Splinter Cell -Double Agent- Original Soundtrack
Splinter Cell -Double Agent- Original Soundtrack
July 31, 2008
Download at Behavior Music
Perhaps the most important chapter of the video game franchise, Splinter Cell: Double Agent features Elite Agent Sam Fisher returning as a double agent to infiltrate a terrorist organisation. The music for this chapter was principally composed by Michael McCann (aka Behavior) — a newcomer to the video game industry that was recently announced as composer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution — though duo Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco (as Sonic Mayhem) assisted composing the cinematics. McCann released his entire contribution to the score in a free five disc digital release, subdivided into ‘cinematics’, ‘fight themes’, ‘full themes’, ‘infiltration themes’, and ‘menu themes’. The resultant release provides a fascinating insight into his score for the game…
Of all the music on this release, perhaps the most outstanding track is the “Main Menu Theme”. Like most additions to the soundtrack, McCann focuses on developing a moody ambient soundscape by blending electronic and acoustic elements. This general approach is quite common to modern game scores, but McCann’s composition differs to more generic entries out there with its more artistic focus. The subtlety by which he develops his guitar-punctuated soundscapes is delightful and it is impressive how he manages to make the composition memorable while retaining an understated feel. In fact, this track easily stands up against some of the best trip-hop artists out there. Note that Cris Velasco’s main theme for the theme, played during the opening credits sequence, is not included in this release but nicely complements this track in the game.
The cinematic tracks that open this release are rather sparing in length and number, due to Sonic Mayhem’s role on the soundtrack. Nevertheless, “Okhotsk Intro Cinematic” for the Xbox 360 version of the game is definitive among the most immersive tracks on the game; it captures a sense of entering a beautiful yet hostile environment with its gorgeous violin solos before intensifying with the entrance of an epic basso ostinato. It is perfectly synchronised with the game. “Iceland Extraction Part 2 & 3” meanwhile is the saddest theme on the soundtrack, immediately capturing listener’s heart with its tragic soprano voice, before incorporating piano, beats, and drums. Once again, the impressive feature here is not the forces that McCann uses, but how they are treated and blended in such a mature and artistic way.
Among the most impressive entries in the soundtrack are the various pieces of background music during infiltration. Cozumel’s setting theme particularly immerses the player into the game by blending tremolo and pizzicato strings in an ominous way. The track is joined halfway through by drums, causing a shift in intensity, and piano that adds to the eerie mood on the cruise ship. “Kinshasa Interior Infiltration” meanwhile does a brilliant job of introducing the rich heritage and history of the African landscape; the ethnic percussion and vocals produce a distinctive feel, without being overly trite, while the more intense section towards the conclusion creates a sense of being a mercenary. McCann also emphasises the urban theme of New York with a three-tiered theme comparable to Amon Tobin’s creations on Chaos Theory, while Okhost is portrayed in a suitable cold manner with some mature use of synthpads and gut guitar.
McCann departs from the ambient downbeat focus for the fight themes in order to capture the full intensity of the gameplay. The fight theme for Okhost is a particularly exciting and unique score; the rawness that comes from the dry-sounding electric bass and drum really pumps the listener with adrenaline, while fitting the visuals. The second biggest highlight of the score is the beautiful and powerful track used during the Iceland fight sequences; it has such a memorable and original melody that most won’t resist the opportunity to press ‘repeat’. It is interesting how the third disc of the score also brings together many of the tracks. For example, “Iceland MySpace Mix” is basically a remix of the infiltration and fight theme for the game; perfectly executed, it brings the best motifs from the tracks and puts them together with a few new notes.
Few games feature scores as mature and artistic as Splinter Cell: Double Agent‘s. McCann’s alternative style and creativity is highlighted throughout the soundtrack, whether in the understated soundscapes of the main menu theme, or the immense pulsations of the Iceland fight theme. Pieces such as these, and many more, set the scene of the game wonderfully while being memorable and beautiful on a stand-alone level. The only problems are that the stand-alone release is that it is very segmented in its presentation and the tracks by Sonic Mayhem are omitted. That said, if you are looking for a soundtrack to enjoy, then this free download is a worthwhile first hand experience.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.