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Soundtrack review: Big Pharma (Mark Allsworth – 2015)

“Big Pharma” is a simulation game developed by Twice Circled and published by Positech Games where one builds a drug factory. The game was released on 27 August. In Big Pharma the player takes the role as the manager of a pharmaceutical company, producing prescription drugs from raw materials. Raw materials have intrinsic positive (e.g., “Reduces coughs”) and negative (e.g., “Induces drowsiness”) benefits that present themselves when the material is within a set concentration range, with possible concentrations ranging on a 0-to-20 scale. The player produces the drugs using an assembly line approach with various equipment that can modify the concentration of the material, combine materials, rearrange the effects of a material to determine how effects combine when mixed, analyze materials to determine maximum potency levels, and finally prepare the material in pill form for delivery. Sounds like the kind of game I would play. The score was written by Mark Allsworth.

I love the score releases for lower profile games like this one. At least I think it’s a low profile game, at least compared to stuff like Warcraft or Dragon Age or Civilization. Those epic scores are something else but every now and then I need a sweet little gem like this one to remind me of the basics and fun of playing a simple computer game. It’s all in the opening cue “Let’s make medicine”. I don’t need more than this catchy tune to get me to connect with this score. I can imagine my little girl grooving on this one as well. These two minutes have put me in a great mood.

“Electro elixir” comes next and if you listen to it you’ll realize that there’s never been a more appropriate cue title. It shows exactly what this little piece of music is. I can hear the bubbles of energy waking me up, I can see the colors mixing and I am having great fun with this score. And this is all “Big Pharma” is about really. Simple, funny, catchy tunes that just bring a different light to someone’s day. I could get lost in the atmosphere of a game with a score like this one. I could also listen to these melodies over and over again while performing various tasks. The world of game music is a land filled with wonders and this little gem has its worthy place among them. I will check out the game play just because I loved the score so much.

Cue rating: 100 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 23

Album excellence: 100%

Highlights:

Let’s Make Medicine

Electro Elixir

Organic Alternative

Non-Drowsy

Active Ingredients

Relieves Pain Fast

Daily Dose of Vitamin D

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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