November 9, 2012
Gaming in Stereo: Halo 4 Special – You know me. When I make a promise….
* The track descriptions may hold some minor spoilers, you have been warned. The tracks are before the descriptions if you wish to just listen. Again, they might contain minor spoilers, you have been warned.
I round out the week with one of the most recognizable tracks from Halo 4 and a song that is very befitting of our dear Master Chief. I have been doing this “feature” article on and off for some time now and really enjoy bringing to attention how this interactive medium is more than just bleeps and bloops; more than visuals and new controller doodads, this industry has a very strong musical background as well. Halo: CE was the first game soundtrack that I went out and purchased. O’Donnell’s score changed how I saw the tracks behind the game. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great soundtracks before Halo and I appreciate them fully; I am just saying Halo’s soundtrack opened my blind eyes. Now almost every release that I feel brings something musically to the table I am hunting down soundtracks either from the downloadable sources or physical media. Music is just an integral part of gaming as control schemes, gameplay, and art styles/visuals. Would Final Fantasy be the same without Nobuo Uematsu? Would Mass Effect sound as awesome without Jack Wall (ME3 didn’t have him, while it was well composed, it lost some of its edge)? Would the Halo trilogy be the Halo trilogy without Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori? All of these game franchises have different composers now that take the previous work into account but it was these composers that made the franchises sound the way they do. Anyway enough praising lets finish out this week of Halo 4 with two very iconic tracks that I would love to see return in Halo 5.
Revival – Neil Davidge
This is the Didacts theme throughout the game. First introduced in Halo Legends, the Didact takes a pivotal role in the game and this new trilogy. This is the classic Halo “chant” track for the game. At (0:38s) you have the beginning of the chant that feels like a built up to the (1:49) mark where it feels like the evil has awaken. Hitting up at the (5:42) mark is the central theme where this track takes a turn for the electronic and at (6:01) it hits home. The electronic samples at the end of the track feel at home with the Forerunner enemy; they are an advanced race that was the epitome of technological geniuses.
117 – Kazuma Jinnouchi
The only track on the OST that was not composed by Davidge is the theme for Master Chief. This track comes in two movements. They are both very fitting, at least the way I see them. The first (starting at 0:00 and ending at 3:45) with the silent horn, feeling very militaristic in tone, shows the Chiefs military side. Being taken away as a child and forced into the Spartan program, military indoctrination is all that he knows. Saving mankind and being selfless is just what he does. The second movement (starting at 3:46) shows something different, something that we have never seen in Halo title yet, his humanity. The second movement throws us back to old Halo soundtrack tropes starting with (6:01) the ringing bells and the stout piano (6:05). This second half feels not like he is saving humanity but also himself in the process.