Söldner-X -Himmelsstürmer- Complete Edition Original Soundtrack
Söldner-X -Himmelsstürmer- Complete Edition Original Soundtrack
East Asia Soft
November 3, 2008
Buy at Play-Asia
Released initially on the PC and more recently the PS3, Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer is a horizontal shooter in the vein of the R-Type or Gradius series. The Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer Complete Edition Original Soundtrack, the soundtrack for the PS3 version of the game,composed by Rafael Dyll, features a futuristic soundscape that chronicles a variety of worlds. How does Dyll’s soundtrack compare to some of the more iconic shooter soundtracks from Japan and how does it differ from the PC version?
The most logical place to start would be the “Mercenary-X (Main Theme).” It sets the tone of the adventure to come and features a very dramatic soundscape with a variety of synth layering, ominous piano, some spoken word samples, and a very militaristic atmosphere. The melody is also quite moving. The first stage theme, “Soldier Unleashed,” is a beautiful electronica theme that showcases a variety of styles. While it is electronically driven, at times, it’ll be more techno oriented, where during others, it seems to adopt a more drum and bass style. There are some beautiful melody passages as well, particularly when the piano is involved. The second stage theme, “Industrial Menace,” (as an aside, that stage sucks) is a much more simplistic composition, featuring a driving rhythm and some interesting melody lines. It doesn’t offer as solid a melody as some of the other themes on the soundtrack, but there’s something about the repetition in the melody that pleases me.
The third stage, “Hyper Space Assault,” is definitely a favorite of mine. It’s a beautiful blend of electronica and more orchestral features. It’s got an extremely pleasing rhythm, a melody that is both adventurous and engaging, and some synth string samples that add a bit of tension. This is one of those themes you could listen to while driving down the highway. The fourth stage theme, “War above the Clouds,” is easily one of my favorites. It features a much subtler tempo, but to its benefit, it offers a masterful mix of both rhythm and melody. This theme has that “final stage” mentality by providing a very epic, yet energizing, atmosphere and has a slight militaristic nature to it, tying together the dramatic atmosphere of the main theme, without actually using it. The hidden stage theme, “Lurking Evil,” is easily my favorite theme and features a very electronic soundscape, but one that is deceptively peaceful at times. Featuring some moving melodies, some quirky synth usage, and has a nice ambient vibe.
There are some narrative pieces as well, such as “The End,” but the narration distracts from the music. Fortunately, there is a track entitled “Story BGM (Instrumental)” that showcases these narrative pieces without the narration. “Back to the Roots” is a beautiful credits theme that combines a beautiful piano melody with some more atmospheric synth. There is a piece entitled “Beyond the Frontier” that isn’t featured on the PS3 version of the soundtrack and it’s quite awesome. It features some awesome rhythms that change as the piece progresses, some fantastically melodic passages featuring some beautiful crystalline synth, and atmospheres that range from dramatic and ethereal to slightly menacing. It’s definitely a highlight of the soundtrack and a shame it’s not featured on both.
There are some definite changes on the soundtrack though. As mentioned in my other review, the most interesting thing about the stage themes is that if you start running low in health and reach critical damage, you will enter into Berzerker Mode. Unlike the PC version, though, instead of only having one Berzerker mode theme, it features four and they are tied to different stages. “Running Mad (Berzerker I)” is used as the Berserker Mode music for stages 1 and 4. The music itself is a very dramatic and gripping electronica piece, complete with synth choir and some awesome synth samples. “Hit and Run (Berzerker II)” is easily the best of the Berzerker mode themes and is used on stage 2. It features a fantastic melody and atmosphere, with some dramatic synth pieces, and a bit of a rhythm you’d hear in a Bare Knuckle soundtrack. Sometimes I would actually get low on health just to hear this music! “Massive Attack Syndrome (Berzerker III)” is much different than most of the soundtrack. Rather than focus on an electronica atmosphere, there’s a much more militaristic/orchestral feel to the entire thing. There are some haunting choral samples, some nice percussion and brass usages, and as the theme progresses, it does move more into an electronic influence, but it retains the militaristic and bombastic nature. The last Berzerker Mode theme, used in the hidden stage, is entitled “Serenity (PS3 Game Select/Berzerker IV) and is also used as the title screen music. It incorporates the industrial elements heard in the “Lurking Evil” music and has a nice ambient, yet menacing vibe.”
The other big change is the inclusion of unique boss themes for each boss. The boss theme, “Big Trouble,” used as the exclusive boss theme in the PC version, is confined to serving as only the first stage boss theme. It definitely isn’t the most menacing of themes, but it does feature an ominous atmosphere due to some distinctive synth samples and an awesome bass line. It’s a bit weak on the melody, but it’s still a solid piece. The second boss theme, “Bite Me! (Dance to the Dragon Mix),” focuses on heavy rhythms with some peaceful interludes that give off an Arabian vibe. It’s a pretty unique combination that works surprisingly well. “Juggernaut,” the third boss theme, is a pretty catchy theme that features some awesome synth lines, particularly in the melody, and some nice industrial rhythms. It’s an awesome futuristic piece that could fit in as a stage theme as well. “Lord of the Wind” serves as the final boss theme of the game proper, and features a menacing and engaging atmosphere. The synth melody is pretty nice as well and has a nice distinctive sound. The hidden stage boss theme, “The Square Root of Cube,” features a very ethereal, dramatic, and menacing soundscape. Synth choir, industrial synth rhythms, and some dark ambience all mesh together to form a fitting end to the soundtrack.
I’m not the biggest fan of orchestral Western music, but when it comes to those that focus primarily on electronica, I usually step away impressed. The soundtrack to Söldner-X: Himmelsstürmer is an impressive one, featuring some fantastic stage themes, some nice dramatic tones, and a wonderful futuristic soundscape. While this version doesn’t have “Beyond the Frontier,” the new additions to the Berzerker Mode and Boss themes more than make up for it. This is the definitive version and features some solid tunes. Definitely pick up this version if you can do without the bonus track found on the PC version.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.