- Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
- Name: Horizon Chase OST
- Label: Barry Leitch Audio Studios
- Composer(s): Barry Leitch
- Number of Tracks: 26
I'm a big fan of Barry Leitch's work as a video game music composer, or at least as big a fan an old DOS gamer can possibly be (I have a little post dedicated to him and his career here ; I mention that I used to play DOS games because Leitch is probably better known amongst those of you who played on other platforms such as the Commodore 64, Amiga or SNES in the 80s and 90s. So while I was enjoying his work on games like Utopia: The Creation of a Nation and T.F.X., you were probably enjoying his music on games like Lotus Turbo Challenge 2, Super Cars and, most importantly, a SNES game called Top Gear (which has nothing to do with the famous British T.V. show).
The reason Top Gear is important is because there's a mobile game out at the moment that is basically a tribute to this game called Horizon Chase by Brazilian developer Aquiris Game Studio. Not only is the gameplay similar to this retro, arcade racer but Aquiris even managed to recruit the original composer of Top Gear to score their game! I'm still waiting for the game to come out on Steam which the developers plan to do sometime this year since I'm not really a big fan of mobile games but since I am a big fan of Leitch's work (I did mention I am a big fan, right? :)) I purchased a digital copy of the soundtrack off Leitch's bandcamp page for $5.99 USD.
As this is Bandcamp we're talking about, you have several options when it comes to formats (i.e. MP3, FLAC, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, ALAC, WAV and AIFF). The album contains 26 tracks in total with the first 15 of these tracks being composed by Barry Leitch himself. The other 11 tracks on the album are remixes of Leitch's work on Horizon Chase by several guest artists; I don't actually recognise any of them except for Tim "Cold Storage" Wright who is the guy that composed the soundtrack for Lemmings as well as some of the music for the critically acclaimed Wipeout – I also typed up a little article on him too :).
Leitch manages to channel the retro sound he was famous for back in the 80s and 90s so you'll feel like you're being transported back to the days of classic PC gaming – a lot of the music wouldn't be out of place as background music for an Amiga game or on an old DOS game like T.F.X.; the best way I can describe Leitch's style on this album is that it's synth baroque along with a few other instruments like electric guitars to keep things fresh.
Picking a favourite from the 15 tracks that Leitch has composed on this album is no easy task since there are a lot of good ones here: Besides the catchy, retro main theme and all the tracks that are variations of it, you've got "Race 1 - Going off the Rails'" with a very "Blade Runner" feel to it at the start, the fast-paced "Race 5 The Finale" which manages to successfully incorporate Western motifs into a catchy VGM tune, the 80s synthpop of "Race 8 - Vyper" which almost sounds like something Mark Klem would've composed for Wacky Wheels, and the rockin' electric guitar on "Race 9 - Balls to the Wall" which really gets that toe tapping. It's also worth noting that fans of the original SNES Top Gear will be pleased to hear a modern take on the track titled "Easter Egg - Top Gear Reprise".
But as those video shopping channels always say: "Wait! There's more!"
I've only talked about the tracks that Leitch has composed but some of these remixes are equally phenomenal – and there's an eclectic mix of styles and instruments used too. While the lion's share are occupied by "DOOF DOOF" dance remixes, there's a light-hearted, breezy acoustic guitar version of the main theme performed by Yraê Araujo as well as a heavy metal version of "Bleeding Fingers" by Megadriver. Personal favourite remixes of mine include D.Notive's badass remix of the Title theme which is pure 80s synth goodness (complete with slap bass!), Cold Storage's (TIM WRIGHT!) remix of the Title theme which manages to emulate a retro VGM Amiga MOD sound with lots of phat beats and the short but sweet Vyper remix by Kaue Lemos which gives the original theme the Dubstep treatment.
Score – 8/10If you're a fan of Barry Leitch's work this is obviously a must-buy. If you're a fan of retro VGM in general, I'd also argue that this is a must-buy especially if you grew up on classic arcade racers of the 80s and 90s. Considering there are also 11 remixes on the album there's a lot of music here to keep almost anyone happy and as a result I highly recommend it.
If you're interested in purchasing the soundtrack, it's either available in digital format for $5.99 USD or on CD for $20 USD + shipping and handling from Barry Leitch's website