“Well What’s Happenin’, C&C Community?”

we were ruder about the video in our super-secret RPS chat channel

I hesitate slightly to post about this, as the last time I talked about C&C: Red Alert’s music and offhandedly mentioned that it had never especially moved me personally, I received a furious email from an Angry Internet Man about how I had zero music taste and should show some respect for what its composer Frank Klepacki had done for gaming.

Going on the below video, I suspect street-talkin’ Klepacki himself would refer to it as respec’, however. Here he is, “throwing a shout out” to his fans, who will be very happy to hear that he’s officially on Red Alert 3 soundtrack duties. Me? Well… oh, look over there – that dog has a puffy tail!

There’d been presumption he wasn’t involved with RA3 due to his alliance with ex-Westwooders Petroglyph, but clearly the EA dollar was big enough to tempt him back. He even confirms he’s working on Hell March 3, a second sequel to the most renowned RA track. While my thoughts immediately turn to Meat Loaf, who’s now up to Bat Out of Hell XII or something by now, it’s excellent news for Veteran C&C Fans Who Like Listening To Looped Samples Of Shouting Soldiers Over Industrial Noises. Klepacki’s announcement and imperative that “it’s time to rawk’n’rollllll!” is below.

And here he is performing Hell March in concert at Video Games Live last week. That’s quite a coat.

It’s more fun with an orchestra, certainly.

For added measure (because I’ve been humming it since I mentioned him), here’s Meat Loaf at his bizarre, chubby finest:

Giggle. That’s really going to fuel the fires of the Meer Has Zero Musical Taste types.


  1. Joe says:

    To be honest, I never really like the C&C music either. Kind of forgettable really. I catch people humming game music all the time from all sorts of games – FFVII, Deus Ex, Mario, Sonic etc. I can’t say I’ve ever heard someone whistle the C&C theme, nor would I expect to recognise it if they did.

    And don’t mock the Loaf!

  2. AndrewC says:

    While I want to defend computer games’ and gamer’s cultural legitimacy in the face of prejudice and ignorance, most of us really do have terrible taste in everything.

  3. Ubernutz says:

    Meat Loaf scares me in a way F.E.A.R never could.

  4. Optimaximal says:

    Whilst I liked the majority of his work on C&C (Red Alert 2s soundtrack is a regular on my iPod), his work on Empire at War was pure fan-cruft and his Universe at War job was either a) a complete knock off of his C&C work or b) shit…
    In addition, the guy is almost as big a cock-sure tosser as CliffyB. When will these industry ‘vets’ learn that they’re fairly disposable these days, given that everyone else around them is doing the actual ‘work’.

  5. Pavel says:

    CnC 1 had absolutely awesome OST, and so had Red Alert 1 and 2.Brown’s Generals were quite good, and CnC 3 sucked ass.So am glad he’s back.

  6. CrashT says:

    As much as I like Hell March it really does remind me of a weaker version of Pilgrimage from Nine Inch Nails (The Fragile Disc 1, Track 9 for those with even less musical taste that Alec).

    And to be fair to Mr Loaf, he might have released three “Bat Out Of Hell” albums but there’s only one actually track by that name.

  7. Mark-P says:

    Target and Hell March are part of the soundtrack to my childhood and they’re still great. It’s nice to see composers getting some spotlight. Their work always seems to play second fiddle to graphical whiz-bangery.

    ( And if the Loaf is wrong then baby, I don’t ever want to be right )

  8. itsallcrap says:

    Meh, it’s good as videogame music goes. That guy is definitely an arse, though.

    On an unrelated topic, I see that more than one in ten people are now worshipping Horace the Endless Bear… and yet you never catch them at it.

    Coincidence, or something more sinister?

  9. Michael Bay says:

    That’s quite a guitar.

  10. CrashT says:

    “Over twenty years ago?” I think he got that a little wrong.

  11. Gap Gen says:

    That’s quite a guitar.

    I’ll say.

  12. LSTAR says:

    Wait! What?
    Command and Conquer had a theme tune!?

  13. Nimic says:

    I don’t care how much of an arse he is, the Command & Conquer and Red Alert music was brilliant. Red Alert 2 had it’s gems too. It’s seemingly gotten very popular to criticize C&C (all C&C) since EA took over.

  14. Raptornas says:

    Yeh, I hate metal (which is somehow a crime on the internet). Sorry but its wank and nothing is added by having military samples played over it.

    There has been some good video game theme tunes but by and large they were good because they could only be video game tunes. Nintendo certainly have an ear for a damn fine ditty all without electric guitars and marching samples.

  15. KC says:

    well, the RA series has always had hell march being the defining song since its release -12- years ago..

    nine inch nails/trent reznor did the soundtrack to doom way back in the day, and it didn’t sound nearly as good as most of the work done by them today

    hearing this song now probably doesnt mean much, unless you played the game, i do it today, i listen to people playing video game music, most of it is ok, but to them, its the best song ever made, it all depends on how well it goes with the game.

    also, for people who hated the cnc3 soundtrack, throw on disks 2 and 3 of the universe at war soundtrack instead, its free on the internet (legally)

  16. Yargh says:

    no idea why, but all I can think about now is the Nuclear Winter theme from Freedom Force!

  17. CrashT says:

    KC: Trent did the sountrack for Quake, Doom 1 & 2 were Bobby Prince who also worked on Duke Nukem 3D.

    Yargh, what about the theme for Freedom Force vs The 3rd Reich where it was just humming over the intro screen. More genius from Eric “Thief” Brosius.

  18. MeestaNob! says:

    C&C and C&C 2 were freakin cool games with suitable music, RA 1 & 2 also.

    The best parts of those games was the FMV and the music, we all knew (even back then) that C&C games were pretty shallow affairs. Who cares, they were fun.

    Nowadays they’re not great, hopefully one day they’ll really try to DO something with the license rather than just make money.

    Oh, and gaming sites with Meat Loaf = WIN.

  19. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I’ll just add my voice to the “Frank is a genius” “cru”. You people, honestly. I’m a mechanical? I’m a mechanical? I’m a mechanical man.

    Half the music I listen to is from computer games – game music is severely neglected in the games journalism world, i’d like to see some sort of intense featurette on it at some point. Meer – I choose you! I don’t know why I choose you, as I disagree with you re: music at every turn, but hey. I choose you anyway.

    Mass Effect OST is my cd of choice atm, incidentally. What do you make of that?

  20. Danny says:

    Michael Hoenig is a god. I’ll never forget his Baldur’s Gate 2 score. And Jeremy Soule deserves some credit for his work on Oblivion’s OST. Way to good for such a shallow game.

  21. Greve says:

    Buying Red Alert, without the intertubez hype to leak it all, and then being blown away by the intro with the pumping Hell’s March song was one of the defining moments of my gaming life. Not much remains these days, it is one of those “you had to be there” things.

  22. David McBride says:

    You know what would have been the perfect twist to the end of that live Hell March video?

    That at the end of the performance, the conductor turns to take a bow and reveals himself as Joe Kucan.

  23. Iain says:

    @ John P:

    The Mass Effect soundtrack is bloody fabulous. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anywhere in the UK that sells it yet…

  24. Matt says:

    From that picture I thought you were saying Andrew Lloyd Webber did the C&C soundtrack.

  25. Ian Dorsch says:

    Regardless of your opinion on his music, Frank is a super nice guy, really down to earth. Made me smile to see him up there with the orchestra headbanging in that enormous coat.

  26. Turin Turambar says:

    C&C 1 OST is perhaps my favorite OST game ever. The vast array of styles always impressed me: techno, industrial, rock, classical, and sometimes everyhing at the same time.

  27. RLacey says:

    And Jeremy Soule deserves some credit for his work on Oblivion’s OST. Way to good for such a shallow game.

    My main problem with Soule is that all of his music sounds the *same* in a generic-fantasy kind of way. Sure, it’s okay, but it never really defines one game against another. Try playing the Guild Wars music while playing Oblivion and vice versa, for instance.

    That and the Oblivion theme tune is so uncannily like the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune that it’s bordering dangerously close to ‘blatant rip-off’ territory.

    I’m not saying that the man is a bad composer. I’m just continually surprised when people gush over him.

    For my money, the really great game composers are those old LucasArts peeps: Clint Bajakian, Michael Land et al.

  28. Rosti says:

    Fight – Win – Prevail!

  29. Dogman says:

    That middle video was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen.

  30. someone says:

    How exactly is Hell March metal you [person of a different opinion]?

  31. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    “That and the Oblivion theme tune is so uncannily like the Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune that it’s bordering dangerously close to ‘blatant rip-off’ territory.”

    Time to defend Soule! The Oblivion theme tune was merely an enhanced and jazzed up version of the Morrowind theme – a game which came out a year -before- PoTC. So, just a coincidence if anything!

  32. Schadenfreude says:

    Soule’s best work was the first Icewind Dale; specifically the Kuldahar theme. Drop-dead fantastic.

    And Morrowind had better music than Oblivion.

  33. Alec Meer says:

    Mr Soule dropped me a couple of emails a while back, but sadly went quiet when I requested an interview :( Seemed a very pleasant chap, though.

  34. Pod says:

    Did anyone else notice an odd effect of the sound on that video continually panning from left to right? It’s scrambled my brain, somewhat.

    Also, is “[person of a different opinion]” something of a swear filter, or is it some joke different people are “in on” in different threads here at RPS?

    ps: He has a stupid looking guitar.

  35. Charlie says:

    I cant believe this. I love the Red Alert music. I know its cheesy shite but thats what the game is and it suits it perfectly. I can’t believe it got such a negative response. Oh well.

  36. SwiftRanger says:

    Not all tracks he produces are brilliant but the majority is, Frank pretty much made it worthwhile to even play games like Dune 2000, LoL II or UaW for more than a few minutes.

  37. FunkyLlama says:

    Oh wow… that middle video is an embarrassment to the human race.

  38. Optimaximal says:

    I’d have paid money to see Grinder or Drok, but Hell March is just noise… :(

  39. LionsPhil says:

    “Outside Brandon’s Home” (try here), the first forest theme in Legend of Kyrandia, competes with Deus Ex’s “Hong Kong Streets” for most beautiful tracked game music IMO. (Without the tracked limitation, Christopher Tin’s Civ4 title theme, “Baba Yetu” probably trumps both.)

    C&C’s soundtrack was ace, and bits of RA/RA2 as well, but he seems rather locked into one genre these days. But I suppose that’s the gaming bloodline that succeeded—you don’t see Petroglyph or EA making adventure games.

    And, seeing as the comments have diversified into “awesome composers”, Alexander Brandon deserves props for his work on Jazz Jackrabbit, Unreal Tournament, Deus Ex, and the likes.

  40. PTizzle says:

    I’m really happy to see any composers getting some recognition, they are sadly way too overlooked in my eyes.

    LionsPhil – I used to love Legend of Kyrandia when I was younger. The music was fantastic and suited the game perfectly.

    As far as RA goes the music was always memorable to me. Not amazing as far as my tastes go, but I always remembered the tunes and can recognize them near instantly.

  41. newt says:

    Without the tracked limitation, Lennie Moore’s Outcast owns all (and not only because it was one of the first truly orchestral soundtracks – it’s ridiculously good music).

    Anyway, given the amounts of brilliant game music out there (Homeworld, Omikron, MDK, Driver, Alice, Sands of Time, Okami, Sacrifice.. the list goes on & on) I’m rather surprised a routineer like Klepacki is getting so much attention. I’ve played heaps of RA and still don’t recall a single note off its soundtrack.

  42. Chaz says:

    Yep there’s had been some very good game music in recent times. I also enjoyed Omikron and PoP: Sands of Time, and most recently I really liked the music for Tomb Raider Legend, which you can download from here link to tombraiderchronicles.com along with all the other TR soundtracks.

    Whilst the RA Hell March music is a gaming classic I think there’s been much better stuff done since.

  43. Chis says:

    Much as I enjoy Frank’s work on the original C&C and Red Alert, he does come across rather… full of himself.

    Contrast with this interview with Sega maestro Richard Jacques. Far more informative, and Richard comes across rather more genuine. Sadly I only know his work through Sonic R and 3D, but they’re both excellent games and soundtracks.

  44. Chris A says:

    Having worked with Frank, I’ll say up front that many of ya have the wrong impression of him. As Ian mentioned above, he’s a hell of a guy, really down to earth and friendly. What you’re seeing up there is Rockstar Frank, which is a lot of fun when you’ve seen his normal day-to-day persona.

    Also, speaking of Quake soundtracks, Front Line Assembly’s work on Q3A is worth checking out.

  45. Krupo says:

    I was really heavily swaying between labeling the video “*terrible” when putting it up at Videosift… something seemed so wrong about that live performance. Sifted it up for historical value though: link to videosift.com

  46. hydra9 says:

    Frank Klepacki will always be a hero to me. His soundtrack for Dune II was all kinds of awesome.