Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Ambient Music for Gaming by Sonic Legends

Ambient Music for Gaming can be very useful depending on your group. Here are two selections from Sonic Legends (as found on that are two good examples of the different approaches background music can take. The first takes an ambient background approach that can have it's effect without overpowering the group. It plays in the background, adding the emotional white noise that makes the mundane melt away. The second is a powerful movie soundtrack that makes you immediately want to jump into a pirate adventure. It's strong themes can overpower you and you just sit there listening, why didn't they have that soundtrack on _____ movie last night!

After the battle is a mournful ambient track that accomplishes its goal. It evokes the windswept field where only the mourners and crows pick thru the dead. As as tool to set the mood for an outdoor encounter where the baddies have wrought destruction, it will work quite well. I'm a big fan of orchestral strings to set moods with the deeper strings and timpani to layer. I'm less of a fan of the 1980s synthesizer sound. You only encounter the synthesizer sounds (which aren't bad) early on. I'm also a fan of using choral layers to add emotion and brass to evoke power. At 8min 20sec
you get a track that can repeat without annoying.

This offering is less ambient track and more Film Score. Of the two, its by far my favorite, mostly because movie scores are powerful emotional tools. It made me want to go make a pirate movie. The opening theme was as effective as a certain Caribbean pirate movie of recent memory. Well Done!

This summer I enjoyed taking my niece and nephew to Disneyland for their first time. While the Jedi Training Academy will probably be their highlight, mine will be our Pirates of the Caribbean excursion. My niece liked it enough that she wanted to eat dinner in the Blue Bayou Restaurant in the we did. This track could easily have been the soundtrack for that ride.

The little riff four and a half minutes in using the tuba and squeeze-box created the image of a staggering pirate trying to navigate the rolling deck of a ship with humor. If you use ambient music to set the tone, this one is a great pirate adventure score. I will enjoy playing it while driving thru Southern California traffic. Now I just need a cannon. I can think of so many B pirate movies that could have been almost pushed into an A with this soundtrack.

-- by Neville Duck, editor --

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