- Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
- Name: Sid Meier's Civilization 25th Anniversary Soundtrack
- Label: Microprose/Firaxis
- Composer(s): Various
- Number of Tracks: 19
To be honest, I'm not quite sure how you acquire this album. You see, I managed to purchase the Digital Deluxe edition of Sid Meier's Civilization VI and that was meant to come with a soundtrack of some description but I ended up with two soundtracks; one being this album which is known as the Civilization 25th Anniversary album and the other being the Civilization IV official soundtrack ... so I'm not sure if I have this particular soundtrack because I pre-ordered Civ VI, because I have the Digital Deluxe version or just because I own a copy of Civ VI... anyway, I'm going to assume I own this soundtrack because I own the Digital Deluxe version in accordance to what is said here on the Steam Store Page for the game:
Expand your empire further with the Civilization VI Digital Deluxe which includes the full base game, the 25th Anniversary Digital Soundtrack, and access to four post-launch DLC packs that will add new maps, scenarios, civilizations and leaders for a bundled discount.
Consequently, I don't think you're actually able to get this soundtrack anywhere else so it's quite exclusive, but what exactly is on this album?
There are 19 tracks in total on this album, all 499 kbps OGG files and they sample the soundtracks from all Sid Meier's Civilization games to date, from Civilization I all the way to the most recent one. I'm not quite sure why they decided to switch from the more portable MP3 format to OGG Vorbis, considering previous Civ albums used the MP3 format, but there you have it. If you're into retro music from 1990s computer games though, you'll be disappointed to know that Civ V and Civ VI are overrepresented here with more than half of the tracks hailing from these two games. And for those of you expecting to hear Christopher Tin's "Baba Yetu" or "Sogni di Volare" on this album, you'll also be disappointed, but I suppose that's because Chris would prefer to sell his music on his own.
It's a tough job picking the best tracks from a game franchise that spans 25 years but thankfully, I think most of the choices here were good ones. For Civilization I, we only get to hear the introductory theme (which has somehow been misnamed as "Civilization IV Opening Theme Music" – come on guys, it's not that hard!) and not any of the themes for each civilization in the game, which is a shame because there are some memorable ones in there, like the theme for the Romans or the Greeks. The introductory theme to Civ I is a classic though and does deserve to be remembered; it definitely deserves a spot on this album, if only the quality wasn't so grainy in the middle, but that might just be an unavoidable side effect of extracting oldschool audio.
For Civilization II we only get to hear two themes: the Greek theme and Montezuma's theme. Once again, the track names are incorrect claiming the Greek theme is actually "the Incan theme" and that Montezuma's theme is actually the "intro theme" (although to be fair, the intro theme does borrow elements from Montezuma's theme). While these tracks are okay they're definitely missing out on some of the other choice tracks on the Civ II soundtrack such as China's theme aka "The Shining Path".
There are four tracks that feature from Civilization III and they have some real classics here: not only do they have the hypnotic drums of the Civ III menu music but also three of the Modern Era tracks – and they just happen to be my favourite tracks from the game (nothing like bombarding a coastal city with a battleship to some faux-Kenny G mixed with Latin guitar :)). Smash, Stars and Techno are all worth a listen to, and are probably the last time we had rock, adult contemporary and electronica used in a Civ soundtrack. Thank you Roger Briggs and Mark Cromer.
The 25th Anniversary soundtrack features two tracks from Civilization IV and they are by far the weakest offerings. There's no "Baba Yetu" of course but they do feature an alternate track that they were going to use for the intro (but let's just be glad they opted for Christopher Tin's composition instead). There's also the Ancient era music from Civ IV which is great for nostalgia's sake but not much else.
The album features a whopping five tracks from the Civ V soundtrack but just as it was with Civ III, they're all very good choices. I especially love the fact that out of Civ V vanilla, Gods & Kings and Brave New World, they decided to go with the original Civ V menu theme by Michael Curran which I felt was a better fit for the game's Art Deco style (there's only so much of "TERRRRAA – NOOOOOVUM" a man can take). There's also the beautiful rendition of "I Vow to Thee, My Country" that serves as the Peace music for Queen Elizabeth I as well as a militaristic, menacing, sea shanty version of it too that is used as her War music (Geoff Knorr does a great job with these tracks). You also have some epic peacetime music for Genghis Khan as well as some danceable war music for Brazil's Pedro II.
Finally, the album finishes off with five tracks from the latest Civ VI, although if you ordered the Digital Deluxe version, I'm pretty sure you'll get the Civ VI OST anyway, making these tracks redundant. Also, while I'm a fan of Brazil's Industrial Era theme, a lively, playful one that sounds like it belongs in a Broadway musical, and Greece's heroic Atomic Era theme, the other tracks that were picked are probably not the strongest.
Score – 8/10
There were some missed opportunities on this soundtrack in terms of featuring more music from the older Civilization games like Civ I and Civ II, and there aren't any Christopher Tin tracks on this album, but the tracks they've sampled from Civ III and Civ V are actually really good and help make this a worthwhile album to own, especially if you're a Civilization fan.
If you're interested in purchasing the soundtrack, I believe it's only available if you purchase the Digital Deluxe version of Sid Meier's Civilization VI which is available here.