Following the release of Phobos, we’ve compiled a list of Spitfire’s favourite electronic game scores. Here’s what the team had to say...
With one of the biggest game releases of this year so far comes a solid score. John Paesano has created a beautifully contextualised soundtrack that sculpts the never-ending space that the team behind Mass Effect has built.
The space opera opens with A Better Beginning, a progressional theme that eases you into gameplay. Around the two minute mark, the pace increases to combine multiple elements from electronic to orchestral sounds, that just make you want to begin exploring.
Other favourites are Voeld, a nod to Vangelis’s “Rosetta”, and First Control Protocol, which captures the sense of foreboding when exploring new worlds. Another is Vault, a mysterious theme which perfectly depicts the apprehension that would come with exploring an unfamiliar destination, light-years away - it’s filled with atmospheric textures that hint at something unseen.
Whilst the themes are more on the orchestral side than the electronic, Jason Graves achieves great texture in his score for Dead Space 2. The outcome is a soundtrack characterised by a sensation of constant uneasiness as you make your way through the game, so we thought it a worthy inclusion.
Compared with the more conventional horror themes which run through the first Dead Space, the soundtrack to its sequel strikes you with spontaneity. Welcome To The Sprawl begins with a beautiful string melody, harmonising and intertwining, but at 1:40, you’re hit with a sense of fear.
Contrast is a central theme throughout. As Graves puts it, “It’s the tonal versus the non-tonal, the calm versus the chaos,” and right from the opening gameplay, the nightmare begins, with Necromorphs attacking from every direction, whilst you’re running on limited health. A sequence that’s sure to have you sitting on the edge of your seat either shouting, screaming or swearing.
Standout tracks for us include Canonical Aside, The Cassini Towers, Say Hello To My Little Friends and finally, Lacrimosa.
Silent Hill: Origins is the fifth instalment in the horror series, soundtracked by Japanese composer, Akira Yamaoka. Collectively, the soundtrack as a whole is a cult classic, and Yamaoka combines mixed rock, ambient, trip-hop and industrial together to form a truly innovative sound for the franchise.
Sitting with headphones on in a pitch black room allows you to be completely absorbed into this foggy underworld. What Akira Yamaoka has done not only with the sound design, but with the music as well, leaves the gamer with many dreaded moves and thoughts. Silent Hill: Origins differs from the others we have chosen, is proof that you don’t always need the big orchestras and horror string arrangements to evoke fear and suspense.
It’s hard to choose our favourite tracks from the game, but our highlights include: Meltdown, Not Tomorrow, Drowning, and Theme of Sabre Dance.
With the series being loosely based on The Divine Comedy in regards to imagery, Noisia help set the dark, hellish tones you expect to encounter. Haunting soundscapes here are a given, but it is their blistering drum beats and deep bass lines that get the blood pumping when traversing this world.
Poison Theme is a slow, steady builder. It starts off with ambient soundscapes, with percussion gradually intensifying until the climax. At this point, the heavy beat kicks in with a signature gritty bass line.
Mundus Theme is the the ultimate villain track. Brass stabs and tremolo string sections kicks off the tension, breaking down into the booming drums and menacing synths. All of this coming together to portray the utter devastation being caused.
Lilith’s Club - The name gives it away. A situational track that takes place in a club, it’s one of our personal favourites on the whole soundtrack. This piece still has those disturbing underlying tones, with dark drones, but all in all, played in isolation, you could not tell it was from a video game score! Listen for yourself, it won’t disappoint.
Despite being a largely ambient score, filled with rich synth tones (possibly square waves to convey the angular world of Minecraft), along with a muted piano, these are the couple of stand out pieces in Minecraft.
Wet Hands is a ‘rising sun’ sort of piece. It has that “song I want to wake up to” feeling. The piano sound C418 uses has a definitive charm to it, which lends itself to the inherently tranquil nature of of the game. The soft melody eases you into the world, with a comforting tone that sets you off on your adventure.
Subwoofer Lullaby is filled with lush synth tones and pads, and is arguably the most melodic on the whole score. A defined chord progression with a soft, enchanting lullaby playing on top starts, morphing into an almost ‘nothingness state’. Here, the synth pads take over, but sparingly, giving the piece a chance to breath and your mind a chance to gather its thoughts. The delicate muted piano is introduced to us slowly, accompanied by strings, as you are ready to go about your musings in the joyous, yet dangerous world of Minecraft.