Game Music, Reviews

Sea Dogs: Gentlemen o’ Fortune Get an Epic Soundtrack (Review)

August 14, 2008 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Sea Dogs: Gentlemen o’ Fortune Get an Epic Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

Remember Sea Dogs? It was published by Bethesda Softworks back in 2000 between the releases of Daggerfall and Morrowind. For this reason alone, this game has a special place in my memory despite me never having played it. It’s completely psychological I’m sure, but the soundtrack feels distinctly “Bethesda” to me, although it was developed and scored in Russia.

Composer Yury Poteyenko was quite fortunate to be able to record over 30 minutes of music with the Russian Philharmonia and the chamber choir of Moscow State Conservatory. Not even Jeremy Soule’s score for Morrowind two years later afforded an orchestral recording session, so this is a pretty big deal, lending the music a timeless quality that is still enjoyable to this day. Russian-based label KeepMoving Records was right to revive this score, as the music deserves to be heard.

Hit the jump for a complete review of this “Epic adventure at sea,” as the game’s subtitle explains.

What I like about this score is that it doesn’t take the standard “pirate music” approach that I’ve heard in other games like this. The opening “Main Theme” features a memorable descending melody that is melancholy yet powerful, voiced by brass and the choir in unison, leaving quite an impression. The movie-esque theme is repeated throughout the rest of the album, including the following track, titled “Storm,” which likely accompanies the opening sequence of the game.

“England Theme” follows at a sweet and somewhat lazy pace, creating a silent image of the sun rising over calm waters. It’s very warm and beautiful. It slowly builds towards the end, with the full might of strings and brass, but still manages to maintain its whimsical nature that was established during the first half of the piece.

The game’s battle music is titled “Battle Theme – ‘Dies Irae’” and comes in at nearly 6 minutes in length, but I think the fact that there is only a single battle theme in the game would be grating. The piece makes extensive use of the choir to create a tense atmosphere with string stabs. The main theme is also worked into this piece, creating a cohesive sound across the entire score.

“Spain Theme” features some cool rhythmic percussive elements alongside a romantically-tinged string progression that could have been really cheesy if not performed by a live orchestra. It sounds stunning. Next, “Defeat Theme – ‘Domine Jesu’,” while depressing, is quite impressive at over 3 minutes in length. Expertly implemented pauses come between string and choral segments, conveying a sense of despair. The album closes with “Menu Theme – Sea,” which is a variation on the main theme with an airy sound that is more warm and fuzzy than the opening piece. It’s an effective closing track, tying both ends of the album together.

When a soundtrack makes you want to go out and play the game, you know it has done its job. There is a lot to like here, and it’s only $7.99 plus shipping from KeepMoving Records. I highly recommend taking a step back in time to revisit Sea Dogs, as orchestral music tends to age pretty well.

Do you remember playing Sea Dogs back in the day? Did the orchestral score impress you as much as it is me right now?

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.

« Next Post

Previous Post »

More like this Post