WarCraft: Orcs & Humans (1994) was a game that defined the RTS. Though predated by other games such as Dune II (1992), WarCraft took the formula of build-gather-fight and polished it in a rich fantasy universe that’s still alive and strong today (in fact, I liked the story to WarCraft II so much, I read the extensive narratives in th manual more than once!). Well, here’s where it all started.
This track from WarCraft illustrates themes and styles that would be repeated in later WarCraft and StarCraft games. The music is defined by a long, dynamic track that covers a wide range of emotions, being able to match not only the art of war, but also building and gathering resources. “Track 2” (for want of a better name…) is a slow, dark medieval military march, with a strong melody on brass and punctuated by strings and flutes (1:12). The building tension adds drama and the exotic instrument set (including harpischord at 2:33) sets the soundtrack in a fantasy realm beyond time.
I actually don’t know what the real title of this song is, so if anyone knows, please tell me! This is a rather low-quality rip of the game’s midi score, but the songs are complete – as far as anyone knows, the soundtrack was never released. However, Blizzard later created a joke track, that disco ‘hit’, “I’m a Medieval Man.” The piece mixes voice clips from WarCraft II command responses for some head-shaking nonsense. Blizzard has such a nice sense of humor for fans.
The music and sound was composed by a large team: Gregory Alper, Rick Jackson (Fallout 2, Baldur’s Gate), Chris Palmer, and Glenn Stafford. Stafford later went on to produce soundtracks for the rest of the WarCraft series as well as World of WarCraft. He also composed the forgotten Blizzard classics Lost Vikings and Blackthorne.