It's the time of the year when the days get shorter, retailers stay open longer, big games are released and there seems to be a holiday every other week. Defunct Games wants to ring in this festive season with a look at the most memorable video game themes of all time. For five weeks straight, Cyril Lachel and Kevin Bailey will share their thoughts on themes from the last thirty years. Join us every day between November 22 and December 25 for The 34 Game Themes of Christmas!
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
[ Company: Konami | Year: 2001 | Console: PlayStation 2 ]
SNAAAAAAAAAAKE!!! Oh, there you are. Sorry, I thought I lost you for a minute. So this is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, a game you were barely in. You see, this was the follow-up to the influential PlayStation 1 hit. But what people didn't know is that this sequel had a few tricks up its sleeve. For one thing, you, Snake, were only in the first few minutes. But I suppose you already knew that. The rest of the time it was some kid named Raiden who completed the mission. This was one of the biggest video game twists of all time, one that didn't go over well in some circles. Perhaps this Howard Shore-composed theme song will jog your memory.
While a lot of game themes are iconic, not all of them make me want to drop everything and rush to the game system. I mean, I love the Zelda theme as much as the next person, but I can wait until I'm in the mood to save the princess. But that's not the case with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. I find myself growing weaker with each passing of the theme's memorable chorus. Suddenly I forget that most of the game stars a whiny kid. I lose track of the lackluster environments and nonsensical storyline. And as a hush comes over the theme, my mind completely erases any existing memories of the frustrating control mechanics. This song is powerful enough to make me drop everything and start a brand new Metal Gear Solid 2 save. This is a melody you can't help but whistle at inappropriate times. The song is constantly changing and always interesting, the perfect theme song. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Metal Gear Solid 2 to play.
It's hard to break down an orchestrated piece, much less one that covers as much ground as this one does. By far the most complex theme we've covered so far, Metal Gear Solid 2 aims to grab your attention and take you on an emotional journey over the course of this four minute work of art. Even listening to it without seeing the backing cinema invokes imagery of what might be found within the game. That ominous feeling of arriving on an espionage mission, the tension as you first begin your undercover work, the confidence as you begin to do well and then inevitably slip up, leading to heavier tension ... all is fantastically displayed through instrumentation. It appears that much thought was put into this composition to make it match the game it's attached to. Put simply, I'm very impressed.
I wouldn't go through that gate if I were you. Hey, suit yourself; I'm just trying to save you from rooms filled with endless puzzles. Don't forget your torch!