- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Halo Legends Original Soundtrack :: Review by Marc

Halo Legends Original Soundtrack Album Title: Halo Legends Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Sumthing Else Music Works
Catalog No.: SE-2076-2
Release Date: February 9, 2010
Purchase: Buy at Amazon | Download at Sumthing Digital


The release of the Halo Legends Original Soundtrack will surely be known as quite an interesting milestone in game music history. The soundtrack to a Japanese anime based on a hugely influential Western title, it features both reprises and arrangements of traditional Halo themes by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, as well as several original tracks by veteran anime composers Yasuharu Takanishi, Tetsuya Takahashi, and Naoyuki Hiroko. The pieces are orchestrated by the Dynamedion music team in Germany and performed by the Staatskapelle Halle orchestra. Does the soundtrack create a serviceable bridge into the musical side of the Halo series? How do the original tracks compare to the arranged ones, and do they mesh in well? The answers lie ahead.


Martin O'Donnell's original tracks from Halo and its sequel are the most highly represented on the album. The first piece heard, "Ghosts of Reach," begins with a choir that is to be heard fairly often throughout the soundtrack, in varying forms, which then gives way to a string section, backing up the melody. The effect is stirring, and serves as a very effective opening for what is to come. "Unforgotten," true to its title, is unforgettable and is definitely my favorite track on the album. This soft piece features a melody on the strings that is absolutely exquisite. A piano soon takes over with a short motif that sounds Mitsuda-like and is then joined by the strings repeating the melody from before. The calming effect it has is incredible, and I highly recommend it be sampled. Many of the other arrangements are presented in suite formats, ranging from the highly cinematic opening suites to the sweeping action-packed "Sacred Iron Suite 2" to the enigmatic "Cairo Suites". Also impressive are the heroic "High Charity Suite 2" and its string quartet arrangement towards the end of the soundtrack. The only drawback is that a number of these tracks are tragically short for contextual reasons.

"Halo" is, as likely expected, is a rendition of the main Halo theme without any added frills. It's an extremely serviceable piece, and it has earned its keep in game music history. The opening dirge makes way for the aforementioned string motif supporting an exciting melody, threading into the otherwise unrelated "Desperate Measure". "Brothers in Arms" starts off with a very militaristic feel, dominated by a powerful brass section that pans out as the strings play a portion of the main Halo theme. This track illustrates one gaping flaw I notice throughout the album: the percussion feels rather weak where it is used, with preference obviously given to the melodies. "Truth and Reconciliation," the longest track on the album, subsequently starts with a bit of an Asian vibe in the woodwinds which then makes way for a more concrete melody swapped around between the brass and strings. Halfway through the track, listeners are treated to a fuller version of the Halo theme, supported by the instantly recognizable motif of three staccato notes on the strings followed by a longer note, higher in pitch. The track closes with the popular dirge-like melody sung by the male choir, usually utilized at the beginning of the main theme, not the end.

The original tracks by the trio of anime composers are both fewer encountered in frequency and generally shorter in length than the arranged tracks. Yasuharu Takanishi leads the pack with "Blade and Burden," a piece that, although short, features a beautiful aria over gradually building strings, soon giving way to a breathtaking string section whose only flaw is its abrupt end. "Steel and Light" is a perfect description of the track it titles, the almost Middle Eastern sounding steel guitar and pan flute serving as the steel, and the choir acting as the light. The pan flute in "True Arbiter" sounds Asian, my only wish being that it would have been featured more prominently, as the otherwise endearing strings are similar to what we've been hearing throughout the album. "Shattered Legacy," the last track contributed by Takanishi, presents a reprise as an aria of the short but by no means deficient melody found in "Blade and Burden," serving as a nice cyclical end to his quartet of contributions.

Although effective in context, the other original composers offer little to the stand-alone release. "Out of Darkness" is the only track composed by Naoyuki Hiroko featured on the soundtrack. The piece is noticeably brief nevertheless and, while pleasant, never develops into anything particularly noteworthy. Tetsuya Takahashi's first track, "Into Light," is also the shortest on the album and sounds as if it serves as a lead-in to a quick cutoff. "Here in Peril" is another militaristic track that features an effective, while "Risk and Reward" is a quick panic-driven track, though both end too quickly. Takahashi's final and by far longest contribution, "Exit Window," is a heroic, epic piece that utilizing interesting percussion and a sweeping brass section, leading to an abrupt but fitting end. Fortunately, the Halo arrangement "Finale 2" works very well as a closer for the album. It portrays that all is not quite right just yet, but that the current chapter is safely concluded.


Overall, the Halo Legends Original Soundtrack is a worthy addition to the series. If many of my track descriptions sounded similar to one another, it's because the pieces themselves really are stylistically similar. Despite this, and the overall weak percussion, the soundtrack easily manages to impress for its compositional prowess and production values alike. From Dynamedion's arrangements, it's plainly obvious why the Halo series' music has enjoyed such consistent praise throughout its tenure and the new interpretations often exceed the originals. The original tracks blend in well with the arranged pieces, but this is unfortunately due partially to their surprising brevity, never really giving them a chance to shine. There are definitely some impressive pieces and melodies spread throughout and, though not an absolute necessity, this album would be a shame to pass up if you're a fan of Halo and its music.

Overall Score: 8/10