Lost Planet 3

Musical Score By: Jack Wall

Distributed by: Lost In Sound Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The third installment in the Lost Planet video game franchise is a third-person shooter prequel for Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions and Lost Planet 2.  Taking place long before the original game, Lost Planet 3 follows the story of early E.D.N. III colonist Jim Peyton.  Taking on a lucrative contract with the Neo-Venus Construction Company mining energy from the hazardous environment of E.D.N. III, Jim realizes the potential for a huge payoff and a way to get home to his family on Earth a bit earlier than planned.  Unfortunately, Jim is about to discover that NEVEC is not being straight with him or any of the company’s employees.  In fact, the longer Jim works for the company, the more he realizes he doesn’t want to be.

                The Lost Planet 3 Soundtrack was created by American composer Jack Wall.  Earning a degree in engineering while performing in a rock band, Wall eventually chose music as a career after recording a demo tape with his band.  He began learning his craft by working in recording studios and working as a producer and sound engineer with various musicians.  He began working on musical scores for video games in 1995, creating the score for Vigilance for PostLinear Entertainment in 1997.  Since then, Jack Wall has created the musical scores for a number of popular video games, including those of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Mass Effect 1 and 2, Myst III and IV, Splinter Cell: Pandora’s Tomorrow and Jade Empire.

                Released on August 2013 on Jack Wall’s private label In Sound Records the Lost Planet 3 Soundtrack was created in two volumes - Alien Country Music and the Score - but released as a single package for digital download.  The album features music performed by Jack Wall himself in addition to a number of well-known performers and composers including Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica) on accordion, guitarist Craig Stull (Firefly) on dobro guitar, drummer Joe Travers (Zappa Plays Zappa), vocalist Cindy Shapiro (Myst III: Exile) and Tommy Morgan, cinema’s foremost harmonica player.

                According to the liner notes found in the booklet for the soundtrack, the alien country music is "...Jim's mix tape.  This is the music he listens to when he's just tooling around in his rig - the music his wife Grace, back on Earth sends him periodically to remind him of home."  The result is a country sound one might expect to hear at a Texas hoedown featuring fiddles, guitars, harmonicas, accordions and handclaps.  But it isn't all simple country western music.  No, Jack Wall introduces a little rock to his country, offering up some great guitar riffs and electric violins.

                I know that Jack Wall is hugely proud of the one lyrical song on the album, Travelin' Man.  I have to admit that the lyrics are awesome and the music is terrific, but that singing...well, I liked the gruffness of it, but it was lacking on several levels.

                By the eighteenth track, we have moved on to the score segment of the Lost Planet 3 Soundtrack Lost Planet 3 Theme is purely orchestral with horns giving the listener the impression of entering a new frontier, strings giving the listener a heightened sense of an adventure ahead and vocals adding a sense of mystery to it all.  Every once in a while a sultry guitar strum makes an appearance, a nod to Jim Peyton's roots and sense of honor.  There's a definite science fiction sound to the rest of the soundtrack, with electronic sounds and stylings.  Fast-paced guitars and horns offer up a sense of action while screeching violins give us a nasty scare.  The whole album ends with a little more country meets rock.

                I was wholly unprepared for this album.  In fact, knowing it was a soundtrack for a video game is what threw me off.  One doesn't expect to hear this much country on a video game soundtrack, but the Lost Planet 3 Soundtrack features just the right mix of slamming original country/rock tracks and actiony video game/sci-fi sound.  I thoroughly loved each and every one of the thirty-six tracks and can imagine that the music accompanying the visuals would make Lost Planet 3 quite a fun gaming experience.

                The album is over two hours long, making the $9.00US price a steal for the mp3 downloadable version.  The Lost Planet 3 Soundtrack is a definite must listen for all fans of gaming soundtracks out there.  And may I recommend that you download the digital booklet along with the music for the added plus of the composer's thoughts on the album as a whole and on each track he composed. 


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