I love Metroid music, and a big reason why is that it often does an amazing job at contributing to the thick atmosphere that the best Metroid games can create. In a lot of ways, that sense of atmosphere can be traced all the way back to the original Metroid’s title theme. It’s an iconic theme that sums up a lot of what the series as a whole is about, and we now have a wonderful remix from Shinesparkers’ recent 25th anniversary album to supplement it. But first, the original.
The original Metroid theme is simple and pure. It makes me think of space, from the sci-fi chip tunes to the hollow void it seems to create. Space is, first and foremost, big, empty and lonely. The sparse, reverberating beats that the song opens with seem to emphasize just how big and empty space really can be. Not only does this fit with Metroid’s general sci-fi aesthetic, but more importantly it underscores what I have always felt is one of the Metroid series’ defining characteristics. In most Metroid games you are exploring an unknown, hostile world all by yourself. There’s nobody else to interact with, or provide any kind of support. The games can be about being isolated and on your own as much as anything, which is precisely the feeling I get from the opening of this theme.
A little ways in, however, a new melody kicks in (around the 30 second mark in the above video). The song gets a little more upbeat, and all of a sudden doesn’t sound so lonely anymore, while still retaining the same general sci-fi vibe. This, to me, represents how majestic and wondrous space can be. There are countless mysteries and secrets to find among the endless expanse, and this section of the song seems to approach that idea with a healthy curiosity. I’ve always felt that the act of exploring large, unfamiliar worlds is another one of Metroid’s key traits. There’s always something new and interesting to see around every corner, and that immersive sense of exploration and discovery is something games rarely come close to matching. That’s one of the big reasons I love the franchise as much as I do, and I feel that quality is well represented in this classic song.
In the Beginning is, for the most part, a straightforward remix of that original Metroid theme. It contains the same basic melodies, but rearranges it into a full song with a solid arc (rather than a short snippet that’s meant to be looped), and replaces the sketchy NES sounds with the always fantastic piano. As such, the same general themes apply: space, solitude, discovery and adventure are still at the heart of this song. And yet, I feel like its masterful arrangement and fantastic sound quality convey these themes even better than the original. The way is starts out so soft and empty, then transitions into a period of curiosity and wonder, all to end with a segment that seems to embrace the pure excitement of discovery is just mesmerizing to me. I simply can’t imagine a better representation of the Metroid franchise and all it stands for than this. That the song manages to be so incredibly beautiful at the same time is almost too good to be true. In the Beginning is a great remix of a classic song, and my hat’s off to the folks at Shinesparkers for their awesome work.
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