Super Metroid: Sound in Action – “Theme of Samus” (arr. Yoshiyuki Ito & Masumi Ito)December 24, 2009
It’s time for another Metroid tune, this time a remix from Super Metroid – Sound in Action (1994), which contains remixes and game recordings from the original Metroid and Super Metroid. This tune is “Theme of Samus Aran, Galactic Warrior” and is a wonderful tune illustrating the power and determination of Samus, the game’s protagonist. The drums evoke the sense of strength, power, and determination Samus has in her suit, as well as a sense of her movement within it. This is very important as the track plays during the exploration of the overworld, where there are many cliffs to climb and places to explore; the harp that plays in the middle section gives a sense of encountering these new areas for the first time, of climbing over a cliff face and seeing a vast new landscape ahead.
The original version contains a more layered composition, with each instrument, even the drums, banging out the tune of the song. Unfortunately, this is something that got kind of lost in the mix, but it is still very powerful.
The “Theme of Samus” plays in two areas of Super Metroid. The first is in the outside of Crateria, the surface area of Planet Zebes, particularly where Samus’ ship has landed. The second is during the final showdown with Mother Brain where Samus has absorbed the powers of the Super Metroid and entered Hyper Mode – having become fully powered, she is now able to destroy her nemesis, and this theme plays to reflect the newly gained power. One interestin gthing about the song though is that the developers have since rechristened “Theme of Samus” as another song, “Theme of Super Metroid”. I have no idea why this change was made, but it is present in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Unfortunately, Sound in Action has some low points. While it does have a few excellent remixes, the recording and arrangement of the Metroid and Super Metroid soundtracks is pretty abysmal. The Metroid soundtrack in particular was recorded very poorly, even including sound effects in some of the tracks. In addition, many of the songs cut out in the middle rather than fade out as they would on an ordinary album. It makes me wonder what they were thinking when they recorded this. Again, Sound in Action is another one of those albums that goes for an exorbitant price on resale, often easily clearing $200. This is amazing considering how poor the album is in comparison with how it should be – the album seems expensive more for the name and its rarity than its actual quality.
The original song was composed by Kenji Yamamoto, who was responsible for composing every single Metroid game produced after Super Metroid. His collaboration with Minako Hamano on the game produced one of the greatest soundtracks of all time; Super Metroid is still the standard by which all other Metroid soundtracks are measured, and there has arguably yet to be a soundtrack that surpasses what they accomplished in the game. Yoshiyuki and Masumi are a husband and wife team who have arranged the album have worked on dozens of games and remix albums, including Legend of Zelda: Sound and Drama, another rare album.
One final note is I have listened to this album many times, but oddly enough, I somehow didn’t listen to the “Theme of Samus” remix until years later, which is a shame because it is one of my favorite tracks on the album.