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Metroid: Other M – “Theme” (Kuniaki Haishima)

September 5, 2010

Metroid: Other M has been a fairly controversial title, most of it stemming from fans’ strong emotions towards how they think Samus should be viewed as a character. The game has also had a large split regarding the soundtrack, which becomes pretty obvious when we consider the majority of the album is atmospherically minimalistic pieces. One of the exceptions is the “Theme,” a piano piece from the game’s epilogue – a track that was also used as the theme for Metroid.com back in March. This track in particular has received a tremendous range of feedback, mostly negative from fans who expected something a lot more edgy, but others, like the game’s director Yoshio Sakamoto, were moved to tears. I personally fall somewhere in-between, as there is something about this song that draws me to it, perhaps its fragility.

Metroid: Other M – “Theme” (Kuniaki Haishima)

The “Theme” does not have an actual name (at least not yet!). It is an emotionally stirring piece, with a beautifully delicate piano that encapsules the core of Samus’ emotions that have been denied by her tragic past. There is no instrument other than the piano. Its call and response of the piano notes is a recollection, a calling back to an old friend, a distant memory, a nostalgia, and the solitude by the window. The sadness in the piano provides a deep emotional undercurrent that Samus feels would make her too vulnerable if expressed, and the melody’s inability to coalesce suggests the impossibility of closure. It’s truly a wonderful piece and one that is given unfair treatment by hardcore gamers obsessed with edgy gunmetal gray apocalypses and smack-talk.

There are two versions of this song, the second being shorter and less-developed. The track was also played during a cutscene, to great emotional effect.

Kuniaki Haishima is better known for his work on anime, but he has also composed for several games, including Kowloon’s Gate and Siren 2. These atmospheric tracks seem to fit best with Metroid.

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