There are many memorable aspects to gaming from graphics, gameplay and story, but there’s one aspect that can stand the test of time; the music of a game.
For many years, the score and sound of a game may have taken a back seat to the actual product due to limitations. But sometimes these limitations actually added to the creativity of a composer or sound designer, leading to iconic music that is known from its first note. Today I want to talk about The Tomb Raider Suite by Nathan McCree and why you should listen to it.
An absolute favourite of mine, Tomb Raider is a stand out franchise for me from my childhood. One thing that harkens back to fond memories is the incredible music from the original series of games. Tomb Raider was one of a few titles that jumped into the world and showcased the power of hardware such as the original PlayStation or Saturn and the medium of CD technology. Although CD-based consoles were introduced before the PlayStation and Saturn era, it was this generation that brought CD-based consoles to the mass market and, with it, advantages that only PC owners once had.
With many games and movies of the time leaning towards a sampled sound, synth and drum techno based tunes were the norm. But Nathan McCree had other ideas when Tomb Raider was being developed. In an interview with The Arcade, he said he wanted to “capture the beauty and emotions of Lara Croft and not just focus on battle music”.
This is where a classical music sound was created. Although epic in tone, the sound was never fully realised due to budget constraints. The dream was to have it played by a live music orchestra, but orchestral packs for his Roland JV1080 synthesizers were used instead. Nathan crafted a truly different sound that complemented the gameplay that wasn’t just played during the big brash conflicts or boss levels.
Being involved in the original three scores of the series, there were iconic themes from all three games that would be as memorable as the next, such as Venice, The Skidoo or The T-Rex.
So why is now the time to listen to The Tomb Raider Suite? It is the amalgamation of Nathan’s work fully realised through the re-writing and re-recording of his music with the help of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the famous Abbey Road Studios. This recreation of iconic music was helped directly by Tomb Raider fans, as it was funded by Kickstarter. It has been a long process, but any music lover or Tomb Raider fan should be delighted with the outcome.
Tomb Raider and its music can stand proudly with other well known titles like Mario, Final Fantasy, Zelda or Metal Gear franchises, to name a few. These games are great in many ways, but can also stand alone by their fantastic music.
Have you listened to Tomb Raider Suite? Let us know in the comments!