The short but retro-sweet 100 Rogues soundtrack from Keith Burgun and Blake Reynolds is a wonderful trip down memory lane – made all the more wonderful by the fact its free. Don’t miss out on the chance to grab it and take a look-see at the game itself.
Opening the soundtrack with its 16-bit chiptune is “Quest of the Highest Order” which is very much a prologue track with lots of rolling harp synths and warm padded swirls. Far from being too dramatic, it’s more mysterious and gracious than anything else. “Select Your Rogue” changes tone completely to a fantastic bossa nova lounge jazz track. Just try to not swivel you’re hips to the latin synth beat. It’s a testament to the composers at whole full the track sounds.
“The Bandit Hole” turns the latin jazz into a slinky, slightly seedy downplayed track. It still has plenty of latin flair and a good beat, but the low melodies and brass overtones keep it from breaking into anything more uptempo, especially with the much heavier second half of the song where the organ joins in and pushes the track forward to its more urgent conclusion.
Then we have “Deeper Down the Bandit Hole”. From the windy ambient open to the careful recreation of of various drum loops to the slightly arabic melodies that drip through and constantly layer onto eachother, its a track that never sits still and therefore refuses to become boring. The middle breakdown section is led by eerie music boxes and dripping water sounds. It really ramps up the atmosphere.
“Genie Fight!” gives us an urgent battle track with heavy fuzzy bass leading the way and computerised evil cackles in the background making it stand out, the track itself being complex and causing great tension. “The Dungeon Deep” however for me causes more tension and atmosphere with its waivering strings and and grand scale of a full 16bit orchestra. It packs drama in every beat of the bar.
“You Have Died” made me laugh. It’s the happiest death tune I think I’ve heard in ages. A simple but very effective bossa nova piece with electric piano and light percussion, if death sounded this laid back, I think more people would want to see the game over screen. “Satan’s Hideout” however does not share such lightness with its quirky ambience and heavy breaths. The discordant plucked strings are a lovely extra touch throughout the song, faintly going banana’s in the background.
“Satan Fight!” is a true 16bit battle rock track with a synth band going mental. It’s quite full on with the dramatic solo’s and all the drama and chaos you’ve come to expect from the best of battle tracks. Keith and Blake throughout have mastered synth composing to a tee. The closing track after that sweaty mosh pit madness is the epic “Grand Finale” which takes the main theme’s you’ve heard from the latin edged opening side of the soundtrack and dressed them in a full synth orchestra for you’re audio pleasure. The sense of achievement is great with the track and its very militantly happy-ever-after and a great way to close the soundtrack.
I think sometimes, if you’re not an avid game music follower, you can forget just how satisfying returning back to the times when sound was limited and you had to first and foremost have a great melody can be. The 100 Rogues soundtrack is not only a great free collection of music, its a great walk down memory lane and a must have for any synth composed music fan.