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Last Hope – “Desert Lab ~ Dark Fear” (Rafael Dyll)

July 27, 2010

Last Hope (2007) was one of the final games released for the Sega Dreamcast (as well as Neo Geo). The game is a shmup in the style of R-Type and Pulstar – and is infinitely more difficult (if such a thing was possible…). Essentially, the game does everything possible in order to kill you within five seconds flat, so as a result, you rarely hear more than a tiny bit of the soundtrack at once. The soundtrack was composed by Rafael Dyll (Soldner-X: Himmelsturmer) and was packaged with the limited edition version of the game (which is a bit odd, considering the game uses redbook audio, too…).

Last Hope – “Desert Lab ~ Dark Fear” (Rafael Dyll)

Dyll’s work on Last Hope is very reminiscent of that of Chris Huelsbeck, which is not very surprising, considering the German composer is influenced by Huelsbeck’s work (in fact, some of the track titles, such as “Katakis” and “Freedom” are borrowed straight out of his oeuvre). Both soothing and mysterious, “Desert Lab ~ Dark Fear” is a nice trance piece, with a deep bass reminiscent of R-Type and Apidya (actually, the overall beat feels a bit like “Stickerbrush Symphony” as well), and a synth line that adds tension and mystery. Dyll’s instrument set is also very close to that of Chris Huelsbeck’s arrange albums, with electric synths that seem to glide from the speakers and a rhythm straight out of Huelsbeck’s Apidya mixes (particularly the break at 2:23). The entire piece is over 8 minutes long (just like an old Amiga song), but with a long loop and nice variations, it never gets old. It’s great if you’re into electronica, and you’ll eat it up if you’re a Huelsbeck fan. Overall though, despite the similarities, the soundtrack is pretty original, and really more an homage – or rather a rebirth – of the music of the past.

An odd thing about this game is that it had an extremely low print run. Only 60 copies of the Neo Geo version were produced, and the limited edition with the soundtrack CD for Dreamcast was hand-numbered at 500. Thankfully, the soundtrack will be released this October 1 (10110) in Europe for 12.95 Euros (about $17US – better get it while the Euro is weak!). It will include 7 remix tracks.

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