From its disruptive stealth gameplay to its intricate plotlines, Metal Gear has been praised as one of the most iconic and groundbreaking video game franchises of all time. Though one aspect that feels underrated is its masterful soundtrack.
Metal Gear’s OST has played a detrimental role in establishing the game’s atmosphere and enhancing its emotional impact. No wonder: led by gifted composers and singers (from Harry Gregson-Williams to Donna Burke), each game in the series has its unique soundtrack that perfectly complements the game’s themes and tone.
Right from the very beginning – Metal Gear Solid 1 was already a gem when it comes to creating atmosphere.
“Cavern” sets the tone.
“Encounter” brings the adrenaline.
“Warhead Storage” brings tone and tension together.
The successors held up to the original’s legacy:
“Infiltration” (MGS II) – Intriguing? Ominous? Chill? It just fits.
“Debriefing” (MGS III) – The one time that winning a boss fight made you feel more defeated.
“Old Snake” (MGS IV) – Pain. Deadliness. Resilience. All in one song.
“Afghanistan’s a Big Place” (MGS V) – Precisely introducing the open world.
…and the Vocals
“The Best is Yet to Come” (MGS I) – Sung by Irish singer Aoife Ní Fhearraigh and produced by Rika Muranaka, the song is an unusual blend, to say the least. Gaelic lyrics, acoustic guitar, and traditional Japanese instruments encapsulate triumph and loss.
“Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (MGS II) – Also produced by Rika Muranaka, sung by the late Carla White, conducted and played by the Felix Farrar Orchestra, Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday lines the inevitability of change in the game’s credit.
“Snake Eater” (MGS III) – ‘What a thrill’. Sung by Cynthia Harrell, this Bond-like-almost-cliché track sets the tone in the opening sequence. As MGS III’s plot intensifies, the lyrics hold more and more relevance.
“Love Theme” (MGS IV) – A different kind of emotional weight. Composed by Nobuko Toda, vocals were sung by Jackie Presti. In a few lines, the Hebrew lyrics nail the themes of Love and Loss.
“Quiet’s Theme” & “Sins of the Father” (MGS V) – Sung by Donna Burke, those two… are iconic enough. Aside from the meme, they became the goodbye anthems we needed.