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2009/08/14

The Joy That is Remastered Video Game Soundtracks

Okay, so I lied when I said that I wouldn’t cover anything more to do with John Romero. But one of his latest tweets has this to say, and this continued into a conversation with George Broussard of 3D Realms which I thought I would include in this post:

“Listening to Duke 3D soundtrack while working......oh yeah....”

"The Duke3D soundtrack mp3s? I listen to them a lot. In fact, last week i had the whole 42 song collection on repeat/shuffle."

I like to listen to music sometimes when I write or just when the mood strikes me, and I also enjoy listening to video game soundtracks; among those, Duke Nukem 3D’s. But the old midi tracks from the nineties only bring me so much joy. True, it does bring a retro, nostalgic feeling to mind, but where it’s really at is when old video game soundtracks are remastered by fans or even sometimes the games’ composers.

What I like is Mark McWane’s Duke Nukem 3D tracks- remastered mp3 versions of the old midis. They are also available in OGG format, and most of them are excellent and faithful covers or interpretations of the old tracks.

He also has the Blood soundtrack on his site as well, remastered, naturally, as well as a few tracks done on request, which include some from Shadow Warrior, Wolfenstein 3D, and Witchaven, among others. Mark has been doing these for years, but he was mostly actively involved in 2004 and 2005, and since then seems to have other things preoccupying his time. I have contacted him before to tell him “good job”, and I hope that he continues with these projects. I wish he or somebody else would try to remake all of the game soundtracks from the nineties.

Some modmakers even have plans to use the remastered Duke Nukem 3D tracks of his in their source ports for the game. I can’t remember which one, but EDuke32 is the best in my book bar none, along with the HRP pack, Polymer and DukePlus. An astounding combined effort. If only paid game developers worked so hard, especially to revive older (classic) games…

I’ve also come across many attempts to cover songs from Doom and Doom II on the internet. Most of these are at DoomWorld, although some are hosted elsewhere. Likely some of the best covers were found at hellonearthsound, where Neurological and Sonic Clang featured many songs which had proper guitars and drums playing, and perhaps the odd piano twinkle. Sadly this site seems to have been closed.

Sonic Clang’s tracks were featured in the Classic Doom mod for Doom 3, and they can be found at DoomWorld as far as I know.

I contacted Neurological about HOES it and he claimed that he may or may not reopen the site at a later date. I also asked him if the tracks were archived anywhere, and he replied that to his knowledge they weren’t anywhere else on the net. When I informed him that I had pretty much all of his Doom and Doom II tracks, he told me I had his permission to host them somewhere. He added that those tracks were mainly cr@p, and that he’s working on newer and better ones, at his other site- he’s modest too.

I should either look for those tracks again on the net to save myself time and effort or upload them myself sometime (the hard way).
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