Tabletop Review: Ambient Environments MP3 – The Shadow Over Innsmouth

Ambient Environments MP3 – The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Publisher: Ambient Environments
Length: 10 Minutes
Cost: $1.99
Get it Here:

As you can probably tell from the title of this ten minute MP3, The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a background track for tabletop gaming inspired by one of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous stories. We cover a LOT of Call of Cthulhu releases here at Diehard GameFAN and god knows many of those have had Deep Ones lurking between their pages somewhere, so I thought it would be fun to check out this piece and see how it fares. With a two dollar price tag, it’s a bit more expensive than releases by other tabletop background music providers like Plate Mail Games, but two bucks for ten minutes of music is still a pretty good deal in this day and age. The track is also part of the Cthulhu Rises! bundle, but I didn’t receive a review copy for each track in that bundle, so I can’t really comment on that.

So one warning right up front – if you’re looking for this track to be very Mythos oriented, you won’t find it here. There won’t be any cultists chanting to Cthulhu, Dagon, Shub-Niggurath or the like. You won’t hear the sopping wet footsteps of a Deep One slowly shambling along wood steps or into an old home. You won’t have any sounds for a small town like Innsmouth like general chatter or clopping of horse hooves on cobblestone. So if you’re looking for something like that, you will NOT find it in this track. You’re probably better off with Darkling Harp’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth bundle which contains actual tracks geared specific towards the sounds of Innsmouth and games set within its borders.

That said, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by Ambient Environments is actually pretty versatile. It can work for a haunted lighthouse, spooky coastline, abandoned pier, scary beach, marshy inlet of doom and more. Any coastal or large body of water that has strange goings on could make excellent use of this ten minute track.

You get a lot of great noises, none of which are distracting or overly annoying save for a few seconds of a very out of place barking dog. There isn’t any real music to the track, which is good as aside from a Hymn by the Starry Wisdom Church, I wouldn’t want any. You get a lot of wind, surf and rain though playing pretty much nonstop for the full ten minutes, which honestly, is a far better choice than any musical tracks. You do get the occasional high pitched note or very subtle hint of music in the wind and surf though via some eerie undefined intonations, which is a nice touch. Towards the back half of the track the intonation does seem to get louder and take on a dark hymnal quality, while still keeping from being full on music in the way a human would think of it.

The crashing of the waves and bubbling of the water is excellently done, as are the caws of seagulls and the occasional bell from a lone buoy. There are also some creaks, but I can’t really discern if it is from a broken down pier/dock or if it’s a ramshackle old boat making the noise as the tide rocks it back and forth. The overall feel of the track is very ominous and creepy, so even though it’s not a perfect fit for Innsmouth, it is a fantastic for any games that involve exploration of an eerie maritime location. Whether it’s a cove, swampy hamlet, or high tide along a creepy bay, there are ton of great uses for The Shadow Over Innsmouth without making your game Deep One or even Call of Cthulhu related.

Overall, The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a great “spooky water related area” background tracker which you can definitely make great use of in your games and it is also one players will highly enjoy. It doesn’t really give off an Innsmouth vibe to me at all, but that’s okay because the piece is versatile enough to have a dozen other uses. I can definitely recommend it, especially as it is only two dollars. For those of you who really like musical cues and background noise in your tabletop games, The Shadow Overs Innsmouth is a fine addition to your collection.



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2 responses to “Tabletop Review: Ambient Environments MP3 – The Shadow Over Innsmouth”

  1. Hubert J. Simpson Avatar
    Hubert J. Simpson

    or clopping of horse hooves on cobblestone

    There wouldn’t be any horses in Innsmouth, anyway, unless it’s before the fall. :-p

    1. Alexander Lucard Avatar
      Alexander Lucard

      Well, there would be, to a degree. Horse trouble is mentioned directly in “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” in a joking manner regarding animals’ dislike of Deep Ones. In the 1920s, there would have still been a lot of need and use for literal horsepower in a community that still existed somewhat like humans, even when the residents weren’t entirely human. Goods had to come and go to some degree after all. Although I have to wonder what would be harder, trying to control a horse, or trying to get an aquatic life form to drive in a manner somewhat close to safe.

      Besides, with that logic, there wouldn’t be dogs running around either and there are in the MP3. ;-)

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