Spore Hero Soundtrack Review

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Spore Hero Soundtrack Artist: Winifred Phillips

The soundtrack for Spore Hero, by Winifred Phillips and produced by Winnie Waldron, has been released as an independent download through many popular music sites. Individual tracks are now available for download, or the collection of 18 tracks (just over an hour of music) can be purchased for $9.

Kyle Ackerman

I've written before that video game soundtracks are difficult to appreciate as a stand-alone listening experience. The issue continues to be that such music is intended to supplement a play experience, enhancing the mood and intensify the impact of game events without drawing the player outside of the game. Even more so than television and film soundtracks, video game music has to enhance without distracting.

Those same characteristics that make a soundtrack ideal for a game typically make that same music less-than-ideal for casual listening. Obviously, that's a rule with exceptions. For some music and rhythm games (like the Rock Band or Guitar Hero franchises), the music is the game, so the music can feel free to steal focus. Plenty of sports games, oddly, feel that music can't possibly distract from play, and so use those games as a venue to introduce new music from aspiring artists.

But a well-crafted game soundtrack (when the music isn't, itself, the play) evokes the mood of a segment of play, intensifying not only the enjoyment but whatever other feelings that portion of a game should evoke (such as joy, loss, anticipation and so forth). Even more so than a previous soundtrack by Phillips that I reviewed (Sim Animals soundtrack), the soundtrack for Spore Hero is an excellent soundtrack, even if I wouldn't usually listen to it on its own.

The Spore Hero soundtrack is a surprisingly broad selection of differently-styled pieces, all maintaining the science-fiction theme of the Spore franchise and the jauntiness of the Wii. While the tracks are better when accompanying the specific play portions they were designed for, they range from the aggressive and staccato "Monster Mayhem," to "Spore War" with its aggressive rock edge, to the more languid "Haven" and "SporeZone."

The soundtrack for Spore Hero did force me to think about what makes music "science-fiction"-y, because the soundtrack does a wonderful job of maintaining that feel. For this soundtrack, it's something about woodwinds holding haunting chords and filling in the spaces with sharper sounds, like plucked strings and xylophone-type sounds. Whatever the cause, all the music for Spore Hero feels like it should accompany adventures on alien worlds... or perhaps inspire an experimental dance troupe's choreography. It's a tangential point, but perhaps someday we'll better understand why there is virtually no overlap between science-fiction nuts and modern dance aficionados.

There are a lot of dreadful game soundtracks out there, and Spore Hero is decidedly not one of them. In fact, while I'm given to turning off poorly scored game music, I do, on occasion, play the score of another game while playing. Spore Hero is one of the few game soundtracks I've done this with, putting it in the same category as the music from Warcraft III. Though it's not something I'd crank up in the car or play as background for a cocktail party, the Spore Hero soundtrack is a well-crafted accompaniment for a game, and it's thoroughly enjoyable.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on October 10, 2009 4:47 PM.

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