Resident Evil 4 Soundtrack Book
Resident Evil 4 Soundtrack Book
December 22, 2005
Buy at Play-Asia
Here’s the thing about me: I am always pumped about Resident Evil 4. Always. I’ve beaten the game seven times through so far, and I still get excited about the prospect of playing through it again. So either the game is pure magic, or something is seriously wrong with me. One of the core aspects of the game’s design that I continually pile on the praise for is the game’s soundtrack, both in and out of the context of the game. In what can only be viewed as a natural progression and the next step in Misao Senbongi and Shusaku Uchiyama’s compositional careers with the Resident Evil series, the Resident Evil 4 album picks up where the Resident Evil remake’s original soundtrack left off and is chock full of unsettling soundscapes and textural ambiance that the team started hinting at and developing with the remake. That claustrophobic and oppressive listening experience is brought to full fruition here, and it is very awesome.
Like the remake’s soundtrack, Senbongi and Uchiyama took a more cerebral approach instead of going down the familiar roads of the haunting and action-packed Resident Evil soundtracks that came before it, for the most part. Unlike the remake’s music, the soundtrack to Resident Evil 4 is comprised of all new material and doesn’t have many ties to the other soundtracks from the series. Of course, there is the calming “Save Theme”, which just so happens to be my favorite one from the series, and there are some semi-orchestrated action-oriented tracks like “Krauser” and “Robo-Salazar”. However, for the most part this album is a far cry from what someone would expect from the series, given its musical history. For those that like their Resident Evil music scary as all hell — you’re in for one intense ride.
The first disc, the Darkness Side, focuses on the more abstract and ambient compositions from the title, and covers Leon’s journey from the deserted village through his escape from Salazar’s castle. There are some seriously spacial tracks here, like the minimalist “A Ruined Village” and the tense “Noche”, but the real treats of the disc come in the form of the castle’s location themes and the oppressive confrontation themes. As the disc goes on the shift in tone is minimal but definitely noticeable; Senbongi and Uchiyama make a change in their compositional style from claustrophobic ambience to some seriously creepy electronic-driven themes, such as “Cold Sweat” and “Tower of Death”, both of which provide the listener with electronic bass-lines and a relentless rhythm to keep the tension high. Sprinkled throughout the disc are various confrontation themes, such as the stuffy “El Gigante” and the balls-out, cacophonous piano-driven “Del Lago”. Despite these action-oriented themes, the unsettling location music stands out as the strongest link in Resident Evil 4’s chain.
The Aggressive Side disc progresses differently than the first disc. It includes all of the music from the end-game as well as Resident Evil 4‘s various minigames and finally some unused tunes that didn’t make it in the game. There are less ambient compositions throughout the second disc and in their stead are more melodic (this is a relative term) action themes; this is immediately noticeable with “Infiltration” due to its intermittent piano accentuation and background synth melodies, as well as the trio of final battle themes that drive the game to its conclusion — “Krauser”, “Back-Up”, and “Final Battle”. That’s not to say the whole disc has changed in style, however. “Regenerador” sounds like a dissonant heartbeat from another dimension broadcast through a broken radio and the battle theme “U-3” reminds me of some of the boss themes from the first disc. The unreleased music at the end of the disc fits right in with the soundscaping from the later parts of the game, especially “Shipyard” and the string-led breakbeat track, “Time Limit”.
The music from Resident Evil 4‘s minigames sound quite different from the music presented thus far on the album and are more elecronic and driving in nature. Each character has their own theme in the Mercenaries game, ranging from the jazz-influenced theme for Ada to the bongo-driven “The Mercenaries ~ Krauser” that is obviously a nod to the Island portion of the game’s music. Oh, and here’s some nerd trivia for you: “The Mercenaries ~ Hunk” was also used in P.N.03, another one of Shinji Mikami’s titles. The themes from the Assignment Ada portion of the game are smooth and sexy, just what you would expect the hottie in the red dress. This portion of the second disc is interesting, for sure, and provides some light into the not-so-scary parts of the game’s soundtrack. That said, I prefer the Darkness Side to the Aggressive Side, but not by a longshot or anything; it’s just that the sound team’s ambient and tense compositions embody exactly what Resident Evil 4 is all about.
There are two official releases of the Resident Evil 4 soundtrack. The Resident Evil 4 Soundtrack Book is a complete two disc soundtrack accompanied by a visual booklet. The Resident Evil Sound Chronicle Best Track Box features a disc dedicated to a Resident Evil 4 and is a “best of” selection from the main soundtrack. What is mainly missing here are the unreleased tracks and the minigame themes. In retrospect I’d have to say that while the Soundtrack Book is an excellent and complete experience for casual fans of the game, this disc is the go-to definitive version of the Resident Evil 4 soundtrack given its non-stop tension and accurate representation of what happens in-game. From beginning to end there are no stinkers and no tracks that I would have chose to omit from the album.
Resident Evil 4‘s soundtrack is my favorite in the series, hands-down. I just can’t get enough of those creepy location themes from the Darkness Side and the way the action tunes accentuate the discs break up the tone just enough so that the listening experience doesn’t become a burden in any way. Then again, I’m one of those weird dudes that’ll turn off all the lights, put on this soundtrack with headphones and will let it play all the way through just so I can become lost in the aural textures and boundless tension that the soundtrack has to offer. If you’re into creepy, ambient music with a side order of some action and electronically-oriented themes, then I would advise that you do the same.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Tommy Ciulla. Last modified on August 1, 2012.