Metroid is an inherently creepy idea - you, alone on a planet full of acid-spitting monstrosities, with not a single shred of help from the outside world. You'd think such a hefty concept would be hard to convey on limited 8-bit technology, but the labyrinthine corridors, otherworldly enemy design and, of course, claustrophobic music made the original Metroid one of the most atmospheric games of the day.
Most of my dread came from this one song, which plays as you enter Kraid's specific area of the map. Up to that point, the music had mostly been the same chipper Metroid theme song and the terrain stayed a rather normal-looking rocky blue. Now, this music starts up as you descend in an elevator, now seeing weird alien shapes and bright white walls that are covered with unnatural, sticky-legged monsters. I remember the very first time I made it to Kraid's Hideout, and it scared the shit out of me - mostly because of this oppressive, melodically maddening tune.
Above: The title screen music begins ominous, then goes into a soaring, beautiful 8-bit finale
Above: Metroid Zero Mission added more background creepiness, but somehow the extra tech makes it less frightening. Still an effectively creepy tune though, fit for an R-rated space monster movie
Above: Metroid Metal (who played at PAX this year) have a fittingly rockin' version as well
It's ironic how thoroughly the 8-bit Metroid creeped me out, while the vastly superior and lavishly decorated Metroid Prime never came close. Maybe it's easier to weird out a seven year old than a 21-year-old, or maybe consciously didn't play up the horror angle of Metroid. IMO, that's a great way to take the franchise if Nintendo's just gonna keep farming it out forever. Might as well take some chances and make its sole "serious" franchise a bit more vicious.
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