Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s ongoing hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-arse sounds they make. Today we’re going to listen to some synthtastic music from 1986 arcade classic Quartet, which also happens to be music from 1991’s Spider-Man: The Video Game, as well as 2010’s Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade.
Sega’s 1986 Quartet (YouTube / longplay / VGMdb) was one of the coolest arcade games of the late ‘80s. Players took control of one of four colour-coded space warriors, Joe (yellow), Mary (red), Lee (blue), or Edgar (green), battling robots across side-scrolling levels in search of the boss holding the key to their escape. Like Atari’s Gauntlet, released the year prior, Quartet was initially housed in a cabinet that allowed for four players at once. I spent many afternoons at the mall waiting my turn, listening to the game’s outstanding FM synthesis music. The “Quartet Theme” never failed to get me totally pumped.
The only thing better than those Van Halen-style “keyboard weeblies” (my term) that open the tune is the synth brass that kicks in around 1:11 . This is a song that sticks with you for decades. It’s certainly a song that’s stuck with Sega for decades, because in 2010 a version of it with added lyrics was included in the Project Diva Arcade game in Japan, performed by virtual idol Hatsune Miku. Here’s the song “Multiple Future Quartet” as it appeared in Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone for the PlayStation 4:
It’s a lovely homage to the arcade classic and a fine means for me to justify my devotion to a vocaloid artist who doesn’t really exist. In contrast, the use of Quartet’s music in Sega’s 1991 Spider-Man arcade game is not a homage: It’s straight-up reuse. The Sega folks just took Quartet’s “OKI-RAP,” an incredibly funky tune featuring very distinctive voice samples, stripped out those voices, and reworked it into a slightly different piece for Spider-Man: The Video Game. Here’s the Quartet version:
And here is the Spider-Man version. The tone is changed, the “oh yeahs” are gone, but otherwise it’s the same music.
Sega / Sleepchao (YouTube)
There’s nothing wrong with reusing your own music, of course, especially when it’s as good as the music from Quartet. Besides, a few years after the release of Sega’s arcade game Spider-Man was all about those clones. That’s Sega, always ahead of the curve.
Now that we’ve listened to a quartet of songs from three different video games that are actually two songs from one video game repurposed twice, let’s forget about all of that and go about getting our weekend started. Or go on and on about it in the comments. We’re down for anything. See you next time!