Composed by
Inon Zur

 

Published by
Sierra Entertainment (2004)

 

Tracklistings
1) Main Title
2) Open Field
3) Beach Landing
4) Night Jungle
5) NVA Assault
6) Kheshan Hills
7) Lost Column
8) Marines Charge
9) Huey Fly Over
10) Kheshan Base
11) Church Courtyard
12) Kheshan Retreat
13) Air Strip
14) Jungle

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website
- Making Of: The Soundtrack

 

Availability
Free download no longer available

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Men of Valor

Developer 2015 is the team responsible for the hugely successful and still very popular World War II first-person-shooter Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. They pioneered the scripting-oriented mission design to make games a more movie-like experience. Their latest project, Men of Valor, doesn’t stray too far away from the original Medal of Honor formula offering decent graphics along with cinematic scripting.

Having worked with composer Michael Giacchino on Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, 2015 decided to change composer and hired Inon Zur to score Men of Valor. Zur would not only be able to use a real orchestra to perform the score but also to record it at the famous Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

What Zur came up with for Men of Valor is basically an action-oriented orchestral score with ethnic elements to reflect the location where the game takes place. Unlike Giacchino’s scores for Medal of Honor, the imitation of John Williams’ scores is not to be found in Zur’s writing. If you are familiar with Zur’s earlier works you will immediately recognize his style as we’ve heard it in many games so far.

The album opens up with the “Main Title” featuring a trumpet solo at the beginning that quickly gives way to a simple but very pleasing and melodic string-lead main theme that also uses an ethnic flute to bring the scenario of the game into the theme tune. “Open Field” is an example of the disharmonic action writing that is prominent in many of the other cues. It also seems to suffer from a release problem for it ends after one minute with the rest of the cue being silent (shame on publisher Sierra for that!). “Beach Landing” as well as “Jungle” feature the theme in an emotional and heroic variation; a welcome change from the many un-thematic action cues on the album.

The use of the score in the game is excellently done. Each piece of music consists of several layers of musical elements (like strings, percussion, brass, etc) that can be put to use individually. Consequently, the music is very adaptive to the onscreen action: The more enemies attack the more layers of music are added resulting in a big and bombastic piece for a big battle and a quiet and understated piece for small encounters. It works very well and is more dynamic and suitable to a game than the linear soundtracks of the Medal of Honor series.

The score release is only a small part of all the music actually written and Sierra wasn’t too generous in releasing only 19 minutes of music. The short album length and the rather themeless quality of most of the action cues is the main reason that many people will quickly forget this score. A real shame for it’s a good effort and should also be appreciated outside of the game.