Iron Wings - Album
May 23, 2024

Iron Wings - Album

The soundtrack of my cancelled video game project. It’s almost all that’s left of it. Enjoy.

The year is 2035

An evil global organisation infiltrated governments all over the western world. Once again a few have to take a stand against the many for the good of mankind.

Bold flying aces in ancient modified F-14s, operating from a hidden base are planning their attack on the heavily fortified island base of the organisation.

With the most unlikely alliance, three friends are united again and may well be mankind’s last chance of freedom.

About the project

show more…

Iron Wings was a game project I was rather fond of. A unique mix of arcade shoot-em-up (shmup) and Metroidvania. ShmupVania if you will. The idea was to bring acting back into games. Live action, something humans can connect with. Cinematics telling the story like in Command & Conquer, Wing Commander 3, or even Tomcat Alley. Everyone I pitched it to basically said “Nope, won’t sell.” The ones that had interest wanted to change the whole game and make it extremely divisive. So, nope. Enough games have been twisted lately. I want to make something that people who actually play it will like. My notion of using miniatures to blow up and shooting on film probably didn’t help either. All that’s left of it is the score and some pictures.


Get the uncompressed CD quality masters here along with some other exclusives not possible on the big stores.


Streaming Services

Find your streaming service in the list and head on over.


The Story told in tracks

You will notice some gaps in the story. I’ve added some bits to the scripts to fill you in about the missing parts. Originally I had planned on about 40 to 60 tracks. But sometimes you just have to leave it as what it is and move on.

Sunset Raiders

             2035, Somewhere over an unfriendly sea.


Two  F-14s,  modified   for  weapons-officer-optional  operation,
return home  from a  routine survey  mission. Suddenly  the radar
warning beeps go off.

              CHARLIE                      JANET
          (calm)                       (calm)
      Bogeys, inbound!             Roger BUCKSHOT,
                                   I got visual.

Two black  camo-painted jets  shaped like  shrunk-down Blackbirds
shoot by them, break to each side and make a turn towards them.

              JANET                        CHARLIE
          (agitated)                   (puzzled, calm-ish)
      Shit! What the hell          Beats me.
      was that?

The two  planes don’t  engage, just fly  past them  again, flying
circles around them. A game of cats and mice.

      He's got lock on me.
      He’s got lock on me.
      I’m going high.

She pulls up into the sun, one of the jets follows her up without
effort. Her engines  are about to give out. She  drops off, going
into controlled stall. The jet  goes past her. She keeps falling.
Engines don't come on.

      PHOENIX do you copy?
          (a beat)
      Damn it!

Nothing. She goes into spin. Pressed into the side of the cockpit
she barely reaches for the afterburner. The engines kick back in.
She's jolted up like launched  from a catapult. Afterburners off,
she shoots  straight past  one of  the enemy  aircrafts. Breaking
right she engages again. She gets  her bearings, looks up. One of
the jets comes down straight  at her. Cannon-fire grazes her side
before her attacker goes up  into a giant fireball. CHARLIE comes
flying  through the  explosion.  JANET sinks  back into  herself,
breathing hard.

              JANET                        CHARLIE
          (exhausted)              I don’t see his friend
      Shit that was close.         anywhere.

With a thunderous roar the other  plane flys up like a corkscrew,
close  to CHARLIE’s  right wing,  sending his  plane to  spin and
tumble  out  of control.  Warning  noises  go  off all  over  his

      Left engine is out!

He’s  flipping switches  like a  madman. Looking  around for  his
attacker. The engine struggles to come back on.

      PHOENIX! I’m dead meat here.

The engine light goes green and the plane stabilises.

      He’s on your six, coming
      in fast. Hit the flares.

CHARLIE punches  it and a spray  of stars hit the  cockpit of the
enemy  plane. The  plane  goes into  erratic  motions. The  pilot
didn’t expect to be hit by flares. Not enough to lose him. A wild
chase begins. Just  as it looks like CHARLIE can  out-dive him, a
cannon-like contraption  with an orange glowing  tip emerges from
the bowels of the enemy plane.

Seconds later the  plane explodes. JANET’s F-14  emerges from the
smoke behind him.

              JANET                        CHARLIE
          (relieved)                   (relieved)
      Today’s forecast:          Nice shot PHOENIX.
      Clear Skies with a         How the hell dig you
      chance of fuselage         get lock on him?

              JANET                        CHARLIE
      Whatever came out of         Let’s punch it and
      that was piping hot.         head home.
      I just went for it.

      You don’t need to say
      that twice. I’ll race
      ya there. FRIENDS
      re-runs on tonight.

They hit  the afterburner and leave  the setting sun on  the open
seas behind them.


                         IRON WINGS
                    The Quest for Destiny

Iron Wings

CHARLIE and  JANET are on  approach to  home base. Their  crew is
elated, running up to them as they step out of their F-14s.

              JESTER                       CHARLIE
          (anxious)                    (chuckles)
      So how’s Robo-Wizzo        With way less words.
      here treating you?

On the other side, JANET is in a heated debate with the CAG.

              FLAGSTAFF                    JANET
          (taps her arm)               (distraught)
      Don’t beat yourself        We nearly got smoked
      up, kid. You did good        out there. It got way
      today.                       too close. What the
                                   hell was that?

      They’re downloading the
      high res and IR images.
      Morning we’ll know more.

CHARLIE joins them.

      You both get some
      rest. That’s an
      order. Dismissed.

      Sir, yes sir!

FLAGSTAFF waves his hand down as he walks off, shaking his head.

          (to CHARLIE)
      What is it with
      you two?

                                                          CUT TO:

                    TITLE SCREEN & MAIN MENU

A Suite Of Aces Past

                         SUNSET MONTAGE


A motorcycle  drives off base like  a bat out of  hell. CHARLIE’s
hair is blowing in the evening air.


JANET’s home  on the  base. She  sits on  the sofa  going through
photo albums of  home. Pictures of her and  CHARLIE doing airshow
stunts back in Wyoming.


CHARLIE takes an old worn photograph out of his wallet. A picture
of a burning barn and himself with JANET on the ground, both with
sud-covered faces and a goofy smile. He remembers the day she got
her nickname, PHOENIX. How her plane caught fire and she overshot
the lake and hit the barn,  broadside. Stopping right next to his
car. He ran  into the burning barn. JANET was  already sitting in
the driver’s seat with her helmet  on fire yelling at him for the
keys. He throws them over and  she races past him, right into the
lake. Jumping  off at  the last  minute. They  roll in  the grass
laughing when the press photographer snapped the picture.


She  sips on  a glass  of scotch,  looking at  pictures of  young
CHARLIE  with  his  father,  also  an  airshow  aviator.  He  was
CHARLIE’s childhood hero. They all  looked so happy then. His dad
sat  in the  pilot’s seat  of his  Fokker. She  sat to  the left,
CHARLIE on  the right  side of the  cockpit’s rim.  She remembers
them rolling onto their airstrip before  they had to hop off each
time before the shows.

As she turns the page, her hand brushes over a newspaper article.
“Local flying ace killed in  tragic accident.” Memories rush back
faster than she was ready for.  CHARLIE didn’t speak for almost a
year. His first  words were “Is that a carp?”  when she was alone
on the lake with him, fishing.  Something his dad would often say
and then pucker his lips when  they were out fishing on that same

Hot Pursuit


Two blue-finned Harrier jets cross over the base, scouts. They've
been found. Sirens go off, personnel scatters to their designated
posts. CHARLIE and JANET take  off in their F-14s. The overhauled
system control gives them an extra boost to the afterburner.

Radar interference.

      My radar is out.

      Hey PHOENIX, my radar
      is out.

Each wait  on the  other's reply  before it  dawned on  them that
there might be more to this. They go side-by side and communicate
via sign-language.

Suddenly comms are back, so is radar.

              JANET                        CHARLIE
      What the hell?               Do you see that?
                                   On your 2. Doesn't
                                   show on radar.

A giant submarine, almost the size of an aircraft carrier emerges
from the  sea with a  grand whoosh of  spray and big  waves. Tiny
ripples shoot off around the vessel, diffusing the big waves.

The Marauder


Towards the ship's bow, twin doors  open to the top and over. The
Harriers fly in  a figure-8 manoeuvre to face each  other as they
land on the ship's hidden flight deck.

      Tomcats. We have missile lock
      on you and your base. You are
      ordered to land.

      You had clowns for breakfast?

      Land or we will open fire.

      Negative. No runway.

      Head to the large island.

              JANET                        CHARLIE
      BUCKSHOT. You see those      Not just me then.
      trees moving?


The treetops begin  to blink like a runway. Trees  move away like
on  wheels. An  airstrip  becomes visible.  CHARLIE touches  down
first followed by JANET right after.

      Careful. They haven't
      killed us yet.

Above  them   truss  systems  with   trees  on  them   move  from
side-to-side, covering the runway up again. A hangar door opens.

      Guess that's us.


They  roll in  and are  immediately surrounded  by soldiers.  The
hangar closes  behind them. JANET  nods to CHARLIE and  they open
the canopies. Stairs are pushed to the cockpits.

They're escorted  down another hall  underground where a  Jeep is
waiting. Without a word they get  in. The drive goes on through a
long round tunnel, judging by  they sound, they're under the sea.
A  gate opens  and closes  behind them.  They're ordered  out and
taken through another door. Bright lights come on.


A tall black man in a Navy admiral uniform stands before them.

      Welcome to the Marauder.

CHARLIE and  JANET are taken  aback, baffled. Almost at  the same
time they blurt out:

              CHARLIE                      JANET
      KINGSTON?                    KINGSTON?

The ship's commander leans forward and starts laughing.

      What the hell?!

He turns to his crew.

      We served together on
      the Eisenhower. Before…

His face goes somber. So do those of CHARLIE and JANET. She
collects herself the soonest.

      Nice jacket. I guess
      congratulations are
      in order.

      Times have changed

CHARLIE puts his hand on KINGSTON's shoulder. Nods to him.

      How about a tour of

KINGSTON puts his arms around both and they reciprocate.

      So good to see you again.
      Let's grab something to eat
      and then we talk.

The group walks off through a large door, deeper into the ship.
The soldiers and sailors also seem to be more relaxed now.

Ember Nights (Love Theme from “Iron Wings”)


After the  meal with their  old friend  and the stories  from the
past, CHARLIE and JANET are on the observation deck alone. Having
talked so much about who they’ve all lost, their guard is already
worn down. Things like rank  and rules don't really mean anything
anymore. Touch  takes place of  words, embrace becomes  more than
just a dance.  They head to his quarters where  they finally give
in to their passion. After this  night, nothing would be the same

F-14X Hyperbandit


After some  back and  forth between  FLAGSTAFF and  KINGSTON, the
crew of the Marauder joins forces with the crew of the land base.
Together they might actually have  chance. They train together on
the islands, the Marauder, and the base.

Their technicians  work together,  equipping the F-14s  with just
enough tech to not be hackable from the outside but being able to
lock-on to  the strange  new jet  types. The  Marauder’s Harriers
were not  match for the new  threat. The F-16s on  the island are
also in bad shape.


Technicians work on the F-14s  in a hangar. Sparks fly, machinery
is being trucked about. Lights  flicker as testing commences. The
Hyperbandit is born.

Re-building Montage


The crews  are on  high alert  as modifications  are made  to the
submarine’s launch platform. Large  metal chunks are trucked from
the  island through  the undersea  dock  into the  bowels of  the
Marauder.  Welders  and metal  saws  fill  the air  with  sparks.
Catapults  are  built  into   the  large  landing  platform.  New
hydraulics  are  mounted.  The  configuration  program  is  being
tested,  allowing the  platform  to  be tilted.  It  is clear  to
everyone that this only has to work ONCE.

Baphomet Island Approach


The Marauder is en route  to “Baphomet Island”, the stronghold of
the enemy. All machines set to silent drive. Sonar diffusors send
a whizzing noise from the hull.


Dim red light  illuminates the room, data updates  on ancient CRT
monitors. A model  of the ship is constantly  updating on several
LCD screens in the corners of the command centre.

KINGSTON stands  at a  display table  with CHARLIE  and FLAGSTAFF
looking at a 3D model of the island, studying the defences. JANET
sits  in  the   corner  at  a  large   screen  running  formation
simulations, studying attack vectors.

Everyone is  tense, the  air is  thick with  anticipation. JESTER
wanders  in with  a fancy  drink in  a tall  glass, dressed  in a
Hawai’i shirt,  shorts and flip-flops, observing  the scene. They
notice him  and KINGSTON bursts  out laughing. They  all chuckle.
JESTER isn’t.

          (to CHARLIE)
      I’m not coming.

They all look at him with disbelief.

      Last  night, FREEBIRD and I
      worked on one of the subs.
      She reckons we’ll be able
      to finish the other by dawn.

      What are you up to JESTER?

         (approaching the
          table, pointing)
      We’re the backup and the
      distraction. FREEBIRD goes
      around starboard, I’ll go
      port. We take out the
      south port. Should buy
      you some time.

Docklands Ambush


FREEBIRD  and  JESTER anchor  their  mini  submarines at  a  rock
formation under water.  Wearing micro scuba gear  and a backpack,
they make  their way to  a cave  entrance below the  port. Diving
through the  narrow tunnels, they  come up just under  the port’s
dockland piers on the inside of the island.


JESTER freezes and raises his hands. A rifle pokes into his back.
As he turns  around, FREEBIRD is already  captured. They’re being
led away by soldiers.

Janet’s Suite

                     GAME OVER Scene: Janet


The unified crew  has gathered to pay their respects  on the open
casket.  CHARLIE  has  a  hard time  keeping  it  together  while
FLAGSTAFF  gives  a rousing  speech  on  her life  before  asking
CHARLIE to come up and see her off. He can’t.

KINGSTON helps him steady himself. CHARLIE looks him in the eyes,
tears breaking through.

      Joseph… she… she is… was… we…

          (nods, pats his arm)
      I know, Charlie. I know.
      Jan told me.
          (a beat)
      I’m sorry man.

Charlie’s At Sea

                    GAME OVER Scene: Charlie


The unified crew has gathered on the hangar to pay their respects
to a hero that didn’t come home. No casked. Just a picture.

FLAGSTAFF opens with the standard speech, he’s given way too many
times  until  he pauses,  unable  to  talk. KINGSTON  takes  over
talking about an old friend that never let anyone down who needed
him. FREEBIRD supports  JANET who is on the verge  of a collapse.
FLAGSTAFF comes up to them from  behind with a bottle and a glass
full of clear rum.

          (handing JANET the glass)
      It’s not going  to help, but
      it’ll calm your nerves
      for a while.

FREEBIRD shoots him a glare. He felt that.

      BUCKSHOT was like a son to me.
      I know it didn’t always look it.

He holds his breath and walks off into the shadows with the open

Marauder’s Fate



The Marauder took fatal damage from the island’s heavy artillery.
Crew jumps  off into  life boats, mini  subs launch  under water.
Remaining  personell locks  off bulkheads  and prepare  for their
last  stand. But  instead of  being boarded,  their enemies  just
watch the ship burn and sink, fade into the night.

Midnight Rescue


CHARLIE  and  JANET suit  up  together  with  two of  the  SEALS.
Together they take the lab submarine and head to the island where
they’ve lost contact with JESTER and FREEBIRD.


After disabling the armed guards, they  find the two beaten up in
a makeshift holding cell on  the cliffs, exposed to the elements.
The saltwater washing into their wounds.

While CHARLIE and JANET get them  to the sub, the two SEALS plant
C4 strips  to the bottom of  the anchored ships before  they pick
them up on the way back to the archipelago base.

The Crew Returns


FLAGSTAFF and CHARLIE sit under the decoy trees, looking over the
horizon. FLAGSTAFF tosses a rock over the water, it sinks after a
few taps.

      Yeah, that’s about right.

      Any bright ideas?

      Nope! Fresh out.

A strange silhouette  emerges from the water  against the setting
sun’s radiating disc.  The Marauder is coming home.  She’s in bad
shape, hanging tilted to the  left, wiggling with each motion. No
radio.  Someone is  flashing a  message  in morse  code to  them.
FLAGSTAFF  moves his  fingers in  the sand,  transcribing in  his
mind. Out of nowhere he starts laughing.

              CHARLIE                      FLAGSTAFF
      What is it?                      (chuckles)
      What did it say?             Get off my beach you
                                   lazy barn jockey.

They both  laugh and hug,  waving at the incoming  submarine like
school-kids to a passing ice-cream van.

              CHARLIE                      FLAGSTAFF
          (overjoyed)                  (laughs)
      Haaa! They’re alive.       They can also see us.
      They made it.                Let go of me, kid.

Rise of the Phoenix Unbound


CHARLIE took one of the mini subs for a solo recon mission of the
island’s defences not visible from the air. He only told KINGSTON
about it. When he hasn’t returned after a day and the automatic
signal from the submarine hasn’t pinged back, he tells JANET.
CHARLIE is missing in action.


JANET  is sneaking  through the  corridors into  the main  hangar
towards her  F-14. A shadowy  figure is pacing around,  a slender
silhouette carrying  two machine guns.  The light turns  on. Both
are blinded for a second.

              JANET                        FREEBIRD
          (surprised)                  (holding the
      FREEBIRD? The hell are            guns up)
      you doing here?              I figured we’re gonna
                                   need these.

              JANET                        FREEBIRD
          (smirks)                     (nods)
      And you’re already         Let’s get him home.
      dressed to dance.

As  they roll  out the  hangar  to the  airstrip, KINGSTON  comes
rushing through the door with JESTER and ROMEO. Out of breath and
half-asleep, they arrived just in time to watch the F-14 make the
turn on the strip.

          (looking at the two)
      You know what comes next.

They nod and curse under their breath.

              ROMEO                        JESTER
          (nods at JESTER,             (at both)
           turns                   Same for the jets.
           to KINGSTON)                (to KINGSTON)
      I’ll get the fleet         You got your big
      ready.                       speech ready?


JANET and  FREEBIRD manage  to make contact  with CHARLIE  who is
trapped  on  the  island.  Reinforcements have  arrived  and  the
barracks are blocking the way between him and the sub.

They  go high  and drop  down  just above  the island,  launching
rockets at the targets CHARLIE  has marked with the transponders.
The troops  on the ground scatter  like ants. JANET makes  a turn
away  from  the  island,  hits the  afterburner  and  performs  a
dangerously close fly-over of  the barracks with close-to MACH-2,
tearing it all apart. CHARLIE’s way is now clear. JANET goes high
again, circles the island while FREEBIRD operates the scanner for
more  data. When  they  hear that  CHARLIE is  out  of the  shore
waters, they head home waiting for him.

Dawn of Hope


A day has passed since CHARLIE’s return. The crews are going over
the new  data. The  last equipment and  armaments are  brought in
from the desert base.

Now they’re  all together  again, have  new intel,  more detailed
maps and had someone on the  ground, maybe tomorrow brings a dawn
of hope.

Their Finest Hour

The big  offensive, the final  stand. The entire fleet  takes off
for Baphomet Island. Evil does  not rest. They too have fortified
their  defences. No  planes have  taken off  from there  yet. New
planes  however  have arrived.  Stealth  fighters  of the  newest

An epic  battle for the  fate of mankind  is about to  begin.

End Credits

Things that  go at the end.  A montage of what  happened with the
island, friends and  allies celebrating. And a nice  twist to the
fate of our heroes.

Bonus Track: Presentation Trailer Cue

The track used for the concept presentation pitch.
Alas it did not help.

The single version has some of the sound effects still intact. Head over to the single page for more.


A few extra peeks behind the curtain.


I like arcade games. They don’t take forever and are quick to get into. I also grew up on 80s aviator shows. Top Gun, Iron Eagle, Supercarrier, Blue Thunder, Airwolf, the lot. Bringing these together was interesting to me. The flight action being the arcade shooter part with a mix of Desert Strike / Viewpoint and side-scrollers. The covert action being a mix of Flashback and a Metroidvania type side-scroller. Using live-action instead of just 3D characters, would’ve been a stand out factor as well.

“Love Theme” evolution

Always a difficult one to get these right. There’ll never be another “Take My Breath Away” or “Show Me Heaven”, that time is past and gone. Not that I could write something like that anyway.

Since it takes place in a giant submarine under the sea, I had this idea of a Bladerunner type synth soundscape which worked in a romantic setting. But it didn’t convey their struggle. The hopelessness in it. For their situation it could all be over in a few hours, so what’s the point? And yet they allowed it.

I’ve never been in a comparable situation, so it didn’t occur to me until recently. Not like a world ends scenario but not being able to start something with an amazing person because you’ll be on the other side of the country and never see them again in a matter of days. So despite it being a wrap and all, I unpacked a MIDI controller for one last time and overhauled it. It’s one of these moments when your can turn personal pain into making a better product. And to serve as a reminder to never get into a situation like that ever again.

The Sound

I wanted a classic 80s movie sound from the get go. The idea to “Sunset Raiders” existed from the very start. But I also like the big orchestral scores. So, both? Both! The soundtrack is basically a train-ride along my life as a fan of soundtracks. Especially 90s movies. The time we went to the movies almost every week sometimes twice. Different prices. Much different prices. Also a lot of 70s movies and earlier with their gorgeous sweeping string sections. Doctor Zhivago and Gone With The Wind come to mind.

Listening to Yoav Goren’s “Globus” project probably impacted me more than even Nightwish over the years. The way he took the impact of trailer cues and made them these big orchestral choral pieces that nail you against the wall and keep you there, is just unmatched. We had “Night of the Proms” when I was a kid when rock met classic, but this was another level of rock and classing working together rather than one trying to be the other. Pretty magical.