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Metal Gear Solid Original Game Soundtrack :: Review by Mal Cremin

Metal Gear Solid Original Game Soundtrack Album Title: Metal Gear Solid Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-7895
Release Date: September 23, 1998
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


The score for the PlayStation's Metal Gear Solid is a little disappointing. There is no composer credit for the main score, just KCEJ (Konami Computer Entertainment Japan), although four composers were credited in the game credits. The 'Main Theme', though, is by Tappy, and appears in three versions on the album.


Although this album runs a decent 66 minutes, it is sadly not the complete score. A piece that I miss particularly is the opening titles — especially the moment when the submarine speeds past the camera. The main "VR Training" music is here, as the first of three epilogues, with the percussion upped somewhat. Missing though, is the melody for a successfully completed mission, and all the later VR Mission themes as well. A shame, but I suppose this is fair enough as the VR Missions are not part of the main game.

There is a haunting vocal piece used over the end credits, and during parts the game, composed by Rika Murakana. Despite its title, "The Best is Yet to Come" is a Gaelic lament. The lyrics are printed in English the CD booklet, and are less profound than the performance suggests. It is easy to imagine their origins with a Japanese songwriter who's not particularly comfortable with English. Muranaka also composed the end title song for Metal Gear Solid 2, and the excerpt of that heard in the short trailer exhibits a similar cultural foreignness. It is ersatz song making, where the heart doesn't really match the cultural surface.

The second and third epilogues are remixes of the main theme. The first remix is from the 1997 E3 exhibition, where it presumably accompanied a preview of the game. The second is a seven-minute mix by Quadra incorporating sound effects and some of the game's original Japanese dialogue. Of additional interest is the element of kabuki that comes into the middle — probably the only time the game's Japanese origins are referred to musically.

Tappy's theme, at least in its full upbeat arrangement, is not actually used in the game (though it is used over the title sequence for the supplementary 'Special Missions' disc). This is probably a good thing because, as music, it does not suit the sombre mood of the game or its score. Instead, it is a heroic signature tune which would not be out of place on an eighties TV show. Rising out of the sometimes tacky-sounding electronics of the original arrangement is Harry Gregson-Williams' orchestral version for Metal Gear Solid 2, which has some real class.


This could be extended to the score as a whole. You could gripe that this score could be better if performed by an orchestra, as the synthesiser clearly emulates that sound, but I think it would lose something. From what can I've heard of Gregson-Williams' score for Metal Gear Solid 2, it is mostly orchestral, and the flavour of it isn't the same. A scaled-up version of the present Metal Gear Solid's uncredited score would be a mix of orchestra and synthesisers. Sometimes, the score as it is cries out for a richer sound than KCEJ's synths can pull off.

Overall Score: 6/10