Composed by
Ervin Nagy and Tamas Kreiner

 

Published by
n/a

 

Tracklistings
1) Main Theme
2) Enemy Territory
3) Objecitve: Tobruk
4) Holding the Line
5) Operation Torch
6) Kasserine Pass
7) Letter from Home
8) Panzers to the Rescue
9) Jerboa Time
10) Tunis Express
11) Remember the Champs
12) Approaching an Oasis
13) Pressing on to Egypt
14) Sheltering Night
15) Across the Sands to the Sea
16) Hartmann's War Journal
17) "God Bless the Bastards"
18) Lair of the Desert Fox
19) Cross of Iron
20) Foxhunt
21) Panzers Unleashed
22) Missing, Presumed Alive

 

Extras
- Game Website
- Composer Website

 

Availability
No commercial release

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps

Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps is a real-time strategy game set during the Second World War. The player takes control of either the Desert Rats (Allied Forces) or the Afrika Korps (Axis Forces) and is given the mission to take over North Africa. The game featured excellent graphics, but suffered from gameplay problems, which prevented it from getting good reviews.

The game’s musical score was composed by Hungarian composers Ervin Nagy and Tamas Kreiner who had worked with developer Digital Reality before on numerous projects, among them the sci-fi strategy game Haegemonia: Legions of Iron. Compared to others, the pace of this strategy title is rather slow and the player has to take many tactical considerations into account before moving his troops onto the battlefield. Kreiner and Nagy’s music always tries to be in accord with the game’s presentation pace and thus Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps captivates through a tense and well-crafted structure that keeps the drama high at all times.

The score opens up with the track “Main Theme” which as the title already suggests introduces the two main themes: one for the Allied and one for the Axis forces. The Allied theme is more heroic and brassy while the Axis theme sounds more dark and sombre. They both appear throughout the score and are turned into variations and different arrangements. Consequently, many tracks have a very tense and varied build-up: Foreboding brass tones, dramatic string lines or pounding military percussion underline the slower moments of the game and provide a certain militaristic soundscape. There are occasional moments where the score kicks in with full force and offers exciting action material. An example of this is “Jerboa Time” that even features statements of both main themes and other thematic material. The album ends with an emotional sting-lead cue backed up by choir.

The score’s biggest downfall is its use of synthesizer. Gamers have come to expect to hear their military action scores performed by real orchestras. It is a shame that Nagy and Kreiner did not have the support of producers such as Steven Spielberg and his high-budget as, for example, Micheal Giacchino did for his Medal of Honor work. There is dramatic excellence to the musical composition of Desert Rats vs. Afrika Korps, but it is often buried under the rather poor synthetic sound.

Overall, composers Nagy and Kreiner created a score that is impressive. They have already shown their ability to compose dramatic and atmospheric music in their score to Haegemonia, and they have proven it again with this score. If you are willing to listen beyond the synthesizer, you will find a very well done and enjoyable score.