Composed by
Inon Zur

 

Published by
Atari (2004)

 

Tracklistings
1) Overture
2) Main Title
3) Lingala
4) Hayden's Requiem
5) Approaching Grozny
6) Port of Entry
7) Searching for a Friend
8) Cate's Escape
9) Damage Report
10) Cold Fusion
11) Weaponizing
12) Running with Galena
13) Two Green Stars
14) The Ascent
15) Out of Control
16) The Rescue
17) Parisian Night
18) Insurmountable Odds
19) Everything Has a Price
20) Apogee

 

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

 

Availability
German Special Edition features soundtrack

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury

The first-person-shooter Shadow Ops: Red Mercury stands in the tradition of the Medal of Honor and Ghost Recon series. You lead a squad of soldiers into battle and accomplish mission objectives to drive the story along. The player takes up the role of Captain Frank Hayden, a highly trained elite soldier. The story is fictional and centres on the recovery of a substance called Red Mercury that is capable of bringing nuclear destruction to the world.

The score was composed by Inon Zur and recorded with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. And the result sounds quite impressive. The score is suitably militaristic in nature with Eastern elements like vocals or percussion to adapt it to the locations of the game. The “Main Title” is without question derived from Hans Zimmer’s score to The Rock but still works as a dramatic and heroic theme for a military action game.

Most of the cues on the album focus on the action with some heroic or dramatic cues in between. Zur makes extensive use of Middle Eastern vocals, sometimes accompanied by orchestra or ethnic percussion. “Port of Entry” mixes elements of orchestra with ethnic and electronic percussion to an interesting action cue. “Hayden’s Requiem” or “Cate’s Escape” feature more traditional orchestration with strings, brass and piano. The overall orchestration is quite well done and more balanced than in Zur’s latest work Men of Valor; strong rhythms and more melodic action patters make for a more enjoyable listen.

The soundtrack is used dynamically within the game and complements the action on-screen very well although the action is not always as intense as the score suggests. But where it really shines is in the cut-scenes that have a very movie-like presentation and offered Zur good material to work with. Another highlight of the score is its vocals that are quite diverse and range from Eastern solo voices (“Overture”) to chants (“Damage Report”) to full choir (“Running With Galena“).

The score has a few flaws as well. Its biggest downfall is the size of the orchestra. Many cues sound too thin and not quite accomplished. It’s a shame because the orchestral ideas and compositions themselves are very well done. What’s more, if you’re a movie music fan the clear derivation from The Rock as theme may heavily bother you but should not deter you from listening to the whole score. The many Eastern elements certainly enrich the score but the solo vocals or ethnic percussion may be a bit too much at times.

All in all, Shadow Ops: Red Mercury is a great effort by Zur that would’ve infinitely benefited from the use of a bigger orchestra.