SID-licious #9: Spellcast

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

Back in the day, legendary UK publication Zzap!64 would come with a cover-mounted cassette, known as the Megatape. Every month, this spooled wonder would be filled with complete games and/or demos for upcoming releases. For some reason, enjoying the software that came on this tape felt different to playing other games I had, and even thinking about loading something from a Megatape taps into an indescribable sub-genre of my nostalgia.

Megatape 18 came with the demo for an upcoming title called Spellcast. The game was a sparse and rough (but still very playable) single level demo for a side-scrolling hackyslashy affair. While my memories of the gameplay aren't the clearest – I remember I liked it but there wasn't enough there for too much repeat play – the thing that has stuck with me all these years is (you guessed it) the music.

While Spellcast had no in-game music to speak of, it did have one tune that sprang to life on the static credits screen when you met your end. I loved that music, and while I would never die on purpose to hear it, the fact that it took the sting out of losing just made it more special.

So, what happened to Spellcast that it's only got one song to recommend? Well, the project was scrapped and the Zzap!64 demo was all that ever emerged for the public to see. If you want to read more about the fate of Spellcast and the people behind the project, head on over to Frank Gasking's Games That Weren't 64 and check out the info there.

The final footnote to this entry is that, once again, the High Voltage SID Collection has taught me that a beloved chip tune from my younger years is actually based on a "real" piece of music. And yes, once again, I find that I prefer the C64 version to the original (although the original sounds like something out of a Castlevania game, which I guess is no bad thing).

[ Here's where the music was. I've probably still got the mp3 if you wanna PM me! ]

7 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by buzz_clik

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

Back in the day, legendary UK publication Zzap!64 would come with a cover-mounted cassette, known as the Megatape. Every month, this spooled wonder would be filled with complete games and/or demos for upcoming releases. For some reason, enjoying the software that came on this tape felt different to playing other games I had, and even thinking about loading something from a Megatape taps into an indescribable sub-genre of my nostalgia.

Megatape 18 came with the demo for an upcoming title called Spellcast. The game was a sparse and rough (but still very playable) single level demo for a side-scrolling hackyslashy affair. While my memories of the gameplay aren't the clearest – I remember I liked it but there wasn't enough there for too much repeat play – the thing that has stuck with me all these years is (you guessed it) the music.

While Spellcast had no in-game music to speak of, it did have one tune that sprang to life on the static credits screen when you met your end. I loved that music, and while I would never die on purpose to hear it, the fact that it took the sting out of losing just made it more special.

So, what happened to Spellcast that it's only got one song to recommend? Well, the project was scrapped and the Zzap!64 demo was all that ever emerged for the public to see. If you want to read more about the fate of Spellcast and the people behind the project, head on over to Frank Gasking's Games That Weren't 64 and check out the info there.

The final footnote to this entry is that, once again, the High Voltage SID Collection has taught me that a beloved chip tune from my younger years is actually based on a "real" piece of music. And yes, once again, I find that I prefer the C64 version to the original (although the original sounds like something out of a Castlevania game, which I guess is no bad thing).

[ Here's where the music was. I've probably still got the mp3 if you wanna PM me! ]

Moderator
Edited by Mento

Yaaaay new SID blog.

There were quite a few Castlevania clones at the time (I seem to recall being creeped out by one called Beyond the Ice Palace), though I guess the only one to become its own thing was Ghouls N Ghosts (which actually came first, doy). Creepy settings and sub-weapons were totally the thing for a while.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

OK, this is awesome. I don't think I've ever heard a song where the drums were the main instrument (they're usually the background instrument, right?).

Edited by buzz_clik

@Mento: Ever seen this delightful (Italian, if memory serves) G'n'G knockoff? I remember reading about it in Zzap!64 as a kid and being half appalled, half really wanting to play it. I guess I've always had a thing for wanting to play dodgy games, eh?

Moderator
Edited by kalmis

Never head of the game (again). What a great track though!

Posted by buzz_clik

@Video_Game_King said:

OK, this is awesome. I don't think I've ever heard a song where the drums were the main instrument (they're usually the background instrument, right?).

My last SID-licious blog featured a song with some pretty bodacious drumming in it. There's something about using proper sampled drums in C64 tunes that makes things go up a notch on the Meaty-o-Meter.

Moderator
Posted by bobafettjm

Man this song is great.

Posted by EvilDingo

Looks like I missed this entry - however I'm not above looking the SID up on HVSC.

@buzz_clik:

Again you've managed to find a piece that was completely unknown to me. It always sucks when you find out that a favorite turns out not to be an original piece of music... it is pretty good though.

I don't know why - but I keep humming the Golden Axe stage 1 music over this... apparently it would make for a decent mash-up :-)