Composed by
Kevin Manthei and Kevin Riepl

 

Published by
KMM Productions (2004)

 

Tracklistings

The Swamp
1) Swamp Theme
2) Oh Merry Men!
3) Chicken Mini-Game
Spooky Forest
4) Spooky Forest Theme
5) Cemetery Creep
6) Cemetery Combat
7) Fat Knight Fight
8) Spooky Combat
9) Spooky Hero Time

Far Far Away
10) Far Far Away Theme
11) Humpty Riot
12) Outlaw Theme
13) Ratical Battle
14) Troll Combat
15) Chicken Mini-Game
Ogre Killers
16) Ogre Killer Medley

View full tracklistings

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website
- Interview

 

Availability
- Kevin Manthei's shop
- Synsoniq.com

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Shrek 2

The two Shrek movies are among the most successful animated feature films ever. So it’s quite an understandable decision of game developers to adapt the movies for games. In the case of Shrek 2, it was turned into a colourful 3D-jump-n-run game. Activision decided not to use the original film soundtrack (Shrek 2 not having much original score anyway) but to hire composer Kevin Manthei who had worked with them on games such as Pitfall: The Lost Expedition or Vampire: The Masquerade.

Similar to Sierra’s adventure game The Hobbit, Shrek 2’s style is very colourful and childlike. The score pretty much flows in the same veins offering light-hearted, upbeat and heroic cues with some of the tracks bordering on pure silliness (especially for the so-called Mini-Games).

The score is divided into twelve chapters or episodes and all have a certain personality to them. The musical approach Manthei took is, in fact, very diverse. The album starts off with “The Swamp” that features not only a classically-oriented opening cue but also a jazzy theme for The Merry Men and a funky cue for one of the Mini-games. More serious and scary cues dominate the chapter “ Spooky Forest ” where an organ is added to portray the cemetery. Of special interest might be the last track of this episode, the “Spooky Hero Time” that introduces a very heroic and epic theme with fast-paced string movements reminiscent of superhero movie scores. Other stylistic extremes include a Spanish-influenced theme for the “Ogre Killer” and some Country-based tracks for “Jack and Jill’s Farm”. For the “Fairy Godmother’s theme”, Manthei returns to old conventions. By using soft performances of strings and bells, he creates your typical cartoonish sound.

Because of the nature of the game most of the tracks are apace. This aspect is emphasized by the seamless transition from one track to the next. You get the feeling that you listen to one 60 minute track instead of 50 individual cues which makes the album a consistent if exhausting listen. The last eight tracks consist of concept pieces and alternate versions that give some insight into the scoring process.

However, there are a few troubles with the score as well. The usage of the many different styles throughout the score makes the album not only diverse but also chaotic at times. Furthermore, the score is still completely done with synthesizer that doesn’t come near the sound of a real orchestra. But although you’d wish to hear a more orchestrated sound at some points, especially for the more heroic stuff, it isn’t really a problem of the score because the more “light” sounding suits the kind and style of the game very well.

Overall, I can recommend this score to everyone that wishes to hear a fun and diverse game score. It surely is an enjoyable listen from time to time.