I want to talk about Gaelco. Because someone has to.
Gaelco is a Spanish developer of…ah, let’s call them “lower-tier” arcade games. Its catalog largely consists of clones, cheaply produced original titles, and games that are just shy of what would be considered “good.” Few of Gaelco’s games (exactly two) were ever ported to consoles, and many of their best-known efforts were never released outside of Spain.
If you’ve heard of Gaelco at all, it’s probably because of Smashing Drive, an arcade Crazy Taxi knockoff that, for whatever reason, Namco’s North American branch identified as a surefire hit and subsequently ported to the Xbox and GameCube in 2002. The game was a moderate success in arcades, but flopped on consoles, largely because you can finish the thing in about an hour and never have any reason to return to it.
Smashing Drive itself is not a remarkable game. It’s fun in a shallow sort of way, and it’s worthwhile for the 99 cents-plus-shipping you’ll pay for it on eBay nowadays. The only truly exceptional thing about Smashing Drive is its transcendent soundtrack.
Yeah. This plays in the background during the first level, and you’ll hear it loop many times over by the time you get to the second stage. It’s bizarre, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more abrasive and less intelligible vocal song in a video game. The lyrics are in English — I think — but what are these words?
Upon first listen, I had the feeling that I’d heard this song before. Somewhere around the 20th loop, it hit me: it’s a total ripoff of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula.” More specifically, it’s modeled after the Dragula remix in Jet Grind Radio — it even uses the same flanging and stutter effects, in the same places. Except, well, somewhat ineptly.
This track plays in the second level, and it’s at least a little easier to understand. I can pick out individual words and phrases, anyway.
It’s probably a ripoff of something, like the first song is, but it’s not immediately identifiable. The guitar riff reeks vaguely of Aerosmith. And now that I think about it, the vocal style kind of resembles “Walk This Way.”
Among the few lyrics that I could decipher:
– “Heeeere we go againnnnn”
– “One two three four. One two three four. ONE TWO THREE FOUR. ONE TWO THREE YEAAAHHHHH”
– “LOOSEN UP YOUR DIAPERS” (Huh? And what’s said afterward? “Get your crotch curling?”)
This one’s catchy. It’s also a complete ripoff of something that I know I’ve heard before, but can’t quite recall. Parts of it remind me of Franz Ferdinand, but Smashing Drive was first released in arcades in 2000 — Franz Ferdinand didn’t exist until 2002. Smashing Drive was clearly ahead of its time.
The melody at 1:16 was totally stolen from Cream’s “I Feel Free,” though.
So hey, here’s a fun thing to try: listen closely to these songs and try to figure out what words you’re hearing. There are no officially published lyrics that I’m aware of (or an official soundtrack release, for that matter). Can anyone decipher them? If you have any guesses, post them in the comments!
[Next time: Radikal Bikers]