A second favorite Metroid song is the “Norfair – Ancient Ruins Area” theme from Super Metroid. This track plays in Ridley’s hideout, deep beneath the surface of Zebes in the fiery depths of Norfair. Lower Norfair is boiling hot, with heat waves rising in the background amongst the cracked and burning statues of the Chozo. Why they decided to build a civilization down here is anyone’s guess, but it’s just a comfortable day for Ridley, the fire dragon that lives at its heart. “Norfair – Ancient Ruins Area” takes on this feel of oppressive heat, but also the mystical lore of the warrior Chozo training for battle within the inferno. The war horn trumpets are oppressive, as is the booming beat of the drums and a choir that recalls “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana. One of the final areas of the game, the theme also contains a hint of the last steps on the road to revenge – Samus has tracked down the Baby Metroid that was stolen by Ridley from the Space Colony to the dragon’s lair and has come to reclaim it.
This emotional impact is absent from Metroid Prime‘s “Lava Caves,” the volcanic underbelly of Tallon IV. “Lava Caves” is a remix of “Norfair – Ancient Ruins Area” which was both a pleasant surprise for long-time Metroid fans and also something of a disappointment. The midi score simply lacks the booming, brooding impact of the original. Wooden sticks, muted trumpets, and cymbal crashes dominate this piece. Another arrangement of this version found its way into Metroid Prime Pinball.
“Norfair – Ancient Ruins Area” has seen its fair share of remixes from fans, too. Some outstanding notables are Adhesive Boy’s “Braving the Flames” from Relics of the Chozo with its choral line that seems to have been lifted from Ocarina of Time and industrial beat. Of course, Metroid Metal’s “Lower Norfair” mix is also pretty good, and as usual, the Varia Suite version is even better. Another excellent mix is Enki’s “Stygian Depths” from VGMix 1.0, which has sadly not gotten as much coverage as it should have. This orchestral medley is quite excellent, though I admit the introduction of Lower Norfair’s drums is a bit loud.