For those who’ve never played Atlantis, it’s quite similar to the Myst Series: 360° pre-rendered environments, riddles, otherworldly places. Cryo’s Atlantis featured rendered characters instead of real actors, and was slightly less confusing than Cyan’s games. Atlantis -The Lost Tales- was also released for the PlayStation. (This Soundtrack was even officially licensed by a German soundtrack record label).
What makes the Atlantis games stand appart from other games is, of course, the soundtrack.
Pierre Estève and Stéphane Picq from Shooting Star productions, Paris, delivered an unconventional soundtrack quite unlike others. The music is mostly ambient & meditative, with beautiful melodies playfully bouncing around in stereo.
While the composers used some synthesizers too, most of the instruments are real! A wide range of western and eastern folk instruments, from metal-percussion to strange flutes and brass sounds to various tubular bells and belltrees as well as string based instruments gives the music a unique and pleasant texture. On top of that several tracks feature mostly real (i.e. not sampled) female and male voices, completing the tracks with ethereal melodies. There are some sampled choirs too, but they are well chosen.
All of the tracks have been rerecorded and extended especially for the soundtrack album, some tracks run as long as 6 minutes. Not all tracks are peaceful contemplative meditations though; Cryo’s games also had their dramatic moments, and the music reflects that (like in “Am ma eya” or “Dark Spirits”). There’s a hidden track on CD1, and on top of that there’s also a CD-ROM part on both CDs (MacOS & PC), with a plethora of soundsamples from other CDs by Shooting Star productions, as well as lots of concept artwork from the game, beautifully presented in Macromedia Director – although you might need an older PC for this feature, I’m not sure (the CD-ROM part doesn’t affect the CD-Audio Part, it’s not located on track 1).
There’s only a four side inlay, but the CDs are picture-labeled and overall design is OK.
This soundtrack is still available, so if you’re interested in an ethnic flavored OST (or if you like Myst 4s OST), check out the sound-samples. As always, it might be better to have played the game; I have only played Atlantis 2 but enjoyed this CD nonetheless (the pictures in the CD-ROM part give you a nice idea what the game looks like).