Jukebox Heroes: Dungeon Runners' soundtrack

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|06.18.14

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Jukebox Heroes: Dungeon Runners' soundtrack
dungeon runners
Does anyone still remember Dungeon Runners? I do, at least. It was that quirky Diablo-style MMO from NCsoft that ran from 2007 to 2010, openly lampooning RPG and online gaming tropes while actually being pretty fun to play. I dipped in and out of it over the years, never being fully engrossed but appreciating its sense of humor -- and its soundtrack.

As Composer Tracy W. Bush put it in his interview with us a while back, "The music was a mish-mosh of straightforward Diablo-style dungeon crawly stuff in the exploration bits, but when it came to the boss fights, each of them was a specific sub genre of music. I did country and western, black metal, klezmer, an oompa loompa song, disco... I can't even remember them all. I had a blast."

I had a blast myself listening through the score, which lives on to this day, and have a selection of hand-picked tracks that I think nails the attitude that Dungeon Runners exuded.

1. Main Theme

This main theme always intrigued me, not so much because it was catchy (it's not even that hummable) but because of its exotic, almost Middle Eastern-like tone. It sets the mood for adventure, just not with your traditional, bombastic fantasy fanfare. It's the type of music that I'd expect to be accompanied by the phrase, "A long time ago in the kingdom of..."

2. Townston Theme

Ah, Townston, I actually miss you while hearing this music. Now this is very vintage fantasy, drawing deep from the well of Renaissance Faire jigs and giving us a lively melody. It's a toe-tapping delight, and at least in this game, it was the sound that you most associated with "home."

3. Rattle Tooth Theme

By far, this is my favorite track from the Dungeon Runners OST. How could it not be? You've got the bizarre combination of a beatbox, dire gothic tones, and the angry scratchings of some rodent. When I played the game and heard this in Rattle Tooth's lair, I was in love with the weirdness of it all. It's certainly not something you'd hear in most MMOs!

4. Abba Labba

It's hard to keep a straight face during this track. Abba Labba is an impish cartoon theme that has something like the cross between a childish humming and a kazoo providing the background vocals. It's short and playful, just like this MMO.

5. Balzack's Bachelor Boogie

I feel so wrong including this track, but I must. I must! Hopefully my editor won't be reading too closely and censor that track title (and whatever you people do, don't say it out loud at home; that gives it its power). It's just... yeah. You know what this track is. It's the smooth jazz FM of tracks if we're being PG-rated. Quite... relaxing.

6. SissiRat Theme

There's a zany, Danny Elfman circus quality to this track. It starts off eerie and magical before launching into a madcap ride around the border of insanity. Dang if it doesn't get in my head and stay there, either.

It's too bad that there was never an official Dungeon Runners soundtrack release because I think the full body of work would have been very welcome on my hard drive. What do you think about it?

MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Massively's Jukebox Heroes examines game soundtracks and features the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!
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