Posted by Alan Rogers on January 4, 2012
Original Review by Alan Rogers
Ace Pilot: Infinity Drifter is a forthcoming online Flash-based video game that, from the images I have seen and the information I have read, appears to harken back to the days of Saturday morning serials such as Flash Gordon. We have a hero, a villain, a universe in peril and a battle of Good against Evil (where Good will undoubtedly triumph in the end). Co-directors Hans Van Harken and Justin Pruitt have called upon up-and-coming composer Brian Sadler to compose the score to this video game. Interestingly, Sadler currently divides his time between service in the U.S. Navy (where he is a member of the 7th Fleet Band), playing in a variety of bands and building his filmography by writing music for a variety of independent and student films. He also composes for the concert hall. Sadler has channelled his enthusiasm into this project, creating an orchestral score full of action and heroism but which also features hints of romance. The main theme is a simple one – perhaps better described as a motif – that immediately generates a sense of excitement as well as heroism with ascending brass fanfares, glam rock-style electric guitar (echoing Queen’s music for the 1980 version of Flash Gordon?) and driving percussive rhythms. It’s a theme that oozes the enthusiasm and excitement composers such as Michael Giacchino and Ryan Shore managed to instil in their scores for animated films such as The Incredibles and Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher, respectively. In less than a minute, “Ace Pilot Main Theme” defines what the score as a whole is about: an adrenaline-fuelled 30 minutes of action and adventure.
This opening track also highlights how Sadler is able to use the main theme in a variety of different ways to achieve different effects. For example, in the middle portion of the opening track of the album, the composer drops the brass in favour of delicate, almost cheeky, strings and piano to give the theme a more light-hearted feel. Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by Alan Rogers on November 14, 2011
Original Review by Alan Rogers
For a number of years now the quality of music composed for video games franchises such as Halo, Call of Duty and Medal of Honor (and many others) has been improving steadily year-on-year until we have come to the point where full-sized orchestras are being used to record meaty scores and they are being composed by ever-more experienced game score composers and film composers. Although not a gamer myself, bringing up two small children has meant a certain level of exposure to video games, particularly video games for the Nintendo Wii gaming platform. de Blob is puzzle-type video game released by THQ in 2008 that is very child-friendly – and quite addictive for people of all ages. A large part of the game’s enjoyment is game developer Blue Tongue Entertainment’s in-house composer (and senior sound designer) John Guscott’s colourful and quirky score.
Guscott’s score for de Blob contains a wide variety of musical styles ranging from jazz and funk through to reggae. The game’s score benefits from a commitment early on in the game’s development to use live musicians for the music and members of the Australian jazz band The Bamboos play enthusiastically that adds life and energy to the gameplay. The score is based around a core group of instruments – drums, percussion, bass, electric guitar and keyboards (Hammond organ and electric piano) – with added “feature” instruments being added as and when they are required (e.g., flutes, clarinet, cuica). A 3-piece horn section is also extensively used. In all, over 20 musicians contributed to creating the various moods required for the various stages/levels in the game. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Reviews | Tagged: de Blob, game music, game score, John Guscott, Reviews, Soundtracks | 3 Comments »
Posted by Alan Rogers on September 8, 2011
Original Review by Alan Rogers
I am not much of a video game player – though I have been known to dabble in a bit of Wii every so often – but I do know that video game scoring has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years. Composer Colin O’Malley has worked on a number of titles for Electronic Arts (including the game version of Superman Returns) and EA Sports NCAA Football 11 features music from the college football video game that was released on a variety of gaming platforms in 2010.
Featuring just 18 minutes of music, this release is not going to take long to get through (the release is a cut-price release because of the short playing time) but what there is is certainly exciting. Things start off with “The U”, music that underscores the intro video that plays when the game first boots up. Packed with blaring brass fanfares, synth strings and martial percussion, this cue summarises all that follows for the next 8-9 minutes. Each of the subsequent tracks are mainly variants of this initial cue. And they are all great! The inclusion of the drum-only tracks at the end (featuring all of the score cues except for “Home Field Advantage”) feels a bit like padding to fill out the time a bit, but as I love percussion I enjoy their inclusion (just as I relished the inclusion of the percussion-only versions of “Ripley’s Rescue” and “Combat Drop” in Varese’s Deluxe Edition of James Horner’s score to Aliens).
The music O’Malley has composed for this video game is very reminiscent of the music heard on most of the US-based sports shows I have seen (I am sure that this was probably the original plan). It’s fast-paced, it’s bombastic and very straight to the point. I am surprised that the composer makes no mention of this release or the release of his music for EA Sports NCAA Football 12 on his website. The music is not particularly subtle but it is certainly adrenaline-fuelled and fun to listen to. A great little time filler for any occasion. EA Sports NCAA Football 11 is available at the usual digital download stockists.
Audio samples can be found HERE and then click on arrow next to running time for samples of entire album or individual tracks.
- The U (1:36)
- Wildcat Fanfare (1:06)
- Bring On The D (1:35)
- 120 Ways To Win (1:42)
- The Running Game (1:53)
- Home Field Advantage (1:38)
- The U (Drumline) (1:36)
- Wildcat Fanfare (Drumline) (1:36)
- Bring On The D (Drumline) (1:33)
- 120 Ways To Win (Drumline) (1:35)
- The Running Game (Drumline) (1:51)
Running Time: 17:45
E.A.R.S. (EA Recordings) (2011)
Posted in Reviews | Tagged: Colin O'Malley, EA Sports NCAA Football 11, game music, game score, Reviews, Soundtracks | Leave a Comment »