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Splinter Cell Conviction Original Soundtrack :: Review by Harris Iqbal

Splinter Cell Conviction Original Soundtrack Album Title: Splinter Cell Conviction Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: April 13, 2010
Purchase: Download at iTunes


Splinter Cell: Conviction is the fifth instalment of the Splinter Cell franchise, combining stealth gameplay with intense action sequences. Collaborators Michael Nielsen and Kaveh Cohen made their video game debut on this score, having previously scored dozens of major trailers together, while returning composer Amon Tobin also made some guest contributions. The digital release features 16 tracks from the score by the two main composers, though omits a number of entries from the full soundtrack.


The soundtrack starts with "Conviction Main Theme", which serves as an insight of Fisher's fractured and rogue life. Introduced with high-pitched strings and electronic beats, Nielsen and Cohen capture the futuristic setting and espionage style in a similar manner to the Metal Gear Solid series. Subsequently the memorable main theme is introduced on strings, providing a rich and emotional draw during its two-tiered development. The climax of the track is certainly impressive, with intense orchestration and ethnic infusions, leading into a reprise of the main theme that is more energetic and epic than the exposition. While parts of this theme are clichéd, it is a multifaceted, fitting, and, above all, memorable entry to the franchise.

The most unique action track is "Flashback Coste". Used to portray a sequence in the Afghanistan war, it features Arabian bowed strings to give the distinctive feeling of being in the desert. However, its uniqueness lies in the way it synchronises these elements with electronic beats to make it sound distinct and not a typical theme from, say, Modern Warfare. The best part comes halfway through, when the electric bass and percussion appear to enhance the excitement and tension. The most memorable action theme is definitely "Windowless Building", however, due to its fast opening and epic climax. The peppering with eerie instruments and string stabs makes the in-game sequence all the more immersive too.

Sadly, this 16 track digital release is only a small sampling of the material from the full soundtrack. Among the omitted entries include all of Amon Tobin's tracks, many of them fascinating with their hybridised stylings, as well as powerful thematic reprises such as "Streets and Gardens". The soundtrack does manage to end in a fitting way, closing the various stylistic and thematic threads with a recapitulation of the main theme in "Final Scene" and a brief but emotional end cinematic sequence. However, the final release simply isn't expansive enough to offer quite the same journey offered by the 24 track collector's edition soundtrack.


Despite the fact that this is Michael Nielsen and Kaveh Cohen's first full game score, they have showed their hard work and commitment by creating a range of tracks that are both fitting in the game and enjoyable outside it. The main theme, especially, is so memorable that it will stick in your head. It's also fascinating how the artists, in collaboration with Amon Tobin, blend modern cinematic conventions with more experimental electronic and world elements. That said, fans of the series are advised to purchase the limited edition package of the game to experience the most expansive version of the official soundtrack, since this digital version lacks many of the most interesting tracks.

Overall Score: 6/10