Game music: One Must Fall: Battlegrounds

OMF Cover Art“One Must Fall: 2097” was released in 1999 and remains my favourite fighting game ever. Piloting a 90 foot tall, hundred ton robot in a combat arena? What’s not to like? Four years later the sequel “One Must Fall: Battlegrounds” was a disappointing game featuring great music.

The soundtrack wasn’t well-received by critics – “overdone”[1]1UP, and “a bunch of upbeat melodic tracks that sound like they were ripped out of the Amiga demo scene”[2]GameSpot (somehow the latter is meant to be a bad thing…). What they don’t mention is the ambitious, iMUSE-esque technology driving the music. According to the (now defunct) homepage the music was designed to dynamically change to follow the flow of the fight. I’ve no idea if this actually worked as advertised, but it did create some wonderfully retro and – yes – demo-sceney music. Nothing like a bit of over-the-top synth to start the day.

The high point, for me, is the main theme. The game as a whole was meant to be an updating of the original, bringing it to the third dimension and upping the ante with new technology, but it generally flopped. On the other hand the theme music transitioned brilliantly – the 2097 title theme was instantly recognisable and matched the style of the game very well indeed. That they kept it and updated it so well for the sequel made me very happy.


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