The song I really want to focus on here tonight is possibly my favorite song off the entire soundtrack, which is Mistral's Theme - "A Stranger I Remain". Mistral is the first real boss fight that you experience in the game as REVENGEANCE Raiden, so perhaps there is something of a different connection there, but really, I do rather enjoy the song that accompanies the fight. Or...rather, I like -a- version of the song that accompanies it. This statement requires a two-fold explanation of just what I mean - the first being the easiest. One of the cooler things that REVENGEANCE (yes, all caps all the time, deal with it) does with the soundtrack is that there is an Instrumental version and a Vocal version of every song. If you enter a fight with a full Blade Mode gauge (possibly even accrue a full gauge during the fight), you will be treated with the Vocal version, otherwise you just get the Instrumental. That's pretty cool.
The other facet to the explanation is that there really seems to be no 'official' version of any particular song beyond what are on the actual, printed Soundtrack CDs out there. The issue with this is that there are two Soundtracks - the Instrumental Soundtrack that came with the Limited Edition, and the Vocal Soundtrack that is available in stores and such. Except, the Vocal Soundtrack is a little mis-named because it is actually the Remix Soundtrack since every song on it (bar one) is either a Platinum Remix, a Maniac Agenda Remix or a "Low Key" version. There are also 12 Instrumental tracks that are, of course, the remixed versions of said tracks, so they're not Vocals at all. Which means that there is no -Official- Soundtrack with the original versions of the songs available anywhere. This is bad. This is a Bad Thing™.
I think the easiest way to show off this disparity is by just getting right to it. First up is the version of the song that's actually on the soundtracks and actually in the game, which is the Maniac Agenda Mix.
So, it's pretty simple, really. A short tune meant for looping because Boss Fights will either take a little bit or less than a little bit and you're probably not really paying attention to the music. Being that it's slightly more electric and metal than the original version (which is next) it makes for a little higher energy for the fight which is most welcome. Unfortunately with being such a short remix, there's quite a bit of the song that is cut out which is a bit of a shame because it's a good song all told. Well, kind of. Again, it's all a bit of a complicated situation which I will further expound on now.
So, now that you've had the Remix, it's time for what is -possibly- the original version of the song. I say possibly because, in truth, I have no damn clue if there's an easily accessible version of the originals of -any- of the songs, much less A Stranger I Remain. Still the uploader is "MetalGearRisingOST", so I would assume this is kind of the only thing they are doing and thus I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt in this. As said, this is (kind of, possibly) the 'Original' version of the song.
I would like to point out a couple things with this song. First off the two minute rock interlude is a little self-indulgent and I always dislike this in songs. It just irks me unless it's like a really mega-kickin' riff. Secondly, you get to hear the parts of the song that -aren't- in the remix version, which I actually really like these parts. Those parts are what got me to like the song overall, honestly, though it wasn't that version of the song that I listened to to hear them. That is, in fact, the third part that I wanted to mention which is the most hilarious of them at all. In that entire song, the whole five minutes and twenty-one seconds, compared to the two minutes twenty-six seconds of the remix, it actually leaves the entire first verse of the remix version out. I don't know if that is exclusive to the remix or what, which seems silly if so, but it adds to the confusion. The lyrics that are missing, by the by:
I've come here from nowhere
'cross the unforgiving sea
drifting further and further
it's all becoming clear to me
that violent winds are upon us and I can't speak
internal temperatures rising
and all the voices won't recede
I cannot imagine how this is a thing that has happened. The only thing I can figure on, like I said, is that that verse was recorded solely for the remix version of the song, but that's rather silly and I don't know if I want to believe that. It's something that, as said, further complicates what is already something of a complicated thing.
And just to add another layer of confusion to the whole basket, neither of those is the version of the song that I've been listening to. Because there's yet -another- version that has -all- the lyrics that I stumbled across first, and, as such, it's the version I'm used to.
I'm honestly not sure if that's a fan-made version, but I can't tell of any obvious splicing and the background to the missing verse in this version doesn't sound like the background to the same verse in the remix. Where it actually shows up. So, in all honesty, I have not a damn clue what version of the song is the actual version of it. Because I have a version with all the lyrics in said song that I've heard in other versions combined, and then I have a version from what seems like the closest to an 'official' uploader that is missing an entire verse while also including a mentioned over-indulgent two-minute guitar solo. I personally like the last version I embedded, but that might also be because I am used to listening to it and such. Still, the verses are all in it and they're all fairly nice.
It's a rather unfortunate situation that mars an otherwise really good soundtrack. In that you have no idea what's -actually- there to give props to the artists, and what is possibly the work of someone else who took a song (possibly multiple versions of it) and played around for a few hours in a music program. I'm holding out hope that they're going to do a digital release of the original tracks which will kind of cement just -what- is real, but I don't know why they didn't just do that when they released the game and the