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Metal Slug X Complete Box Soundtrack :: Review by George

Metal Slug X Complete Box Soundtrack Album Title: Metal Slug X Complete Box Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00544
Release Date: September 6, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Despite being an accomplished game, Metal Slug 2 suffered from some technical problems, most notably slowdowns. Even the developers had issues and, suffering from low self-esteem, they weren't satisfied enough with their final product, feeling that the game could be even more than it was. As a result, Metal Slug X was created, making the world a much better place to live in. In addition to the levels being redesigned and improved, the quality of the soundtrack was enhanced. Basically, this means that both games have identical music besides some really minor additions and most notably the sound quality. The soundtrack was packaged together with the Metal Slug 2 soundtrack on the Metal Slug Complete Sound Box, making its predecessor essentially redundant. Nevertheless, the resultant musical experience is really something to behold...


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! The X version is even better and more fleshed out. It also adds a badass guitar solo in the beginning that sounds like the ignition of a rocket engine, pumping you up for some crazy action.

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). This is significantly improved in the X version, though I still dream of a live band interpretation of this (and, for that matter, "The Darkness Nova" from Legend of Mana).

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. Thankfully, these old-school qualities are still preserved in the X version despite the enhanced synth use.

There are also many re-used themes from the first game which of course are aurally enhanced. Weather 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. They're very similar to the originals, though once again the X versions are superior in sound quality. 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 a real shame. Finally, a new ending theme was created for Metal Slug X, which is much more elaborate and emotional than its counterpart.


The Metal Slug X soundtrack renders the Metal Slug 2 soundtrack virtually useless. It absolutely improves on the original in every way with its sound quality boost and the extremely minor but effective additions, including the likeable ending theme. Unlike its predecessor, the Metal Slug X soundtrack itself its not sold separately, and it's only included in the box set, listed as the third disc after the second which is for Metal Slug 2. As a result, listeners will have to purchase an expensive package and experience some redundancy in order to behold its greatness.

Overall Score: 9/10