The Lost World: Jurassic Park ~Original Soundtrack from the Playstation and Saturn Games~

"Nice orchestral performance, but lacking in other areas."

Artist Credits

Tracks

56 minutes total
  1. Into the Trees
  2. The Forest Explodes
  3. Base Camp Rampage
  4. The Canyon Brigade
  5. Beneath the Surface
  6. The Sulfur Fields
  7. Laboratory Hunt
  8. Climbing the Tower
  9. Aisle of Giants
  10. Dinosaur Graveyard
  11. Welcome Mr T-Rex
  12. Break for Freedom
  13. Volcanic Fault
  14. The Plains
  15. San Diego
  16. The King's Lair
  17. Raptor Wasteland
  18. Enter Carefully
  19. Primordial Forest (16:52)
  • Released in 1997 by Sonic Images (catalog no. SID-8803, retail $17).

Reviews

Nice orchestral performance, but lacking in other areas.

Editor's review by Adam Corn

The Lost World Original Soundtrack "from the Playstation and Saturn Games" is Dreamwork's first game soundtrack release, purportedly the first original game soundtrack to consist entirely of a live orchestral score, and one of the few movie license games to use solely original compositions. That's right, none of John Williams' music is present here. Instead the score is composed and conducted specifically for the game by Michael Giacchino.

While William's music may not officially be a part of the game soundtrack, his influence can certainly be felt. I was struck at first by how similar some of the music here sounded to Williams'. In particular, some of the orchestral transitions between themes are quite reminiscient of Williams' work in the Star Wars trilogy... probably too much so.

As for the themes themselves, well, no specific terms come to mind to describe them. As can be read in Dreamworks' production notes, Giacchino takes the approach of creating themes for the various characters/dinosaurs in the game and varying them for the different stages. My problem with the themes is they fail to conjure any strong feelings. I don't get the emotions of fear or danger that I would expect for this type of game, nor do I experience mental images of the game scenarios. Now there are exceptions. "Base Camp Rampage", for instance, is pure adrenaline all the way. Frantic strings and blaring brass combine to create sufficient sense of danger and excitement, in perhaps the most powerful performance of the score. Meanwhile, "The Sulfer Fields" shoots for a slower, more ominous sound instead, and succeeds.

Most of the tracks, however, fail to match that sense of excitement or danger, nor do they really hit the opposite end of the spectrum in creating ambience. The best I can do to describe my problem with the themes is they are too "bouncy". I almost get the image of these happy little dinos bopping along in the forest. Since much of the game appears to be of a slower-paced, adventure-type nature, the music possibly works fine in that context. But alone on a CD, it's a bit mundane.

The other problem with the CD is the arrangement of the tracks. Each track runs slightly above the two-minute mark, no doubt in order to fit the constraints of the game. Unfortunately, this leaves little room for Giacchino to develop his themes. Put the character's theme in there once or twice, diversify it a touch for the stage, throw in some Williams'esque transitions in between, and you've got the scenario for pretty much every track. The constant, immediate jumps from one track to another make it difficult to really delve into the music.

There is an exception to the short-track rule as well, and that comes at the end of the disc. After yet another short arrangement in track 19 come a few hidden arrangements. They run for about four minutes each, and the benefit of the extra time (almost double) is enormous. These pieces combine some nice steady jungle percussion with *well-paced* developments of a major character theme or two.

Performance-wise, it's all orchestral and all good. The performance is solid, the recording quality is crisp and clear, and the orchestration is superior to some Japanese orchestral game arrangements I've heard. But a strong performance alone isn't enough for most listeners.

The Lost World soundtrack tries to bridge the gap between game and film music, and although it's a nice attempt, it's more hurt by the limitations of the two than it is boosted by their strengths. The restricted track length turns out to be the major culprit. The CD is perfectly listenable and the domestic price is right on the money, but don't expect to come away with anything particularly memorable from the experience here.

This is the closest a videogame soundtrack will ever come to a movie soundtrack.

Reader review by Gerto Rijsdijk

The Lost World is one of the lesser Spielberg movies, one of the lesser John Williams scores, one of the lesser Playstation games (although you have to give them credit for trying something original), but one of the best videogame soundtracks I've heard in ages.

One of the main reasons I like this soundtrack is the fact that it is played by full orchestra, the first time that this has been done for a videogame full original soundtrack. The music lives... it has feeling, from the first track "Into the trees", which represents the adventures of Sarah Harding, to the 19th track "Primordial Forest", an innocent theme for the compy. It's like you're listening to the soundtrack of a movie.

The soundtrack was created during the making of the movie, so the composer wasn't influenced by the original soundtrack, which is a good thing because this makes the music sound more individual and not just another soundtrack "inspired" by the movie score (Batman Returns, SegaCD). I do however sometimes detect some hints of music which remind me a lot of the original Jurassic Park soundtrack, but this isn't very irritating; on the contrary, it gives you a real "Jurassic Parky" feeling.

In the game you play several different characters (compy, a human hunter, a velociraptor, a t-rex and finally Dr. Sarah Harding). Michael Giacchino (a name we'll definitely hear more of in the future) has created - in the old Star Wars tradition - a theme for every character. An innocent and almost sweet compy theme, an army-like yet heroic march for the human hunter, a hauntingly dark yet wild theme for the raptor, a powerful "I'll make your glass of water vibrate and then I'll eat you" T-Rex theme, and last but certainly not least a heroic Indiana Jonesy theme for Sarah Harding.

Giacchino sets these themes in musical backgrounds that represent the different environments the character goes through. So although the main theme stays the same the music still sounds like something completely different. This makes every track fun, esspecially the hunter ones.

Finally, the CD contains four bonus tracks. There is no information about these tracks... however I do think I've got an explanation for them. In the booklet included with the CD (which is pretty cool because it's fully illustrated with production art), it mentions how the people at Dreamworks wanted to create a synthesizer soundtrack for the game, but Steven Spielberg encouraged the idea of a fully orchestraded soundtrack. I think that the bonus track on the CD is synthesized "flavour music" for the people over at Universal to give them a feeling of the game. The music isn't that good. One tracks is about ten minutes long but there are no themes that you'll whistle for the next couple of days. It's really background music to create a jungle-mood, with lots of bongos and hisses, phony Dino noises and synthetical men's choirs going "aaaaaah"... nothing really special.

Overall I have to say that this is a wonderful soundtrack and is certainly worth the money. I even dare to go further and say it is way better than the soundtrack of the movie. It's a must-buy.

More from 1997