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Soundtrack 1
The Definitive XBOX Compilation

A soundtrack, not for a game, but for an entire console. Intrigued? We were.

The Xbox has some amazing hardware capabilities. This machine has allowed developers to accomplish things never before possible in a game. One of the things that Microsoft is (rightfully) proud of with its console is the sound capability.

Licensed music is nothing new in the videogame community. Hit songs have appeared all over the place. With the Xbox, we can either listen to the music that is provided in the game, or if properly coded, switch to a soundtrack of our choosing from the hard drive. With so many great songs appearing on so many games, it may be hard to decide which songs to rip. Microsoft and Universal Records Canada in conjunction with EMI Canada have offered a solution in the form of Soundtrack 1, a compilation of songs that appear of various Xbox games.

One is struck with a Borg like image (a man - top half only) hooked up to various cables, which themselves are hooked up to something a bit larger - we never see the full image) before we even open up the CD case. Perhaps with some of the legal troubles the company has had, this might not be an image that Microsoft wants to project. The idea here is obvious (man/machine joining together), but the Borg imagery is too strong to ignore. Oh well.

The songs themselves represent a wide variety of musical styles, with heavier emphasis on rap and hard rock. Artists range from Snoop Dogg to Rob Zombie, from Underworld to Godsmack. None of the songs are throwaway tracks either. Many of these songs have made appearances on the radio (PE's Welcome To The Terrordome, or Saliva's Click Click Boom for example).

Perhaps worse than the Borg imagery (the liner notes open into a poster) is the lack of information about the artists and songs. Sure, there is a listing for each song alongside a picture of an album by the artist. Unfortunately, it doesn't say if said album includes the track. Also, knowing which game the song appears in would have been nice.

Having a nice collection of songs isn't the only reason to look into picking this disc up. The bonus CD contains a mess of multimedia that is geared for potential Xbox gamers. Titles ranging from Dead or Alive 3 to Halo to Blood Wake to Amped get the preview treatment here. Screens, info, and movies all appear here, sorted by genre (sports, adventure, racing, etc.). While many gamers already have the launch titles they want, this is still some good info on titles that either may not have been picked up yet (NFL Fever 2002 or Fuzion Frenzy) or not yet released (NBA Inside Drive 2002).

The other portion of the bonus disc gives out music video treatment to the Crystal Method's Tweekend. This is a cool feature, but isn't the same type of "disc seller" that the game info is.

Overall, the disc is a pretty good collection of A-list songs, with an added bonus of Xbox stuff. Depending on how much a particular retailer is selling it for, this should definitely be worth the price.

Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Hopes this is a trend that continues.

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