With video game soundtracks becoming more polished and integral to the games’ longevity; as the memorable blips and bleeps are replaced with enigmatic samples, raw oscillating voltages that sometimes pass through the uncanny valley and cinematic orchestrations that are bespoke to a virtual activity; the music in games is more than an emotional cue. A games’ soundtrack alone can be the unique selling point, well, when it’s not licensed Emo/Punk/YouTube/Twitch copyright bothering IP™. It can be elementary in defining for want of a better term the ethnicity of a level or scene.
According to his Wikipedia article Ben Prunty is best known for his interstellar soundtrack for FTL: Faster Than Light. However that’s just the beginning of a growing line of excelsior soundtracks. Incidentally the latest new music from Ben comes in the form of the highly anticipated Darkside Detective. Shirking the physics based themes of previous games he has delved into the mysterious theremin demanding territory of the occult to craft complimentary EVP to stimulate your puzzle solving gray matter [EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomenon is what we in the business call uncanny instrument patches on a synth module – Ed.]
The Darkside Detective is a point and click graphic adventure similar to other games where you use your cerebellum to manifest a kind of telekinesis within a virtual playing field. “What?” I hear you say. It’s a work of interactive fiction that let’s you, yes you, unfold the story!
With that being said Ben’s soundtrack captures the spirit of each scene through dark incidental themes that tick along nicely within their visual context. He harmoniously mixes ethereal sounds with the retro aesthetic of the game to further the sense of mystery. Yet while the game is in 2D Bens’ soundtrack adds the much lauded third dimension. Emphasizing the depth of the art and the script with its own means.
The Darkside Detective soundtrack tells a story (with no spoilers) on its own. Reminiscent in sound to the work of FlyByNo (Dungeon of the Endless, Endless Legend) with a touch of Michael Land (Secret of Monkey Island,) Mark Seibert (Conquest of Camelot, Space Quest III,) and a hint of Straylight Productions (Unreal, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Deus Ex) throughout the main compositions. Overall the tongue in cheek humor and more human than humans ideas prevalent in the parent game are reflected with such a strong conviction that the soundtrack will continue to haunt you even after you turn off your computer and do something constructive.