High quality and catchy; a great introduction to European game music.
Reader review by Peter Weinstock
For anyone not familiar with Chris Huelsbeck's music, it's all keyboard-based, very traditional verse-chorus-verse, usually with a heavy techno flavor. He's from Germany, and he made his name with a number of catchy soundtracks for Amiga titles. His most recent title is "Tunnel B1" for Playstation, which I haven't played yet.
Being a big fan of SNES's Super Turrican, and knowing this was the only Huelsbeck CD featuring nothing but game music (his composer buddies fill the excess space in the other CDs with techno, rap, and other, uh, stuff), I had big expectations for Turrican. At first I was a little disappointed; the production quality didn't seem up to Huelsbeck's usual high standards, a lot of the tunes sounded kind of the same, and, well, it just didn't grab me. But that was the first week. I've heard enough records to know the best ones always take some listenings to sink in, and that's exactly what happened with Turrican.
A couple complaints before I move on to the good points: three of the tracks are just sound FX and spoken dialogue from the game. I guess they would add atmosphere and provide context to the rest of the music if they appeared right at the outset, but instead they're spread around, mostly towards the end of the CD. They don't do a thing for the album but just take up space. Also, since I've never played the original Amiga version of Turrican (which most of the music is taken from), I was a little annoyed to find only two songs from the SNES games made the cut here ("Opening" and "Bionic Action"). However, these two tunes are upgraded nicely from their original versions.
After repeated listenings, one thing is very apparent about Mr. Huelsbeck: he is a master of the keyboard hook. Songs like "Main Title", "The Desert Rocks", and "Walker Factory" just stick to the brain like cotton candy, which I expected. What I didn't expect was something like the beautiful "The Great Bath". I swear, this song wouldn't be out of place in a (careful Pete!) Final Fantasy game! Very understated and classical in feel, this song shows Huelsbeck's versatility as both a composer and performer. All in all, for anyone who's looking for something different from the normal Japanese game music imports, Turrican Original Video Game Soundtrack would be an excellent place to start.