Medal of Honor: Underground (Game Soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino



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Medal of Honor: Underground (Game Soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino

"Living Up to Medal of Honor"
Review by Christopher Coleman


Medal of Honor: Underground (Game Soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino

Medal of Honor: Underground

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Composer Michael Giacchino
Michael Giacchino


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Category    Score

Originality 9
Music Selection 9
Composition 10
CD Length 9
Track Order 10
Performance 9
Final Score 9/10


Real Audio Clips



Quick Quotes

"There's a lot to like here in Michael Giacchino's follow-up to his smash-hit score MEDAL OF HONOR. With MOH UNDERGROUND, Michael has crafted what could be considered the darker sister of his original. The bold and rollicking action cues are partially replaced by decidedly more sullen and introspective work. MEDAL OF HONOR UNDERGROUND still has it's fair share of Nazi-busting action cues, but excels during those quite moments and fleshes out the musical universe of these games."

Ryan Keaveney -
Cinemusic Reviews Medal of Honor: Underground



Composed and Produced by Michael Giacchino
Orchestration by Michael Giacchino and Tim Simonec
Conducted by Tim Simonec
Performed by The Northwest Sinfonia, The Seattle Boy Choir
Released by DreamWorks Records - December 2000

One of the surprise scores of 1999 was Michael Giacchino's work for the hit video game, Medal of Honor. Film music fans raved for months about the wonderfully powerful and moving music the composer had delivered...and for a video game no less.

One year after the release of Medal of Honor, comes the sequel, Medal of Honor: Underground. While the first release took fans by surprise, this time Mr. Giacchino had the daunting task of living up to the high standard he set with the first installment. Reminiscent of the works of John Williams from the Seventies and Eighties, Michael Giacchino had successfully scratched a musical itch of frustration that many John Williams' fans had suffered with for some time - as The Phantom Menace left a number somewhat disappointed. There would be no sneaking up on the film music community this time. Was Medal of Honor a fluke hit for the composer or does Michael Giacchino really have the goods? Despite other less publicized works since Medal of Honor was released, Medal of Honor: Underground will likely be held as the acid test.

As big and bold as the Allies wide-open attack on the beaches of Normandy was, so was Giacchino's score for Medal of HonorMedal of Honor: Underground, the game, focuses on the subversive activities of the Resistance movement of France during World War II and so, quite appropriately, the score takes on a similar character. While still occasionally evoking memories of the great John Williams' music of the past, here Giacchino clearly brings his own musical style and personality to the forefront.

The soundtrack begins with the sinisterly familiar Nazi theme established in Medal of Honor making an immediate and necessary tie between the two game scores. It is the same war with the same enemies, but from a completely different perspective. It is not long before the unique personality of this score begins to show itself.

Once again a full orchestra has been contracted to help raise and maintain the emotional involvement of the game. This time; however, we hear essences of a once-peaceful France, as the accordion breaks the familiar militaristic style and introduces us to the central character of the game. Instead of the upfront brassy resolve of the male main character from Medal of Honor, we have a more lush and sweeping main theme reflecting the game's heroine, Manon. In addition, the employment of a twenty-five voice boys choir, The Seattle Boy Choir, brings a great deal of hope and beauty to this score's personality and further sets it apart from the original.
Another superbly produced set of liner-notes accompanies this soundtrack. Once again a great lesson is given to labels producing liner notes and soundtracks for full Hollywood motion pictures. As with the notes from Medal of Honor, we are treated to words from the composer and album's producer, track by track commentary and session photos.

While such romantic and adventurous scores seem to be in shorter and shorter supply, Michael Giacchino helps to keep the sort musical magic alive the initially lured many into taking note of this genre of music and becoming devoted fans. Ironically, as Medal of Honor gave many Williams fans something to sink their ears into after an arguably disappointing score from The Phantom Menace, Giacchino comes to the rescue again as the "complete" Phantom Menace score release has yet disappointed fans again with its chronological edit. Now, all eyes and ears are turning up the expectations from the music that is being generated out of the video game realm. Giacchino follows up his original score to Medal of Honor flawlessly- connecting the two scores with familiar secondary themes, but also establishing a very distinct character for the Underground resistance movement and the games main character. Medal of Honor: Underground clearly demonstrates that Michael Giacchino truly has a great deal of ability and is deserving of a film-music medal himself.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 May 10th, 1940 (Main Theme) Track 1 4:33  *****
2 The Streets of Paris 3:48  ****
3 Amongst the Dead 3:16  ***
4 Fleeing the Catacombs 3:06  *****
5 Panzer Blockade 3:18  *****
6 The Toad to Tobruk 3:22  ***
7 Escape From Casablanca 3:20  ****
8 Passage to Iráklion 3:38  ***
9 Labyrinth of the Minotaur 3:21  ****
10 Ascent to the Castle 3:24  *****
11 Last Rites Track 1 3:31  ****
12 The Battle of Monte Cassino 3:13  *****
13 The Motorcycle Chase 4:17  *****
14 Returning to Paris 3:22  *****
15 Beneath the City 3:09  ****
16 Each Night He Comes Home to Me 3:51  ***
17 May 10th, 1940 (Alternate Version) 4:33  *****
18 Er lässt mich niemals allein  (OSS Radio Broadcast) 4:32  ***
19 Narration (not track listing) 1:05  ***

Total Running Time


Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
  Medal of Honor




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