("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
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)
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
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
- CGDC Demo Audio Mix
- Satan Dave
- 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
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
(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.
- Splash Screen Opus
- Al Basrah ("Rape")
- Nukhayb, Iraq
- Jerusalem, Israel
- Cairo, Egypt
- Naples, Italy
- Turin, Italy
- Rome, Italy
- Vienna, Austria
- Zürich, Switzerland
- Munich, Germany ("Meathook")
- Norway Nephelim Battle
- Helsinki, Finland
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
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
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
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