This month marks thirty-four years since the release of Metroid on the Famicom Disk System in Japan. Since that historic date, the world has been treated to a variety of traditional side-scrolling and first-person adventure games starring the incredible intergalactic bounty hunter Samus Aran.
For this months NintyBeats, I am delighted to detail my top five favourite Metroid themes! It wasn’t an easy choice, as the music of Metroid has been very inspiring to me over the years. Please check them out below!
Tallon Overworld 2 ~ Metroid Prime ~ Nintendo GameCube (2002)
I’m starting this from the very top. I consider Metroid Prime one of the greatest video games ever created, and have had the pleasure of completing it several times since I first started playing it in the mid 2000’s. Tallon Overworld has two different themes, and the one I am highlighting here is when you return to the area later in the game, once you’ve obtained more power-ups. When I listen to this theme, I feel more confident and capable, knowing I have a larger number of weapons and a stronger suit at my disposal, I feel like I can easily take out the creatures in this area with more ease compared to the first time I was there. It’s probably my favourite theme from my favourite Metroid game.
Brinstar Overgrown (Brinstar Green) ~ Super Metroid ~ SNES (1994)
Brinstar Green is one of the most memorable pieces of music from Super Metroid, a defining entry in the Metroid series for me, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever made. This theme in particular is heard in the upper areas of Brinstar before reaching Kraid, and I love how organic and alien it feels. I fell in love with this game and this whole area back when I first played it, and it continues to have a special place in my heart.
Sector 4 (AQA) ~ Metroid Fusion ~ Game Boy Advance (2002)
This music plays a little later in Sector 4 within Metroid Fusion, and is such a departure from the tone and style of music that it really threw me when I first heard it. Samus is on a station with deadly creatures preparing to mimic her worst nightmares, but this track is by contrast a very beautiful track in its own right, although it does have a sinister undertone, almost as if Samus should continue to keep her guard up, despite its beauty. This one really stuck with me beyond the game, and a theme I always come back to.
Vs Quadraxis ~ Metroid Prime 2: Echoes ~ Nintendo GameCube (2004)
This boss battle was very memorable for me, purely because of how different it felt to other bosses of the Metroid universe up until this point. It’s a gigantic mechanical machine with tons of different parts to destroy. The theme perfectly complements this overbearing and sinister presence of a machine infected by an evil creature, a battle of light versus dark. The theme really matches the scale of the fight, it’s big and intimidating, the choir standing out as if it’s calling out to you, daring you to approach.
Ending ~ Metroid ~ NES Famicom Disk Edition (1986)
The game that started it all! This theme in particular is one of the most melodic, compared to the rest of the soundtrack. Tanaka-san (the composer) even stated that he composed the music “to create the sound without any distinctions between music and sound effects.” which is very true, with the exception of this track, which is almost a celebration, an opportunity to collect yourself and accept that you have fulfilled your mission on planet Zebes. It was a very proud moment for me, as the original Metroid is one of the most challenging titles from the series for me.
I purposely chose the Famicom Disk system version of this theme, because I feel it is a much better version of the theme. The NES only had four channels to produce music, while the Famicom was able to use five, and it is disappointing that the west were robbed.
To celebrate the 34th anniversary of Metroid, we will be streaming Metroid Prime Trilogy on our Twitch channel! We hope to see you there!