Prince of Persia Original Soundtrack
The Prince of Persia Original Soundtrack was released as an enclosure with the art-book, which came with the Japanese Xbox 360 version of the game. Though it is a little hard to get your hands on, the soundtrack provides a fantastic musical backdrop to the game, akin to the music earlier in the series. The album features ten compositions in total, most of them from orchestral composer Inon Zur. Six of these tracks were also released on the Prince Of Persia Bonus Disc, which came with limited editions of the game.
The first track on the album is the scintillating "A Fight of Light & Darkness." The theme begins with some touching Iranian vocals, before we are introduced to a buoyant flute melody and string instrument, likely to be a ghazhak (a type of fiddle). The slow pace of the track allows some nice background development, and by the 1:22 mark we are treated to a sumptuous string harmony underlying the flute line. During this period, the ambience and overall feel of the piece successfully constructs imagery of an arid desert environment. "Healing Ground" explores a similar atmosphere to "A Fight of Light & Darkness," but to a certain degree, it comes across as being a better constructed track. With the flute melody reaching miraculous heights and the string accompaniment joining in to heighten the experience further, it's one of the album's best ambient themes.
Tracks such as "Entering the Canyon," "The Alchemist," "The Observatory," and "Hope is Lost" deter from this atmosphere though, and rather achieve a more fast-paced militaristic feel. "Entering the Canyon" features a listenable melody, and it's only the inclusion of a fast-paced drum rhythm and menacing string section which make it any different to "A Fight of Light & Darkness." "The Alchemist" is much more warring, and quite prominently features the use of a chanting choir. The track doesn't feature a melody especially, and in many regards, this just adds more focus to the ominous bass development, as intended. "The Observatory" is much the same as "The Alchemist," but has the added bonus of some erratic drum rhythms and a stronger string motif. "Hope is Lost" is a nice blend of melodic and ominous techniques, and although short, it's actually my favourite dark track on the album. I think what helps it to stand out is the small string motif which ends the track, which leaves the listener anticipating each note.
The album also features a couple of slower ominous tracks in the forms of "High Castle," "The Temple of Life," and "Down the Lava Rift." "High Castle" is mostly made up of reverberating sound effects, the odd vocal interruption here and there, and a rhythmic bass beat. Though one of the album's simpler tracks, it's surprisingly ominous. "Down the Lava Rift" has a bit more substance to it than "High Castle," with a more prominent string section and heavier beat. "The Temple of Life" takes this style a little bit further, and applies a lot more focus on the vocals. Over its short playing time, it doesn't exactly explore anything special, but it's a nice addition nonetheless. In truth, the more fast-paced ominous tracks are more enjoyable.
The last track, "Main Theme" is the album's biggest accomplishment. The track combines all of the previous styles into one in a militaristic, melodic, and ambient blend. Starting off with an ominous melody, the track erupts into a powerful section which emanates a distinctive Arabian vibes. The key to success for this section certainly lies in the strings which, throughout the track, do the melody justice, often elevating it with the help of some epic brass accompaniment. The most enjoyable part of the track comes after this section at 1:12, and features a flute which plays over a gentle accompaniment. The contrast between epic and quaint here is tantalising, and helps to make this track the best represented here.
Overall, this enclosure album features a good blend of tracks which you can expect to hear within the game. From fast-paced militarism to slow ominous themes, and from airy melodies to the epic "Main Theme," I feel as if the tracks selected for this album are near enough spot on. My only real criticisms are that the majority of the themes are quite short, hence not allowing the greatest amount of development possible. Also, although the Prince of Persia Bonus Disc features four tracks less, this alternative isn't exactly abundant with themes, and in that sense, you'll be left feeling a little unfilled. Nonetheless, if you can get your hands on this soundtrack, then I'd certainly recommend it.
A fight of Light & Darkness
Entering the Canyon
The Temple of Life
Down the Lava Rift
Hope is lost