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Soundtrack review: Fable legends – The Rosewood (Russell Shaw – 2010)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Fable legends – The Rosewood (Russell Shaw – 2010)


“Fable Legends” is a cancelled cooperative action role-playing video game developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. The game was based around four Heroes and a Villain. Each role may be filled by a player via online multiplayer or by an AI. The same game experience was possible regardless of multiplayer or single player (with four AI). All of the game’s story and quests could have been played single player, using AI heroes as sidekicks or enemies. It was possible to play through the game’s content as either a Hero or as a Villain. During each quest, the four Hero characters must use teamwork to succeed in their objectives, while the Villain player opposes them with an army of creatures. It is part of the Fable franchise and Russell Shaw wrote the score for “Rosewood”.

His scores or the franchise have been getting better and better. The main title begins with that familiar music box sound before soaring into dark fantasy territory. Once again I am hooked right from the start. It’s still written in the Danny Elfman style even without his involvement. As always with this franchise I am looking for the standout moments. I like the sound  of “Fable” and I trust Russell Shaw enough to not be worried about it so I am on the lookout for great pieces like the epic “Albion awaits”.

“Rosewood” is one of the least dangerous forests in the “Fable” world so the score doesn’t allow darkness in too much. There is danger in “Over the bridge” but it contrasts with the beauty in “Festival of roses”. I recognize the Guild sound that started all the way in the first scores in “The great hall”: the somber mood with the religious like choirs. I also recognize the delightful renaissance sound in “Out story begins”. These are cues that tie the franchise together and give it a clear identity. I like the almost suave sounding “Cloaked in darkness”. The flute tells me that something good is actually hiding there. “White rose” is one of the most complex and enjoyable cues from “The Rosewood”. I like how the orchestra sounds here and how the child choirs contradict the instrumental darkness.

What works for this score is the feeling or a musical narrative. These aren’t just generic cues or music made to fill in some moments; once again Russell Shaw took every element or visual from the story, put it in notes and turned it into cues for our delight. While not as memorable as “Fable III”, “The Rosewood” is a nice addition to the franchise.

Cue rating:  87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 26 / 65

Album excellence: 39%


Title Theme

Albion Awaits

Over the Bridge

Cloaked in Darkness

White Rose

The Lady Revealed

Save Rhubarb

The Ancient Doors

Town of Falling Waters

Red Rose

The Fearsome Foe

Albion Needs Heroes

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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