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Live video game music album is a great compilation

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 23:02

One of the more notable game related Kickstarter projects in the past few months has been “Video Games Live: Level 3,” an attempt to launch a third album from the people behind the world’s largest touring video game concert series “Video Games Live.”

The project was started by the creator of “Video Games Live,” game composer Tommy Tallarico (Earthworm Jim). It did not reach its funding goal until the very last day of the campaign.

Fast forward a few months later, the actual album is here and available for digital download. How exactly does it stack up?
To be honest, it’s not half bad.

One of the most impressive components of the album is the large use of an operatic choir on multiple tracks “Liberi Fatali” from “Final Fantasy VIII” and the “Tetris Opera” stand as fantastic highlights of the album. The “Dragonborn Theme” from “Skyrim” and “Invincible” from “World of Warcraft” should be equally pleasing to fans.

Recent games aren’t left out of the mix, with fantastic selections from “Dota 2” and “Journey” making appearances on the album.

The great thing about VGL is how they have never neglected more obscure titles with great music which has in return re ignited interest in the original games. For major game fans the presence of tracks such “Beyond Good and Evil” and “Shadow of Colossus” are absolute delights.

Another cool thing “Video Games Live” brings to the table is fully orchestrated versions of tunes from classic titles that existed before the stereo sound era of gaming. The “Pokemon” medley and “Street Fighter II” medley bring the fantastic music of these classics to life like never before. “The Secret of Monkey Island” medley stands as the highlight of these tunes, showcasing the games wonderful melodic themes in the way they were always intended (reminiscent of the background music one hears on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attractions at Disney Parks).

Unfortunately, the “Zelda 25th Anniversary Overture” doesn’t quite match up to Nintendo’s own official version released back in 2011 and while the live rendition of “Still Alive” may be amusing at first, the crowd drowns out the vocalists far too much.

Despite those few shortcomings, the album represents one of the very best collections of classic game music in years. For “Video Games Live,” it represents their best release yet, offering a little something for everyone. The presence of more obscure titles is appreciated and this set is clearly geared toward the hardcore fans. Video game music has been great for years but still fans have extreme difficulty finding official releases for their favorite tunes. Albums like “Video Games Live: Level 3” are a godsend.

8.5/10

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