Great ZX Spectrum Music
ZX Spectrum Music
We are talking about the original ZX Spectrum here (one of our favourite retro computers) or the slightly upgraded Spectrum plus. We are not including the Spectrum 128, the plus 2 or the plus 3 as they were blessed with the decent three channel AY sound chip.
Both machines (the Spectrum and the Spectrum plus) were blessed with a paltry 'single channel beeper' to generate sounds and music.
The beeper was installed by Sinclair to keep the production costs of the machine down - which really did help to make the ZX Spectrum a very affordable machine for many back in the day.
Because of this single channel beeper owners of other machines (who more often than not had a decent sound chip) would laugh and point at the Spectrum's 'poor' sound.
Well, clever developers managed to push the beeper way beyond it's capabilities and the good old Speccy actually managed to create some decent music.
Here are just a few example of what could be done....
Great ZX Spectrum music
Hyperactive was a free game which was given away on the front cover of Spectrum games magazine Sinclair User.
It is a sort of defender type arcade game which was developed by Spectrum programming legend Joffa Smith. For a free game it's not bad - and it was developed over a matter of only five days!
Keith Tinmans pumping menu tune is excellent - and probably one of the best Spectrum theme tune's ever created
Fahrenheit 3000 was a flick screen platform game (a tough one to complete I might add) from Perfection Software and is up there with the best of the platform genre.
The menu music was the famous Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor - and it doesn't sound too bad at all!
Tim Williams and Chris Jones did a great job with this game, but please note it is extremely tough!
Cobra was a very humourous side scrolling (with some of the best scrolling you would see on a ZX Spectrum) platform game which featured superb 2-channel music.
Drum beats overlayed by the melody tune was miraculous on the single channel beeper.
It was quite revolutionary back then and quite rightly garnered a lot of praise.
Technician Ted was one of the greatest flick screen platform games to grace the ZX Spectrum. It was polished, playable, slicky, addictive and technically impressive.
I will not to mention how difficult it was to complete!
Hewson managed to implement a nice version of The Blue Danube walz complete with vibrato and slide. Not bad at all and very easy on the ears.
Another one from Hewson - the classic scrolling space based shoot em up.
Hewson treated us to another polished and addictive game that was slick and professional.
The title music for this took the 'synthesizer' style of music that was popular in many Spectrum games. It's quite Catchy.
Ping Pong was a good conversion of the Konami arcade game by Doug Burns for Imagine Software. It is probably the only table tennis simulation that was released on the Spectrum.
More 2 channel wizardry from Martin Galway and Jof made the games menu screen far more interesting. Note the tunes ending!
Chronos was a good budget game released for the ZX Spectrum in 1987 by masters of the budget genre, Mastertronic.
Not only did the game feature decent scrolling arcade action (just what we want from our Spectrum Games) it had some of the most interesting title music to ever grace the machine.
The music to Chronos has an almost 'techno' quality to it - and really stretched the limitations of that humble beeper to the max!
The Light Corridor
What a great game from the twilight years of the Speccy.
Taking the breakout genre and turning it into a 3D experience was a stroke of genious by the developers.
Joe McAlby made a fine beeper version of the famous AY theme tune, and is one of my favourite pieces of game music ever.
The Light Corridor
Once again musical genious Tim Follin created a superb soundtrack for the ZX Spectrum.
Mastertronics 1987 release was a pretty much average game - but the title tune was nothing short of spectacular?
Once again - how did he get the single channel beeper to do that? Awesome.
Play the part of Guy Fawkes and try to blow up the house of commons!
This was a game developed by Odin and released by Firebird Software back in 1988. It is a pretty standard platform affair that has some similarities to the classic budget game Booty.
All of the games developed by Odin for the ZX Spectrum are 'distribution denied' - but here is the title music for you...
The Plot Thickens...
Go! Softwares 1988 release was a blatant copy of the arcade classic Rampage - and was a decent enough game.
It did feature some mighty impressive title music though which had a superb medieval flavour to it.
Once again superb programming of the single channel standard beeper.
Ramparts Title Music
This beat em up arcade adventure from US Gold (and programmed by Ocean Software) was great fun.
A very playable (if easy!) game that featured a great little intro tune.
It's not the best beeper music around but it does manage to sound suitable oriental and sets you up for half an hour of beat em up action.
Fairlight (a prelude) was a superb isometric 3D game developed by Bo Jangeborg.
Released by The Edge in 1985, this was a game that received many deserved accolades and pushed the isometric gaming genre further forwards.
It also featured a nice piece of BEEPER intro music which had the right 'medieval' sound to it, which set the scene for the game nicely...
The Intro Music To Fairlight
Dave Perry coded the rather difficult yet quite playable Stainless Steel in 1986.
Release by Mikro-Gen it was highly rated by Crash Magazine and went on to be reasonable hit.
Like any good piece of stainless steel this title showed polish, as well as effort and attention to detail.
The main menu music showed the same level of effort and was very nicely done indeed.
Music for Stainless Steel on the ZX Spectrum
Retro Gaming Links
- Acorn Archimedes
A truly powerful machine for the late 1980s
- Acorn Atom
The Atom was the ancestor to the BBC series of computers manufactured by Acorn
- Acorn Electron
The Acorn Electron was an 8-bit Micro
- Amstrad CPC 464
During the 1980s entrepeneur Alan Sugar made a foray into the home computer market
- Amiga CD 32
The Amiga CD32 was released eighteen years ago (gulp!)
- Amiga Games
The best in 16-bits with reviews, quizzes, images and videos
Roids go rogue in the 1979 classic
- Astro Blaster
Astro Blaster was a table top arcade game
- Astro Wars
Astro Wars was an electronic arcade game of the 'table top' variety
- Atari ST
The Atari ST was a 16-bit home computer
- Awesome Graphics
Here we are looking at amazing graphical acheivements within Spectrum games. ...
- AY Music
In the 1980s a lot of the 8-Bit micros available used the AY3-8912 sound chip to generate music and sound effects. This was especially useful for games programmers (and games players!) The sound chip was...
- BBC Micro
A chunky heavyweight computer that carved out a unique niche for itself during the 1980s
- Best PC Games
Best PC Gaming - get the best in online games
- Budget Spectrum games
Mastertronic were kings of the ZX Spectrum budget range During the 80's...
- Chronos Cheat Codes
Chronos: A tapestry of time had plenty of hidden features and Easter Eggs...
- Commodore 16
The C16 was an 8-bit micro manufacured by Commodore
- Commodore 64
The Commodore 64 was the arch enemy of the Spectrum
- Commodore 65
A little known rare and never released computer from CBM
- Commodore 128
The last of Commodore's 8-bit machines
- Commodore Amiga
We love the Commodore Amiga!! The Commodore Amiga has a place in our hearts (just like the ZX Spectrum)
- Crash Magazine
Ludlow's Finest! What did it take to be awarded a Crash Smash?
- Dark Star Cheat Codes
Dark Star had plenty of hidden humour and Easter Eggs too...
- Funny Games
Funny games that made us laugh
Frogger is an arcade game which was released back in 1981
- Games Online
Games Online - one of the phenomenons of the modern internet
- Ground Zero
Cold war type in text adventure. It was a tad on the depressing side
- Miniclip Games
Browser based arcade gaming
- Missile Command Games
Missile Command must be one of the most well know arcade games of all time
- Ocean Software
Ocean Software was one of the biggest developers of computer games within Europe during the 1980s and 1990s
- Oric 1
The Oric 1 was a British computer
- Oric Atmos
The Oric Atmos was a British computer
- Pacman Game
Play pacman again and re-live 1980
- Retro Computers
Retro computers are here! Take a light-hearted stroll down 8-Bit lane with classic machines and consoles.
- Scramble Games
- Sinclair Interface 2
A cool, cool gadget
- Space Harrier
- Space Invaders
Space Invaders, an all time classic
- Spectrum emulator
Want to play those classic Spectrum games? Please read on. If you were an owner of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in the 1980s you probably hark back to those halcyon days of gaming. Loading your games in...
- Spectrum Game Characters
Most of us old school gamers will have fond memories of many games for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (and other 8-bit and 16-bit machines). From Manic Miner to Way of the Exploding Fist to Night Gunner, these...
- Sport Billy
Sport Billy was a 1979 TV cartoon made by Filmation Associates
- Star Wars Computer Games
Red 5 going in
A true puzzling classic
The Vectrex - aclassic arcade console
- VIC 20
The Commodore VIC-20 was advertised by William Shatner you know
- Vintage Classic Toys
Your Speccy was just one of many classic toys...
The Sinclair ZX80
The ZX81 from Sinclair
- ZX Spectrum Games
For Spectrum enthusiasts by Spectrum enthusiasts. Look in here for hundreds of game reviews, images and videos. ZX Spectrum Games - you know you want to.
- ZX Spectrum Programmers
The 48K Spectrum was pushed way beyond it's limitations There were many fine developers who worked on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum during the 1980s and into the early 1990s. They managed to push the machine...
- ZX Spectrum Trashman
A brief and lighthearted look at an earlier release for the ZX Spectrum by New Generation Software
ZZap 64 magazine was one of the most popular monthly magazines
- 80s theme tunes
If you were a child during the 1980s...
The Rubber Keys Of The ZX Spectrum
The Amiga Check-Mark
Left behind by 16-bits
Once the 16-bit machines really took over the home gaming front the less powerful 8-bit machines were slowly left behind.
The music that would grace many Amiga games took over (with the likes of Alister Brimble, Paul Van Der Valk and Chris Hulsbeck to name but a few) where the 8-bit machines left off.
Still, the way that clever developers pushed that single channel beeper to the limit lives on, and people are still finding new and interesting ways in which to make that single channel hardware sing. Amazing stuff.