I re-recorded a fan game soundtrack I made 15 odd years ago

I can’t remember the exact year or circumstances, but back when I was a wee Space Quest Historian I had the good fortune of being asked a couple of times to write music for various Space Quest fan games. I’d been doing weird renditions of the Space Quest theme for a while and putting them up there to, mostly, annoy people, first as .MOD tracker files, and then moving on to General MIDI.

One such project was by a guy who called himself Menbailee. He’d been frequenting the Virtual Broomcloset forums, who back then were a buzzing hive of activity, and he seemed like an okay sort of bloke. I want to say he wanted to do a Klik-n-Play game, because that’s what I remember, but I might be wrong about that. He was calling it The Goliath Series.

It was going to take place after Space Quest V, when Roger was still briefly commanding officer of the SCS Goliath. And then something something evil guy called Khar’n haha funny pun something, and that’s really all I can remember about it. I think you shot something at one point.

Yup, that Goliah.
Yup, that Goliah.

His brief on what he wanted musically wasn’t very long, since he’d only started working on the project himself and didn’t have a complete overview of what he needed. But he did say he needed four: a version of the familiar Space Quest theme, a “Captain’s Log” sort of briefing screen that would come up before missions started (oh yeah, there were missions), a theme tune for the villain Khar’n, and some sort of excitement music. I think he said it was for a countdown of some kind, so it’s called “Countdown.”

I can’t remember why he stopped working on it, but it was not long after I gave him these four pieces. I also can’t remember what he thought about them, and I can’t remember seeing any screenshots of the game in progress. So, they’re just sort of curiosities from a time when the Space Quest community was at its peak and everyone wanted to make a fan game of their own.

I wrote the pieces with my Roland Sound Canvas daughterboard that I had gingerly inserted on top of my well-worn SoundBlaster 16 card, using some MIDI sequencing software I copied from our school’s music computer. I knew, however, that most people back then had AdLib or SoundBlaster cards, and they used the OPL2/3 chip to play MIDI files. I made these tunes specifically so they’d sound good on OPL3 cards, so the originals actually sound a bit weird in places.

So, just before New Year’s, I came across these old MIDIs on my dad’s old server, and for the heck of it I threw them into my current music sequencer. I threw on some orchestral VSTs that I found for free over on http://www.vst4free.com, added some reverb, and thought, “Hey, this is not too bad.” So I ended up kind of re-recording the tunes using (somewhat) current-sounding orchestral instruments, using the same old MIDI data I step-entered 15 years ago, but just sounding more modern.

I then asked Twitter — on New Year’s eve — if anyone would be able to record the pieces to sound like a Sound Canvas and SoundBlaster card, and a guy called Louis Gorenfeld stepped up and said, “I can do it, but I have to be at a party in 5 hours.”

So he sent me over the recordings — real hardware, by the way, not emulated with soundfonts or anything — and I’ve included those in the “lost soundtrack to a Space Quest fan game you’ve never heard of” compilation you see below:

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