The Sultans of SID: #18: Barry Leitch

Our eighteenth SID sultan of our Advent Calendar

From yesterday, our little clue was:

His first C64 score was for ICUPS, which he wrote at the age of fifteen.

ICUPS is a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up on the Thor label. At face value, it looks like a title from the Shoot-Em-Up Construction Kit. This was the game where our eighteenth Sultan of SID made his debut. He is…

Barry Leitch

Born in Scotland, he composed most of his 8-bit tunes in the late 1980s. Not only for the SID chip, but also the AY-3-8910 chip used in 128k ZX Spectrums. Besides his first title, released in 1986, he has also worked with the Amiga, NES, Sega Mega Drive, and PC formats. For the Commodore 64, he also penned the signature tunes to Ferrari Formula One, Fiendish Freddy’s Big Top O’ Fun, and Space Crusade.

Today, he has released some of his computer game music on CD and download, under the title of Horizon Chase. This has been inspired by his long term love of motor racing. A lot of his work for the Commie was with the Imagitec development team.

Essential Tunes

i. Ferrari Formula One

Wow, dig the bass on this! If you had a Commodore 64 when this game was out, this title theme is enough to get you pumped up for a full F1 season. If you pardon the punning, this tune has a driving beat (sorry folks).

ii. Fiendish Freddy’s Big Top O’ Fun

One of the most original and polished circus themed titles of the C64, bar none. Converted from the Amiga, the Commodore version, was topped by Barry Leitch’s in-game music. David Pleasance, head of Commodore UK at the time, must have made a good move by putting this title on the free cartridge with a new C64C.

iii. Weird Dreams

You cannot get much more surreal than this game! Barry’s in-game music embraces the surrealness and turns it up to eleven. Besides racing games, Barry would also be a tunesmith for hire with fantasy titles. Subsequent scores after this one included the music for Stratego, Hero Quest, and Space Crusade games – successful role-playing games transferred to computer form.

Tomorrow’s Sultan of SID…

Again we shan’t divulge who our next SID legend is, but we can give you a clue. The clue is as follows:

Instead of Hang On, Sloopy, it is more like Hang On, Dizzy with this tunesmith.

All will be revealed tomorrow.

S.V., 18 December 2016.

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