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Metal Slug 2 :: Review by George

Metal Slug 2 Album Title: Metal Slug 2
Record Label: Pony Canyon
Catalog No.: PCCB-00311
Release Date: April 17, 1998
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Following the huge success of the first Metal Slug, SNK took bigger chances with the sequel by adding tons of new content and features that increased the games ridiculousness level to insane proportions. Whether you are in Egypt killing baddies with machine guns on top of your trusty camel, or in China blowing up the entire city and devouring endless amounts of food that in turn make you instantly fat... Or even stopping an alien invasion ala Independence Day-meets-Mars Attacks, by killing funny-looking squid freaks, destroying their gigantic spaceship, and ultimately saving the world. This game simply doesn't give a damn, and it leaves the players amazed, confused, and frustrated at the same time. In fact, they should have called this game "Metal Jaw", because you would need one in order to play it. That's how crazy this game is! Technically, it's fantastic in every aspect, including the music. The first Metal Slug had a classic and unforgettable soundtrack. Metal Slug 2 is no exception, using a lot of the iconic themes from the first game, but also adding some really cool new themes. However, its initial soundtrack release has since been superseded by the alternative Metal Slug X soundtrack.


What's the point of naming your game "Metal Slug" and not having some Metal in it? It seems that the composers understood this universal and untouchable fact, and decided to start the first stage with an insane metal composition, "Judgment". Its crazy guitar riffs and solos are no doubt contagious to those playing the game, making them go on killing sprees. The Middle-Eastern motifs just add to the overall charm and make the track even more memorable. I am telling you, if this beast was redone with a real live band, most musicians would die from heart attacks trying to play it! And since we are into Metal territory, "Kiss in the Dark" not only has a dangerously erotic name, but it rocks hard and it burns like hell! This one is pure, fast, crazy and adrenaline-pumping Heavy Metal at its best, full with out-of-this-world riffs and solos. The only drawback is its synth, something that can turn some people off (then again, most game music fanatics will appreciate old-school audio hardware). Those wishing to hear much superior renditions should consider the Metal Slug X soundtrack available on the series' box set.

Fortunately, the rest of the soundtrack is not just electric guitars, and it features quite some nice variety of styles and musical elements. This happens because the game itself takes place in various locations around the world, adding some cultural influences from each one of them. For instance, "Back to the China" is one of the most amusing and memorable Asian-influenced themes that I have ever heard. It's super cheesy and very over the top, but so much fun to listen to because of its catchy ethnic instrumentation. Also, there are two other Middle-Eastern tracks that accompany the second stage of the game: "Prehistoric Site" and "The Cenotaph". The former is very remarkable, taking a pseudo-orchestral approach that mimics grand film scores with Middle-Eastern motifs. The latter is much more laid-back in nature, but still highly effective and instantly likable because of its catchy percussion and melody.

Another notable track is the terrifying and horror genre-influenced "Metamorphosis" which manages to create some really tense atmosphere with various layers of electronic sounds. Following the roots of its predecessor, and also a trend of SNK games in general, the soundtrack doesn't forget jazz music, and as a result it features an absurdly catchy jazz composition, "Livin' on the Deck". The track is crazy and fun, and it also sounds very video gamey, reeking with charm from start to finish. There are also many re-used themes from the first game which of course are aurally enhanced. Whether it is the unforgiving "Assault Theme", the triumphant ending theme, the epic "Final Attack", or even the unforgettable victory jingle "Carry Out", you just can't go wrong with the first Metal Slug. The only theme that has been slightly arranged is "Steel Beast" which has a different beat. Also, the main theme of Metal Slug is subtly reprised in the new composition "New Godokin Street" and not-so-subtly reprised in the other new entry "First Contact", but it's nowhere to be seen individually, which is real shame.


The Metal Slug 2 soundtrack is yet another great entry in SNK's discography of awesomeness. Everything is good and tasty, and it will leave a long-lasting impact on the listener. The only problem is that the existence of the Metal Slug X score renders the original virtually useless with its enhanced sound quality and minor but effective additions. There is now no reason for the separate release of the Metal Slug 2 soundtrack to exist, and its only unique feature is the inclusion of some sound effects at the end of the disc. That said, the X soundtrack itself is not sold separately, and it's only included in the expensive box set, listed as the third disc after the second which is for Metal Slug 2. So in this case, as they say, pick your poison...

Overall Score: 7/10