Codename of the Primary in Cryptonomicon. Goto Dengo, a very cool Japanese or as Stephenson, and the Japanese, would have it, Nipponese engineer, was instrumental in the design and building of Golgotha. Located in the Phillipines.

Golgotha ("the place of the skull") was a rock near Jerusalem, that from distance looked like top of human skull. It was a place where criminals were crucified. Many people were executed here, Jesus of Nazareth among the most well known ones.

It's also a game developed originally by Crack dot Com and currently by the Golgotha Forever team. See: http://golgotha.sourceforge.net/ (appears to have moved there since the previous developers quitted, but nothing excellent seems to be too visible at the time...)

The game was supposed to become a combination of first-person shooter and strategy game...

The game's motto goes like this:

"Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels,
And in this seat of peace tumultuous wars
Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound;
Disorder, horror, fear and mutiny
Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd
The field of Golgotha and dead men's skulls."

- Bishop of Carlisle
King Richard II, Act IV
by William Shakespeare


(Originally written for the Quest, April 6, 2002)

Golgotha soundtrack

The computer game Golgotha, from Crack Dot Com, was never released. Dave Taylor and Jonathan Clark made a nice Abusive game, then Jonathan worked on something more epic... a real-time strategy game with first-person shooter elements.

The game music was composed by Gene Rozenberg, a person of whom I had trouble finding information of... but I would consider this one epic work of his.

Note: This isn't just an "album". It is more of a tale of one crazy game music collector (me) and the quest for the Game Soundtrack Album That Never Was, But Could Have Been. =)

Another note: For purposes of this review, "techno" refers to "somewhat repetitive electronic music that doesn't sound like most non-'electronic' music". Or something like that. I don't know a damn thing about classification of electronic music, and I don't care. Do you hear me? I don't care. =)

I would also like to thank archive.org / The Wayback Machine folks for preserving the historical versions of Crack dot Com's website...

Crack Dot Com website

  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Cario
  • CGDC Demo Audio Mix
  • Meathook
  • Rape
  • Satan Dave
  • Floyd
  • The Hussein
  • L1 Strategy
  • L1 Action

I'm not sure, but when I saw this:

Gene Rozenberg is cool.

...on the top of the page where these files were kept, I knew the game experience would be pretty nice. And indeed, the full-length music clips - and the full-size tracks - provided on the game website were absolutely brilliant.

The tracks appeared to the page around 1997, before the "demo 5c", that was the last public Windows Golgotha demo from Crack dot Com. Most of the tracks were only available in the site in low-quality RealAudio 3.0 format, but many were also available in MP3. I downloaded the MP3 tracks.

Also, when Crack dot Com did exist, the site where the RA music files were kept was down in the latter times. (The page only points to the site by the IP address...) I have never heard The Hussein, L1 Strategy and L1 Action tunes, and didn't bother downloading them because they were only there as RealAudio.

Aside of these, there was one more track in MP3, an outtake that was distributed as "bonus track" - described by "It's Golgotha, Dammit!" page maintainer as "psychotic circus music". Regrettably, the file just somehow isn't in ftp.cdrom.com anymore, and PlanetQuake denies all knowledge =(

Availability issues aside, here are some comments of the music. Let's talk of tracks:

All of the tracks are mostly instrumental in nature, make heavy use of samples and synthetic sounds. They're, with exceptions, typical "futuristic game music soundtracks" with techno styles. There were also a number of orchestral pieces, very cinematic in style.

Audio Mix '98, as it was informally (and informationally) known, was just a long piece of voice acting with some background music - clearly just for wetting the tongues of people waiting for the game. Bunch of soldiers meet some supernatural entities... Likewise, Satan Dave was just a sound clip by Dave Taylor - he reads the game's motto (as described in the top of the writeup) in satanic voice.

The Audio Mix also has the unintentionally comical scream from Meathook, which ended up into the final game soundtrack as the song of Munich, Germany. This is a pretty interesting heavy mix of different sound effects and synthetizer sounds. It begins with "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore..." sample, and continues with screams that make most of the melody. (There's one more sample in it: "We're on a mission from God"...) What made it so interesting was that a few of the screams sounded like "Auttakaa!" ("Help me!" in Finnish)... Meathook was favorite of Frag, the maintainer of one big Golgotha news page.

Rape is a mix of dark, dark, depressing rhythms, jungle sounds, and woman's "no!" screams. I have only one thing to say of this tune: It's not a song I want to hear too often. Yeah, it has rhythms, but the whole "rape" part of the song hurts my ears. Really. Apparently, this was Dave Taylor's favorite.

Floyd (described in the website as "Jazzy/Rockish/Doomish -type music") is, in my opinion, the best song of the whole Golgotha music series, and it's a shame it was not in the final track list (as seen below). Slow-moving, dark-toned, but yet a very positive piece. This always brings me back memories from mpg123, gmp3, x11amp, and the time when this "mp3" thing was new and hot, hot, hot. Before Napster and stuff. Oh boy, those were the days. =) Anyway, Floyd is a very nice and slow blues/rock tune with saxophone / electric guitar melodies, and repeating bass/drums/synthetizer background.

"Demo 5C"

(All tracks also present on the website in RealAudio)

  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Rome, Italy

The last public demo (for Windows) had three music tracks in 22KHz PCM mono .wav format. It had two levels (Zürich and Cairo, of which Zürich worked better gameplay-wise), and also a "camera run" demo mode that just showed off the terrain engine.

A word or two of the demo: I originally thought I would buy Bitboys' amazing new 3D accelerator, but that turned out to be Eternal Vaporware. When I saw Golgotha, I decided it'd be the game which I'd buy a 3D card for, it looked so amazing. Later, I did get a 3DFX Voodoo - and I have to say the demo looked pretty damn sweet with the card! The demo was more or less synchronized with the Rome track, and the sheer amount of textured quadrilaterals FLYING smoothly past my eyes in the demo was enough to get me Waiting For The Final Release. Well, Quake and Battlezone ran pretty well with Voodoo1, so that wasn't a big loss..

It should be noted that the Zürich track here and in website was different from what is in Final version. Zürich track begins with choir singing a Christmas carol, and it changes into the tune that is, in the final version, heard in Helsinki.

The Cairo song is pretty uninteresting, yet very fitting - it's techno that sounds as if made by broken car engines, or something. =) Some Near-Eastern pentatonics and rhythms, some chanting and such, and voilá! Here we have a masterpiece...

The website lists a track called "Cario". Since the RealAudio stream isn't archived, I can't be sure of what song this was, but I think it was the title of Rome track (used in the camera run), and isn't a misspelling of "Cairo". Or maybe my memory is very very bad...

Anyway, the Rome track is only one that has singing in it, but I'm not exactly sure what this singer sings. It has a lot of u's. Let me, as a wolf, show my appreciation towards this song: *aroooooooo* =) It's not like other tracks, I would even call this one a "pop-style" track, somewhat similar to the songs of the female pop-stars of the day.

Final tracks

When Crack dot Com started working on Golgotha, they released Abuse source code and data (without music and sfx) to public domain.
When Crack dot Com went out of business, they released Golgotha source code and entire game data to public domain.
The wise and mighty Crack dot Com is dead. Long live ddt and jclark.

The source code tarballs included all the textures and sound effects of the game, and the music was there too.

This "album" has the final incarnations of the tracks found in the game. There are many new tracks, and a few old ones. One track was changed subtly, but it is still the same track. Note that the above ordering is not official; For proper order, those would need to be in level order. I do know that the plot starts in Near East and ends in Helsinki, so this track order may be interesting. (The large amount of tracks in Italy is explained by the fact that some Christians are probably keeping some religious artifacts hidden there somewhere...)

This could be considered the final "soundtrack album". All of the mp3s were decoded at 112kbps (probably using the Fraunhofer shareware encoder that didn't go higher than that - and yes, I can hear that).

The tracks that are same as in the website releases (excluding stereo sound and MP3 encoding) are Al Basrah (Rape), Cairo, Munich (Meathook) and Rome.

Let's start with Splash Screen Opus. It is not exactly "epic", but nice enough to be in the main menu of the game, I guess. A simple orchestral short piece.

The Nukhayb tune begins with a muezzin's chant, that changes in pitch and continues with techno stuff. The lyrics are incomprehensible as they come from radio or something (but can be identified as English).

Jerusalem's tune is much more subdued; very simple melody. I think the drums and claves do the most work here. Actually, one of the most forgettable tunes in the whole album...

The tune from Greece belongs to the same category as Rape, but isn't as annoying. How do I get the impression that this dark and depressing piece is somewhat stormy in nature? It's a big storm in the Aegean Sea or something, with calmer spots here and there, but it won't let me rest...

Naples is where it starts to get interesting: The style of the music changes completely. This one isn't techno; It's an orchestra piece, with some choir aahs. The melody is - interestinly enough - played with accordion and that high-pitch guitar thing, whatever that was called. Yep, we're in Italy, all right!

And then we get to Turin, where the music gets even more interesting. It begins with an accordion melody that sounds just as if it'd be played from an old, scratchy gramophone record - then, we heard a big scrrrrrratch and the music changes to yet another synthetic technoish piece with some oriental influences, but it, like the opening part, is played through some veil of errors (though less noticeably so).

Vienna melody is more like classical music than any of the pieces in the game - and it clearly doesn't have any of the "oriental" influences in it that creep into most of the other songs. A fast-paced melody with strings, harpsichord and choir. This is definitely one of my favorites.

Zürich's new incarnation is one of the last techno tracks. A bit heavy and dark techno again, but definitely not depressing or any way ear-shattering for most of the part - and, the most craziest part: It has yodeling. Yes. What else did you expect? =)

Norway's track is mostly string-based, and is, as a fast orchestral piece, most closes to techno as they can get. A mystical grip, but less oriental again.

Then, there's Sweden. Again, this is an orchestral "cinematic" track, slow paced and mostly reminds me of marching music.

Finally, the Helsinki track is, as noted above, a modification of the original Zürich track. This version has different beginning; Basically, same melodies as in the rest of the tune, but now played with horns. The piece is a blend of these beloved European orchestral instruments with very near-eastern melodies. The end result is a perfect "sense of danger" music, very cinematic and conveys its message well: "You Western infidels don't know where you stuck your nose into". =)

Overall, the Golgotha's "final" soundtrack is very nice and I liked it a lot, but the Floyd track really should have been included! =(

Gol"go*tha (?), n.

Calvary. See the Note under Calvary.

 

© Webster 1913.

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