Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Midweek Music Box: Metroid (NES) Title Music

Haunting, beautiful, and unsettling. What's not to love about the Title theme of the first entry into the Metroid franchise? It's not time for Friday Night Rentals, but I have to say I think half the reason I rented the original Metroid back in the day was just to hear the music from the opening screen. No matter how creeped out by the game I would get, no matter how lost and frustrated--all the negative feeling was swept away in a tidal wave of wonder when I heard the title music. Imagine transitioning from the simple intros of Pac-Man and Pitfall, or the more cheerful chip tunes of Super Mario--to this masterwork of mystery and fear. In case it's been a while or you've never heard the title theme to Metroid, let's get you caught up:

"Metroid: Title Theme"

If you didn't know already, I just can't get enough of Metroid music. Not too long ago I talked at length about Super Metroid's fantastic music from the beginning areas of the game. The original title music for Metroid, to this day, has an almost visceral effect on me. The title music remains embedded within both my mind and heart as music that will forever send chills up my spine every time I hear it. 

The slow, bassy thrumming, those unsettling chords that plink out at just the right moment all build up to a theme which has creepy sci-fi overtones that manage to remain slightly hopeful sounding. It's hard not to picture the "mission" text on screen when you hear the music take a slightly more upbeat, yet wistful, turn. One of the great turns in this music comes just when you think the music has reached a pleasant and possibly cheerful tone--that's when the thrumming returns to chill your heart and remind you about the darker nature of the mission that lies ahead. The thrumming returns, and you don't really feel like you've returned to the beginning of a looped track. You know that it's time to stop waiting. It's time to explore, to search, and to find and destroy the metroid menace. Whenever I hear it I go back to the place and time when I was a kid; where a seemingly simple tune was more than just another game tune, it was the soundtrack to a potential night of dreams filled with both terror and wonder--much like the Metroid game itself.


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