Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier by Jim Dooley (Review)

Out of nowhere comes the digital release only of James Dooley’s score to the PSP game, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier. Thing I love most is finding great scores in the most unexpected places. Who would think such a low profile game would get such a wonderful effort from Dooley? Well, it does.

The opening track kicks things off in the good ol’ Zimmeresque swashbuckling fashion. So many parts of this score are reminiscent of the Pirates scores. They have “adventure” written all over it. There are some weaknesses to the score. Some of the tracks are clearly meant to be background music to the gameplay, and while that was expected I can’t help but compare every game score to the greater ones.

In my book the top two game composers are Harry Gregson-Williams and Michael Giacchino. Those two have made video games huge chunks of their careers. Giacchino being especially impressive because he really only scores FPS’s which really lack dramatic structure and are more about the action. Yet his Medal Of Honor scores are FANTASTIC!

Now, Dooley’s effort is an extremely fun one. I wasn’t expecting huge dramatic arcs for a Jak & Daxter game for the PSP. However, when looking at it as a standalone effort it lacks in that part. The rest of the score is extremely fun and listenable though, but when listening through I got the sense that no other track lived up to the explosiveness of the first track. He implements a chorus for the action heavy tracks, which made me smile because they reminded me of his Position Music work for trailer music.

In the end this is a great score from an unexpected place that is worth a look. It’s tons of fun, and even though this is a fully synthesized score it still packs a fun emotional wallop.

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