For many of you out there, a return trip to the doomed undersea city of Rapture in the form of BioShock 2 is currently hogging the drives of your preferred game systems. And lurking there, in your game, like a melancholic yet melodious resident of Andrew Ryan’s sunken dream, is the music of composer Garry Schyman. The upside for game music aficionados when it comes to the official soundtrack album for BioShock 2 is that it exists. The downside is getting your hands on one. We found some large, old-fashioned sound recorders lying around and it appears they originated in Rapture. Throw on your Big Daddy suit and come on in for a listen.
“Sounds From the Lighthouse” is the cleverly named official album featuring the BioShock 2 score. The single disc set features 26 pieces of music from the game, including the haunting, violin driven “Pairbond – BioShock 2 Theme”
From start to finish this is a very well crafted album, with each piece flowing into the next, just as a game soundtrack album should. Schyman eschews relying entirely upon his previous creations for BioShock, and instead approaches the music as its own stand alone set of pieces, while still maintaining the aural feeling of being in the world of Rapture. One of my favorite passages is “Out the Airlock” and its enchanting tones which grow slightly more menacing as the short number progresses.
For the most part, the album is a darkly atmospheric of a listen, aimed squarely at fans of the BioShock series, or for those who enjoy the icy chill found in pieces like “The Abyss.”
2K gets major props for the packaging of the disc, complete with a Rapture Records label on the disc’s vinyl-style artwork. Speaking of vinyl, 2K also gave hardcore fans a huge treat with the special edition of BioShock 2. Not only did this massive box set come with “Sounds from the Lighthouse,” but it also included 40 minutes of the original BioShock score pressed on vinyl, packaged to look like something you would find at the Rapture Records store. However, if you weren’t among the Splicers willing to plunk down a hundo on the special edition of the game (like I did) you are out of luck on getting a copy of the BioShock 2 score, as this is the only place (for now anyways) that you can get a copy of it. On the one hand, this was a genius thing for 2K to do, treating their most die-hard fans right by giving them ultra-high quality bonus items like this, but of course, the more casual or thrifty fan would have passed on this and missed an opportunity to enjoy this album. It’s a double edged plasmid to be sure.
Now because I know at least a couple of you will ask in the comments if I don’t include a mention of this, there is in fact another BioShock 2 album out there, featuring the songs from and inspired by the game, which is available from finer MP3 retailers. And if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to check out The Feed’s in depth interview with composer Garry Schyman for his insights into creating BioShock 2’s music and includes a link for you to download his score for the original BioShock score for free!