Emperor: Battle for Dune Soundtrack, David Arkenstone / Frank Klepacki / Jarrid Mendelson, 2001
For his fourth game based on the hugely popular Dune books, Frank Klepacki was joined by David Arkenstone and Jarrid Mendelson, two artists he had collaborated with before. Each composer would deliver a different soundscape for the game’s three warring factions, and fortunately the resulting album remains coherent and immensely satisfying. The Emperor: Battle for Dune soundtrack aims for a more grandiose sound than the Command & Conquer games, and particularly Arkenstone and Klepacki’s compositions realise this ambition admirably. Arkenstone writes his most hard rock-influenced game score, taking Klepacki’s Command & Conquer style and mixing in long, melodic guitar soli – if real-time strategy ever went stadium rock (in a very good way), this would be it. Klepacki, on the other hand, explores the (synth)orchestral side of his usual genre-mixing palette and creates mini-epics like the seven-minute “Assembling the Troops (Atreides)”. Most spectacular of all are Mendelson’s contributions though, whirlwinds of creatively layered electronic sounds and rhythms that make the planet Dune a beguilingly exotic rather than awe-inspiring place.
Not commercially available anymore – try music streaming services or second hand stores.