ZombieSmash! Soundtrack EP
Chris Hülsbeck is back!! Following the disbandment of Factor 5, the famed Amiga composer returned to his freelance roots and started working on a range of projects. The most notable of these so far is ZombieSmash!, a best selling parody of survival horror games for the iPhone. Hülsbeck's record label recently released an EP featuring compositions and remixes from the title on iTunes.
Perhaps the best feature of ZombieSmash!'s soundtrack is how it inspires memories of Hülsbeck's Amiga classics. Take the main theme, for instance. 80s pop influences are very obvious here and they're entirely likeable. With big synthpads, epic drum beats, and a bold melody, the resultant theme is highly reminiscent of his best from Turrican. The melody isn't quite as good, but is still memorable and fitting for the game. Overall, it is great to see the composer return to his roots after some more explorative orchestral and electronic works recently.
The rest of the soundtrack essentially maintains this dark retro pop feel. "They Come At Night" is a parody of old horror movies with its boundless opening synthpads and gothic rock centre. The melody is quite similar to the main theme, but this time uses a descending pattern instead, allowing both continuity and variety. "Better Off Undead" is the most tense and atmospheric of the gameplay tracks, achieving a great arch over its playtime. It is highly effective in context and brings a lot of mood and drama to the game. Finally, "Little Shop of Terror" beautifully combines Hülsbeck's talent as a piano writer with ghostly synth work.
Though the main ZombieSmash! soundtrack is short, comprising just four tracks, there are three bonus tracks in the EP. The first is the trailer music, a one minute track that blends a Hollywood orchestral tone with the more tongue-in-cheek feel of the rest of the score. There are subsequently extended remixes of the game's themes by Hüsbeck himself and the German remix site Sound of Games. Both make wonderful use of the melodies and add their unique twists. Hüsbeck's megamix is especially good and encompassing; it is full of the unrestricted creativity and melodic emphasis of the best remixes from the Amiga days.
Indeed, Hüsbeck is back... and on top form too. The score is a very welcome homage to the days of the Amiga in terms of composition and implementation. However, it has its own individuality too, especially due to the horror influence. The ZombieSmash! Original Soundtrack certainly isn't long, but it is worth the money nevertheless.
They Come At Night
Little Shop Of Terror
Better Off Undead
ZombieSmash! Trailer Music
ZombieSmash! Sound Of Games Remix (Bonus Track)