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Fredrik

The Metroid Games

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<<< I wrote this for another forum but I figured I might as well post it here. It's not like the Doomworld forums are boiling with activity :) >>>


Super Metroid is the best of the Metroids. It also holds an unbudgeable position in my personal top five of games.

There's just so much about it that's awesome. To begin with, it was my second encounter (the first was Doom) with a game that scared the shit out of me. I hadn't ever played a game with such a thick, menacing, mysterious atmosphere. Zebes wasn't just a set of rooms with platforms in them, it was alive. There was always a feeling of something waiting, building up the tension. The bosses perfectly climaxed these build-ups.

The exploration element was perfect, set up by the amazingly complex world and fueled by the atmosphere. Zebes truly felt huge - and was, it took several months for me to find 100% items.

As if that wasn't enough, there's the freedom that comes from the game's nonlinearity and its flexibe controls. I still play Super Metroid regularly because it allows me to find new ways to complete it, or to complete it faster.


I'd put Fusion second. Admittedly I mainly look for atmosphere in games, and Fusion delivered. I found the story intriguing, and the music was a every bit as poignant as Super Metroid's.

What about gameplay? I really loved the direction. I know that a lot of Metroid fans were displeased with it, and I can understand why they feel the way they do. But it worked for me. While I enjoy the exploration factor that Fusion lacks, the game has other merits that I accept in its stead. It's different, but in my opinion good nevertheless.

Fusion has been accused of being short, and I'm not sure whether I'd agree. Twice the length wouldn't have hurt, but it's in no way bad the way it is. It's longer than Super Metroid. Too short by today's standards, perhaps, but sufficiently long for the dramaturgy to work.

The point where Fusion fails is of course replay value. I've played the game five times, but I don't expect to replay it any time soon. Maybe a day when more ways of sequence breaking have been discovered...


Third - Metroid Prime. I'll start with the best thing about this game: it is a grand achievement in game design. The world layout is impressive and the action is perfectly balanced. I found the mammoth length and the relative toughness to be quite refreshening.

Now, for the weak parts and why I wouldn't rank Prime over Fusion. The first is the subtle lack of originality. There is too much in Prime's design that feels like it was carbon-papered straight out of Super Metroid to make the game feel completely new and exciting. This is obviously excusable on Retro Studios' side: Nintendo could afford experimenting with radically new concepts in Fusion, but Retro Studios had to play it safe. I do expect them to redeem this in the sequel.

Second, the atmosphere. I did find the game quite scary several times (especially during the blackouts and almost everywhere in the Phazon mines). But something was missing. I was afraid of dying without being able to save my progress more than I was afraid of any inherent evil in the world.

I find that the game simply lacks the extremely complex and exotic atmospheres found in Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion.

I believe this can be attributed to the music almost entirely. The soundtrack isn't really bad, but it's not up to classic Nintendo standard (oddly the same applies to both Super Mario Sunshine and Zelda: Windwaker). The palette of harmonies is severely limited. It's not very expressive. It's not piquant. At best it's rhythmic.

I found a lot of minor flaws in Prime too: I think the game is too vague in its presentation, I couldn't find a way to remove the annoying clutter of the combat visor without hiding the useful information (but the X-ray and thermal visors looked and played great), switching between weapons was a bit frustrating, some animations were cheesy, etc... but they're minor flaws and not that much of a problem.

I think the first person view was perfect. Even the platform elements of the game worked out reasonably well. I'd have liked control customization and some way to look and turn around faster, though.


I don't care very much about Metroid and Metroid II. I've played both but didn't like either enough to complete them. They're not bad games, but they don't appeal to me. I suppose I'd like Metroid a lot more if I had a nostalgic connection to it though.

To sum things up: Super Metroid is the perfect combination of gameplay and atmosphere. Fusion lacks a bit in replay value. Prime lacks a bit in terms of atmosphere and originality. And I realize I'm deviant by prefering Fusion to Prime, but I'm aware of it so there's no need to bash me for it :P

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I couldn't have said it better, nor possibly agree more with you. Fantastic games, all of them.

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I never really liked Super Metroid. But that's probably becuase I haven't had the chance to really play it when I first saw it, I guess that killed it for me :(

Metroid Prime actually made me buy a GC. You're prefectly right about every "bad" thing about Prime. Even though it's not really an original game, it's still very cool.

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One of the games that sets the SNES's fame. Super Metriod is one of the best games out there. It just feels like such a sold game, no loose ends floating around (Unlike a lot of games).

I have a story, sort of. I sold these games so I could buy Earthbound: F-Zero, Legend of Zelda: LttP, and Super Metroid.

heh

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Super Metroid was always my favourite. Although some sightless people have gone so far as to say it sucked.

Heh. The funniest criticism I've heard about it is that it's unrealistic because there are so many alien artifacts lying around for you to find all over the place with no explanation. I think the proper response to that is "What video games have you been playing?" If you can name me five good games where powerups and items are not lying around for no reason, you deserve sincere congratulations.

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Job said:

My favorite boss was Phantoon. What was yours?

Draygon. He's easy and fun to fight (especially without the #$@! grapple). Maridia is incidentally the most fun part of the game.

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Really? I never was a big fan of Maridia. I liked Brinstar and the lower depths of Norfair.

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Lower Norfair is too much of a hassle. Especially if you're like me and never pick the screw attack or a healthy amount of energy tanks/super missiles :)

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Super metroid is obviously on my top 5 of best games ever. None of the other metroids come close. I don't really like the first person versions at all. Metroid I is decent though, entertained me back when I was a little kid.

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I'll agree, SM is definitely the benchmark for forthcoming games in the Metroid franchise, as it should be and it's my favorite. In respect to that, I'll have to say Prime is my second favorite. RoS suffered the same fate as the second Zelda game did, which was little exposure and not a huge following. Some people say gameplay was boring. I never really understood that, since it's basically a scaled up Metroid and a scaled down SM. The only real thing it lacked was unique bosses on each level, but I thought numerous Metroids and their evolutions was an interesting way to compensate. Plus RoS looked pretty =P

Fusion was a good a game, as good as any on the gba. It was fun, and I have no real complaints. It was just a more structured type of play than its predecessor, but I still prefer the more open adventure the other titles offer. But if you really want to analyze it, Fusion is more similar than not to SM, it just seems different because with Adam, he’s a physical force that makes you progress and tells you how to do it, whereas in previous games you have to progress but it's more up to the player on how to solve the obstructions.

Metroid was fun. Yep.

I think that's it. ZM looks interesting, at least the part where Samus plays without her power suit. I'll just have to wait and play it.

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Super Metroid is to Metroid as Castlevania IV is to Castlevania. Lower Norfair is by far my favorite area. I do like going up on the surface, though. It's perfect for testing out some of the more complex moves. And speaking of complex moves, how long did it take for you to get that item in Maridia where you had to actually sprint through an open door and jump up into a narrow hole without bumping your head? It took me at least a half hour of constant trial of error to get it just right.

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Erik said:

Super metroid is obviously on my top 5 of best games ever. None of the other metroids come close. I don't really like the first person versions at all. Metroid I is decent though, entertained me back when I was a little kid.

Not many people like the fp view, but how else can you update the game? Would a 3p view in Prime's maps even work, because of the cramped areas and different camera angles? A Metroid game with an engine like Zelda WW (minus the cell shading) would kick ass, but in this case the WW's world is mostly comprised of open areas, whereas Metroid would not be as open. I'm not a technical guru, but would it be possible to overcome camera angles and small spaces etc etc?

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Ichor said:

And speaking of complex moves, how long did it take for you to get that item in Maridia where you had to actually sprint through an open door and jump up into a narrow hole without bumping your head? It took me at least a half hour of constant trial of error to get it just right.

Fairly long time. But believe me, it pales in comparison to the acrobatics required to collect some of the items in Fusion. Or the acrobatics required to skip Spore Spawn, the grapple beam, etc :P

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Fredrik said:

Yeah because visiting a Doom forum in the first place doesn't make you a nerd.

Owned.

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for fred and co who never played / completed the original metroid (I played it to fucking death), be aware that there is an updated version coming out for the GBA.

Have to say the original version rocked me most. I loved super metroid almost as much, but I spent hours and hours mapping the oringal out on graph paper and finding absolutely everything.

I remember being blew away by the begining of SM where you decend back into Zebes and find the original motherbrain tank lying in ruins... man, that was so cool.

Another bit that sticks in my mind were those green maggoty space cockroaches that were eating the fallen bounty hunter just before the Kraid battle in brinstar... freaky.

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darknation said:

be aware that there is an updated version coming out for the GBA.

I'm perfectly aware of that. And it looks promising. By the way - Zero Mission's way of remaking Metroid is very similar to Doom 3's way of remaking Doom.

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darknation said:

I remember being blew away by the begining of SM where you decend back into Zebes and find the original motherbrain tank lying in ruins... man, that was so cool.

Yes, that was extremely cool. It's funny entering Brinstar the same way you escaped.

I loved gaining the morph ability the same exact way too. I never did figure out what that little spotlight does...

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I think my favourite moment in SM has to be right at the beginning when you touch down on the planet. Aside from the rain, there's no sound. There are no monsters to be found anywhere. Finally, you explore deep into the underground system and find the morph ball left undefended. You pick it up, then suddenly a spotlight shoots out and focuses on you. A few face-shaped tiles in the background follow you as you move. You take an elevator up, and when you re-enter the rooms you just left, they're full of Zebesians and other hostile life forms, like you just rudely woke up the whole planet from hybernation.

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Lord FlatHead said:

All you Super Metroid soundtrack fans please point your browsers to Relics of the Chozo, a collaborative effort to remix and re-interpret the original SM music. Download all 19 tracks and tell me these guys didn't do a great job.

I love the last three tracks (Perceived by Great Intelligence, Escaping Retribution and The Galaxy is at Peace)!

Oh, while I'm here...

FIVE FUN METROID FACTS:

1.) The "Samus is a girl" shock twist was created as a result of a casual "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if..." comment in Nintendo's offices about halfway through production of the first game.

2.) The man who scored Super Metroid was brought back in by Nintendo to score Metroid Prime.

3.) "Zoid" (The man behind the infamous McKinley CTF map for Quake) worked on Metroid Prime's level designs.

4.) The "The Last Metroid..." voice sample at the start of Super Metroid is Dan Owsen, a Nintendo product localiser who was apparently hanging around with some friends in the SM dev team when the producer asked him a favor...

5.) The Metroid series is the brainchild of Gumpei Yokoi, the late genius behind the Game and Watch, Game Boy and Virtual Boy.

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Trasher][ said:
2.) The man who scored Super Metroid was brought back in by Nintendo to score Metroid Prime.

The Super Metroid score was made by two persons: Minako Hamano and Kenji Yamamoto. Kenji Yamamoto then made the soundtrack for Metroid Prime and Minako Hamano made the soundtrack for Fusion. Fusion's soundtrack (unlike Prime's) is very reminiscent to Super Metroid's soundtrack. That, and the fact that Yamamoto was primarily credited for sound programming and sound effects, makes it plausible to believe that Hamano was more involved with the composition of Super Metroid's music than Yamamoto was.

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Trasher][ said:
The "The Last Metroid..." voice sample at the start of Super Metroid is Dan Owsen

That sucked. I sounded manlier than that when I was fifteen years old. Well, at least in my memories I do.

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