The Original Metroid on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) - A Great Old Video Game
You're Playing What?
The original Metroid Nintendo game that came out in the summer of 1986 was amazing. I loved it, and pretty much everyone that I knew loved it. We never really beat the game, though. I didn’t beat Metroid until about 5 or 6 years ago on an emulator.
“Hey, whats up?”
“I’m playing Metroid.”
“The original Metroid from 1986? Why are you playing a game that’s like 23 years old?”
“I’m finally gonna beat it!”
Yeah, Metroid really is one of those games that you get excited to beat. It was like that way back in the day, and it’s still like that now. It’s pretty hard to beat the game, too. I mean – if you didn’t have game walkthroughs in front of you – would you really be able to beat this game all that easily? For most people, the answer is no. The original Metroid game makes you feel like a mouse stuck in a maze, going back and forth to try and figure out where you actually need to go. It’s insane.
With the design of the finished game the way it is, you would think people would be turned off by the concept. Especially kids. I mean, most kids who pick the game up don’t really get anywhere in it. You find a few powerups like the missiles, and that’s about it. Only a few kids actually begin to make headway in the game, like finding the bombs or the screw attack, and maybe even killing a miniboss - or both of them. Whether you made your way through the game or not, though, the game was incredibly alluring. It had so much appeal because it wasn’t like any other game in the Nintendo library (even years after its release).
What was so appealing about that original Metroid release, though? In fact, there were a lot of things going for it. It was the whole non-linear world to explore that really got you to love the thing. The first Metroid was just the right size, and had all the right things going for it at the time. You might even say it was a bit huge compared to most games of its era, and even after its era. It was a unique, one of a kind adventure the likes of which had really never been seen before. You didn’t just burn through the game the same way (or nearly the same way) every time like Super Mario Brothers. No, this game had depth.
The weapons were interesting, and the physics and programming were interesting. It really felt like Samus was on another planet because of the strange low gravity jumping. You really can’t heap on enough praise to a game like this. It’s strange that Nintendo didn’t come out with sequels on the original console, though. The choice to put Metroid 2 on the Gameboy was bizarre. What with all the many sequels to great games like Mega Man, you would almost expect Metroid to have a similarly explosive initial offering on the Nintendo Entertainment System. But, sadly, that wasn’t the case. Sequels were few and far between, and the SNES’s Super Metroid really didn’t capture the full ambiance of the original. Super Metroid is one of the great video games, but it just didn't feel like the original to me. It was "new" and "cooler," and I didn't dig that. I never really got into Super Metroid in the way that I did with the original.
Classic Game Room's Metroid Review
Samus Aran Action Figure! Wohoo!
Simple Makes Awesome
Behind all the great points, though, the original is a very simple game. You find some power ups (you don’t need them all), and take out a couple minibosses. Then, after that, you take the fight to the mother brain. The entrance to one of the minibosses was in plain sight near the beginning, so even the most casual of players knew right off the bat that there were probably hidden things throughout. The design of Metroid was perfect in every way. Metroid didn't have too much cryptic, hidden Nintendo crap in the way that games like Zelda did. Seriously, burning a bush that's one of thousands? Ridiculous. Bombing one of a million other rocks? Really, now? Yeah, Metroid had some hidden passages, but they were in places that looked like they should maybe have passages. So it worked.
Ah, and the music. The music by “Hip” Tanaka was grand, sweeping, interesting, and fun. The whole tones in Norfair, and the subtle drone of the E minor “Kraid’s Hideout” theme were all memorable. Like Super Mario Brothers, the music really made this game stand out from so many others when you thought about Nintendo.
The only sad thing about the whole experience was that the original game was relentlessly difficult for young kids. You really had to make a map if you wanted to get serious. I still remember watching my friends trying to use bombs to get around obstacles in Kraid’s Hideout for hours on end. The game was big, what can you say? Even looking at a map of it these days, it still looks big. Unless you’re hardcore, it’s always going to be hard to figure out some of the pathways you’re supposed to take on the map. They really coded and designed this thing with amazing detail..
Great Endings Make a Great Game
It certainly was brilliant to make the lead character a woman, and also that you had to beat the game within a certain time period in order to unlock that fact. Heck, she was even wearing a bathing suit if you did it fast enough! Sadly, I didn't get the special ending when I beat Metroid. I got the bad ending - the one where she keeps her suit on. That means that I played for more than five hours. If you play for more than 10, she actually turns and appears to be sobbing in her suit!
They say that the whole Metroid ending surprise was ruined by some skilled gamer who beat the game within the first week. No joke. Not only did the guy figure the whole game out, but he figured out how to beat the game fast enough to unlock the big secret. I think some sources say he did it the first weekend! Talk about having no life, eh? Soon after that, news of Samus' sexual identity was trumpeted around the world.
Great endings really do make for a great game. If you think about truly great games, they usually have solid endings. It's that drive to want to complete the game and get that ending again that makes a game appealing to replay. If a game has a crappy ending, people don't usually want to play it again.
Even a cute ending screen can be a great ending. Kung Fu had a cool ending, for instance.
I used to have a guide that told you how to get into this random world of chaos. The secret glitch world was in one of those hallways between the bubble doors. You would use the door jumping glitch to jump into the ceiling and make your way further and further up. There would be this crazy world up in there that had all sorts of random stuff floating around – like random Ridleys and Kraids and stuff. It was crazy, and I remember getting there one time. I haven’t see anyone put a video up of this on Youtube, and I sometimes wonder if this is one of those glitches that is not well known. I forget where I read about it, but if it was in one of those old Jeff Rovin “How to Win” books – then I would think it would be better known. Yet, no information is out there that I have found recently.
Well, that about wraps up all of my inane banter about the original Metroid title. I have a lot of fond memories of playing the game, and it’s nice to think about it once in a while. I hope reading this inane drivel was as fun for you. I’ll put a system of links in here if I make more of these useless tidbits.
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