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Palace of the Galactic Emperor
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2010 17:49:38
"Palace of the Galactic Emperor" by Christy Carew does a great job of evoking a cinematic sense of epic power. It's not necessarily the music you want to play when the PCs are fighting the big bad; it would probably work better under a social encounter with a major authority figure. Although the piece makes a wonderful addition to Sonic Legends' sci-fi line, as the title suggests, this soundscape doesn't contain any sci-fi sound effects as such. There are no bleeps or whooshes that suggest any particular technology. Therefore, you could easily use it in a fantasy or modern setting as well as a futuristic one. I could have this track looping all morning while I work. One minor complaint: the ID3 tags have the track name as "Galactic Emperor," while the product description page calls it "Palace of the Galactic Emperor." That glitch is slightly annoying, but doesn't detract from the ambience this soundscape creates.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Palace of the Galactic Emperor
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Dwarven City
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2010 17:42:40
"Dwarven City" is another good offering from Randin Graves, who also contributed "Dark Ritual" to the Sonic Legends line. Take everything you stereotypically think about dwarves—a little harsh, preferring underground or undermountain dwellings, working in forges—and translate that into music. That's what Graves has done for you in this track. The music and sound effects evoke that "dwarven feel" very well. However, the track exhibits a greater volume range than most of the other Sonic Legends soundscapes, making it a little more difficult to use; also, after a while, the instrumentation chosen for the melodic line might start to grate a little. Also, the ID3 tags, which give the name of the track as "Dwarf Mountain," don't match the product description, which calls the track "Dwarven City." Even so, I'm glad to have this soundscape in my collection, and expect to use it later in my current campaign when the PCs visit an underground colony of dwarves.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dwarven City
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Old Western Town
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2010 22:16:44
Here's a hokey track that sounds like it fell out of the musical Oklahoma. Very orchestral, heavy on strings and the xylophone. There are sound effects of horses and a howling wolf. Toward the middle of the piece we get an interlude on piano, with some background noise indicating we're in a saloon. A steam train whistles in the background. It's a light, upbeat piece overall. nothing I'd use for a gritty western but certainly appropriate for pulpish, high-heroic games.

It's mostly a good piece, and hits all of the tropes of the musical genre, possibly too well. I think my problem is that the western film genre is so vast that there's already plenty of "generic" western music out there. With fantasy, you're limited; everyone's going to pick out a track from "Lord of the Rings", and if you don't want those associations in your game you want to turn to generic tracks like this. But westerns... there are thousands of films you could cull soundtracks from. It's not like it begins and ends with Ennio Morricone and the theme from The Magnificent Seven. My only critique of the piece itself is that the piano bit went on too long, was too repetitive; I was ready to shoot the piano player by the end of the track.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old Western Town
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Magical Spell
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2010 22:15:43
I'm not sure what this track is supposed to be evocative of. It's called "Magical Spell", but I felt like I was in a horror movie from the 60s or 70s.One of those flicks involving Satan. Maybe an episode of "Night Gallery" or one of the shows it inspired. It almost sounds like "Tubular Bells" from The Exorcist, but slowed way down. Definitely creepy and moody, I'll definitely use it in a horror or dark fantasy game.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Magical Spell
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Palace of the Galactic Emperor
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2010 22:14:41
When I see a title like "Palace of the Galactic Emperor" I think of two things: Darth Vader's theme music from Star Wars, or any track by Queen from the Flash Gordon soundtrack. When listening to this track, the scene that came to mind was one from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy's at the submarine dock sneaking around trying to avoid the Nazi guards. It's a quiet track for the most part, full of dramatic tension, with a militaristic beat to it. A good, cinematic track to be sure, but it really does feel more "sneaking around avoiding the bad guys" than "galactic emperor".

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Palace of the Galactic Emperor
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Dwarven City
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2010 22:13:27
It begins with low, droning horns, almost the sort of thing you find in a lot of Tibetan music, almost like throat singing. We get some militaristic snare drumming, punctuated with the clanging of anvils. There are long, drawn out strings typical of "sense of wonder" travelogue piece, to evoke the feeling you're travelling over, under and through the mountain. It works, but could use some more variation; once we get into banging anvils, that's the dominant voice of the piece until it quiets down a bit at the end. It works as a gimmick, but the anvils don't work for me as the main theme. I know, they're dwarves, the mine and make stuff, but pounding anvils gets overbearing pretty quickly.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dwarven City
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Cyberpunk
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2010 22:12:21
This track sounds like it fell out of an 80s movie, which is appropriate for a cyberpunk game. Keyboard electronica, an ominously pounding drum machine, and wailin' electric guitars. It leans toward cheese, and at first I was a bit disappointed because I wanted something harder-edged. Then I realized that, according to most classic cyberpunk literature, this is what the music really should sound like. The genre is sort of 1980s retro-futurism at this point, so those influences should be apparent. The biggest rockers in a cyberpunk world won't be the punk poets with deep musical artistry spewing forth social commentary; they'll be corporate product, spewing out formulaic riffs to lull the masses into pop-happy daydream trances. This track does that, and upon repeated listening I think it does so knowingly.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk
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Village Inn
by Rafael M. E. d. l. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2010 09:56:34
Este sonido es más propio de una sesión "chill out" que de un elemento ambiental para una partida RPG. Hay muy pocos elementos que hagan "útil" este sonido para la partida.
Por si fuera poco, la música, que es omnipresente, se oye más fuerte que los pocos sonidos realmente ambientales.
Y este comentario puede extenderse al resto de sonidos, aunque en este se nota más.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Village Inn
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The Big City
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2010 14:54:09
This soundscape is very well executed and displays exceptional production values. However, it seems to me rather limited in its scope. As the name "Big City" implies, the sound effects include passing cars, muffled conversations, police sirens, and the like. This limits the applicability of the piece, of course, to a modern setting that has such things. The music, performed beautifully, has a jazz feel to it, and this further narrows the range of situations in which you might use the soundscape. The music very much makes this soundscape feel like a 1920s period piece to me. This soundscape feels right to me for pulp-era games such as Call of Cthulhu (with an American 1920s-1930s setting), Spirit of the Century, Thrilling Tales, and so on. I could also imagine it working well with a more modern noir detective setting. Other soundscapes from Sonic Legends have wider applicability, and that's why I gave this soundscape only four stars instead of five. Everything else about it is superb.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Big City
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Wild West Saloon
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2010 13:19:48
This soundscape by Jack Walker delivers exactly what it promises: the ambience of a stereotypical Western saloon. The melody is carried primarily by a piano player (or player piano), and is enhanced with the sounds of glasses clinking, people talking and laughing, and even heavy footfalls a time or two. The saloon sounds like a very busy place. This piece is great for a Deadlands, Sidewinder, or Boot Hill campaign, or even a modern game that takes the PCs to a dude ranch, an Old West reenactment, or something like that. The piece won't see much use at my table, because I run a fantasy game, but I will definitely keep this piece close by in case I ever run a Western RPG.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wild West Saloon
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Prosperous Tavern
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2010 07:29:27
What fantasy role-playing game does not at some point end up with the characters in a tavern? If you like to set the scene with background music, this piece is ideal.

There is a busy hubbub of voices and clinking glasses and somewhere a minstrel is playing. I need to recommend this to one of my DMs who is forever trying to get ME to sing just because I like playing bard characters... they can listen to some gentle instrumental folk instead! When the music ends, there's a generous round of applause and some renewed chatter before different instruments begin to play.

On the whole it sounds like a good-natured and busy tavern, with conversation and ale flowing well. Don't play it when your characters go into the sort of inn where all the locals stop and stare at the newcomers or do something unsocial like speaking a language that the characters don't understand. This is the sort of tavern that you will enjoy a friendly evening in... even if there is a bit of good-natured teasing at times. In fact it quite reminds me of some good local folk nights that I've been to here in Cheshire!

At times there seems to be some kind of uproar and spectator comment. While the notes provided by Sonic Legends suggest a brawl, you may prefer to describe a pub game in progress - shove ha'penny, bar billiards or maybe darts.

Technically, it runs for nearly 10 minutes, certainly long enough to set the scene and with enough going on that if you decide to loop it and leave it running throughout the time your characters are in the tavern it will not be noticeable... provided you clip off the voice at the end inexplicably saying that the track was purchased somewhere else than where it did come from! Easy enough to do, if you are of a mind!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prosperous Tavern
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Arabian Bazaar
by Wayne W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2010 13:07:29
This is a very nice sound scape for RPG games or just causal listening. The music is quite nice and the added sound effects enhance but do not distract from the mood of the music.

The middle eastern sound is great for a lot of settings and loops very well.

My crew likes these music interludes and I believe these soundtracks will enhance your game.

Minor criticisms, I would have liked a higher bit rate, like 320 or so, but I understand that such a rate would make the file much larger. I would pay a bit more for a FLAC or OggVobis format, but thats just me.

I will buy more of these when the budget permits, and at the price, I think I can afford them soon.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Arabian Bazaar
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Imperial City
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2010 18:51:47
Exotic without necessarily suggesting a specific culture, this track could lend an air of mystery to any urban setting that's outside the PCs' norms. To me, the music seems to blend Middle Eastern and South Asian themes into a whole that transcends both. Okay, so that previous sentence sounds a bit pretentious; perhaps I should have said, "Think belly-dancing to the sound of sitars." The piece also features pan pipes, light vocals, brassy percussion, and even the sounds of horses running by. It's a very evocative track, it loops seamlessly, and it belongs in any DM's music library.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Imperial City
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Country Village
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2010 16:15:11
Lull your players into a false sense of security with this lush, gorgeous piece from Erika Lieberman. The music and sound effects evoke a beautiful meadow full of blooming flowers, chirping birds, and playing children. There's even a light, almost comical interlude, and the cows and pigs come out to play a little over halfway through the piece. Play this track while the PCs rest in a country village (in any time period, as the music and sound effects are thoroughly genre-neutral) or stroll across a lovely hillside—then cut to an action-oriented soundtrack like Erika's "Attack of the Wyvern" and hit them with a dreadful monster. I would certainly have scored the early scenes of "Feed the Dead" with this soundscape if I'd had the chance. It's a great track to play during game breaks as well, and it's even non-intrusive enough to play while you work (if you have an office job).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Country Village
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Arabian Bazaar
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2010 14:37:12
Music, sound effects, and subtle lines of dialogue blend perfectly in this soundscape with music by Christy Carew and sound effects by Erika Lieberman. You can hear the shuffling of animals, the haggling of customers with merchants, the exchange of coins—all carried along beautifully by an exotic melody. Adding value is the fact that nothing in the sound effects requires any particular time period—as long as your RPG setting involves the use of coins as money, you can use this soundscape with absolutely no fear of "genre seepage." It's perfect for historical, fantasy, steampunk, pulp, or modern games, and even sci-fi games (within the one limitation mentioned above regarding coinage). Any GM who uses musical backing and whose adventures might take the PCs to a Middle Eastern type setting should definitely add "Arabian Bazaar" to his or her soundscape library.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Arabian Bazaar
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