Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Original Soundtrack

Konami Media Entertainment, 2004

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


My original idea for this introduction was to be about how this was the first review for a videogame soundtrack on the Daily Vault. I was getting all excited and thinking to myself, "Wow, here's a little bit of history! Even after when Jason has fired me for stealing company funds, this review will still be here!" Well as it turns out, Chris Thelen reviewed The Sounds of Gran Turismo way back in 1999, thus claiming what was to be my little niche in the annals of the Daily Vault. I won't hold it against him. Anyways, I now present to you the second videogame soundtrack review ever here at the Vault (I think).

For those who don't know the Metal Gear Solid series, let me give you a little background. Many believe these games to be some of the best ever on any gaming console, due to the vision of director Hideo Kojima. If I were to sum up what these games are about it would be this: tactical espionage. In other words, you play a spy, who is code named Snake. For Metal Gear Solid 3 in particular, the story takes place in the '60s, during the Cold War.

For the past two Metal Gear Solid entries, Kojima realized the need for the soundtracks to his game to be more than just beeps and whistles. It was for this reason he recruited Harry Gregson-Williams, who has scored such films as Enemy Of The State, Shrek 2, and Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. Williams has brought instant legitimacy and success to an area of music no one really cares about.

However, Williams is not alone in this endeavor; he was assisted by various Japanese artists who provide the soundtrack with a techno sound. In fact, the album consistently and successfully manages to blend both classical and techno sounds. Tracks such as "Sidecar - Escape From The Fortress" or "Takin' on the Woods" usually feature techno beats as the foundation of the track, with Williams providing the orchestral, instrumental, and choral flourishes.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Metal Gear Solid 3's action takes place almost entirely in the jungle, and that is accurately reflected in the music itself. Along with the primary techno beats, Williams incorporates congas, flutes, native chanting, any sound to get the notion across at the core this music is supposed to reflect the primal side of man. When the Shagohod (essentially a walking nuclear tank) makes its first appearance, Williams signals it with a methodical, and pulsating drum beat, perhaps representing the mechanical nature of the device. This game is very violent at its core; this is bloody, and brutal material Williams has to work with, and he makes it work.

Now, so far Metal Gear Solid 3 has had all the elements of a good spy movie, but what is the one thing missing so far? That's right, the spy of the opposite sex. The tracks that involve EVA, the love interest for Snake, "EVA's Unveiling" and "EVA's Reminiscence" are primarily sultry, jazz-influenced numbers befitting of a spy's romance.

The major flaw of this soundtrack is that it features 43 tracks. That is a lot of music to sift through, and many tracks fail to stand out. Many are simply too short, and too derivative of the other stellar tracks on the album. As a result, I found it difficult to listen to the entire album the whole way through. There are also ten tracks that have nothing to do with the overall theme, but are featured in some way during the game. While their inclusion gives a more complete experience, they kill momentum. However, despite the bloated nature of this work, there are many standout songs.

The title track, "Snake Eater," is a blatant attempt to copy a James Bond opening track, but in all honesty I found it to be a better effort than any of the Bond opening numbers from the past few films. It captures that Goldfinger/ Thunderball vibe, lending a sense of authenticity to the time period the game is set in. The various boss tracks ("The Pain,""The Fear," "The Sorrow," etc.) also are fun to listen to, but the coup de grace is the "Main Theme." You will not find a better theme in any video game than the one we are presented with here. It is performed various times throughout the album, in different ways, but it always retains an emotional poignancy. It's the equivalent of the Bond theme; it can be used for both tender and fast-paced moments.

To go over every aspect of this album would be fruitless. Instead, I've tried to condense it a way that gets the point across that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a solid work of music, one that can be listened to on its own for the most part. That to me demonstrates how successful this soundtrack is.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Konami Media Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.