The Purser Stole My Gun

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The Purser Stole My Gun
Composer Petrik Salovaara
Released 1988-0?-??
Title Origin Official

The Purser Stole My Gun is a heavy metal theme composed by 19-year-old Finn Jori Olkkonen (now Petrik Salovaara) for the game Netherworld (C64).

Many YouTube commenters compare this song with Go Go Power Rangers from 1993. The Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and DOS ports use a completely different song.


The title was mentioned in Pelit 1988, a Finnish magazine which Salovaara wrote for.


Salovaara wanted to introduce heavy metal sounds in Commodore 64 songs and programmed a new driver just for that. He typed notes as hexadecimal numbers.

The C64's original 6581 sound chip can play three synthesized voices and one sample (ideal for drums and distorted guitars). One of Salovaara's first steps was to mix multiple samples at different pitches together into one. Somehow, a minimalist demo of this (20 bars in 32 seconds) and the game's title screen came out.

Finding that it works, Salovaara implemented pitch bends for samples (possibly a first on the C64), composed an 8-bar interlude, and two synthesized tracks: a bass on two voices, slightly detuned to achieve a chorus effect, and a lead guitar on the remaining third voice. He must have been experimenting, considering it sounds more "electro". A preview of the whole game, featuring this arrangement, was leaked around June.

Finally, he moved the chorus effect from the bass to the lead guitar, added two bass drums at 0:00.00, and eight bars as a bridge from the interlude. This third version was officially published around September.


Netherworld (C64)

Platform - C64.png
Netherworld (C64)
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Output - SID.svg
Netherworld - C64 - Credits.png
Arranger Petrik Salovaara
Programmer Petrik Salovaara
Released 1988-0?-??
Length 2:09.28 (PAL)
1:48.31 (NTSC)
1:46.24 (old NTSC)
1:56.51 (preview)
0:31.92 (demo)
BPM 150 (PAL)
179 (NTSC)
183 (old NTSC)
Format SID
Loops Yes

On PAL C64s, the song is tuned at 433 Hz (a common mistake for European C64 programmers). On NTSC, it is tuned at 440 Hz and plays 19% faster than intended (except on old NTSC where it plays 22% faster instead, arguably too similar for extra recordings).

Samples are only clearly heard on the original 6581 model of the SID chip. On the 8580 revision, they are almost mute. The samples come from:

Two loops plus 10 seconds were recorded from following versions and devices:

  1. the finished game in VICE 3.2 with C64 PAL, as the composer intended.
  2. the finished game in VICE 3.2 with C64 NTSC. The song got wide recognition beyond the C64 after the Angry Video Game Nerd played two excerpts on September 25, 2021.
  3. the finished game on a real C64C PAL with an 8580 R5 4091.
  4. the finished game in VICE 3.2 with C64C NTSC.
  5. a leaked preview in VICE 3.2 with C64 PAL.
  6. a leaked preview on a real C64C PAL with an 8580 R5 4091.
  7. a leaked demo in VICE 3.2 with C64 PAL.
  8. a leaked demo on a real C64C PAL with an 8580 R5 4091.

Netherworld (AST)

Platform - AST.png
Netherworld (AST)
Output - SSG.svg
Netherworld - AST - Title.png
Arranger Nigel Pritchard
Released 1988-??-??
Length 3:11.80
BPM 150
Format SNDH
Loops Yes

Nigel Pritchard noticeably re-arranged the preview version. He changed the genre and added some melodies of his own.

To record one loop plus 10 seconds, the game was started in Hatari v2.2.1. It sounds the same on PAL and NTSC.

Netherworld (AMI)

Platform - AMI.png
Netherworld (AMI)
Output - Paula.svg
Netherworld - AMI - Title.png
Arranger Adrian Waterhouse
Programmer Ron Birk
Released 1988-??-??
Length 3:04.61
BPM 125
Format MOD
Loops Yes

The Amiga game credits both Adrian Waterhouse and Nigel Pritchard for music. Most likely (though unconfirmed), Waterhouse arranged Pritchard's Atari ST arrangement. Either way, it was done using SoundTracker III. The LED filter is left on. The samples are:

  1. fuzzguitar (unknown source)
  2. SineCZ
  3. MonsterBass
  4. PopSnare2
  5. BassDrum3
  6. HiHat1
  7. Strings3 (all six from The Ultimate Soundtracker (AMI))
  8. unknown (5 chars)
  9. unknown (7 chars)

On September 24, 2004, Salovaara commented:

Later when the game was ported to the Amiga, some idiot ported my masterpiece and totally ruined the heavy metal ideology. Why, oh why didn't they ask me to do the job? Well, a few weeks after the game was released on the Amiga, I ported the song myself and released it on the scene.

To record one loop plus 10 seconds, the game was started in WinUAE 4.4.0 with NTSC off, Audio filter Emulated (A500), and Stereo separation 100%, the latter two as per real Amigas of the day.

The official NTSC release is not identified yet, so it is unknown whether it plays faster than on PAL, or was adjusted by the developer to play at a closer tempo. Until known, no NTSC recording is made.