Michael Land, Clint Bajakian and Peter McConnell
1) Opening Themes & Introduction
2) Chapter Screen
3) Scabb Island Overview
5) Largo LaGrande
6) The Swamp
7) The Cemetery
8) Stabbing Largo / LeChuck Returns
9) The Cook
10) Captain Dread
11) Captain Dread and The Map
12) Phatt Island
13) Phatt Island Jail
14) Outside Phatt Mansion
15) Phatt Mansion Guard
16) Governor Phatt's Room
17) Stan's Previously Used Coffins
18) The Crypt / Rapp Scallion
19) The Spitting Contest
20) Captain Kate's Boat / Booty Island
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Guest Review by Mark Ittensohn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
If Monkey Island 1 laid the cornerstone for modern adventure games, Monkey Island 2 perfected it. With this title LucasArts marked itself as the new “genre king”. The competition was strong, Sierra with its Kings Quest series being almost the inventor of adventure games. The success of Monkey Island 2 largely depended on the superb graphics, the intriguing storyline and, of course, the fascinating music.
The score was composed by Michael Land who had also scored Monkey Island 1, but this time he was assisted by Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian. Together they composed a masterpiece of adventure music that inspires the imagination and strongly augments the style of the game.
The music is performed by a midi-synthesizer, which was standard at the time. The library features clarinets, flutes, horns and some other unidentifiable instruments. That was nothing new compared to other games. But instead of composing nice melodies strongly inspired by folk songs (such as in the Kings Quest series, for example) Land, McConnell and Bajakian broke new ground and created a very special style of music partly influenced by reggae. Fans of the first game encountered this novelty right at the beginning of the game. The track “Opening Themes & Introduction” uses driving rhythms as well as guitar solos and mixes them with the superb, swashbuckling main melody used in the first game. However, the music doesn’t break completely with the conventional elements. There are still ambient tracks for the overviews of the several islands, as well as merry melodies for shops or even a melancholic flute performance for a track called “Phatt Island Jail”. The continuous pace of this particular track reminds one of a prisoner walking to and fro in a prison cell.
Each individual character features its own theme that is put into different variations during the course of the game. The thoroughly evil theme for the bloodthirsty zombie pirate LeChuck was taken over from the first game but the new performance and rhythm make it an even more captivating listening experience. The third and last melody that returns from the first game is the love theme. Although it may sound a bit over the top it carries the emotion of two lovers torn apart by destiny. Other highlights are the mean and rough melody of Largo LaGrande and of course the hilarious theme of Stan, which would later reappear in Monkey Island 3 and 4. The album ends with the track “End Titles”, which mixes some of the highlights of the score.
The best and truly revolutionary aspect of the score is its use in the game, though. The sound system called iMuse allowed the music to be highly interactive. Cues were fading in and out seamlessly and themes were mixed depending on the on-screen action. Land really created a musical landscape unmatched to this day in terms of interactivity.
If there’s one thing to criticize, it’s the fact that some of the tracks could get on your nerves. The poor synthesizer, the score is over 10 years old, and the repetitive motives of some of the tracks can sound annoying at times. However, that is a rarity and mustn’t deter you from getting it.
With that being said, I strongly recommend this score to any game music lover and it is a must-have for any Monkey Island fan. Midi has seldom sounded better, a superb achievement!