Jam of the Day: Phendrana Drifts performed by Metroid Metal (Varia Suite)

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Metroid. Metroid has always been one of my favorite game series of all time. I still consider Super Metroid to be the greatest game ever made and Metroid Prime isn’t far behind. Other M certainly was a mixed bag, but hopefully the series will continue on strong.

It’s been a great 25 years. Here’s to 25 more!

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Jam of the Day: Shotgun Kiss (Vegas Palace) by Hidenori Shoji (F-ZERO GX/AX Original Soundtracks)

The F-Zero GX/AX Soundtrack might not be as melodically driven as the previous games, but Hidenori Shoji (known for the Yakuza series) really excels at what he does. His music has that electronica feel that fits so well into futuristic racers, but he combines it with a variety of other genres to make it really stand out. While most songs have tinges of rock accompanying punchy beats, Shotgun Kiss throws a little jazzy vibe into the mix creating something really memorable.

Jam of the Day: Star Wolf Theme by Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kawamoto (Star Fox Assault Soundtrack)

Handing Star Fox to third party developers yielded very uneven results. I believe Namco got closest to what a Star Fox game should be with Star Fox Assault, but still fell short of the Nintendo EAD & Argonaut Games originals. Where Namco managed to exceed everyone, though, was the soundtrack.

The orchestral score of Star Fox Assault is fantastic. Star Wolf’s theme in particular is my personal favorite, but the high level of quality is consistent throughout most of the soundtrack. It gives the game a larger space opera feel and helps disguise the shortcomings of the game itself. Listening to the music makes me want to play it again in spite of its problems, just to hear it in context another time.

Hopefully, if Nintendo ever takes the series back for a new entry (or hands it off to yet another developer) they can produce an OST of the same grandeur.

Jam of the Day: Torvus Bog by Metroid Metal (Originally from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes)

"Dude, where’s my music?!"

That was my first reaction to Metroid: Other M, which I picked up earlier today. Overall, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the game so far, but to say the soundtrack has been minimal would be generous. I can only hope the music picks up later, but my gut tells me Other M will be the most forgettable Metroid soundtrack to date.

So to balance this out, I bring you Metroid Metal’s rendition of Kenji Yamamoto’s Torvus Bog from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Metroid Metal does some really great arrangements of the series’ music. I saw them live last year at PAX ‘09 and will see them again this weekend at PAX ‘10. You should definitely check them out.

Jam of the Day: Delfino Plaza Theme (GC: “Super Mario Sunshine”) by Yoshihiro Arita and his band (Mario & Zelda Big Band Live CD)

I am going on a camping trip. This will be the last Jam of the Day until either late Monday or Tuesday. Until then, enjoy this special summer-time jam! It’s the “Delfino Plaza Theme” from Super Mario Sunshine. A great track from a pretty fun game that get’s a lot of flak.

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK! :D

Jam of the Day: Crashed Ship Frigate Orpheon by Kenji Yamamoto (Metroid Prime Soundtrack)

With the impending release of Metroid: Other M, I’ve had Metroid on the brain lately. For Metroid Prime, Kenji Yamamoto was able to utilize a wider variety of sounds, no longer being limited to the hardware of the Super Nintendo.

While I still prefer the soundtrack to Super Metroid, Prime’s soundtrack suited it well, giving a similar feeling of loneliness and wonder. The underwater themes are always the best, and “Crashed Ship Frigate Orpheon” is no exception. It’s no Maridia, but it’s a damn fine track regardless.

Jam of the Day: Big Blue (F-ZERO GX/AX Arrange Version) by Ayako Saso (F-Zero GX/AX Original Soundtracks)

The general rule of thumb seems to be that if you’re going to remix an F-Zero song, you’re going to choose either Mute City or Big Blue, and you’re going to do a by-the-numbers rock cover. It’s a shame since the original F-Zero has so many good songs (Fire Field anybody?).

So why am I highlighting a remix of a song in such well traveled territory? Ayako Saso, that’s why. Forget what you might’ve heard elsewhere, Ayako Saso has mad arrangement skills and used them to take the over-remixed and make it new again. The style and pacing have been drastically altered from the original without sacrificing the source tune’s spirit.

Slap bass? Check! Righteous guitar while avoiding cliches? Check! Lots of soloing and original sections without getting too carried away? Check! To this day, this remains one of my favorite videogame remixes.