Swagman Soundtrack, Nathan McCree, 1997
Nathan McCree‘s body of work is the textbook example of one particular work overshadowing a game composer’s other accomplishments. Of course, we are talking about Tomb Raider and its many sequels, two of which McCree scored himself. Outside of some highlights, these scores don’t play too well outside of the games they accompany, and there are arguably more rewarding works in McCree’s discography. After all, his output ranges from Star Wars homage Soulstar to the creeping menace of Skeleton Krew‘s synth textures. As with so much other early Western game music, an album release was never on the cards for these titles.
Thankfully, once more a mid-90s French game magazine came to the rescue, with one of those promotional CD releases that accompanied many of these publications (see also: Formula 1, Rapid Racer). The particular album in question holds – among other works – the majority of McCree’s work for Swagman. That game is a mostly forgotten action adventure title from Tomb Raider‘s Core Design. Reviews were middling and so it’s understandable that Swagman wouldn’t be on the radar of many game music fans. As it turns out though, the game contains what might well be the best score of McCree’s career.