Jukebox Heroes: LEGO Universe's soundtrack

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|09.10.14

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Jukebox Heroes: LEGO Universe's soundtrack
lego universe
I'm still incensed that nobody had the courtesy of informing me that LEGO Universe had such a great soundtrack until well after the title was shuttered. I guess it doesn't make a big difference -- at least I know now -- although I might have mourned its passing more.

Composed by Brian Tyler and Michael Jason Corder, the LEGO Universe score was never released, although it looks as though there were once plans to do so. This is an incredible shame because the wider listening audience is missing out on one of the most diverse, cheeky, and fun soundtracks from online gaming. The one word that kept popping into my mind while listening to this was "personality" -- as in, it has so much of it. At so many points I kept thinking that I was hearing the score to a well-done kids movie and not a "mere" video game.

I'm limited to six picks (and a bonus feature!) in this space, but I highly recommend that you use this column as a jumping point to listening to the LEGO Universe soundtrack in its entirety. If you do, I think you'll agree with me that this score is simply a triumph.

1. Main Theme

The opening theme is a perfect example of the cinematic quality of this OST. It starts with a cheery fanfare that is two shades too light to be in any "serious" fantasy MMO. It's definitely got a lot of pep, which is something you'd expect from, say, the opening minutes of a kids film. As an aside, I love kids movie soundtracks too; I think that the composers feel more free to embrace their whimsical nature in them.

2. Character Create

There's a sneaky, sly spirit behind this track that I really like. It's delightfully mellow... until it just can't help itself any longer and then has a musical outburst. Listen to the interplay of all of the sounds here; there is a lot going on in the background with unconventional instruments. It's kind of like the composer wanted to see how many different ones he could squeeze into one track.

3. Picnic

This is a slightly unusual track in that it's practically straddling the line between being merely atmospheric and hosting an actual melody. That's fair if you think so, although I think the quiet dance of the guitar strings has sufficient foundation to make this a recommended pick. It's one of those tracks that would excel in-game as zone music, delivering a sense of peace and tranquility as a player explores. As an aside, it seems to be a fan favorite as well.

4. Darkling Battle

OK, enough Mr. Nice Music; what about some scary strings and tense fight music? When this track powers up, it loses all pretense of subtlety. It's ratatating horns and percussion, broken only by ominous breaks. Listening to this, I want to suit up for a big boss battle and come out victorious.

5. Crocodile Corner

Aaand we're back in the land of silliness and childlike playfulness. It's a strange association, but I can't help but think of showtunes when I hear this. Perhaps it's because this track sounds like it should have lyrics to go with it, or perhaps it's that there's a story here with lots of movement and fancy footwork. It also could be that it has an older sound to it, like something you'd hear in a 1950s cartoon or sitcom.

6. Race Lap 1

As is my habit, I'm going to end with an oddball pick. This is one of several racing themes that breaks from the orchestra and goes electronic. It's got a good energy to it, even if it does sound incredibly similar to a light-hearted take on The Matrix lobby battle.

Bonus: Making of LEGO Universe's soundtrack

Maybe I'm one of the very few people who enjoy seeing how the musical sausage is made, but videos like this are fascinating. It's so cool to see the orchestra pump out those tunes and to have faces to go with the project.

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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