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Music of Shadow - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow by Oscar Araujo
 

 

MUSIC OF SHADOW

Castlevania - one of the video game industry's most enduring and iconic franchises.  Born long before the days of super-powered PCs and consoles, Konami debuted the original Castlevania video game in 1986.  Since, the franchise has gone on to see some forty titles released across multiple platforms.  Castlevania now entails a rich history and detailed timeline which chronicles the conflict between the vampire-hunting, Belmont family and Dracula and his resurrection every one-hundred years.  The music composed for the very first game came from Satoe Terashima and Kinuyo Yamashita.  They were later followed in the franchise by composers such as Kenichi Matsubara and Jun Funahashi.  While the games have gone on to spur feature film talk since 2005, their scores have spawned multiple remixes and even inclusion in some of the live, video game music performances, which are ever growing more popular and more frequent.

In 2010, CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW was released by Konami - rebooting the series and breaking from the extensive, pre-existing history.  LORDS OF SHADOW, MIRROR OF FATE, and ultimately LORDS OF SHADOW 2 would go on to catapult the series setting forward by a millennium, from 1046 to 2014 AD.   The composer that the Konami producers chose to handle this radical change musically was OSCAR ARAUJO, whose original score for 2010's LORDS OF SHADOW became one of the year's best reviewed video game scores.  In 2013, the franchise returned with MIRROR OF FATE and again in 2014 with LORDS OF SHADOW 2 both with Araujo as the game score's composer.

Tracksounds is proud to bring you this special, behind-the-score-feature which, in addition to our original review of LORDS OF SHADOW, offers three, brand new reviews and an interview with composer OSCAR ARAUJO in both English and Spanish:
 

 

ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS - BEHIND THE SCENES
CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2

 


 

"SCORES OF SHADOW"
INTERVIEW WITH OSCAR ARAUJO

Oscar Araujo talks about his foray into the musical world of Castlevania.  He opens up about his own personal love for the original games, his respect for the franchise music that came before, looking to set a world record recording with 237 musicians at Abbey Road Studios, and what he is working on next.

Interview:  English  |  Espanol

Interview by Richard Buxton | English/Spanish Translation by Helen San

 

 

"SOMETHING DIFFERENT UNDER THE SURFACE"

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
by Oscar Araujo

Review by Richard Buxton

The release of a video game sequel is frequently met with a unique level of expectation, an expectation that forms a set of parameters within which the game must fall. There’s the inevitable need for the advancement of a game’s plot and the improvement of its visuals, but the decisive factor in the success of a game comes down to the treatment of its gameplay. The particular demands of gaming audiences set out a need for familiarity in the constructs of the gameplay, but also add a need for devices that innovate in ways that provide fresh experiences, all the while never straying from what made the original release a success. The problem with these parameters is that they are largely unwritten until the benefit of the audience’s hindsight comes to the fore. When these expectations are met though, the results can mean significant boosts to a franchise’s reach - as in the case of the Electronic Arts published MASS EFFECT 2 and DEAD SPACE 2 for example - whereas a failure to live up to such demands can see a franchise brought to its knees - a fate not foreign to Capcom with the critically maligned DEVIL MAY CRY 2, and RESIDENT EVIL 5 and 6. This type of expectation is one rarely found in the film industry, where more of the same, as long as it advances the overarching plot, is generally accepted. Can this level of expectation affect a video game’s score? In many cases yes, and CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW 2 is one of these. Crucially, MercurySteam have found themselves a loyal composer whose ability seems boundless, his talent unwavering.

Read the full review


 


"A SAMPLE OF TALENT"

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate
by Oscar Araujo

Review by Edmund Meinerts

Keeping video game sequels straight has always been a bit of a challenge (is it really MODERN WARFARE 3 or just CALL OF DUTY 372055?) so it’s no surprise that between 2010’s CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW and its forthcoming, officially numbered sequel comes 2013’s MIRROR OF FATE, a spinoff of sorts for the Nintendo 3DS (although it has since spread to other consoles as well). Providing the music for the reboot of this classic game series is a virtual unknown, OSCAR ARAUJO – hopefully, this will be a gateway to more work for the immensely talented Spanish composer. His first entry into the franchise (recently given the deluxe 2-CD treatment) was a blistering orchestral and choral endeavor of massive scope, very much in the vein of HOWARD SHORE’s music for the Middle-earth universe, and is among the most impressive scores ever put to a video game. Expectations are therefore high to see what his continuing involvement with the franchise will bring.

Read the full review

 

 

"HIGHLIGHTS AND SHADOWS"

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ultimate Edition
by Oscar Araujo

Review by Richard Buxton

It has been three years since LORDS OF SHADOW, a reboot of KONAMI’S classic franchise CASTLEVANIA, first graced consoles. Despite initial fan backlash against the game’s distinctly different style to its predecessors, LORDS OF SHADOW went on to become the most successful release of the long-running franchise. Naturally, in a generation of countless re-releases and updates, Gabriel Belmont is called upon to slay the dark lords once again in CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW - ULTIMATE EDITION. The timing of the game’s release has inevitably resulted in a lukewarm reception, as the gaze of the gaming world drifts on to a new generation of consoles. With the release of the ULTIMATE EDITION come new environments, weapons, and boss battles, but most interestingly for the musically-inclined, an extended release of Spanish composer OSCAR ARAUJO’S spectacular original score. Can you really have too much of a good thing? In this case, no, you cannot.

Read the full review

 

 

"A BEAUTIFUL RE-INVENTION"

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
by Oscar Araujo

Review by Marius Masalar

Not too long ago, the International Film Music Critics Association announced their award winner for best video game score. The winner, who was also nominated for best breakout composer of the year, beat out such critically acclaimed titles as 007 Bloodstone, Dark Void, and Lego Universe — each of which was penned by marvelous and well-known composers. The unexpected bolt of lightning that took the IFMCA and your humble writer’s breath away was the score for CASTLEVANIA: Lords of Shadow, a 3D reboot of the iconic Konami franchise, developed by Mercury Steam and released on the major consoles earlier this year. The musical mastermind behind this achievement was OSCAR ARAUJO, whose name is likely unfamiliar to you.

ARAUJO is a Spanish composer whose work on CASTLEVANIA will surely catapult him to more mainstream work, though he is certainly no stranger to the craft, having worked on a number of smaller scale projects in his homeland. For CASTLEVANIA, ARAUJO pulled out all the stops and recorded an absolutely immense score with a 120-piece orchestra and choir in Bratislava. An immediate gauge of the score’s success is that even die-hard Castlevania fans, ones who were demanding another gothic-rock musical offering in the vein of all the previous titles in the series, have unashamedly admitted that ARAUJO’s score — while certainly unexpected — takes the franchise in a very strong new direction.

Read the full review

 

Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow 2 (Soundtrack) by Oscar Araujo

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ultimate Edition (Soundtrack) by Oscar Araujo

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (Soundtrack) by Oscar Araujo

Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow (Soundtrack) by Oscar Araujo

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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