In honor of all of the SNES Classic systems that we won’t be seeing under Christmas trees this holiday season, the world is once again in love with Nintendo’s often yellowed little purple and gray (arguably) best system of all time. Adding to this SNES fever, UK composer Luminist has unleashed his highly enjoyable take on the Super Metroid soundtrack, following his awesome reimagining of the OG NES Metroid that we loved so much earlier this year.
The SNES’ graphical and sound fidelity famously both added and subtracted to the ominous vibe of the first Metroid, but Luminist’s analog synth reimagining of Super Metroid doubles down on the sinister and foreboding to fantastic effect, seemingly less inspired by the 1970’s filmic aural dreamscapes, plummeting headlong into the 1980s’ more techno and new wave inspired cinematic horrors.
Upon initial impression, I was most struck by the similarities to Brad Fiedel’s immortal soundtrack to The Terminator in Luminist’s “Prologue” and “Ridley Battle”, Samus’ 16 bit plight drawing a direct parallel to the futuristic hopelessness and desolation in Cameron’s debut masterpiece. The ambient creep factor ratchets on “Deserted Space Colony”, “Arrival In Crateria” and “Small Boss”. Then came the headphone rocking thump and bump of “The Space Pirates Appear” and “Brinstar Overgrown”, genius in its own right and especially so under Luminist’s deft hand, but a reminder why so many bemoan the lack of atmosphere in the erstwhile “Metroid 3”. That is, until we arrive at “Chozo Statue Awakening”, the track’s arch discomfort every bit the haunting shock as it was when first experienced during gameplay.
Since Luminist’s original Metroid: Resynthesized dropped late last year, Samus Aran has found herself in a much healthier state of video game mascotdom, the outstanding 3DS Metroid: Samus Returns having cleared the heroine’s good name from any Other M unpleasantness this fall and a full-fledged follow up to the Metroid Prime series due for Nintendo Switch in 2018. While not having a reputation as pristine as Mario or Zelda (then again, there were never any Metroid CDI games), Samus’ adventures continue to occupy a space in the hearts and minds of devotees that can’t help but stoke the futuristic flames of dark imaginations, and Luminist’s work represents the very best of that well deserved reverence.