Spooky Video Game Music: GFS Valhalla Depths (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)

So this… is a track. By far the most unnerving track in the entire game, among the most unnerving tracks in the Metroid series itself, and video games in general. There is an existential dread that this track fills me with, fitting for the area in which it plays.

The GFS Valhalla is a derelict ship floating in a sector of space with a large, blood red nebula. Which I suppose is a bit on the nose… But it certainly fits the mood.

The Valhalla is part of a line of newer, better capital ships that the Galactic Federation has built to bolster their military might and defend against the Space Pirates (the Metroid universe is not a particularly kind land, owing much to the Alien franchise in terms of inspiration). These ships are designed to use Aurora Units (short explanation: biocomputers), and they serve as the flagships of each fleet they are in.

The first one you encounter is the GFS Olympus (of note, the ship class itself is also Olympus). In fact, the GFS Olympus is the first area you ever set foot in. It’s quite magnificent, with personnel all around (who mostly refuse to talk to you).

And then there’s… the GFS Valhalla. Also an Olympus-Class ship, and it certainly lives up to its name as a hall of the slain. Space Pirates attacked it during a training exercise in order to steal its Aurora Unit, reducing it to the broken heap it is now. It’s now filled with the dead, both Federation and Pirate. The only life left in this ship would be the Metroids and creatures of Phazon that roam, feeding on the dead (and attacking you when you show up, of course).

The ship is also falling apart as it drifts in space, and occasionally shakes violently with the threat of breaking apart entirely (it doesn’t, of course, because the game needs to let you explore, but it still has the intended effect of unnerving the player).

When you first arrive at the Valhalla, this theme plays. It’s an intimidating theme to be sure, one that lets you know right away you are in a Very Bad Place. But the game progresses, and as you collect the energy cells to power up the ship and delve deeper into it, well…

The music changes. As a bonus, when you reach the end of the line, you get to find the Valhalla’s final transmission.

This theme is some of the scariest dark ambience I’ve ever heard, and to this day still gets me. I recommend headphones. Definitely. Yes. Wear ’em. Suffer with me.

 

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