Sci-Fi Sounds of '50s Flavor Video Game

Space man threatens 1950s-era town in video-game screen capture.

An alien threatens a 1950s-era city in the video game "Destroy All Humans." hide caption

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The 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was amplified with the help of composer Bernard Herrmann's eerie score. Echoes of Herrmann's music were heard in countless other sci-fi flicks through the 1950s. Now the sounds reverberate anew in a newly released video game released called "Destroy All Humans." Garry Schyman, who composed the music for the game, pays tribute to Herrmann, and the game format gave him the chance to write a variety of three-minute pieces, ranging from "Furon Theme" to "Saucer Attack."

Schyman, who has also written soundtracks for TV shows and movies, tells Liane Hansen what it was like to write music for a video game.

The music complements a game that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at 1950s films, with big-finned cars and backdrops that include a carnival, the bucolic town of Rockwell and Capitol City, an Everytown of the era with institutional structures closely resembling the federal buildings in Washington, D.C. There's also more than a hint of Mars Attacks!, the oddball 1996 Tim Burton film.

But put away that fedora, pal. You're not defending Earth in this game, you're assaulting it, with five different landing sites, and a variety of lethal weapons.

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