Composed by
Rod Abernethy, Dave Adams and Jason Graves

 

Published by
Sierra Entertainment (2003)

 

Tracklistings
1) Prelude
2) Flight Of The Dragon
3) A Hobbit's Tale (Reprise)
4) Combat In The Lone-Lands
5) A Walk In The Shire
6) Lianna's Theme
7) Traveling To Rivendell
8) Dwarves At Work
9) Lost In The Caves
10) Crossing The Bridge
11) Battle Of Lake-Town
12) Sneaking Through Elvish Halls
13) Working In The Mill
14) The Desolation Of Smaug
15) The Battle Of Five Armies
16) Combat In Mirkwood
17) Lurking Among The Wood-Elves
18) Inside The Misty Mountains
19) The Spider Gauntlet
20) The Trolls
21) Beorn Crushes Bolg
22) Smaug Awakens
23) A Hobbit's Tale

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
Free download no longer available

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

The Hobbit

As soon as it became evident that the Lord of the Rings movies were going to be a huge success the gaming industry quickly acquired copyrights to Tolkien’s work trying to bring the fantasy experience to a new level of interactivity. While EA Games purchased the rights to the movies and its characters Vivendi Universal Games got stuck with the licence of the books (but luckily with the domain: www.lordoftherings.com). What seemed to be a curse at first proved to be an interesting opportunity for Vivendi to bring something new and completely original to the LotR-trilogy. After the strategy game Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring, the publisher released a 3D-action-adventure called The Hobbit which focused on the story of Tolkien with the same name. In the role of Bilbo Baggins you were to explore the world of Middle Earth, battling monsters and solving puzzles.

Composers Rod Abernethy, Dave Adams and Jason Graves wrote about 30 minutes of original score performed by the Northwest Sinfonia of Seattle. The game has a very childlike and colourful look and feel to it and the score is equally light-hearted for the most part. Playful and heart-warming arrangements dominate the first cues of the album that properly introduce us to the Shire, Hobbiton and Bilbo Baggins. The “Prelude” in particular sets the mood for the score and establishes an emotional connection to Tolkien’s world as interpreted in this game. The composers also make extensive use of solo instruments as for example in “A Walk in the Shire“ or “Lianna’s Theme” which feature solo flutes and guitars.

Not all of Middle Earth is lush and friendly of course and many villains seek Bilbo’s life. It’s in these moments that the music loses much of its playfulness to distort itself into powerful and engaging action arrangements. High strings, powerful brass and drums among other thunderous percussions keep you and Bilbo on edge as you fight through armies of enemies. “The Battle of Five Armies” is arguably one of the best tracks on the album combining fast-paced rhythm with heroic brass statements. The Hobbit theme as introduced in “Prelude” makes its appearance in some of these battle cues as well, most notably in “Battle of Lake-Town”.

As Bilbo traverses Mirkwood and descends into the Misty Mountains the music gets more dark and sombre evoking a menacing atmosphere and drifting to the more ambient side of scoring.

There are still a few flaws to mention however. First of all, one may criticise the short album- length. This is not only a problem because of the overall album-length but also because of the brevity of certain cues which can become quite repetitive in the game. Especially very thematic cues such as “A Walk in the Shire” tend to get obtrusive after a time when you hear the same material over and over again. Furthermore, the will to perfectly match with the pictures obviously results in an appropriately cheerful, colourful and childlike feel of the entire score. Even the battle tracks, as powerful as they may be, cannot deny certain lightness in their orchestration. This makes the whole album a matter of taste to a certain degree. Not everyone might enjoy the overall feel of the score wishing for more dramatic or serious compositions and performances, even for a game like this.

But all in all, The Hobbit is an excellent game score you don’t want to miss.