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Heart of Darkness
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, Orchestrated, and Produced by:

Performed by:
The Sinfonia of London
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Intrada Records
(June 22nd, 1999)
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Regular U.S. release.
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Decorative Nonsense
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're an established collector of Bruce Broughton's scores and seek all of his ambitious fantasy and adventure writing.

Avoid it... if you expect your video game scores to boast a fully robust orchestral presence, for this early entry is sparse on power and performance quality.
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WRITTEN 7/26/99, REVISED 8/25/07
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Heart of Darkness: (Bruce Broughton) Created by Amazing Studio in 1998 and distributed by Interplay for Windows PCs and Sony PlayStations, "Heart of Darkness" was several years in the making. First conceived in 1992, the purpose of the game was to mimic a Disney-style adventure while the player controlled Andy, a boy who lives a normal life until he blasts off in his tree house spaceship during a real solar eclipse and lands in the treacherous Darklands. There, he has to rescue his dog (along for the ride) and battle the Master of Darkness on his way to finding the Heart of Darkness portal back home. While little Andy navigates these linear levels of activity, cute "amigo" creatures assist him, and if you're not careful, your little boy could be crushed, devoured, incinerated, or drowned in surprisingly graphic fashion. The portrayals of death are among one of the more interesting aspects of "Heart of Darkness," with the killing of children under the control of the player becoming quite rare in the evolving days of content ratings. Also of note is the fact that "Heart of Darkness" was the first computer game for which an original orchestral score was recorded. While the album release of the music claimed that the score was recorded in 1990, this fact is impossible given that the game's development was first undertaken in 1992. Several years of delays make a recording date sometime in 1996 more realistic, competing that year with Joel McNeely's "Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire." But despite the many years of delays in finishing the game and then securing a distributor, "Heart of Darkness" can claim to have the first ever orchestral score for a video game, regardless of the fact that other games with orchestral music beat it to storefronts. As mentioned before, the creators of the game wanted it to feature the same qualities of a Disney product, and it's fitting that Bruce Broughton was hired for the assignment. The game received positive reviews despite a shorting running time, though it was never a success with the general public.

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Average: 3.06 Stars
***** 55 5 Stars
**** 56 4 Stars
*** 61 3 Stars
** 48 2 Stars
* 50 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 34:41
• 1. Main Title (1:48)
• 2. Andy's Mission (4:44)
• 3. Big Mistake (2:28)
• 4. Andy's Friend (1:42)
• 5. Space Island (5:42)
• 6. Vicious Servant (0:36)
• 7. Back to the Lair (1:45)
• 8. Meteor Destroyed (1:52)
• 9. The Plot (0:53)
• 10. Andy's Victory (4:51)
• 11. End Credits (8:20)

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The insert includes the following note from Broughton:
    "Recorded in 1990, the score to 'Heart of Darkness' bears the distinction of being the first orchestral score ever produced for a CD Rom game. The decision to go in that direction was made by the Amazing Studio team in Paris who created the game. When I first saw a few work-in-progress scenes, Eric Chahi asked me if I had ever seen another game and if I knew what I was looking at. I had to admit that I hadn't. "Well," he said, "if you had, you would be very impressed."

    It was a prescient thing to say. I was soon to be very impressed not only by the work itself, but by the level of loyalty, commitment, technique and attention the creative team gave to the game, to each other and to the many people who were involved in its making.

    The music accompanies the many computer-animated scenes that propel the story of Andy and his dog, Whisky, through the boy's fear of the dark. The game is played between the scenes, each level having to be mastered before the story can proceed. Though it is not so apparent in this recorded assemblage, several of the scenes are mere bridges; others are dramatically very intricate, lasting for several minutes.

    The music is in an animated/adventure style, full of humor, energy and large dramatic gestures. There are several themes that play throughout: the dark, pounding Master of Darkness theme that opens the score; the expansively buoyant adventure theme that represents Andy; the tuba and marimba theme for the goofy but warm-hearted Friends; and the insistent English horn motif that accompanies the Evil Helper. But to really enjoy the score, you have to play the game."

This enhanced CD includes a demo version of "Heart of Darkness." To play the game under the best possible conditions, consult the recommendations below.

Minimum Configuration:

    IBM PC or 100% compatible computer.
    Windows 95 with 486 DX2/66 MHz processor and 16 MB RAM.
    Or Windows 98 with Pentium processor and 16 MB RAM.
    Or Windows NT 4.0 (service pack 3 or later) with 75 MHz Pentium processor and 24 MB RAM.1 MB PCI or VLB SVGA graphics card (DirectX-compatible), sound card (DirectX-compatible), Double-speed CD-ROM drive (with sustained data rate 300 KB/sec) and 84 MB available hard disk space.

Recommended Configuration:

    IBM PC or 100% compatible computer with 90 MHz Pentium processor or better.
    Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 (service pack 3 or later) with 32 MB RAM. 1 MB PCI SVGA graphics accelerator card (DirectX-compatible), 16-bit stereo sound card (DirectX-compatible), 4X or better CD- ROM drive and 84 MB available hard disk space.

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The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Heart of Darkness are Copyright © 19979, Intrada Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/26/99 and last updated 8/25/07.
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