Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Alien 3 (MD/GEN)

Welcome to another Lesser-known Video Game Soundtrack!  Today, we’ll highlight a movie game that actually didn’t suck with music by a prolific composer who’s been behind the scenes of most of your Sega favorites.  Let’s check it out!

Quite simply, Alien 3 was developed by Probe to be a game based off the movie of the same name.  The game was published by many different publishers (depending on the region) including Acclaim, LJN, and Virgin Games.  In the US, it was published by Acclaim.  In general, there’s no questions to be answered about the origin of this game- it’s simply a movie game.

The composer for this game is important.  Matt Furniss pretty much scored most of video games you fired up on your Genesis as a kid.  From his first game (Wiz’n’Liz) to Cool Spot to audio conversion of Mortal Kombat for Genesis, Matt Furniss brought his unique sound to the YM2612.  You’ll know it when you hear it.  I’ve already started writing up a composer entry for the blog, it’s just taking a very long time.  I figure I’d share some of his music individually in the meantime.

Interesting to note: the soundtrack to the NES Alien 3 is also VERY good and well-known in the community as being complex and full of awesome 2A03 tricks.  I thought it would be interesting to look the Genesis port’s version of this music in this case as it is very much lesser-known, even in the retro game bgm community, I feel.

Today, in Alien 3, you’ll see how Furniss expertly manipulates FM and PCM to create atmospheric music that is not only chilling but also pulse pounding.  If you played Alien 3, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Check it out below!

(credit for both videos:  sentenced001)

The YM2612 has such a great sound.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the 2A03 but man, the YM2612 is able to accomplish so much in terms of textures.  I love that thumping slap bass created in the FM synthesis and the crazy almost “overloaded” sounds that can be produced through careful manipulation of the PCM.  Furniss was very particular about his sounds, citing in an interview that he pretty much made use of all channels ALL the time.  His trade secret, I guess haha.  He would leave one channel of PCM or FM for sound effects, which he would also develop.  Pretty cool!

Well, hope you enjoyed this soundtrack!  Feel free to leave comments!

About Classical Gaming

Steve Lakawicz holds an MM in Music Performance from Temple University as well as a BM in Tuba Performance from Rutgers University . His teachers include Paul Scott, Scott Mendoker, and Jay Krush. His love of video game music has lead him to form a blog, Classical Gaming, to promote discussion both casual and academic about the music of video games. He is the co-founder of the video game/nerd music chamber ensemble, Beta Test Music and regularly composes/performs chiptune music as Ap0c. He currently resides in Philadelphia where he teaches college statistics at Temple University. View all posts by Classical Gaming

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