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Halo: Spartan Assault by Tom Salta

Halo: Spartan Assault

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Halo: Spartan Assault (Soundtrack) by Tom Salta











Halo: Spartan Assault (Soundtrack) by Tom Salta

Halo: Spartan Assault
Composed by Tom Salta
Microsoft Studios Music (2012)

Rating: 7/10

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“HALO: SPARTAN ASSAULT, by TOM SALTA, is a score that ably bridges the musical gap between the original trilogy and HALO 4, arguably leaning more towards the former’s style. ”

Unmistakably Halo
Review by Richard Buxton


HALO 4 may not have been a great step forward for the series’ celebrated gameplay, and its narrative hardly broke boundaries for storytelling in the video game format. Yet it was in its score that players and listeners alike found an evolutionary jump that can clearly be distinguished from its forerunners. NEIL DAVIDGE and KAZUMA JINNOUCHI’S excellent score for HALO 4 was met with both acclaim and confusion, with some fans unsure as to whether a HALO score not written by MARTIN O’DONNELL and MICHAEL SALVATORI is a true HALO score at all. This particular composing duo may have moved on from the HALO franchise once and for all, but that doesn’t mean their influence has evaporated from the game’s consistently expanding universe.

HALO: SPARTAN ASSAULT, by TOM SALTA, is a score that ably bridges the musical gap between the original trilogy and HALO 4, arguably leaning more towards the former’s style. There is no doubt that this is a HALO score through and through. The unmistakable choir, incisive piano, and irresistible percussive rhythms are scattered across the entire release, resulting in a collection of cues that would not be out place if spread throughout the original trilogy.

SPARTAN ASSAULT is, like its predecessors, often at its most effective when the action has subsided to allow a more contemplative and illustrative side to come through. “Legacy” (1) opens with layers of intense choir that lead into the 4-note main theme, heard in typical HALO fashion on the piano. This theme is heard numerous times across the score in various forms of instrumentation and having undergone slight modification. Notable variations of the theme can be heard in the punchy “Who’s There” (3), the anthemic “Wolverine’s Return” (7), and the score’s finale “Finishing the Fight” (27). The rising choral theme, while less prominent, does reappear occasionally - in “Elevated” (24) for example - adding an expansiveness that is so synonymous with the HALO games. Choral themes heard within HALO so often have an almost romantic sense to them, as though they were love letters to the unknown potential that is the universe and all of its wonders, acting as intoxicating counters to the orchestral violence. It wouldn’t be a HALO score without this perspective, and SPARTAN ASSAULT most certainly is a HALO score as a result.

What SPARTAN ASSAULT does lack is a big-hitting, show-stopping cue in the fashion of “117” from HALO 4 or “Finish the Fight” from HALO 3. “Finishing the Fight” (27) is suitably energetic, but is devoid of moments that will linger in the memory alongside HALO’S most memorable cues. “Wolverine’s Return”, and the almost identical - besides rhythmic nuances - “Wolverine’s Reborn” (18) are aggressive and forceful, whereas “Castle Defense” is sweeping with its echoing of “The Arbiter’s Theme”, but none truly stand out.

SPARTAN ASSAULT is unmistakably HALO, and fans of the earlier scores will find a lot to appreciate here. Much of the music offered could be inserted into previous HALO scores with ease, but there is a slight feeling that SPARTAN ASSAULT could just as quickly make up an “additional score” release given the lack of genuinely standout cues.

Rating: 7/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Legacy 1:04  *****
2 Stark 1:21  ****
3 Who's There 1:28  ****
4 Bridge Too Far 2:21  ****
5 Hunted 1:16  ***
6 Read or Not 1:45  ****
7 Wolverine's Return 2:11  ****
8 Rising Legacy 2:42  ****
9 Survive 2:34  ***
10 Prelude 1:18  ****
11 Breaking the Code 1:16  ***
12 The Big Guns 1:46  ***
13 Quiet Giant 3:07  ****
14 Guns in the Dark 1:11  ***
15 Epic Evolution 2:08  ****
16 Eliminate the Resistance 1:25  ***
17 Night Dreams 3:16  ****
18 Wolverine Reborn 2:11  ****
19 Regret 0:42  ****
20 Castle Defense 2:27  ****
21 Simple Mystery 1:57  ***
22 Intimate 1:11  ****
23 Onslaught 2:01  ***
24 Elevated 1:25  ****
25 Knock Knock 1:09  **
26 Night Guards 1:28  ****
27 Finishing the Fight 2:56  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 49 minutes  


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