Saturday, 25 August 2012

Resident Evil 2 OST - Various

Resident Evil 2 was the first game of the series I had played, right back on the PS1. While the shuffling, low-poly count zombies looked a little basic next to the lovely pre-rendered backgrounds, I believe this added something to the experience in the same way that Konami's faceless enemies come at you. Not only that, but the game moved to a much larger locale; the nearby town of Raccoon City and let the descent into madness happen anew.

There's lots more of them this time and only one of you this time round. Certainly if you don't get a grip on ammo management, you will end up chewing through your sparse collection of shotgun shells and falling back on your handgun right when you hit a licker, tyrant, pack of dogs or even a boss and could do with the extra firepower. Some nice plot twists and changes of scene makes you feel like you are constantly fighting a retreat, even as you head deeper towards the source of the problem.

The thing about Resident Evil 2 was that it was down right creepy with the addition of the music - the score itself is over 70 tracks featuring a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments. Groaning chords, drones and string stabs set the tone perfectly as you move into different areas and were counterpointed by bright piano arrangements that acted as relief once you entered a safe room or met another survivor character, but always underlined by the idea that this was only temporary and after saving your game you had to go back out there to do what needed to be done.

As I wrote this and took a break, it occurred to me that from the point of view of music composers and the Playstation, CD-based consoles finally gave composers the ability to write any music they could think or want to produce with very little limitation on quality. Rather than chiptunes to help set the mood, which always sound bright and busy to me, horror games like this benefit from having a score that sounds as similar to the films that they are derrived from. For me, this marked a point where composers could open up and produce something more akin to a movie experience and really showed where you could go with the medium - especially now that we start seeing games like Call of Duty, with their Hans Zimmer-derrived scores that try and emulate war films as best they can.

I've become sidetracked again; Resident Evil 2. A defining moment in the series. Creepier, more zombies, more weapons, lots of hidden things, bigger areas and just more everything.