Jukebox Heroes: The best of Otherland’s soundtrack

    
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This one hurts.

Despite being an adaption of Tad Williams’ enormously popular sci-fi novels, the MMO Otherland was a flop in both of its incarnations. Mismanaged, underdeveloped, and barely playable, Otherland repelled most interested parties early on, leaving the game to wallow in obscurity as current owners Drago Entertainment tried to shape it up into a respectable product.

That said, there’s music to be found here, and it was not with a small dose of curiosity that I dug into the relatively small soundtrack. After listening through all of it, I have to say that while the score isn’t going to rock your world, it is better than expected. That makes me eager to share it with the rest of you, so if you’ve read this far, perhaps you’d listen along with me as well?

“Orlando’s Apartment”

If you find yourself in a cyberpunk future and need something light and airy to play as you get ready for your day, this track would certainly suffice. Mellow and with a memorable hook, Orlando’s Apartment became my favorite pick from the whole OST. There’s some nice change-ups of the instruments and melody as the track progresses, so do yourself a favor and listen through it to the end.

“011000100110000101110010”

If you’re curious, this lengthy string of binary code is translated into “bar.” So I guess it’s a bar track? Little bit of dark trance here, something to keep you uneasy and apprehensive as you try to order a Space Bud Lite.

“Hallow Hill”

Ooh, I really like this Halloweeny theme, don’t you? It’s on the pretty side of creepy, weaving in notes of magic, mystery, and sorrow. A good emotional track, in any case.

“Eight Squared Fantasy”

Otherland’s greatest strength, I think, is its ability to jump across genres while being supported by the IP’s lore. So now we’ve taken a sharp left turn into fantasy with this renaissance faire theme. It’s pleasant enough, if somewhat darker than I would prefer.

“Bazaar on Mars”

Back to sci-fi with Bazaar on Mars. The punny journalist in me wants to make a “bizarre” joke, but I shan’t. It’s a suitably alien-sounding track with strange instruments and percussion heartbeats powering it through.

“Industrial Zone”

Doesn’t this sound just like something from City of Heroes? That game had a lot of synth industrial tracks just like this one. It’s not a type of tune that I particularly enjoy, but it would do a good job establishing a zone’s atmosphere. Something steampunky, I would like to imagine.

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!