"Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" soundtrack variations

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"Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" soundtrack variations

Post by wileyk2012 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:13 pm

One reason "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" is my favorite HE Classic is because of George Alistair Sanger's memorable soundtrack. It was the first game to feature his music, and had a more advanced MIDI score compared to the more simplistic Tom McMail soundtracks of "Putt-Putt Joins the Parade" and "Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise." Plus, when it was ported to the 3DO system and the later Windows versions since 1995, the pre-recorded PCMs were based off how the MIDI tracks sounded on a full MT-32 system or greater (though the quality had deteriorated a bit on the Windows version due to compression), while the other two HE classics had their PCMs based off the default AdLib configuration.

In these modern days of ScummVM and higher-quality MIDI sound cards, I am able to hear how the soundtrack on the original 1993 MS-DOS version of the game would sound depending on the MIDI settings. When the DOS or Mac version of "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" is loaded onto ScummVM, by default it sounds like this:

Even though it's supposed to be emulating the AdLib version, it actually sounds quite different and in a bit higher quality (note that ScummVM actually plays the music at the same tempo as the Windows version; when played on a real DOS system or DOSBox, the music plays a bit faster for some reason.) It has more of a "nineties computer game synth" sound to it, which I do admit does fit pretty well with the older DOS-style graphics and animation (along with the bizarre original 1993 box/disc artwork for the game!) I actually do like how the intro, "Fireworks Factory," "Moon 5," "Rover's Theme," "Moon 7," "Man in the Moon 1" and "Ending" sound on this version; the only one I probably strongly dislike is how "Moon 4" sounds. It still does stand out compared to the scores for the other two HE classics on ScummVM's default MIDI settings, probably due to the Fat Man composing the soundtrack.

Here's probably the best-sounding settings I have configured for the DOS version soundtrack:

I got this by having the music play off my MacBook's CoreAudio sound system with Roland GS emulation enabled. As a result, it sounds more like the 3DO/Windows versions in WAY higher quality (it's even in stereo!) It's almost like this is what the original MIDI tracks sounded like back in 1993 before being compressed for the 3DO and Windows versions. It also helps bring some new life back into this game!
I have to admit, I think THIS is how the Windows version's music should have sounded, even if it were compressed into 22Khz like the 3DO version, and preferably with the vocal opening theme the 3DO and Windows versions had.

Any comments/opinions?

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Re: "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" soundtrack variations

Post by Retrodude on Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:13 pm

Being somewhat of an audiophile, I've messed around with the midi settings in ScummVM quite a bit. I have to admit, I love how your MacBook's CoreAudio sounds! It's similar to my Microsoft GS synth, but yours sounds a heck of a lot cleaner and clearer than mine. I also decided to try out one of the old DOS games on my Android tablet (ScummVM is installed), and I noticed that it has a setting similar to General Midi, which plays using the midi emulator built into the system. Trying it out, i noticed that it has the same set of instruments as General Midi, but there was a HUGE difference in how it sounded. It was very synthy, but it sounded AWESOME.
Has anyone else ever installed the DOS Humongous classics in DOSBox and tried out the PC speaker setting? If you set it to play the SFX and speech it sounds better than you'd expect a device that only makes square waves to sound when trying to play digitized audio. But set it to play the music only? You're in for some serious ear rape. On the plus side, that's the reason why subtitles were included in the games in the first place, so people without the best sound cards could still READ the game.
One of these days I'll have to get around to showing off the other HE Classics in MT-32 mode...

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Re: "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" soundtrack variations

Post by wileyk2012 on Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:33 pm

Yep, I figured that's why they had the subtitles. They do also come in handy for my "Let's Play" videos, it also helps show how old the HE classics were (the combination of the voices and subtitles sort of add to the nostalgia factor, with how the cover art originally had "It TALKS!" on the bottom)

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Re: "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" soundtrack variations

Post by Pizzaking27 on Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:22 am

I wonder what the music would sound like on the SNES, Sega CD, Game Boy, and Commodore 64? All 4 were around when this game was released, so Humongous could've put it on those consoles!

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