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Fallout 3 Sampler Soundtrack by Inon Zur

Fallout 3

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Fallout 3 Sampler Soundtrack (Soundtrack) by Inon Zur

Fallout 3 Sampler Soundtrack
Composed by Inon Zur + Various
Bethesda Softworks (2008)

Rating: 5/10




“Those who fancy (Inon) Zur's work for other recent projects such as CRYSIS and EVERQUEST II, will likely find his work for FALLOUT 3 equally appealing.”

A Taste of Capital Apocalypse
Review by Christopher Coleman

In the ever-growing process of pre-release hype (ie. marketing), Bethesda Softworks offered a special sampler soundtrack in its $5.00 pre-order package. Included inside the standard DVD, snap-box comes a FALLOUT 3 poster and this sampler CD.  Roaming an alternative timeline of post-apocalyptic Washington D.C., your highly customizable player will see familiar monuments and vistas of "the district," but complete with post-nuclear holocaust "renovations." Additionally, there are some true baddies that also roam the lands. No, not politicians, but mutants, and ghouls, and other monstrosities.  Gaming insiders are saying that FALLOUT 3 promises to be one of the most anticipated action-rpgs for the Xbox 360 and PC since OBLIVION (also from Bethesda).

What helps to define the FALLOUT franchise is it's setting. Marked by the quirky and somewhat misguided worldviews of the 1950s and certainly by the visual design style of the era, the environment of FALLOUT is an odd juxtaposition of idealism and destruction. Fortifying this very feeling are the musical choices for the game. On the one hand, music from the 40s and 50s is again integrated into the game experience and on the other, composer INON ZUR provides an uneasily mournful, but powerful score - at least as measured by the two tracks released here. The pseudo-light side of FALLOUT's music is, on this sample disc, represented by THE INK SPOTS, BOB CROSBY, and ROY BROWN. The sound of The Ink Spots is nothing new for the FALLOUT franchise as their distinctive sound was attached to the first game of the series with their title, "Maybe." Reportedly, the track included here "I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire" was the song Bethesda originally wanted for first game, but was unable to secure it in time. Following this ironically romantic piece comes the big-band piece, "Way Back Home" with lead vocals by Bob Crosby. Those silky smooth vocals might seem reminiscent of another famous Crosby as Bob was Bing's little brother. Finally, there is a somewhat obscure piece from Roy Brown "Butcher Pete (Part 1)." While the song is decidedly upbeat, it doesn't take much imagination to set the action of the game against lyrics like,Fallout 3

"Hey everybody, did the news get around
About a guy named Butcher Pete
Oh, Pete just flew into this town
And he's choppin' up all the women's meat

He's hackin' and wackin' and smackin'
He's hackin' and wackin' and smackin'
He's hackin' and wackin' and smackin'
He just hacks, wacks, choppin' that meat"

The final two tracks of the disc are two, somewhat brief pieces by veteran composer INON ZUR. Both pieces are easily identifiable as works of Zur but the "Main Title" (4) being the more recognizable, Zur-composition.  "Megaton" (5) is much more atmospheric and features a surprising southern, bluegrass vibe coursing amidst the electronic ambience. Those who fancy Zur's work for other recent projects such as CRYSIS and EVERQUEST II, will likely find his work for FALLOUT 3 equally appealing. It remains to be seen what the rest of the game and score will hold, but it sounds to be another solid effort.

These two tracks were previously released on the official FALLOUT 3 site for streaming-enjoyment only. In fact, there was a third track "Into the Wasteland" which was, oddly enough, not put on this CD. Not only would it have been nice to have had that piece, but one or two ADDITIONAL tracks would have made this pre-order package even more inviting for fans of game music. Given the success of this franchise in the past and with the uber-success of BIOSHOCK, which featured a similar blend of both visual and sonic decay and decadence, this recipe should serve FALLOUT 3 well.

Interestingly the packaging for this little 5-track, sampler is of more visual interest than many "fully released" scores. The cardboard slipcase and disc itself are designed to have the feel of a 1950s, 45-rpm, record release. A very nice touch. While the pre-order offer is long gone, you can still find unopened editions on ebay for a reasonable amount. There are a couple of nice-looking, special editions of the game coming out as well (Limited Collectors Edition, Survival Edition) but sadly neither includes the soundtrack. To make matters even a little more "apocalyptic," currently, there are no plans for a separate soundtrack release of FALLOUT 3. Perhaps as some consolation, you might consider pre-ordering PRINCE OF PERSIA, which will get you INON ZUR's score in addition to other game goodies for free.

Rating: 5/10


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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire - The Ink Spots 3:06  ***
2 Way Back Home - Bob Crosby 2:53  ***
3 Butcher Pete (Part 1) - Roy Brown 2:28  ***
4 Fallout 3 - Main Title 2:06  ***
5 Fallout 3 - Megaton 3:26  **
  Total Running Time (approx) 14:00  




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