Level 1 – Into The Asylum
Level 2 – Seline City
Boss Fight I – The Doctor
Level 3 – The Mansion 04:29
Amadeus Street Warrior – Main Theme
Level 4 – The Castle
Level 5 – Bay Area Highway (The Dream)
Level 6 – Twin Peaks
Boss Fight II – The Mad Mouse 03:40
End Credits Theme
I love albums like Amadeus Street Warrior. In an age of endless bands wrestling for streaming views and each artist jumping on the latest musical trend like autotune, there’s something refreshing about this 16-bit fictional game soundtrack. Envisioned by heavy metal producer Bob Katsionis, this tribute to a bygone era of gaming has a consistent musical journey and actually makes a pretty good case for why an album like this is better to buy as a physical purchase rather than just streaming it.
With a track-by-track description of what’s going on and a colourful album sleeve to accompany the music, Amadeus Street Warrior feels very different to other soundtracks out on the market right now. The basic premise for the album follows the exploits of a warrior called Amadeus who awakens in a dark room inside San Francisco’s Asylum For The Insane. The year is 2050 and armed with his trusty Golden Flute, tries to uncover the mysteries of the now-haunted and cursed city.
With boss fights, city exploration and everything else you’d expect from a retro game like this, the album builds up a delightful picture of a retro platformer while injecting a lot of personality through just the music. Unlike something like Final Fantasy VII or Sonic which rely solely on what’s available with the console’s built-in MIDI sound card, there’s much more clarity and depth to each of the tracks here. Most of the songs use those familiar tinny synth sounds to produce a memorable melody while underlying that with simple bass-lines and a live drum set.
It’a also worth noting that there’s a slight bit of distortion placed on these tracks to keep things in strict retro-territory. It’s a small touch but a very welcome one.
As a slight critique, Boss Fight 1 sounds very similar to Crash Bandicoot’s chase sequences while other times certain instruments – like the high-pitched woodwind and major key synths – do feel like the album steers into RPG territory a bit too much. While this does sound a bit nitpicky (especially given the main character has a flute as a weapon), it’s a tricky balance to try and place this in a grimy, dystopian San Francisco with these instruments dominating some choruses.
Despite that though, Amadeus Street Warrior is certainly a nice little surprise and a soundtrack worth a listen to pique those nostalgic ears. It’s a reminder of a simpler time with video games, before orchestral scores and tightly mixed, atmospheric songs took over. Amadeus Street Warrior certainly brings some nostalgic flashes with it and if, like me, you grew up playing games like Streets Of Rage, Sonic and Double Dragon, this is most definitely the album for you.
Can a heavy metal producer deliver a 16-bit retro gaming soundtrack? The answer to that, based on this showing, is a resounding yes.
Verdict - 8/10