Although The Neverending Story is one of my favorite fantasy films and books of all time, the 1985 text adventure game based on the movie from Ocean Software was, well, not so fantastic. It was released for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Atari 800, each version with graphics and sound quality that vary significantly between systems.
One of the things I love most about the film is the unforgettable theme song by Limahl with its ‘80s-tastic blend of synth, electro-beats, endearingly cheesy lyrics, and requisite guitar solo. It takes me right back to childhood every time I hear it. Unfortunately, its majesty doesn’t translate well to 8-bit computers.
Since I’m probably the only person in the world who cares about such things, here’s a pointless comparison of The Neverending Story game music for each platform from best to worst:
This is exactly what an 8-bit rendering of The Neverending Story theme song should sound like. It’s pitch-perfect and even gets the instrumental part (mostly) right.
No. Just no. This one has too many things going on at once and those sliding, warbled notes sound like they’re drunk. However, it kind of works better for the part of the guitar solo.
This one starts off nicely with a catchy beat that’s reminiscent of the original song, but quickly deviates into WTF territory with added musical embellishments that sound nothing like it.
Conclusion: The ZX Spectrum is the best 8-bit version of The Neverending Story theme. The Atari and C64 versions should stay hidden behind the clouds.