Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Halo Soundtrack

I've been a fan of film scores for 30 years. Since May 25, 1977 to be exact. Naturally, I've also paid attention to the way that the soundtracks for video games have improved as the industry has matured. There were some early standouts... remember the theme from "Skate or Die"? Awesome! One of the first games that really had me drooling to find a score CD was Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. It was scored by Michael Giacchino who went on to do Pixar's "The Incredibles" and some TV shows called "Alias" and "Lost".

With the hype around the recently released Halo 3, I decided a couple of months ago that I better get Halo 2 and catch up on the story. I was instantly hooked by the music (which I didn't remember standing out to me when I played the first Halo on the PC way back in the day). Two soundtracks have been released for Halo 2 alone. As you can imagine, they follow the same format that a multi-soundtrack release for a movie does. The first soundtrack contains mostly rock or pop songs, most of which aren't in the game/movie, but which are "inspired by" it. Then due to demand from fans (and usually a couple of years later), you might get a proper score CD released. Such is the case hear. You might guess that I prefer the Volume 2 Score (by Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori) and you'd be right.

The music from Halo 2 stands out because, for an action game, this music is largely melancholic, slowly mysterious and at times even sad. It's a good contemplative soundtrack for late nights after a young man has just had an argument with his girlfriend. Or, more personally, a good mood piece after a hard day at work. Also, the level of quality is very high. It sounds like a real human choir and orchestra are used (it also sounds like synthesized ones are used in some parts, too, though). Crisp, sharp and clear, this music stands very well on its own even if you've never played or never intend to play the video game.


  1. Awesome, Jon! Thanks for the OC ReMix link regarding Skate or Die!

    As for Halo, indeed, mainstream stores like Borders actually stock the Halo 2 and Halo 3 soundtracks, so VGM is coming along quite a ways on that level.

    I'm assuming you've had a chance to check out the various Halo ReMixes on OCR, but just in case:

    It's really great to read the opinion of someone who's seen video games, and by extension their music, develop over time. Cool read. All the best to you, and thanks very much for being a fan of OC ReMix!

    Larry "Liontamer" Oji
    Head Submissions Evaluator, OverClocked ReMix
    Creator, VG Frequency
    Staff, VGMdb

  2. Thanks for the comment, Larry. I love OC ReMix!