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Medal Of Honor: Soundtrack Collection by Michael Giacchino, Christopher Lennertz & Ramin Djawadi (Review)

posted Apr 23, 2011, 4:39 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Apr 23, 2011, 5:29 PM ]

There have been two pivotal moments in video game history that I regard as moments that provided turning points in the industry. The first was when Metal Gear Solid came out for Playstation in 1998. It was the first game to present an interactive story with grand cinematic and theatrical elements. One of those elements was the electronic score composed by several Konami in-house composers. The music took a stand by not ever becoming looping background music. One year later Medal Of Honor is released. Steven Spielberg hired an unknown composer named Michael Giacchino who did the music for the Jurassic Park: The Lost World video game. What Giacchino then did was change the face of video game scoring. Today video games are not considered a starting ground for composers wanting to get into film because it's the other way around. Top Hollywood composers are now finding their ways into video games. Michael Giacchino's career skyrocketed. Players were floored as a full orchestral score guided them on an emotional and exciting journey. Also, let's not forget that this was for a FPS!

Giacchino started a legacy and after four outings the torch was passed to Christopher Lennertz who upheld the tradition and quality set before him. Lennertz took players to different parts of the world as the game shifted focus from the European Theatre to the Pacific Theatre. Lennertz handled the series with grace and left his stamp of brilliance on it with three amazing scores. Once Medal Of Honor hit the new generation of consoles Giacchino was asked to return and he gladly accepted. Medal Of Honor: Airborne was a triumphant full circle return for Giacchino and the franchise. The game flopped however in the wake of Call Of Duty taking shooters into the modern realm. Last fall EA decided to follow suit and do the same. Ramin Djawadi was asked to take Medal Of Honor into the modern age and gave the series a fresh start. Ramin's score echoed a whole new feel to the franchise with a stunning soundscape of intensity and emotion while incorporating ethnic elements.

The music in the series defies what a FPS score should be. The series was never really about telling a story. You never felt like you were playing a character and half the time you had no idea what your character's name was anyway. It became a personal experience as the game acted more along the lines of a WWII simulator with the score roping you in to invest emotionally. The player crafted their own story with their own background and the score did the rest. It was truly an experience like no other and everything was owed to the music. The Medal Of Honor series has always been the benchmark of video game scoring. In fact when the first Call Of Duty came out to compete with Medal Of Honor Michael Giacchino was recruited to try and replicate the success and magic. That's how important music suddenly became for video games. In the past ten years we've witnessed the barrier between film scores and game scores slowly mesh. Composers like Hans Zimmer, Clint Mansell and Howard Shore are dabbling in video games. Developers are trying to make their games bigger, more exciting, emotional and cinematic. We can credit Medal Of Honor for shifting our ears to the real source of how to accomplish those things.

EA has always been the best when it comes to making sure their games get decent score releases even if all we get is a digital release. Recently they partnered up with La-La Land Records and this is how we got this beautiful box set with 7 discs of scores and a bonus disc full of unreleased material from the composers' private collections. The music has been remastered from the source and in many cases we are getting these scores for the first time on CD. In other words this is the best release of the year so far and will be hard to beat. When Medal Of Honor came out in 1999 I was 12 years old. I was just getting in to film music so naturally I fell in love with the game and the music. I didn't know who Giacchino was at the time, but it wasn't long before I did and started following his career closely. This is truly an amazing set. It's limited to 2000 copies so get yours before they go.
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