AM2R: Return Of Samus OST Review
Review by Neil Mc Allister
The main man behind AM2R, Milton Gusati, better known as Doctor M64, is a man of many talents. A sound engineer, a music composer and the dedicated man who developed this fan-made remake of “Metroid II: Return of Samus" over a ten-year period, which was sadly called for a cease and desist by Nintendo very shortly afterwards (but fear not, you can find torrent links on the internet easy). AM2R’s OST contains some superb remixes of not the just tunes from the original version, which was on the limited sound card of the original Gameboy, but also other Metroid titles such as “Super Metroid” and “Metroid Prime 2: Echoes”.
“Surface Of SR388” is one of the first highlights to be heard as Samus Aran begins her mission on the titular planet. The monasterial choirs that are synonymous with the Metroid Prime series give a soothing vibe, complemented by the groovy bassline, reverberating guitar arpeggios and alien-like synth. It welcomes the player into what will later on be a much more intense experience. “Breeding Grounds” is exactly this, featuring some similar instrumentation but also low register cellos, 80’s horror-movie style piano arpeggios and random mechanical noises for a highly unsettling ambient piece.
“Hydro Station” is a remix of the Brinstar Green Area theme from “Super Metroid”, it superbly incorporates synths sound that are both watery and alien in tone, with the addition of female choirs, creating a feeling that is both soothing yet eerie at the same time. “Industrial Complex” is another remix, this time of the Temple Grounds from “Metroid Prime II: Echoes” it contains a mixture of long held notes with choir and synths mixed together against some interesting electronic percussion being pretty laid-back in it’s feeling.
“The Tower” goes into slightly different territory, sounding a lot like a rave tune, with a rumbling electronic bass and a plethora of synth sounds, as well as the usual monasterial choirs. “Distribution Center” is one of the few originally composed tracks, sounding somewhat similar to “Surface Of SR388”, but standing out with it’s main melody which alternates between the electronic guitar and alien synth, overall having an easy beat that provides the player with much needed respite. The underwater version is also quite pleasant as well, being even more relaxed than the other version.
“Genetic Laboratory” is one of the most eerie tracks featured, with eerie revolving high-pitch synths, and discordant string synths. It increases the intensity by going up a town, as the player travels further into the Laboratory. One of the final tracks is “Hatchling”, which revolves around a simple synth arpeggio amongst other arpeggiators in the background, giving a sense of release, accomplishment and wonder as the player goes through the night sky as Samus prepares to leave SR388.
There is also a handful of good boss themes to boot, such as the pulsating techno in “Ancient Guardian” or the “Torizo” boss fight which starts off as a slow 80’s sci-fi theme-styled remix of the Chykka boss fight from “Metroid Prime 2: Echoes” and then jacks up the pace in the second phase of the battle.
Long-time Metroid fans will appreciate the attention to detail with the vast amount of remixes from various titles in the A2MR, and the considerable evolution from the original Gameboy game. At times there is a bit of overuse of some stock sounds (primarily the male choirs) but it’s the best thing to be heard in a Metorid game in almost a decade, and it’s not even an official game…
Written by Neil Mc Allister
Neil is a Graduate of BIMM Dublin and Griffith College where he studied music and sound design. He is also a freelance composer and musician.