Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Flip Flops in the Windy City: Game Score Review – Gun

Mason Kaye

Gun is a 3rd-person, open-world, cowboy western game for PS2/PS3.  It is awesome.  And on top of being awesome, it has unexpectedly good music.

Gun

The Game

Gun  is a fun and beautiful game to play.  Set in the old west, you play as Colt, seeking revenge for the murder of your father and just plain justice in general.  The scenery in the game is very diverse, taking you from town to town, and in between, expansive prairies, deserts, farms, and mountains.

Gun

Shooting in 3rd person takes some getting used to…

Gun

…but there is a QuickDraw feature that slows down time, and switches you to 1st-person mode:

Gun

The game itself is rated a pretty raunchy R, featuring plenty of gory violence, sexuality (some nudity), rampant alcohol consumption, and swearing.  This ends up making the game almost cute, and EXTREMELY fun to play.

The Music

Gun‘s music is almost too good for the game.  This is a shoot-em-up old west game, and yet the menu music alone sounds like this!  Thematic, as orchestral as you can get, yet featuring authentic lead instruments like fiddle and harmonica.  The themes are dramatic, the orchestration is cinematic, and the music provides an overall lonesome, heroic country feel.

The game features dozens of cut scenes, i.e. cinematic cut-aways that play like mini films to drive the plot forward.  While writing non-linear, generative music for a video game can be challenging in terms of dramatic underscore, scoring dozens of cut-scenes is comparable.  Christopher Lennertz takes full advantage.  Just check out this cut-scene cue.  It just doesn’t get any more exciting than that!

But his incidental, in-game music is almost more impressive.  The open-world level design of the game means that it can often take some time to travel between towns or any action.  This leaves the player with a sense of solitude, and the music hits it right on the head.  The track is even titled “Prairie Solitude”.  I remember feeling very somber, but in an effective way, when this track played.

Lennertz also takes advantage of some Native American traditional music, as the Apaches play a prominent role in the game.

Gun

Utilizing both drums and voices, the use of Native American music gives an authentic feel to the game.

The Composer

The internet has plenty of good info on Christopher Lennertz.

Go play Gun!  It’s too much fun, and the music will stay with you for a long time.

Flip Flops in the Windy City: Game Score Review – Gun

Gun is a 3rd-person, open-world, cowboy western game for PS2/PS3.  It is awesome.  And on top of being awesome, it has unexpectedly good music. The Game Gun  is a fun …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Mason Kaye, mason.kaye@yahoo.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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