Step Back and Take a Listen – Music in Games #4

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Happy Monday, friends! The month of Metroid has come to a close and we have one last work I want to discuss. We haven’t spent any time talking about Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and while I personally think that it fell short compared to the other Primes, it has some exceptional music. One of my personal favorite tracks from the entire series hails from this game, and it accompanies my favorite boss: Rundas, our fallen hunter brother in arms.

This piece is an amalgamation of pretty much everything we have seen up to this point in the Prime trilogy, utilizing instruments and motifs representing a number of themes. The boss fight starts with choral Ahh’s, which we established refers to the Chozo within the prime series, and as the work progresses there are instrumental references to Phazon with the high-mid synth chords and modulated synth rhythm emulating the title themes. These references, I believe, are less about the Chozo and Phazon in concrete terms, and more about the war inside Rundas’ head; the Chozo represent the forces of “Good” while Phazon fights for “Evil”.

This fight is epic. It is the first time in the series where you fight a friend – and I feel like I am probably not alone in saying that Rundas was the most beloved of the fellow hunters – and for that there is a lot of emotional value in the music. The main theme of the piece is rather sad, a descending minor line over a minor progression, however there is hope in there as the highest point in the line rings out over a major chord. The duality of the encounter is told in the music in this way. Just as Rundas is experiencing his own internal war, we as the player (and Samus, of course) are experiencing our own struggles as we fight an ally to the death.

The piece ends on what I can only describe as the corruption of Rundas’ soul. The prominent use of the Dark Samus theme and distorted metal guitar heavily imply the loss of control and concludes the tale told by the music. This piece is a story, and its tale of sorrow and loss ends with the utter corruption and loss of self, fitting for this truly outstanding fight.

For as much as there is in this wonderful work of art, much of it boils down to the themes of good and evil and the fight therein. I wish I had more to say on this piece, I really do, but I am also glad that I was able to keep this one short and concise. There is a lot of amazing music in Metroid, and I love a few songs more for their nostalgia, but Rundas and his theme was the first time I felt an actual connection to a character in the series. There are a few remixes of this work that go above and beyond, so if remixes are your thing I highly suggest looking them up. But that will do it for me for today, I hope you all have enjoyed this look back through Metroid!

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