Here is a truly enigmatic soundtrack. How can a soundtrack be enigmatic? Well, this particular soundtrack was never sold in stores. It was rumored to exist, but has been as elusive as an honest politician! The truth of the matter is that this is an official, factory-pressed CD, released by Origin back in 1991. The story goes that this CD was given as Holiday presents to employees of Origin. This explains why it was never advertised, why there are so few copies, and why it was never sold in stores. Now then, is this CD truly worth all the trouble it takes to find it?
This soundtrack has over an hour of music from some truly classic and wonderful PC games. The first track is music from Wing Commander II. The music is beautiful, haunting, enthralling, and fitting for a truly operatic science-fiction game. The second track is the music to Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2 “Martian Dreams.” This game was a spin-off of the very popular Ultima series, but instead of taking place in the “usual” magical world, in this game you find yourself on Mars! Once again, the music is beautiful and haunting, but not overly dramatic. Next is the music to Bad Blood, a post-apocalyptic RPG. The music is fitting, but not as memorable as the music to the previous games. Right after Bad Blood we have music from Ultima VI the False Prophet. The Ultima series was one of the gems of classic RPGs, so as you might expect, the music is all top-notch. Very beautiful, and a little melancholy (I like that). Next, we have a very brief (about 7 minutes) interlude into Ultima Worlds of Adventure 1 “The Savage Empire.” The music here is not nearly as interesting as the second Worlds of Adventure game, but it’s nice that they included it, if nothing more than for completion’s sake. Lastly, we have about nine minutes of music from the first Wing Commander game.
The Good: All the compositions are extremely well done, and composed by very talented people (such as the Fatman, Dana Glover, Todd Porter, and Dave Govett). Personally, I find this music more enjoyable than many modern game soundtrack (which typically have HUGE budgets, and often full orchestras)! It’s all midi, but it still sounds great and has a charm to it that’s impossible to find elsewhere.
The Bad: there is a ton of music on this CD (wait, this is actually good)! However, it’s only 6 tracks and the music is difficult to navigate on a CD. Even though the music to Wing Commander II has 11 separate compositions, it’s just one continuous track on the CD. This is quite annoying. It’s not terrible, just annoying. Of course, you can rip the music from the CD, but you have to wonder why anyone would create a CD in this manner?
The Ugly: this CD is ridiculously hard to find! People who have it typically are not interested in selling it. Your best bet (and for all practical purposes only bet) is to keep searching for this on eBay.
Bottom Lines: if you like classic video game/PC game music (midi), then you will simply LOVE this CD! If you are a fan of classic games, then you will LOVE this CD! If you have fond memories of any of these games, then you will LOVE this CD! If you don’t fall into any of the previous three categories, then I would caution you about purchasing this CD. Of course, this soundtrack is so hard to find, that my warning is really unnecessary. Overall, this is a great tribute to games gone by, and a true gem!