Composed by
Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori

 

Published by
Sumthing Else Records (2002)

 

Tracklistings
1) Opening Suite
2) Truth and Reconciliation Suite
3) Brothers In Arms
4) Enough Dead Heroes
5) Perilous Journey
6) A Walk In The Woods
7) Ambient Wonder
8) The Gun Pointed At The
Head Of The Universe
9) Trace Amounts
10) Under Cover Of Night
11) What Once Was Lost
12) Lament For Pvt. Jenkins
13) Devils...Monsters...
14) Covenant Dance
15) Alien Corridors
16) Rock Anthem For Saving The
World
17) The Maw
18) Drumrun
19) On A Pale Horse
20) Perchance To Dream
21) Library Suite
22) The Long Run
23) Suite Autumn
24) Shadows
25) Dust And Echoes
26) Halo

 

Extras
- Game website

 

Availability
- Amazon.com
- Synsoniq.com

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Halo

Halo is best described as the Holy Grail of Microsoft’s Xbox console system. Heralded as one of the best first-person shooters to ever grace a video game system and getting exceptionally good reviews, it prevented the launch of the Xbox from being a complete disaster. The focus of the game lay on the singe-player campaign where the player took the role of the Master Chief, an enigmatic cyborg commando, and had to save the earth from an alien race called the Covenants.

The musical score was composed by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori and has started to reach cult status among video game music fans. This is partly due to the fact that the score worked very well within the game and features some very memorable musical moments. Using the game’s dynamic audio playback system, the score would seamlessly react to on-screen events and change motifs, moods and the duration of each cue on the fly. The result is an impressive underscore that can serve as an example of how a score should be implemented into a game.

Halo features two signature themes that stand out. The first theme can be heard in “Opening Suite” and is the cue that would play in the Main Menu of the game. It is a calm and evocative choir piece that aims to portray the infinity of space. The action theme in “Truth and Reconciliation Suite” features percussion and strings in a rhythmic move and has become one of the most famous video game music cues in recent years and everyone who played the game surely remembers it. This theme in combination with the dynamic music placement made for some truly heroic sequences while playing the game.

The rest of the score mainly consists of ambient and electronic pieces that serve as backdrop for the different missions of the game. They are neither very thematic nor very developed and it is here that Halo’s score loses much of its appeal. Although one can argue that Halo is a mix of different styles it doesn’t really execute these styles satisfyingly or makes them interesting. In fact, most of Halo’s score proves to be a surprisingly dull and uninteresting listen and I don’t think it would be so popular if it weren’t for the two signature themes mentioned above.

With Halo being such a huge project, the sound quality of its score is rather unimpressive. The clearly synthesized strings and brass along with weak percussion are not what you’d expect.

To sum it all up, Halo is a well implemented score that features two great and memorable themes. The majority of the score is ambient and electronic and works in the game considerably better than on CD. The album is recommended to all Halo fans, but casual video game music listener should stay clear of it.