Babylon 5: Into the Fire – “Main Theme Extended” (Christopher Franke)January 22, 2010
Here’s another interesting blast from the past: the “Main Theme” from the canceled Sierra game Babylon 5: Into the Fire. This was a space combat flight sim based on the Babylon 5 TV series (which was really good, particularly Season 3). This music was released in two places: one in a bonus CD handed out at trade shows where Into the Fire was being demonstrated and the other from The Best of Babylon 5, a music CD that in my case came through an encyclopedia software of the series. This was way back in 1997 when new episodes were still on the air. Unfortunately, Sierra decided to cancel the series along with a bunch of other games, so the game never saw the light of day. This is, therefore, music for a game that never was. The bright side of this is that some fans modded Freespace 2 (another cool game) with ships from the series to simulate the dramatic space battles of the game. The Babylon Project is available as a free, standalone download.
The “Main Theme” is a real tour de force. This six-minute piece captures the sense of space and the space battles found in the Babylon 5 series, evoking images of exploding spaceships and giant battle cruisers locked in mortal combat in the night. The soundtrack contains a lot of elements common to the TV series soundtrack, such as the metallic clangs from two steel bars hit together (a really unique sound used in the battles) as well as some crazy guitar riffs and hair-raising synths representing the giant Shadow battlecrabs.
This track would have accompanied an attract video showing prerendered and gameplay footage of space battles and shots of the space station, the types of things that players would have encountered in the game. As usual, Franke is able to capture the sense of battles bookended by the peaceful calm of space and the civilization that the Babylon 5 space station symbolizes – an unstable peace enforced by the station’s multinational fighter squadrons and security forces represented by the main theme.
Christopher Franke‘s music for the series was pretty unique, with a lot of spacey percussion, synthesizers, and space rock: all the kinds of drama you’d expect from a space opera. The albums can be found here and there, usually used. It’s some pretty cool stuff, and definitely worth checking out.