Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2 -Solid Snake- Music Collection
Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2 -Solid Snake- Music Collection
September 3, 1998
Buy Used Copy
Those who purchased the Metal Gear Solid Premium Pack in Japan received the Metal Gear & Metal Gear 2 -Solid Snake- Music Collection as a bonus. It collects the entire soundtrack to the original Metal Gear, selections from Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, and four bonus tracks from other Hideo Kojima games. Not to be confused with the Metal Gear >> Solid Snake Music Compilation Red Disc arranged album, this collection only contains the original music within the games. That said, I found this soundtrack to be slightly redundant, despite it holding a few exclusives.
The major exclusive of this collection is the soundtrack for the original Metal Gear, released in 1987 for the MSX-2. That said, while a historic soundtrack, the score from Iku Mizutani, Shigehiro Takenouchi, and Motoaki Furukawa is a mixed bag in terms of quality. “Operation Intrude N313” only contains the title screen sound effect and a short jingle. The first ever main theme in the series, “Theme of Tara” is certainly a catchy and memorable track. The distinctive bass line (“Ta-ra, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum”) really captures the infiltration feel, while the main melody has a deeper quality. It’s a good thing this track is well-composed, since it plays constantly throughout the game. That said, I wasn’t such a fan of the melody of the second BGM theme, “Sneaking Mission”. It serves its purpose, but doesn’t offer anything interesting or noteworthy.
“-!- Red Alert,” like all future alert themes in the series, is a fast-paced and repetitive action theme that plays when Snake gets spotted. The main boss track “Mercenary” is effective but nothing special either, while “TX-Metal Gear” is even more repetitive, looping far too quickly with no musical progression. “Escape -Beyond Big Boss-” is a tension-filled techno beat that plays towards the end of the game while Snake escapes Outer Heaven’s self-destruct sequence. Rounding things off, “Return of the Fox Hounder” is rather enjoyable with its simple, yet upbeat melody and “Just Another Dead Soldier” is a game over theme. Overall, the soundtrack to the original Metal Gear works well in the game, but isn’t too inspiring as a stand-alone listen. While I enjoyed one or two themes, the rest of the soundtrack is rather forgettable.
Next we have selections from Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, a much bigger soundtrack composed by a seven-person team led by Masahiro Ikariko. Militaristic, brooding, and slightly techno-inspired, “Theme of Solid Snake” and “Zanzibar Breeze” accompany the opening cutscenes of the game. While they sound modest by today’s standard, they were incredibly well-implemented for their time. “Frequency 140.85” utilizes syncopated rhythms and melodic synth that add perfect backing while the player gathers items, takes out guards, and staying unseen. When the player gets spotted by guards, the music changes from subtle to tense. The main alert theme, “Level 3 Warning,” incorporates fast-paced, but repetitive techno loops to create emotional progression. “Killers” and “Mechanic” are both fast-paced, low-octave boss fight themes. As expected, the music evokes a certain sense of danger and menace while Snake fights against Zanzibar Land’s Special Forces.
For a MSX-2 soundtrack, Metal Gear 2: SOlid Snake surprisingly delivers many levels of emotion with its cinematic tracks. “Night Fall” is a sad love theme, reflecting on the relationship between Snake and female operative Holly White. “Natasha’s Death” could have easily fit in a newer Metal Gear Solid game. The amount of raw emotion and composition coming from this track is nothing short of astounding. “Mechanic” was slightly disappointing, as it loops too quickly and has a rather repetitive melody. Faster paced and more tension-filled than “Frequency 140.85,” “The Front Line” perfectly matches the stealth-gameplay aspects of Metal Gear as another area theme. Another area theme we have is “Level 1 Warning.” Utilizing a similar type of composition as the previous two area themes, I found myself enjoying its mysterious melody. “Advance Immediately” is another enjoyable theme as well, reminiscent of many 80s action movie soundtracks.
“Zanzibar National Anthem” is a sixteen second theme for the eponymous fictional country. Outside of the game, it doesn’t offer much other than nostalgic memoires. “Spiral” is a fast tempo chase theme. Snake and Holly escape Zanzibar Land while fighting through waves of soldiers. Just as they are surrounded, backup arrives and they are saved. The theme that plays at this time is “Return,” a victorious and upbeat march. Snake and Holly fly off into the sunset with the operation successful. The final ending theme is “Farewell” a more upbeat track that plays as we are greeted with images of the games cast of characters. “Disposable Life” is simply a game over theme. Overall, the soundtrack presented here is very good. The best way to experience MG2’s soundtrack, though, is on the full album release.
We’re not done yet, because there are four bonus tracks. “Theme of Metal Gear” is taken directly from the MSX-2 release of Snatcher. Really, it’s more or less an enhanced version of “Theme of Tara” utilizing Konami’s SCC sound chip. Next, we have a remix of “Zanzibar Breeze” by original composer Mutsuhiko Izumi, taken from the remix album Konami All Stars -The 1000-Ryo Chest Heisei 4th Year Edition-. Although the electric guitar is well done, the synth is terribly outdated. The remix found on the Metal Gear 20th Anniversary Music Collection is a much better listening choice. The final two tracks are “Policenauts” and “Danger Dance… & Justice All.” I should note that “Policenauts” is actually “The Age of Policenauts”, but is not listed as such on the album. Both tracks are taken directly from the Black Disc, but are actually shortened. Either way, you’re not missing much as neither track offered anything special in the first place.
There really isn’t any reason to get this album because a majority of the content can be found on far better albums. The Metal Gear score isn’t featured in any other album, so it a major exclusive here. However, the music itself is largely forgettable and is better to experience in the game. The bonus tracks don’t fare much better, mainly emphasising how the series ties in with Hideo Kojima’s other work. The Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake portion is this album’s saving grace, but the best way to experience it is on the complete soundtrack release dedicated to the game. The only reason someone would want this would be to complete their collection of Metal Gear music. Other than that, there’s little other reason to own it.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on August 1, 2012.