The Sultans of SID: #15: Matt Furniss

Our fifteenth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

His credits include the music to Klax and some of the Commodore 64’s worst arcade conversions.

We mentioned the cartridge bundled with the C64GS and C64C systems in 1990 and 1991. Klax was one of the four titles. The composer of the game’s theme music is our fifteenth Sultan of SID, who happens to be…

Matt Furniss

 

A Sheffield lad, he used to frequent the city’s Just Micro computer shop to play computer games. His favourite musician was Ben Daglish, who was a musician for Gremlin Graphics at the time. Occupying the floor above his regular haunt was… Gremlin Graphics. They were looking for a playtester and he met his SID hero.

The rest, as they say, is a humanities-based cliché. He would compose music himself, for the Commodore 64. Also the Amiga and the Atari ST formats. Later, the NES, SNES, and Sega Mega Drive. His C64 stuff is worth a listen; he also composed music for Domark’s Tengen coin-op conversions. As well as the excellent conversion of Klax, his music is unfortunate enough to appear on some dismal coin-op conversions on the Commie. Some of his musical scores are under-appreciated as a result.

Essential Tunes

i. S.T.U.N. Runner

The C64 conversion had some bad reviews though many critics argued that the ZX Spectrum version faired worse. Matt’s music on both the C64 and ZX Spectrum 128k versions was good, though the SID reigned supreme. The music, alas, was only heard on the title screen.

ii. Shadow Warriors

On release, Shadow Warriors didn’t exactly pull up any trees in Ludlow, London, or Bath with ratings around the 50% mark. Apart from that, it was pretty popular; the beat-em-up was an international success, known alternately as Ninja Gaiden. As with S.T.U.N. Runner, his music only appeared on the title screen.

iii. Klax

Klax on the Commie was an incredibly playable game and a firm favourite at Chez Vall. There was no need for in-game music due to the amount of concentration required on each wave. Only having the music for the title screen, high score screen and Game Over message was enough. Matt did a fantastic job.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

For our sixteenth SID legend, we can’t tell you, but as always we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

Another one of the Commodore scene’s amazing Grays.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 15 December 2016.

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