Few games have influenced me in the way that Super Metroid has. The SNES classic from 1994 essentially created a genre of games. It was such a massive improvement over the first two games in the series, it’s no wonder that people still go back to that game as an example of gaming done right. Having invested countless hours into the game, to the point where I was even thinking about recording my speed runs (though I’m nowhere near the world record).
The soundtrack to Super Metroid has, unsurprisingly, grown on me with each subsequent play. It’s a perfect blend of the game’s humble origins and the planned trajectory forward. Why? The original Metroid music, composed by Hirokazu Tanaka, is largely re-used and re-arranged in the game, though there are also plenty of original pieces. Super Metroid was the first in the series to have music written by Kenji Yamamoto, and his success with this score afforded him the opportunity to continue writing for the series, even when its development was largely handled in America (Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime trilogy still has music handled by Yamamoto-san).
I’ve never been one to collect all the fan arrangements out there for any particular game’s soundtrack, because there are too many, and because the range of quality is too broad. Yes, everything done by Metroid Metal is laudable. But it took me awhile to find something outside the “Stemage” projects that would do justice to Super Metroid, particularly something outside the rock genre. That’s when I randomly saw this album being sold at a table at MAGFest 8.
From artist Amaranthine Skies (Jason Vincion), the trance album “Dark Side of Zebes” is the second of many albums on the independent label Concatenation Records. This is a two-track LP, each track running a solid 20 minutes in length. Is it any good? Is it a fair companion to the excellent “Varia Suite” album? Find out after the jump! (more…)