Command & Conquer: Renegade

Command & Conquer: RenegadeThe Command & Conquer games are loaded down with so many obedient soldiers under the player’s control, how could a game be made about any one of them? The answer’s easy: make a game about the one soldier you don’t see in the C&C games. A loose-cannon, gun-totin’ badass. And that’s what Westwood’s first-person blast-fest Command & Conquer: Renegade is all about.

For the music for Renegade, veteran Westwood composer Frank Klepacki goes in two directions at one: back to the original theme from Command & Conquer, and forward for some chunky, hybrid heavy metal/techno music befitting the baddest of the bad. When you have a track called “Got A Present For Ya” in a soundtrack from a game about a heavily armed rogue soldier, you can probably guess this 4 out of 4won’t be the soundtrack from On Golden Pond. This isn’t to say that every cue is top-heavy with action, though – “Sniper” and “Beach” are a couple of good examples of this.

The reworkings of the original C&C theme are a welcome return, bringing the whole thing full-circle and giving it the feel of belonging to a larger saga.

Order this CD

  1. Command & Conquer (2:58)
  2. Got A Present For Ya (2:21)
  3. Sniper (3:18)
  4. Act On Instinct (3:31)
  5. Stomp (2:55)
  6. (Untitled Track) (3:57)
  7. Sneak Attack (3:50)
  8. Move It (2:04)
  9. Dogfight (4:42)
  10. Packing Iron (3:22)
  11. Industrial Ambient (4:00)
  12. Beach (3:01)
  13. Fight Win Prevail (3:36)
  14. Ammo Clip (3:18)
  15. In Line Of Fire (3:57)

Released by: Westwood Studios / Electronic Arts
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 50:50

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun

Command & Conquer: Tiberian SunIt may seem silly to snatch up the music of a game I don’t even own (honestly, I’m not sure my system could handle it), but sometimes it’s worth it. Frank Klepacki carries on the proud, if unorthodox, tradition of tracking a wargame with some serious techno beats that wouldn’t be out of place in the club scene. The smooth groove of “Lone Trooper” and the slow-building jam of “Scouting” are some of the finest techno cuts I’ve heard, game or no game. “Mutants” kicks off with the slimiest slice of modern funk I’ve heard in a long time, and the menacing “Approach” track echoes the ticking clock percussion of some of the better cues from John Williams’ JFK score. “What Lurks” is a bit reminiscent of 4 out of 4Klepacki’s best work from Dune 2000. While Tiberian Sun itself didn’t get the warmest reception from the PC gaming community (as well as a few Command & Conquer purists who balked at the transition from overhead 2-D graphics to a 3-D look), the soundtrack is right on the money – whether you’re listening to it in the car or blasting away at the legions of NOD.

Order this CD

  1. Timebomb (2:07)
  2. Pharotek (4:41)
  3. Lone Trooper (4:42)
  4. Scouting (4:17)
  5. Infrared (4:31)
  6. Flurry (4:15)
  7. Mutants (4:15)
  8. Gloom (4:01)
  9. Heroism (4:03)
  10. Approach (4:43)
  11. Dusk Hour (4:18)
  12. The Defense (4:05)
  13. Mad Rap (4:32)
  14. Valves (4:22)
  15. What Lurks (5:17)
  16. Score (1:49)

Released by: Westwood Studios / Electronic Arts
Release date: 1999
Total running time: 65:58

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2Hailed by many gamers as a big improvement over Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Red Alert 2 refined the 3-D graphics engine introduced in its predecessor – and it rocked out the music. If there’s one thing that makes the Red Alert 2 soundtrack – which was available from Westwood Studios for a limited time around the game’s release – stand out from the rest, it’s a refreshing blast of heavy metal guitar. The real standout here is the blistering, fast-paced “Destroy”, though there are close runners-up: “Grinder” and “Industrofunk”. The six-string pyrotechnics are a nice addition to the by-now-familiar C&C style of techno music, but the old style isn’t completely lost – tracks 4 out of 4such as “Probing” and “Fortification” are pure old-school C&C cues that wouldn’t have been out of place in the original game.

This may actually be my favorite soundtrack from the Command & Conquer games, simply because it’s so different from the others, while still keeping the “feel” of what came before it.

Order this CD

  1. HM2 (3:44)
  2. Industrofunk (3:12)
  3. Ready The Army (4:57)
  4. Grinder (2:27)
  5. In Deep (3:24)
  6. Motorized (4:02)
  7. Power (3:56)
  8. 200 Meters (4:12)
  9. Destroy (4:38)
  10. Burn (4:37)
  11. Probing (4:19)
  12. Blow It Up (3:11)
  13. Eagle Hunter (4:16)
  14. Fortification (4:02)
  15. Jank (3:46)
  16. C&C In The House (4:06)

Released by: Westwood Studios / Electronic Arts
Release date: 2001
Total running time: 62:49

Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Command & Conquer: Red Alert Another blast of raw energy from the other C&C music factory, Frank Klepacki’s music from the immensely popular Red Alert PC strategy game brings into sharp focus the elements that made his music from Command & Conquer such a compelling listen even away from the computer. Gone are most of the soundbytes within the music (the chilling refrain of film-footage “sieg heil” samples in “Hell March” being an exception), Klepacki brings in da funk in full force. “Mud” is perhaps the best example of what he achieves with the music from this game: funky, atmospheric, moody, and rhythmic, without relying on a hit-you-over-the-head-with-it, four-beats-to-the-measure techno beat at all times. 4 out of 4Though further games (and soundtracks) in the Command & Conquer series were released, their music seldom got better than this.

Though it was offered on Westwood Studios’ site for a long time, The Music Of Command & Conquer: Red Alert is now out of print.

Order this CD

  1. Hell March (6:24)
  2. Radio (4:05)
  3. Crush (3:49)
  4. Roll Out (3:54)
  5. Mud (4:48)
  6. Twin Cannon (3:55)
  7. Face The Enemy (5:36)
  8. Run (5:13)
  9. Terminate (5:20)
  10. Big Foot (5:15)
  11. Workmen (4:44)
  12. Militant Force (1:50)
  13. Dense (5:02)
  14. Vector (4:18)
  15. Smash (8:07)

Released by: Westwood Studios / Electronic Arts
Release date: 1996
Total running time: 72:20

Command & Conquer – music by Frank Klepacki

Command & ConquerIt may have been a little ahead of its time, but the soundtrack from Westwood’s acclaimed real-time strategy computer game Command & Conquer could almost earn the subtitle “music that could have been, but wasn’t, in The Matrix.” Frank Klepacki’s richly textured pieces rely heavily on techno, primarily because it’s easy to loop seamlessly (which is a requirement when scoring a video game). But while he could’ve just set the war machine on autopilot for these tracks, Klepacki made a real effort to vary the sound of each individual piece. Standouts include “Radio”, “Drone”, “Rain In The Night” and “Target”, all notable for a nice, uneasy but not overbearingly bombastic atmosphere, just the sort of doom-laden tension you need for a war game.

Klepacki leans very heavily on speech samples throughout the soundtrack, which is something I probably could have lived without; in a few tracks, such as “Just Do It Up” and “Act On Instinct”, the constant bits of movie dialogue, news clips and whatnot become a distraction against the music.

3 out of 4Westwood sold copies of the Command & Conquer soundtrack through their web site for several years, and copies have also been known to be included with bundled versions of the game with its expansion packs (and, most recently, included in a music bundle at Best Buy stores with Red Alert 2). However, the C&C score is now out of print. It’s worth the effort to find, however, if you have a taste for this particular genre of music.

Order this CD

  1. Act On Instinct (2:52)
  2. No Mercy (3:21)
  3. Industrial (2:53)
  4. Iron Fist (3:30)
  5. We Will Stop Them (3:09)
  6. Radio (3:01)
  7. On The Prowl (3:02)
  8. Re-Con (4:22)
  9. Drone (4:32)
  10. In The Line Of Fire (2:04)
  11. Prepare For Battle (3:29)
  12. Depth Charge (4:15)
  13. Rain In The Night (2:34)
  14. Creeping Upon (3:37)
  15. Target (2:52)
  16. Just Do It Up (2:22)
  17. C&C Thang (3:12)
  18. To Be Feared (2:45)
  19. Drill (4:27)
  20. Full Stop (3:01)
  21. In Trouble (3:32)
  22. Airstrike (3:17)

Released by: Westwood Studios / Electronic Arts
Release date: 1995
Total running time: 72:09