Review Summary: Essentially, the Super Metroid soundtrack is video gaming’s finest hour, (literally).
In the 1990’s we saw the rise of what is still arguably the best console to date (the Super Nintendo), with quite possibly the best line-up of video games ever. Reflect if you will for a moment on your childhood, the good old days when there was no such thing as work, and money wasn’t a means to survival because everything was bought for you. Amongst these wonderful memories I’m sure the majority of kids played video games, for myself, it was almost like a second life. I had played some of the most amazing games, but there was one game in particular created that not only innovated exceptionally on its predecessor (Metroid), but rather revolutionized video games in general. Coming virtually out of nowhere, Super Metroid stunned critics and gamers alike. Today it is still held in high regard; some claim it to be the pinnacle of gaming experiencing. So what does one of the greatest video games of all time need to further wow skeptics? The answer: one of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time.
The aesthetic of the Metroid soundtrack is of a rather overtly dark, and ominous setting to fit its context, and adds to the desolation and loneliness of the playing experience. The soundtrack is comprised of ## songs, each with a different feel to fit the environment you’re in. A perfect example of the diversity in the soundtrack can be seen in “Lower Norfair”, a desolate, volcanic area far below the planet’s surface. Incorporated in this track are tribal drums and background music, which portrays a sense of fear and confinement. In complete contrast to that we have “Lower Maridia”, which features a dark, yet airy keyboard loop, with a synthesizer in the background. This song is just soothing, and would be a great song to fall asleep to.
Amongst the lulls are a great deal of songs that convey fear and intimidation as well, take a track like “Mother brain” for example; this song is something of an epic journey, a horn is progressively played in the background while some sharp sounding synthesizers come into play, and it just all around sounds badass, the music is more or less thematic, and tries to adapt to its surroundings. The defining moment of this album, however, is ‘Upper Brinstar’ which features an amalgamation of xylophone and keyboard. This is the most upbeat and fun song to be heard, and has thumping bass, and lightly played bongos, it’s very atmospheric and full of energy. The majority of songs are based around weird keyboard synthesizer, and the only other audible instrument to point out would be the drums, which range from snare, to bass, to steel drums, to tribal.
Of course with most soundtracks there are some flaws. The largest problem I have with the Super Metroid soundtrack is that along with the outstanding tracks, there is a lot of filler, and by filler I mean little snippets that are unnecessary; such tracks as the title screen, end credits, item upgrade, etc. They are part of the album, and it’s because of this that I cannot issue out a ‘classic’ rating. Other songs while fitting well with the flow and aesthetic of the game, don’t manage to hold your attention when listening to them alone. Such tracks like ‘Tourian’ just are not enjoyable to listen to because all it’s comprised of are a bunch of bubbles and a really drowsy and annoying back beat, which leads us to the worst song on the album, ‘Continue’. Continue is a song based around the same dark, boring 5 second loop played on repeat for 3 of the longest minutes of your life. The only other gripe I could point out is the awkward track listing, which doesn’t match well with the actual series of events in the game.
Overall, there’s a lot of variety to be found no matter who the listener is; this is applicable to almost any demographic, and will truly bring you back to the roots of your childhood. For some it may be reminiscent of the past and easy to fall back into, for others, without the game it may be difficult.
Soundtrack with game -5/5
Soundtrack on its own-4/5
Overall, 4.5/5- a definite recommend for anyone who appreciates soundtrack music.