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Huxley by Kevin Riepl


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Huxley (Soundtrack) by Kevin Riepl

Composed by Kevin Riepl
Promo Release (2008)

Rating: 7/10

*This promo is not available for purchase



“HUXLEY is unashamed in its choice to deliver memorable themes, in-your-face-action music and foregoes the expected dive into digital-grunge. ”

A Game's New World
Review by Christopher Coleman

One video game that is poised to have a huge, long-term impact on the gaming world is Webzen's HUXLEY. The title has been on gamer's radars for quite some time. With engineers in the midst of crafting up the next-gen engine, Unreal Engine 4.0, HUXELY is another title that will be launched on version 3.0 of the popular and still impressive graphics engine. The story of the game reportedly has been inspired by Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD. As per usual, with the world in utter chaos, humans and non-humans alike are fighting over the world's resources...for survival. In the case of HUXLEY, the two main combatants struggle over control over a potential society-saving power source, called Lunarites. It would seem with that story as background, gamers would have enough to hang endless hours of frag-time on. Yet HUXLEY goes further as it is no run-of-the-mill FPS (first person shooter). This time out webzen has created a MMOFPS (Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter). This time you don't just have a single session of fraggin' fun, but now your efforts are a part of a persistent world...where everything you do, every battle you have, impacts the greater world in which you play...not to mention your team-mates. The game is scheduled to release on both PC and Xbox360 - the biggest difference being the X360 also receives a single player campaign in addition to the multiplayer play. For HUXLEY, veteran video game composer KEVIN RIEPL was brought on to provide the game's musical score.

Perhaps KEVIN RIEPL's most recognizable effort came with the MSVG (Massively Selling Video Game...ok, I made that one up) for GEARS OF WAR, but has worked on other noteworthy game projects like: SOUL OF THE ULTIMATE NATION, UNREAL TOURNAMENT III, and CITY OF VILLAINS. Oddly, it has been reported that composer STEVE JABLONSKY (Transformers, D-War) has been brought on to write the score for GEARS OF WAR 2 with Riepl only providing the "concept music" this time out. Still, with the overwhelming success of the first Gears of War, it's little wonder that KEVIN RIEPL was hired again by Webzen. While the environment and storyline has a degree of dark-edginess, it certainly doesn't hit the same level of grit that GEARS OF WAR reached. Still, KEVIN RIEPL's score for HUXELY is surprisingly "light" - and by "light" perhaps I mean "traditional." The score offers a strong, heroic main title and secondary motifs that could easily find a home in war games from the World War II era. HUXLEY continues Riepl's tradition of delivering scores that are more weighted to the symphonic end than the electronic and, best of all, is a entertaining effort in its own right.

The most striking thing about Riepl's score for Huxley is its strong symphonic personality. There is a surprising bit of diversity contained in this score as well. For much of the time, HUXLEY hardly feels like a game score at all. With majestic and memorable themes and a pretty powerful performance by the 80-piece Hollywood Symphony Orchestra, RIEPL's score could fit right into a militaristic feature film. The title theme of the game is given to us right from onset and bears an interesting resemblance to one of John Williams' secondary themes from A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. The motif make several appearances at key moments in the game experience ranging from: "Character Creation" menu (2), to the conclusionary "Mission Complete" (12) and "Mission Failed" (13). A large portion of the music for Huxley revolves around two main camps of the game for which KEVIN RIEPL delivers a unique theme. The Nostalonia theme is regal, bold and features reflective brass that certainly calls Jerry Goldsmith's score for PATTON to mind. "The Eska Theme" (5) feels a bit more esoteric, but as he does for the Nostalonia theme in track 4, Riepl takes this Eska theme and kicks some aggressive, military life into it in the next track, "Eska Military" (6).

The action pieces of this release definitely hold little back. This soundtrack's mid-section is dominated by some heart-pounding music. The three "Battle Zone" tracks (7-9) are emotionally charged pieces that, I would have to guess, go a long way to keeping the gamer quite engaged in his battle scenario. Each track makes the occasional quote of the established motifs for the Nostalonians and in between, KEVIN RIEPL locks the listener in with his energy-charged action music. The strong reliance upon brass definitely gives this effort a World War II shooter vibe and could, in many ways, sit right next to something from MICHAEL GIACCHINO or CHRISTOPHER LENNERTZ. Additionally, the "Boss" cues (14-16, 22) present, what appears to be, a unique motif to represent the boss-challenges of the game. The first three continue the symphonic personality, while track 22, "Boss Battle" gives an edgy, electronic version. Speaking of electronics...

What I had anticipated for this game was a much edgier, much grungier, electronics-laden festival of musical carnage, but the composer has certainly gone a different route. This is not to say there is no electronic component. There most certainly is, but it, for the majority of tracks, plays a supporting role to the orchestra. Actually, there are only a few all-electronic tracks to be found: "Radioactive" (20), "Boss Battle" (21) and "Spot Public Ad" (23). KEVIN RIEPL opts to employ his synthesized elements more judicially.  In some cases, he starts his pieces nearly 100% electronic only to have the orchestra come to dominate the track; leaving the original synthesized elements as complimentary elements only [see "Sapiens Sewers" (10), "Alternative Sewers" (17) and "Alternative Closed Area (18).] The last bit of surprise contained in HUXLEY comes via the minor cultural infusion that takes place toward the conclusion. "Eska Islamic Town" (21) and "Nostalonia China Town" (22), feature indigenous instrumentation giving them a clear middle and far east feel - a welcome bit of diversion before the "chill out" conclusion in "Spot Public Ad." (23).

HUXLEY is another good example of composer KEVIN RIEPL's creative flexibility as game composer. While the final verdict on the game itself is a ways off from being known, it is clear that in the musical score department, the producers have taken care of business. HUXLEY is unashamed in its choice to deliver memorable themes, in-your-face-action music and foregoes the expected dive into digital-grunge.

Rating: 7/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Main Theme 4:03  ****
2 Character Creation 2:31  ***
3 Nostalonia Theme 5:23  ****
4 Nostalonia Military 2:04  ****
5 Eska Theme 6:04  ****
6 Eska Military 2:05  ****
7 Battle Zone Europe 3:14  ****
8 Battle Zone Fjords 3:00  ****
9 Battle Zone Archipelago 2:18  ****
10 Sapiens Sewers 2:49  ****
11 Low Health 1:14  ***
12 Mission Complete 1:04  ****
13 Mission Failed 1:04  ***
14a Boss Appearance A 0:24  ***
14b Boss Appearance B 0:30  ***
15 Boss Fight 2:03  ***
16 Sapiens Closed Area 3:11  ***
17 Alternatives Sewers 3:39  ***
18 Alternatives Closed Area 3:08  ***
19 Radioactive 2:30  **
20 Eska Islamic Town 2:10  ***
21 Boss Battle 2:14  **
22 Nostalonia China Town 2:10  ***
23 Spot Public Ad 0:55  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 60 minutes  




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