dudes who made Cyber Trap had just lifted the music from another game! Ears filled with memories and heart filled with joy, I sat motionless save for the ever-widening smile on my face, soaking every glorious note up.

So there's my story of love, loss, yearning and reunion. Your move, Hollywood.

A few post scripts:

  1. Various versions of the SID chip exist, and I've heard a couple of variations that make this song slightly different, but I've posted it as it sounded coming out of my own C64.
  2. I never played Lightforce as a kid (and I've only ever played it on emulator to get pics for the GB wiki) so I never knew what Zzap!64 was on about when it used to babble on about this piece of music. In hindsight, it's obvious why the tune was the focus of so many column inches.
  3. Quote from Rob Hubbard: "Is LF a cover? I don't remember if it was. In any case it was good rhythmically but the rest was a piece of junk." See, even geniuses get it wrong sometimes.
6 Comments
7 Comments
Edited by buzz_clik

SID-licious is a series of blogs where I post Commodore 64 SID tunes. They'll be available for download until the next entry goes up, when I'll be pulling the previous file(s) down. I'll probably have the mp3 floating around, though, so if there's some tune you're reading about in a past blog and want to grab a copy, shoot me a PM.

I'd loved the music for Lightforce for years before I even knew it was the music for Lightforce.

Among the many games on the many disks for my Commodore 64, there was a game called Cyber Trap. It was nothing that special, just an Othello/Reversi clone that I'm guessing was some sort of public domain project. I'd play it occasionally, but more because the music in the game was stunningly good. I used to marvel that such a fantastic, Terminator-style tune was buried in some pissy little title that had nothing to add to a well-worn concept. Most of the time, instead of playing the game, I just used to load it up and have the music play, looping in the background while I did something else in the room. Put simply, I was in love with this song.

Then, disaster struck. My parents left town for a trip, and had left me alone and in charge of the house (so it was their fault, really). As is to be expected, a party happened at the house pretty much as soon as they walked out the door. Much stupidity was engaged in, many drinks were drunk, and just as many memories of the night's events were drowned and killed.

Hard to believe I'd be so upset about not having a copy of this, huh?

When I awoke the next morning to survey the damage, I noticed that a bunch of my C64 disks were placed in a pile next to the computer, out of their covers. A half-empty bottle of Coca-Cola, minus cap, sat next to this stack of disks. Beginning Operation "Make It So The Parents Have No Idea What Happened Here" I grabbed the disk on top of the pile to place it back in a cover... only to have the rest of the pile come with it. Yep, the drink had been spilled all over the disks and become stickier than the situation I was going to be in if I didn't clean the rest of the house before my parents got home.

While I was pulling the morass of disks apart I suddenly noticed in horror that one of them contained Cyber Trap. Slightly panicked, I wiped it off as best I could and tried to load it. It failed. I tried again. Failed. Again! Failed! AGAIN? FUCK!

Crestfallen, I figured I'd lost the Cyber Trap music forever, and that was that. Years later, when the internet was actually becoming a tool that you could actually use to actually pursue this kind of thing, I sometimes used to search online and post in forums, desperate to track down a ROM of the game. I rarely even got a response; on the few occasions someone did reply it was only to say they'd never heard of it.

And, as is so often the case, the High Voltage SID Collection came to the rescue. Browsing the songs of the legendary Rob Hubbard, I started up the file for Lightforce... and there it was, this holy grail I'd been searching for all these years. Apparently the dudes who made Cyber Trap had just lifted the music from another game! Ears filled with memories and heart filled with joy, I sat motionless save for the ever-widening smile on my face, soaking every glorious note up.

So there's my story of love, loss, yearning and reunion. Your move, Hollywood.

A few post scripts:

  1. Various versions of the SID chip exist, and I've heard a couple of variations that make this song slightly different, but I've posted it as it sounded coming out of my own C64.
  2. I never played Lightforce as a kid (and I've only ever played it on emulator to get pics for the GB wiki) so I never knew what Zzap!64 was on about when it used to babble on about this piece of music. In hindsight, it's obvious why the tune was the focus of so many column inches.
  3. Quote from Rob Hubbard: "Is LF a cover? I don't remember if it was. In any case it was good rhythmically but the rest was a piece of junk." See, even geniuses get it wrong sometimes.
Moderator
Posted by chilibean_3

I can see why you were so stuck on this tune. And it is crazy that this pretty epic sounding bit a composition was a part of a silly Othello clone. If you played the music and told me the title of the game I would assume it was some amazing space combat game.

Posted by buzz_clik

@chilibean_3: It actually is a space game - Lightforce is a shooter, and the guys who made Cyber Trap ripped the music from it. But I've amended my blog post based on your comment, so thanks for copy editing that for me! ;)

Moderator
Posted by chilibean_3

@buzz_clik: Or my comprehension went to garbage while I was listening to the track!

Posted by Mento

Came for the SID tune, stayed for the story of a young buzz_clik finding his long deferred musical redemption years after an ill-advised celebration gone awry. Oscar-worthy.

I wonder if there's a thing on the internets that tracks video games that have music that's better (or at least far more memorable) than the game itself. I can definitely think of a few examples.

Moderator Online
Posted by buzz_clik

@Mento: Yeah, I can think of a couple as well. Not a bad idea for a feature blog!

Moderator
Posted by TwoLines

I love these. Keep 'em coming Buzz.