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Metal Slug Complete Box Soundtrack :: Review by George

Metal Slug Complete Sound Box Album Title: Metal Slug Complete Box Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00542
Release Date: September 6, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Metal Slug is one of the rare instances in gaming history where everything was done right. Its soundtrack by Takushi Hiyamuta is one of the best aspects of the gaming experience. He offers a varied, fun, and colorful soundtrack full of personality and style, mixing heavy metal, jazz, and militaristic orchestral music. It could be less exceptional were it not for the cool and unique arcade synth that it uses, which only adds to the charm. Though the soundtrack wasn't initially released on CD, it formed the basis of the first disc of the Metal Slug Complete Sound Box, released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the series. Let's get down to the mission, shall we?


The militaristic motifs are first recognizable in the briefing and ranking music, titled "March". This military march is certainly very clichéd, but fits the context appropriately and is somewhat charming on a stand-alone basis. It soon is followed by the heart and soul of the soundtrack, the "Metal Slug Main Theme", which is used as background music for the first stage. Opening with bombastic heroic motif and instrumentation that emulates military bands, as the track develops, the theme impresses further with a jazz interlude that adds more depth and personality to the composition. It is further reprised in numerous other themes of the soundtrack, notably in "Final Attack" where it gets an "epic" makeover, fitting for the last stage of the game. This over-the-top theme is the core of the entire franchise.

The jazz elements of the franchise are instantly noticeable in "Inner Station", "Ridge 256" and "Gerhard Station". They all feature incredibly catchy melodies and grooves, sometimes accompanied even by a jazzy piano and a very prominent use of electric guitars. Even though all the instruments are synthetic, there's a unique and great quality to the audio, which, despite not being realistic or authentic, gives to the overall sound a certain "retro" feel that simply makes all these compositions stand out even more.

While most tracks are catchy and fun to listen to, there are a bunch of them that are more serious and dramatic in tone. For instance, "Assault Theme" is a terrific, hard-edged and merciless war anthem that mirrors the game's difficulty, while "Steel Beast" takes a more heavy metal approach, giving a sense of tension and danger, fitting the game's boss battles. The previously mentioned "Final Attack" is a blast of heroic and climatic motifs that bring chills to the listener and create anticipation for the final mission.

Definitely, the most dramatic and epic track is the ending theme, which features reprises of the game's core compositions. In just two and a half minutes, it shifts from a triumphant victory fanfare, to a tragic war anthem, and then back again to the badass main theme, signaling the end of the terrific battles while marking the beginning of a new dawn, and just plain making you feel like a badass at the end of the game! Although it would have benefited from a longer arrangement and play time, its still a blast to listen to. Also notable is the "Stage Clear" music that ranks on top, along with Contra's version, as one of the most memorable jingles in video games.


The Metal Slug soundtrack is truly of the best and most unique soundtracks in the video game soundtrack world (try to say that 10 times). The flawless fusion of jazz, metal and orchestral music combine to create a memorable, groovy, and intense experience. The soundtrack has a hard time loosing charm at any given period, being a classic that has stood the test of time very well and that it offers an enjoyable and addictive aural journey. Also, the arcade synth is phenomenal, almost adding and not detracting to the overall listening experience. While it falls on the short side, what is featured here remains exceptionally good. Do yourself a favor and go listen to this, you won't regret it. Although, I can't be held responsible if your head explodes from the sheer amount of awesomeness within.

Overall Score: 9/10