The unforgetable themes of Steve Barrett
Perhaps one of the most iconic tracks from my childhood would have to be the main theme from Magicland Dizzy (or if you prefer, ‘Dizzy 4’) by Steve Barrett. It was suitably bouncy and had a good steady pace to it, which remained with you for the duration of the game.
Being the time-consuming adventure game that it was, the repetitiveness of the music could often swing the balance between being a motivator to carry on with the game in times of frustration. Alternatively, the umpteenth playthrough of the music loop could also at times heighten the frustration and lead you straight to the ‘off’ switch.
Of course, the success of the game itself is what makes the music so memorable, if a game is good enough for you to be spending hours playing it then the music is naturally going to stick in your mind. However, there is an additional factor that makes this particular collection of music so memorable.
All of Steve Barrett’s music for Magicland Dizzy was also used as the accompaniment for another game by CodeMasters, this being Wacky Darts.
I spent almost as much time playing each of these games as they were both equally brilliant titles in their respective genres, and so it becomes obvious why Barrett’s music has remained a classic in my memory at least.
I’m sure that those who remember Wacky Darts will share sympathies of their losses at the hands of CPU player ‘The Magician’, who was almost literally unbeatable. He didn’t even use darts, he fired lightning bolts from his hands. I mean come on….who does that?!
This duplication of Steve Barret’s music for two separate games occured on an earlier occasion, again making it all the more memorable to people who had experienced both of them.
The year prior to the release of the two previously mentioned games saw a title known as Monte Carlo Casino, pretty self explanitory of what kind of game it was. This had more of a TV game show feel about it with regards to the music, with cues at the beginning of each round and also when you’d ran out of cash (ie. Game Over!).
Regardless, the music for the game was used again for a separate title called Pub Trivia. Naturally, because of the TV game show vibe the music had, this worked out to be a good choice here as well.
These were another two games that were both enjoyable, perhaps more so the latter which even my own mother played for many hours.
In conclusion, all of these gaming experiences meant that I heard a lot of Steve Barrett’s music around this time. We’re talking a matter of about 3 or 4 short tracks, only a very small part of game music history. But by no means any less important.