Welcome to Front Towards Gamer’s video game music retrospective, Game Music Corner. Each article will feature some of the best that video game music has to offer, from the NES to the PlayStation 3 and everything in between with some of gaming’s greatest melodies.
Metroid Prime is a one in a million kind of deal. Metroid was basically dead when Prime dropped in 2002. It had been eight years since there was a new Metroid game, Super Metroid. Since then, Samus had only been making appearances in Super Smash Bros. up to this point. Clearly, Metroid was up in the air in terms of what would become of Samus and the entire Metroid universe.
Nintendo handed off the license to a small time developer named Retro Studios. What Retro did from there was nothing short of spectacular. They took the prospering first-person shooter market that had just been bubbling on consoles, and turned it into a Metroid exploration sort of game, set in the first person. Turns out, they kept the soul of Metroid while completely turning it on its head. Out of all the wonderful things Metroid Prime did, the music was spectacular, to boot. There were subtle remixes of existing songs, along with new ones altogether.
Metroid Prime TItle - Let’s start with the title. It invokes a weird, sci-fi vibe to a traditionally horror-styled musical piece. It definitely lets you know that you’re in for something special when you load up the game. The music goes well with the “cellular” look that the intro has, too.
Chozo Ruins - Here’s a personal favorite of mine. Story-wise, it’s a little complex, as the Chozo were the birdlike creatures who raised Samus from her youth. Exploring these ruins has a haunting presence to it. This being the first real area you explore, the theme will get stuck in your head for a long while if you lose your place.
Magmoor Caverns - Notice how this sounds like a unique theme, but isn’t. It’s a slowed-down, choired-up version of the classic Lower Norfair theme from the original Metroid. Set to that pace, it fits in with the Magmoor Caverns’ insufferable heat, almost like some kind of tribal volcanic chant. You’ll see a lot of these subtle remixes throughout a lot of the game, showcasing Retro’s ability to cater to fans of old, while embracing new fans.
Phendrana Drifts - Another great tune. As you come up to the surface of Tallon IV, you come across a sprawling, frozen wasteland, filled with menacing creatures, hazardous temperatures, and the occasional ancient artifact. The music absolutely sells the scene for me. It definitely invokes a chilly atmosphere, and exploring the tundra is just that much more awe-inducing with this track backing you.
Meta-Ridley Battle - And finally, we’ll leave with a more familiar note. Surprise, Ridley’s alive, though critically damaged. He seemed to cybernetic ally enhance himself, which is a usually bad trope. Fighting Ridley is as climactic as you would expect, second only to the Prime Metroid himself. The music is another remix, but it works as a sort of fast-paced, exciting boss battle.