Spooky Video Game Music Bonus Round: Artaria I (Metroid Dread)

Yes, yes, I already posted one today. That’s why this is a bonus round.

But it’s a national holiday. A day of religious significance, even. Metroid Dread came out year one year ago today. This was necessary.

There’s a lot I could say about Metroid Dread in general that plenty of other people have already said, but I’d like to say it all anyway, but game in its entirety isn’t what this post is about, so I’m gonna move it along a bit.

The game’s music seems to be one of the more disputed aspects, with some considering it the weakest portion of the game. I am not one of those people (I actually like ambient music and I don’t need constant retreads of Super Metroid’s music in every single song, and that’s the extent of my potentially spicy opinions for now). Actually one more spicy take: Breath of the Wild’s soundtrack is also excellent. You just need to approach it on its own terms, not what you personally wanted it to be. Same with Metroid Dread. It’s my blog and I can pour all the spice I want on it.

There’s several tracks in this game that emanate a powerful sense of, well, dread, but this one really sticks out to me. And it’s the first track you hear when you finally take control of Samus, after a cutscene recap of Metroid Fusion and then Samus’ fight with a living Chozo that results in her lying knocked out on the ground.

Metroid Dread follows more in the footsteps of Metroid Fusion (and, loathe as I am to say this, Metroid: Other M) in that it favours dark, droning ambience over the kind of melodic atmosphere that Super Metroid and Metroid Prime favour. There’s still plenty of tracks with defined melodies, of course.

Artaria I… it’s quite the track to start your journey to. The disorienting feel of it is probably exactly what Samus is feeling as she wakes up and takes in exactly where she is now. It’s empty, foreboding, and yet all too vast. Uncomfortably quiet, with the promise of greater danger ahead. It’s difficult to break the track down into a specific part, as it all comes together to bring to mind a feeling I can only describe as cold static.

You’re starting at the bottom. Now you work your way back up.

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