#5 – A Stranger I Remain (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance): One of the few Revengeance tracks to steer clear of screamo lyrics and thrash riffs, A Stranger I Remain is not only a solid metal track with a beautiful blend of haunting vocals and a heavy, fast-paced guitar part, it’s also a song very befitting the character it represents. Mistral’s theme provides a great accompaniment to someone as imperfect as Raiden. It’s rather curious that MGR gets so much right in their presentation of the Mistral boss fight, as it is so early in the game – much in the way of the gameplay, visuals, and music that make up the later boss encounters fail to reach the fantastic culmination witnessed in the Mistral encounter.
#3 – Red Sun (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance): Sundowner ended up being one of my least favorite characters in Metal Gear Rising, both with regards to his hillbilly personality and a boss fight that felt significantly less inspired than the company of Monsoon, Mistral, and Blade Wolf. However, his theme song utilized deep vocals and a slightly grungier rock sound, all while maintaining the hardcore metal appeal of Revengeance’s soundtrack. Red Sun’s lyrics offer metaphors that are perhaps a bit more thinly veiled than the game’s other vocal tracks, but it’s certainly a catchy number, one that I have found myself listening to many times since completing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
#2 – The Best is Yet to Come (Metal Gear Solid): I often favor many of the softer, slower vocal tracks from the Metal Gear series because they tend to convey the emotional burdens carried by Solid Snake and Naked Snake better than the fast-paced and loud tracks. Those are great for stealth and action sequences, sure, but at the end of the day, when it’s time to gaze back upon everything Snake has accomplished, every hurdle he’s had to overcome, every friend and foe that has fallen along the way, there’s really no other track that better embodies the gravity of all that than The Best is Yet to Come. It's a reminder of the trial he has surpassed, and those that lie still lie ahead.
#1 – Snake Eater (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater): Snake Eater is one of those tracks that is equal parts silly and epic. It’s a deliberate throwback to James Bond theme songs (some of which boast more cheesy lyrics than others), as can only work in a Cold War setting featuring a one-man army. Snake Eater has long been my favorite entry in the Metal Gear franchise, as its perfect combination of stealth and action elements, deeply human story, and unique sense of style result in a product that transcends what most video games, films, and novels can deliver. There’s really no other medium in which Snake Eater would work to such an effective degree, and there’s no other song that could make the introduction so memorable. Snake Eater presently stands as one of my all-time favorite video game theme songs, and I have no doubt it will continue to do so for many years to come.