Monday, March 18, 2013

Soundtrack Suggestion: Dredd - Paul Leonard-Morgan

by Paul Leonard-Morgan

I confess to being a fan of the 2000AD comic magazine.  And while I was no huge fan of the earlier movie attempt, this movie soundtrack for the recent remake showed much more promise.

Now whether or not the movie was impressive is not the important topic here.  The real question is, is the soundtrack worth investing on for one's games.  The simple answer is:  Somewhat.

The soundtrack will quickly remind a listener of stuff by Nine Inch Nails or the electronic beats of Daft Punk without sounding like an unlicensed clone.  The songs carry a bad-ass attitude which can serve well to enhance any games that involve action, futuristic moods, and beautiful destructive carnage without overwhelming the listener with blasts of bass beats and guttural screams.  Some of the tracks, however, can be trickier to work into a game scene given their distinct sounds.

The opening track, She's a Pass (Track 01) is a great mood builder, and can even be a perfect track to play for the character creation session to a sci-fi game.  Even better how easily loopable it is, so you can actually play it and leave it running indefinitely without a problem.  Mega City One (Track 02) is a bit of a mixed bag, however, with an intense electronic charge that can sound distorted or messed up in one's ear.  Anderson's Theme (Track 06) sounds great with its opening melodic tune, but ends with such a cacophony I don't foresee myself using it that often.  In contrast, Lockdown (Track 07) is a nice tense-builder with I feel sound have ended with the earlier mess of Track 06, but instead fades out the way I wanted Track 06 to do so.  Mini-Guns (Track 08) sounds like something you'd hear on Resident Evil's movie series with its intense staccato moments and pounding electrefica.  But once again, the track ends... hanging.  You Look Ready (Track 20) has great elements for a battle sequence, but mixes the calm with the chaotic too much it removes any hope of it being a loopable good track for combat (unless by some miracle in your games a combat lasts less than two minutes of real time to resolve.  Apocalyptic Wasteland (Track 22) attempts to save the soundtrack's usefulness with a nice attitude-rich clash of sounds that can be looped nicely to add to a game's atmosphere.

So, for a soundtrack that clocks at around 53 minutes, you have a mix of the good, the bad, and the great on film but not for gaming.  Is it worth a purchase?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.    Personally I feel the soundtrack is like the first Silent Hill soundtrack.  Lots of potential, lots of interesting takes on tunes, but would require much more effort to fit into a game session.

But if you did love the soundtrack to the first Resident Evil movie, and you want a soundtrack that supplements that feel, this would be one for you then.

Dredd OST track suggestions
WTF moment: Undefined Space (Track 10), Any Last Requests (Track 19), You Look Ready (Track 20)
Introspective/calm moment:   Mega City One (Track 02), The Plan (Track 03), Judge, Jury and Executioner (Track 18), Apocalyptic Wasteland (Track 22)
Tense/mystery moment: Lockdown (Track 06), Cornered (Track 07), Kay Escapes (Track 08), Judgment Time (Track 12), Hiding Out (Track 13)
Combat music: Mini-Guns (Track 09), Bad Judges (Track 11)
Hopeful moment: The Rise of Ma-Ma (Track 04), Anderson's Theme (Track 05), Order in the Chaos (Track 14), Taking Over Peach Trees (Track 16), It's All a Deep End (Track 17)
Drama/sad moment: She's a Pass (Track 01), Slo-Mo (Track 15), Ma-Ma's Requiem (Track 21)

Best Used In: Science Fiction games, clearly.  I used this well for a Our Last Best Hope, but I admittedly couldn't just leave it running.  Maybe Warhammer games would benefit from this soundtrack better.

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