THIS IS AMAZING.
For those of you not familiar with this absolutely brilliant game, it was released in 1994 by Apogee Software (aka 3D Realms), who you might know as being the creators of Duke Nukem. It was a first-person shooter in which you took the role of a group of anti-terrorists infiltrating an island full of Nazi monks, and scattering their various body parts across the place with an improbable arsenal of completely ridiculous weapons.
…That’s all that needs to be said, really.
…Oh, you want more? Fine. Glutton.
Now, I haven’t played the game terribly much – mostly due to the fact that I never got into it in the same way that I got into Doom, on account of one of the many ludicrous weapons offered by the game actually terrifying me as a child (that is, a 2- or 3-year-old child who quite honestly was frightened of anything that moved a bit funny). The “Hand of God” turns you into an invincible, monstrous hulk with the ability to blast your enemies into atoms with a swipe of your fists. It was the eerie, incredibly loud reversed groaning noises it made randomly that for some reason scared me to shit.
Nowadays, of course, I think it’s hilarious. And it is, because the whole game is a non-stop pixellated marathon of ridiculously over-the-top, almost cartoony violence and gore. It’s not for the weak-stomached.
In this game, you can lure enemies in spinning blades, riddle them with bullets, blow them up, set them on fire so their charred skeletons collapse into a disintegrated heap, evaporate them, club them to death with an enchanted baseball bat, and you can also turn into a dog and make them explode by barking at them. It is all kinds of gratuitous awesome.
However, my personal attachment to this game comes not from its gameplay. My love for it is due (almost purely) to its music. Each track in the soundtrack to ROTT is a masterpiece in its own right, and perfectly fits the quirky but stupidly hectic feel of the game. Most of them are a neat blend of fast, synthy, melodic rhythms, coupled with awesome string-and-timpani orchestrations and even some Latin influences – and together these elements work brilliantly. All of the tracks were written as MIDIs (eeeeee!) by MIDI virtuoso Lee Jackson.
Just one of the tracks used in the game can be listened to below – and this particular track I think is quite possibly the best track to have ever featured in any video game ever. EVER. I say that with absolutely zero fear of hyperbole.
The great thing about ROTT’s music is that it’s completely timeless. Whether you listen to that track under the original OPL synth, in a modern soundfont, as a bitchin’ rock ‘n’ roll remix, or in a completely different style altogether, you can’t not fall in love with music like that. I only wish they made most video game music like that nowadays…
But hold the phone, maybe they do! Interceptor Entertainment, the outfit behind the upcoming remake of this classic, have promised a full revamp of the entire game’s soundtrack courtesy of musician Andrew Hulshult… in the style of electronic metal.
So far, the only music track I have heard is the one used in the trailer, and can be viewed below.
Now, if I were to be brutally honest, I’d say that this remake of the track, while undoubtedly awesome, feels a bit “empty”. I think some of the harmonies from the original are missing here – although those were programmed by hand by Mr. Lee Jackson, rather than being played on an actual live instrument (you’ll notice that all the remakes I linked to above use the original MIDI as a base, so they are all exactly the same composition-wise). There’s even some kind of new bit added on at the end that I’ve never heard before – are you allowed to take a track like this and tack something “extra” onto it? I can’t be sure whether it does the song the full justice it deserves, but I can stand to listen to it – at least it has kept in that orgasmically awesome melody.
In summary, I am very excited by the news that such a loveable, classic game is getting a modern reboot, which, if you’ve looked at the trailer, actually looks as though it will retain all of the weird arcadey elements of the original that made it so unique – the mysterious floating platforms, the stupidly overpowered weapons, the fast gameplay… it’s all there. And apparently we might see a PC release by the end of the year.
…’Scuse me while I just go change my undergarments.