Before there were magical nanomachines and photosynthetic plant men, there were deadly poisonous Zanzibar hamsters. “Metal Gear Solid” may have popularized Hideo Kojima’s off-the-wall stealth series, but it all began in 1987 with the original “Metal Gear” on the MSX2, later tweaked and ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in the following year. Both games had their own unique soundtracks, and while the music of the MSX2 version was popular enough to make appearances in later entries in the franchise, the music of the NES version has largely been forgotten. This is most unfortunate, as its soundtrack is one of its few consistent strengths.
While “Metal Gear’s” soundtrack is dramatically shorter than that of its contemporaries, it starts off strong with “Aerial Insertion” — perfect music to parachute to! “Jungle Infiltration” immediately follows, its echoing percussion and minor key melody calling to mind a stealthy shuffle through enemy-laden flora.
“Base Infiltration” is a more energetic and mysterious take on its predecessor, and no player has ever gone without hearing the largely similar “Intruder Detected” themes. They don’t quite have the same panic-stricken energy of later games’ “Encounter,” but the frantic beat and 8-bit alarms certainly heighten the tension.