Originally published on Suburban Conspiracy by Dex Trenchcoat:
(Edited and Updated for Content and Clarity)
Hello again readers and listeners to another dose of free audio dramas on the web. This weeks focus will be The Leviathan Chronicles written and produced by Christof Laputka. This is an impressive original audio drama currently spanning 19 episodes, but the creator has plans for two seasons of 25 episodes each.
I first discovered The Leviathan Chronicles through its original website. I was impressed by the flash animation on the old site, which really helped give it the feel of a site for a big budget movie. However the new and improved website is far better and more fitting for an ambitious series like this. The current site includes many extras such as artists concepts of vehicles and places, short biographies of the central characters, and listings of the cast and crew. The site also has forums to interact directly with the people behind the scenes as well as RSS feeds and two options for listening to episodes, either streaming directly from the website or via an iTunes feed.
The one minute thirty second trailer for this series really draws you in. Its on their website and the iTunes feed, listen to it. Its really good. The main character is named Macallan Orsel, and she’s a genetic scientist from New York City, who has found herself on the run and caught up in secret war between two powerful groups of immortals. The situations she finds herself along the way, defy not only her own explanations but her beliefs about the very nature of the life she once lead. One question the trailer asks is, given the choice between immortality or freedom, which would you choose?
Have You Heard?…
Like any good action adventure, The Leviathan Chronicles story begins in a far off exotic locale; in this case, we’re in the Phillipine Sea, aboard a top secret chinese submarine called the Hei Ten Shi, attempting to dive to record breaking depths for reasons unknown. Over the course of the episode we find out the events in the sub create a larger mystery which propels the rest of the plot. Why was that sub diving so deep and how did things go terribly wrong? By episode 18 we have some answers, but not all of them. Guess we’ll have to keep listening.
This show is brilliantly set up, at times it feels like a taught techno-thriller, and other times more like a freewheeling action adventure like Die Hard and it even has a few Star Trek-like moments. The technical polish of this series is truely impressive. The creator of the show, Christof Laputka uses a professional sound studio to mix the episodes and results are impressive. The dialog is clearly audible often over both sound effects and original background music something that few other audio shows are able to accomplish. No detail is left to chance, even the theme music is original and done by a modern rock/heavy metal mix by New York City band, Against The Wall. The group has an interesting sound, check out there myspace page if your interested.
I really dont have many negative things to say about this show, but like some others, I feel the extensive narration of the show is a double edged sword. During high octane action sequences like in Chapter 11, where there’s a high speed chase through the slums of Mumbai India, the use of a narrator is brilliant. She adds so much to this sequence by allowing the listeners to follow the action in a way that we normally could not. In addition to hearing sound effects and music and dialog from all the actors, the narrator gives us the bigger picture in these scenes. Physical action is a tough thing to replicate in an audio only format, but the Leviathan Chronicles finds a way to do it that works amazingly well. I think the action sequences in this show are some of the best I have ever heard.
Unfortunately, I felt that at times the narrator was a bit over used. There were times when the characters could have said and done certain things like tell us how lavishly a room is decorated or even how they are thinking or feeling at a given moment. When the narrator tells us these things instead of the characters, it feels more like an audiobook than an audio drama. One thing that doesn’t change about the Leviathan Chronicles is the amazing storyline, which leaves you constantly guessing where the story will go next. regardless of whether the show is an audiobook or audio drama, the storyline is engaging and filled with action and unexpected connections between characters and events.
As I listened to this intruiging series, my inner gaming geek came out, and I began to think what the Leviathan Chronicles would be like as a modern roleplaying game. A ruleset like d20 Modern or World of Darkness’s Storyteller System would be a natural fit, but most any ruleset would work. The background and setting is certainly there, all that it seems to need is to roll up a few NPCs, and to figure out what role the Player Characters would take. Young immortals perhaps? Its an intruiging idea I may try to pull off one day as a homebrew campaign.
In summary I highly recommend The Leviathan Chronicles, both as an audio drama and even as a potential role-playing game setting. Its a great highly original well told story. This show ranks right up there with Wormwood and a select few others as among the best modern audio dramas today in my opinion. If your not hearing the Leviathan Chronicles, your missing out on a wonderful treat for your ears and a great story for your head. Happy listening.