Conan Original Game Soundtrack
Conan Original Game Soundtrack
THQ (CD Edition); Sumthing Else Music Works (Digital Edition)
October 23, 2007; November 16, 2010
Download at Sumthing Digital
THQ’s Conan is an action-adventure title set in the lush yet hostile universe of Conan the Barbarian. No stranger to epic action scoring, God of War’s Mike Reagan was selected as the composer of the title. A 30 minute sampler of his original score was included with the game and later re-released digitally by Sumthing Else Music Works.
The most gripping thing about the soundtrack is the way it relates to the game’s savage and wild nature. This will be immediately evident from the main theme, with its booming low brass and epic chorus work inspired by Basil Poledouris. While stereotypical, the melodies here certainly depicts the heroism of Conan despite the hostile foes and environments of the game. That said, the track does suffer somewhat from its use of sampled forces, rather than orchestral performances, meaning it doesn’t manage to stand up against the greats of God of War or Conan the Barbarian.
“Kush Warrior Battle” is perhaps a more impressive example of the game’s action-packed themes. One of the most notable aspects of this track are the aggressive and tribal vocals, which perfectly depict barbaric foes. The aggressive sounding brass is certain to pump up the adrenaline when listening to these tracks. On the other hand, “Shem Battle” features soprano vocals seemingly inspired by the Middle East. This track is certainly one of the most affecting on the soundtrack, somehow being brutal yet beautiful at the same time, and makes the most of the sampled forces.
The scores are not all brutal sounding, as there are some more ambient tracks to describe the lush and exotic landscapes of Conan. On “Ocean Ruins Ambient”, Reagan develops a electro-acoustic fusion to describe a multifaceted environment. The underlying rhythms and unresolved suspensions still keep listeners on edge, but it is still soothing to listen to. In contrast, “Ocean Ruins Suspense” offers a shift towards darker elements, transition to another full-on aural assault with “Ocean Ruins Combat”. Sadly, most other settings in the game aren’t so exuberantly represented on this soundtrack release.
While not all the game’s pieces are featured on this release, thankfully its most affecting one is: “Conan End Theme”. Despite its sadly brief length, the track features a range of textures during its development, ranging from wailing woodwind solos above plucked harps, to voluminous orchestral and choral tutti. This range ensures the track has an enormous emotional scope, sounding both powerful yet tragic at the same time. This track will certainly leave a lasting impression on those who finish the game and listen to the soundtrack.
Mike Reagan has definitely captured the feeling of being in a barbarian universe with his beautiful setting tracks and adrenaline pumping action tracks. However, the release lacks in quantity with its 30 minute playtime — with its often underdeveloped tracks and numerous omissions. What’s more, there is nothing that makes this soundtrack outstanding compared to Reagan’s other projects, given most tracks aren’t as fleshed-out or well-implemented as those on the God of War series. It’s a decent soundtrack, but there are much better and longer similarly-styled albums out there.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.