Unreal Tournament III: The Soundtrack

Unreal Tournament III: The Soundtrack. Front. Click to zoom.
Unreal Tournament III: The Soundtrack
Front
Composed by Джеспер Кид / Ром ди Приско
Arranged by Джеспер Кид / Ром ди Приско
Published by Sumthing Else
Catalog number SE-2039-2
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 2 CD - 33 Tracks
Release date November 20, 2007
Duration 02:30:17
Genres Electronica / Electronica: Big Beat / Electronica: Breakbeat / Electronica: Breaks / Electronica: Downbeat / Electronica: Drum'n'bass / Electronica: Progressive Trance / Tribute
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Overview

Unreal Tournament III is the very definition of "twitch gaming" in first person shooters. Fast reflexes and a deadeye aim are the name of the game here. The Unreal Tournament series has always been one of the benchmarks for online first person shooters, and Unreal Tournament III is no exception. At the time, it was one of the most robust multiplayer packages out there, thanks to its wealth of weapons, vehicles (some of which looked like really cool mutant insects), game modes, and possible tweaks (including map creation). There is a single player story in this game but it merely serves as a means for learning how to play the game — this game is all about the multiplayer.

Rom Di Prisco and Jesper Kyd are the main guys behind the music for this game, which consists of remixes and arrangements of some of the music from the original Unreal Tournament as well as some original tracks. Being a multiplayer focused game the music takes a bit more of a backseat role to avoid getting tedious after multiple matches. However, there are still some interesting touches to the electronically focused score. The soundtrack has a suitably alien feel to it and manages to hit the right notes during gameplay and before and after matches. However, out of context many of the tracks feel too long and repetitive, and therefore tedious for stand-alone listening.

Body

The soundtrack starts off with Rom Di Prisco's remix of the "Unreal Tournament Theme", which is a hard hitting, electro-orchestral track and a decent opening to the soundtrack. This is followed by another remix, this time of the "Unreal Tournament Title" or main menu theme, which skilfully blends electronic and orchestral sounds. This remix is focused more on the electronics than Kevin Riepl's effort for Unreal Tournament 2004 and stays faithful to Alexander Brandon's original composition, making for a satisfying track to listen to. This is probably the best version of the Unreal Tournament menu theme around, mainly due to being the most technically up to date — even the brass samples sound good in this version.

The orchestral focus continues with the first original track on the album, "Tactical Agenda", a track that gives the feeling of a large scale battle approaching, with it's progressive crescendo both dynamically and texturally and heavy brass and lower strings focus. This is followed by another remix, this time the track in question is "ONS01". This track introduces ethnic flutes and wailing vocals, which is skilfully integrated into the rest of the soundscape, which also includes an understated distorted guitar. There are a few other recognisable remixes of tracks from past games in the series such as "Skyward Fire", "Go Down", and "Mechanism Eight", and it's nice to hear those tracks brought up to date by modern technology and quality production.

The rest of disc one is where my main criticism of the soundtrack lies. The rest of the disc contains 13 purely electronically focused tracks, all of which are between 3 and 7 minutes long. This is fine for a few tracks, but eventually gets very tedious if you're listening to the entire disc from beginning to end. All of these tracks are well produced and well crafted, with some cool sounds and riffs, but there's no real stand-out track. A few, such as "Frozen Babylon" mix things up a bit with some more atmospheric electronic sounds. In game this music works well, but on a stand-alone basis perhaps these tracks are best appreciated in short bursts. I also think many of them would be satisfying to listen to while driving a car.

Thankfully disc two mixes things up a bit with some atmospheric choir and orchestral sounds reintroduced into the mix. The disc opens with Jesper Kyd's take on the Unreal Tournament title theme. This version feels more experimental and in places gets very chaotic. Later on in this mix some orchestral sounds are introduced to give the track more of an epic feel. There is one part of the tune which goes a bit out of time, and some of the electronic sounds get a bit messy at places, but it certainly makes for an interesting listen.

The electronic offerings from Jesper Kyd tend to be more quirky and experimental than Rom Di Prisco's more mainstream-oriented tracks. They offer some interesting harmonies and unusual sounds, though again I feel like these tracks are too long and repetitive ("Robo Mall" is 9 minutes long). Thankfully, he makes up for this with "Necris Attacks", which mixes up things with atmospheric orchestral and choir sounds, while the electronic sounds keep the appropriate alien feel alive and well.

Rom Di Prisco also offers some interesting electro-acoustic tracks of this nature. For example, "Necrimanci" offers some understated guitars underneath the rest of the texture, while "Sanktuary" blends a Diablo II style atmosphere combined with the electronic beat and "Bushido" introduces some Chinese sounding instrumentation and percussion. This carries on into "Temple of Shambhala" and the score climaxes with "World of Liandri", which has elements of fantasy scoring. It closes the soundtrack very well and offers a light-hearted relief from the perhaps overly dominant dark and serious tracks.

The second disc does also offer some remixes. Rom Di Prisco offers two remixes of "Tactical Agenda". The "Nanoblack Remix" is a more intense and heavier take on the track, while the "Jade Dragon Remix" is a more held back version focusing on the abovementioned Chinese instrumentation and orchestral strings. About half way through this remix, the rest of the texture found in the other versions enters and the final result is probably my favourite version of "Tactical Agenda". Jesper Kyd also offers extended versions of "Necris Attacks" and "Outpost". Both of these version add some very interesting new sounds and allow the music a greater sense of progression.

Summary

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the Unreal Tournament III soundtrack. There are certainly some very interesting tracks, the production is great, and the music conveys an appropriate mood and enhances the gameplay. However many of the tracks are too long, too similar, and too repetitive for my tastes. Some who are bigger fans of electronic ambient music may find themselves having more affinity to these tracks, but their wider appeal is probably limited. I think, if the soundtrack were shorter both in the number of tracks and the length of some of those tracks, it would be a better stand-alone experience. Unreal Tournament III's music is good, but is perhaps not the most suited to a soundtrack release.



Album
7/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Joe Hammond

Composed by:
Jesper Kyd - (CD2: 2-6, 10, 11, 15)
Rom di Prisco - (CD1: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11-15, 17, 18, CD2: 7-9, 12-14)

Arrange by:
Jesper Kyd - (CD2: 1)
Rom di Prisco - (CD1: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 16)

Vocal on CD1: 4, CD2: 8, 9 - Sandhya Sanjana

Original tracks composed by:
Alexander Brandon - (CD1: 1, 2, 8, CD2: 1)
Will Newis - (CD1: 4)
Michiel van den Bos - (CD1: 6, 10)
Andrew Sega - (CD1: 16)

Producer and project leader-director - Mike Larson.

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Album was composed by Джеспер Кид / Ром ди Приско and was released on November 20, 2007. Soundtrack consists of tracks with duration over more than 2 hours. Album was released by Sumthing Else.

Sounds like Electronica, Tribute - that's what we can say about this album.

CD 1

1
Unreal Tournament Theme (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
02:04
2
Unreal Tournament Title (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
03:37
3
Tactical Agenda
Rom Di Prisco
04:51
4
Ons01 (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
04:29
5
Mekalopolis
Rom Di Prisco
05:38
6
Skyward Fire (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
05:06
7
Afterburn
Rom Di Prisco
04:08
8
Go Down (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
03:13
9
Quantum Velocity
Rom Di Prisco
05:00
10
Foregone Destruction (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
05:04
11
Suborbital Gravitation
Rom Di Prisco
03:25
12
Skylab 9000
Rom Di Prisco
04:06
13
Deploy and Assault
Rom Di Prisco
03:54
14
Defector
Rom Di Prisco
04:36
15
Firestorm
Rom Di Prisco
05:15
16
Mechanism Eight (UT3 Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
03:34
17
Plasma Oscillator
Rom Di Prisco
03:52
18
Frozen Babylon
Rom Di Prisco
03:37

CD 2

1
Unreal Tournament Title (UT3 Reconstruction)
Jesper Kyd
02:53
2
LockDown
Jesper Kyd
04:50
3
To the Death
Jesper Kyd
06:02
4
Robo Mall
Jesper Kyd
08:57
5
Necris Attacks
Jesper Kyd
04:05
6
Outpost
Jesper Kyd
04:58
7
Tactical Agenda (Nanoblack Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
03:44
8
Necrimanci
Rom Di Prisco
04:39
9
Sanktuary
Rom Di Prisco
04:28
10
Necris Attacks (Extended Version)
Jesper Kyd
06:22
11
Outpost (Extended Version)
Jesper Kyd
06:36
12
Tactical Agenda (Jade Dragon Remix)
Rom Di Prisco
04:15
13
Bushido
Rom Di Prisco
04:04
14
Temple of Shambhala
Rom Di Prisco
04:06
15
World of Liandri
Jesper Kyd
04:49
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