Funk music, ya dig?
Reader review by James Wong
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Interstate 76, it's one of Activision's great gems. Using the Mechwarrior 2 engine, developers created a game where Groove Champion (the main funked out dude) must avenge his sister's death by driving a weapon-equipped, oil-slick ready car, blasting through whatever gets in his way. Just by listening as I played, I'76 got me to appreciate funk music.
The cover says, "Over 45 minutes of funk - straight from the combat zone." I suppose that "straight from the combat zone" translates to "includes dialogue from the game", because that is what the Interstate 76 soundtrack includes in segments of the disc. When I first looked at the insert I said, "Wow, 31 tracks!" Turns out that half of them are just several-second dialogue clips. I wonder, did the executive soundtrack producer get inspiration from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack? Hmm.
When they say "funk", they sure as hell mean it. The I'76 soundtrack delivers with well arranged '70s tunes and brief dialogue sometimes embedded into the songs. While this may be a disappointment to those who wish to hear a song without any spoken interruptions, it does make the disc a sort of "book-on-CD" (to recoin the phrase). For those who have not played the game, this disc can be a spoiler. Listening to the disc in its entirety tells the story behind Interstate 76 the game. And it does it well.
What I enjoy most about the CD is the variety of music. From the mood-pumping "Interstate '76 Theme" to the unique and cute "Little Daffodil Gas Parade", the instrumental arrangements are excellent. Fast notes played by a horn, complemented by pumping percussion and the wickety-wickety of a background guitar in "In the Junkyard" are inducing. You should perhaps warn yourself, "If I drive to this tune, I will go 30 miles an hour faster!"
My friend and I wondered before owning the disc, "does the background music while installing the game appear in the soundtrack?." Gladly, yes! "Tulip Waltz" is the title, and it's hip and soothing!
The more laid back - but rockin' - tunes such as "Revenge Rocco Style", "Pimp Like Me" and the unfortunately extremely short "Roswell" are each very unique in their own style. And there are a load of fast beats as well. Those of you who own the game may have listened to the tracks on the play disc. Surprisingly some of them didn't make it to the soundtrack. But not to worry, there are at least snippets of them in "Macadamia Medley", which sums up songs (including the mentioned "Little Daffodil Gas Parade") on the soundtrack as well as a refreshing encore of new notes.
For those of you who love '70s funk music, this is a disc you must get a hold of! If you love the funky dialogue of Taurus (with some complementary profanity), get the disc! And even if you don't own or the game or have never played it, this disc is a story worth listening *and* groovin' to. Can you dig it?