Shadows of the Damned was released in 2011 with a very small reception. It is kind of an obscure game nowadays, since it didn’t sell a lot, and it’s just a pity given it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.
One of its strong points is the soundtrack, which I decided to review.
The whole soundtrack was composed by Akira Yamaoka, master of background music. Plenty of people know him for his work on Silent Hill, however, he can do a lot more than that and this soundtrack is proof of it.
Before I start, I want to make one thing clear: this soundtrack will still sound like Silent Hill for most. It definitely has elements that have been used in SH soundtracks before, a lot of the samples could even be the same. However, the main difference between this soundtrack and a SH oneis that this one is more melodic based whereas SH soundtracks made by Yamaoka have more of a screeching, hammering background; they don’t flow as well as this one does.
As we make our way through the game, we face both really funny and really serious scenes, filled with action. The music made for every part is perfect, full of synthesizers that fuse with upbeat drums and sometimes they surprise us with voices thrown here and there. They range from chill to really upbeat so it’s impossible to get bored of this soundtrack.
When appreciating every song on its own, we can tell it relies a lot on a background drumming, which is constant, and together with vibrant, high pitched melodies they add tension. Afterall, this is a horror game, despite having a lot of humor.
These songs have a lot of personality on their own, and it is clear what the intentions were when making each composition: they want to get the player involved in the scene and they manage this task perfectly.
The slower melodies feature pianos that are played over a mysterious soft composition, then accompanied by drums. Mystical compositions seem to be the norm running in every piece.
The voices are also fantastic. Every character has a strong personality and the voices match them. From the main character, García Hotspur, a pseudo illiterate Mexican demon hunter who speaks a mix of Spanish and English, to his sidekick, Johnson the demon skull who serves him as both bike and gun, serving as the humor side of the duo with his constant funny comments.
On top of that, we also have a couple of vocal themes written by Joe Romersa and sung by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Troy Baker, two favorites of Yamaoka. One of these themes, “Take Me To Hell (Broken Dream)”, is the main song of the title:
This is definitely an one of a kind soundtrack. These type of games, action ridden with demons to shoot constantly, don’t usually have this kind of melodic.
The game is an amazing experience for the horror games fans. It’s obvious a lot of love went into making it so in the end it’s a really enjoyable experience.