Monday, April 18, 2011

Top 5 Heroes Themes

I wanted to take a quick break from the Heroes III and write about the series' fantastic music. The gorgeous melodies of the game are possible thanks to the talents of a famous concert pianist and composer named Paul Anthony Romero.

Romero has worked with Rob King (and occasionally Steve Baca) to write some of the most memorable tunes in the history of PC games. Below are my five favorite tracks from Heroes of Might and Magic.

The videos are embedded from the YouTube channel of Shyranis, game archivist extraordinaire.

5. Heroes V - Haven Theme

Baba Yetu, the intro theme for Civilization IV had the honor of being the first song from a video game to win a Grammy. As a result, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences decided to formally recognize 'video game music' within four of its categories, granting video game soundtracks the same respect as film and television soundtracks. With the floodgates now wide open, one can't help by look at the Heroes V soundtrack. If there was any song worthy of a Grammy nomination, it would be the Haven theme. Combining the Latin hymn Dies Irae with the game's main theme, the song is an epic masterpiece that demands to be heard.

4. Heroes IV - Necropolis Theme

Heroes IV's Death Campaign introduces Gauldoth Half-Dead, a tragic character trapped between the realms of life and death. As the story progresses, Gauldoth comes to terms with his paradoxical existence and tempers his dark plans with a living conscience. It's fitting that the game's Necropolis theme is as complex as its protagonist, capturing Gauldoth's inner conflict by alternating between sinister cues (0:55) and sweeping heroic cues (1:21). Some songs in Heroes IV sound beautiful but ultimately lack substance. This one tells a story.

3. Heroes IV - Academy Theme

Here's a fairly subdued theme that's supposed to represent the Mediterranean-style, wizard-dominating Order faction in Heroes IV. Is it just me or do all of the town themes in Heroes IV contain a hint of tragedy? I feel like I'm always a few notes away from crying my eyes out. I guess starting off the game with the destruction of an entire planet will have that effect.

2. Heroes II POL - Necromancer Town

Heroes II's expansion pack was called The Price of Loyalty. It didn't have any new races, creatures, or castles. But it did have brand new town themes that were (in some cases) better than the original. The Necromancer Town got one of the most dramatic overhauls. The original song was slow, calculated, and dark. The replacement song was... well... listen for yourself. It starts off with a moody intro but quickly transitions to an amazing piano solo by Paul Romero.

1. Heroes II - Magnificent Field

Magnificent Field (or is it Magnificent Fields) is hands down my favorite theme of the series. It may lack the bombastic orchestration of the other tracks on this list. But in my mind, it perfectly captures the carefree spirit of adventure prevalent in Heroes II! The harpsichord gives the song an old-timey Renaissance Faire feel that I love. It's a reminder of how simple and cartoony the Heroes games used to be and how dramatically everything has evolved.

No comments:

Post a Comment