New age chiptune and a whole new standard.
It was weird because…
No-one had heard anything like it in videogames before. Charged with composing the music for Gremlin’s technically groundbreaking fantasy side-scroller, David Whittaker combined new age, proggy compositions with some of the highest quality sounds the Amiga could produce.
But it worked because…
The overall effect was mesmerising. Where traditional 16-bit music was repetitive and quick to loop, Whittaker’s lengthy atmospheric compositions swirled and grew to amazing effect, supporting the game’s dark, rural fantasy imagery and Roger Dean box art stunningly well.
Whittaker went on to score countless games, including cult C64 hits Xenon and Speedball. He branched out into games design and his mini-game anthology Lazy Jones was released for the C64 in 1984 by Terminal Software.
Not heard of Lazy Jones? Yes, you have. The riff-based song Stardust (composed by Whittaker) was the basis for the dance smash Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation - compare the audio clips here and then head to YouTube for countless mash-ups.
Initially unlicensed, Zombie Nation and Whittaker settled out of court with the game composer receiving "an undisclosed amount".
We told you there was money in game soundtracks…