Composed by
Pierre Langer and Tilman Sillescu

 

Published by
Sonicminds (2008)

 

Tracklistings
1) Maintheme
2) Victory
3) Defeat
4) Maintheme Aje
5) Maintheme Hu
6) Maintheme Ninigi
7) Background Aje (Savannah)
8) Background Hu (Northland)
9) Background Ninigi (Jungle)
10) Combat Aje 1
11) Combat Hu 1
12) Combat Ninigi 1
13) Location druids
14) Location Aeroplane
15) Combat Seas 1
16) Location Temple
17) Background Savannah 1
18) Location Amazonas
19) Location Scientists hut
20) Background Savannah 2
21) Combat Aje 2
22) Combat Hu 2
23) Combat Ninigi 2
24) Combat Seas 2
25) Location Holycity
26) Background Savannah 3
27) Location Water Temple
28) Maintheme Pirates
29) Entry to Walhalla
30) Location Walhalla
31) Maintheme Seas
32) Holycity Walls
33) Prison Island
34) Seas Temple
35) Combat Dinosaurs

 

Extras
- Game Website
- Composer Website
- Interview

 

Availability
Sonicminds shop

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

ParaWorld

Ever since the enormous success of Steven Spielberg’s film Jurassic Park in 1993, dinosaurs have become famous and beloved. It didn’t take long for video game developers to get hold of the setting to explore its interactive side. While some attempted to incorporate dinosaurs into action-driven games ( Turok) or suspense adventure games ( Dino Crisis) it was German developer SEK who took the opportunity of incorporating them into a strategy title. In ParaWorld, dinosaurs have been domesticated and trained for war by three different peoples. It’s up to the player to lead their dino-armies into combat, in addition to other troops like spearmen, axe throwers or even ninjas. The impressive graphics and solid yet incredibly difficult gameplay made for a satisfying playing experience. Unfortunately, the poor sale results proved the concept wrong and lead to bankruptcy for developer SEK.

Scoring a dinosaur adventure title is certainly a composer’s dream project. For Dynamedion-founders Pierre Langer and Tilman Sillescu this dream became reality. Having made their first steps into epic game scoring in 2003 with Spellforce: The Order of Dawn, they would expand on this style and deliver an effort that is uncompromising in its epic scale and grandeur. The big budget of the game allowed for the hiring of the Philharmonic orchestra of Magdeburg to bring the score to life or rather to unleash it. The game’s “Maintheme” bursts with energy: heavy-weight drums in schlepping succession combined with majestic brass fanfares set the tone for the score. The theme is humable and has an almost tongue-in-cheek over the top heroic quality. The slow moving percussion mimicking a dinosaur’s heavy slow-paced movement deserves special attention, especially in combination with strong brass performances on top of it. Just as interesting is the middle section of that particular cue for it introduces ethnic writing in the form of a tribal woodwind symbolizing the primitive and natural world the game takes place in. It even offers a little motif that gets hinted at here and there. The focus, however, lies on the glorious main theme that the composers manage to incorporate into many orchestral arrangements being it action-oriented material or soft string underscore.

Luckily, Langer and Sillescu did not settle on that one theme: in fact, the score offers notable motifs for all the three different factions in the game. For the desert tribe of the Aje, the composers went for an oriental approach: tribal percussion and Eastern string harmonies dominate “Maintheme Aje” and radiate the typical desert-sound usually associated with that geographical region. The Northlander tribe called Hu is given snaring brass, Viking choir and other majestic writing. The most ambient theme is reserved for the Jungle people called Ninigi. Their material primarily features female vocal and subdued strings. The quality of these themes does not so much lie in their melodic structure or memorability as in their versatility. Indeed, Langer and Sillescu know how to work their themes into background and action pieces so they are always present but never overbearing.

The big and epic quality of the main theme returns in the action pieces. As a matter of fact, it’s in these battle cues that the writing for big orchestra shines through: pounding drums build the underline for fast-paced string writing and brass fanfares. All is complemented by ethnic snippets and thematic material depending on the peoples’ specific battle music: all the established themes are thus presented in action arrangements as well. Occasionally, the main theme makes its appearance in some of them, linking and holding the score thematically together.

Of course the score was composed to accompany a strategy title which means the writing gets more subdued in some of the pieces on the album. Still, it’s the thematic hints and quotations that make even the most ambient pieces an engaging listen. Although the score is a long one, almost 80 minutes, and appreciating every piece of it is no small feat, the listening experience is rewarding and challenging at the same time. Overall, the score is an impressive effort.