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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Epic Games 20th Anniversary Original Soundtrack

This year marks Epic Games 20th anniversary. Back on May 9, earlier this year, they released a digital album containing 20 tracks from the company's catalog. I don't know nearly as much about Epic Games as I do Nintendo, Capcom or SEGA, but what I can tell is that Epic Games 20th Anniversary Original Soundtrack has some songs on it that are not to be missed. Especially when the the album is free.

Games covered includes the Unreal series, Gears of War 1-3, Infinity Blade I-II, Tyrian, Bulletstorm, Shadow Complex, Jill of the Jungle, and the first two installments of Jazz the Jackrabbit. Five tracks are taken from the Unreal games and another five from the Gears of War franchise. That may seem like a hefty dose of favoritism towards those series especially since they've already had soundtrack releases Just about every other game represented here (excluding Bulletstorm and Tyrian) has gotten zilch in that regard. Still, it's hard to argue with the overall product when you've got so much win across the scoreboard.

Much of the music from the Unreal and Gears of War titles sounds like it wouldn't be out of place in a big budget Hollywood film. That's certainly not a knock against the music. It's quite good, actually. Of all the music represented on this album, the music from these games and most stuff from the late 1990s has a modern feel to it. Jazz the Jackrabbit, Tyrian, Jill of the Jingle, and Epic Pinball are games from the early years of Epic Games so the music from these titles has a retro, MIDI vibe to it that one can't help but love.

I played some Jazz the Jackrabbit in my early teens on PC and I can still remember the game's Menu Song. Definitely one of the best tracks from that game, though I do wish more was included. Jazz the Jackrabbit 2 was released in 1998 so the music is noticeably different from the first game, but that isn't a negative. Pull Back the Bass is one of the best songs Alexander Brandon ever wrote. The Unreleased Theme from Unreal Tournament 3 is amazing and it makes me wonder why it wasn't included when the Unreal Tournament 3 soundtrack dropped. I haven't played the first Unreal so the Main Theme really took me by surprise. It holds up quite nicely compared to later Unreal tunes on this album.

With a solid blend of modern and retro music, Epic has put together a nice compilation piece. Every track may not grab you but there's bound to be something that catches your fancy. Each song is available for download so you don't have to download the entire album at once, though some my find that as a drawback. There's also a bonus track, Cole Train Rap from Gears of War. It has explicit lyrics so parental advisory and all that.

Epic Games 20th Anniversary Original Soundtrack

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