Hello, internet, Hubbers, Google people, aliens, and all that good stuff! If you came back, then thanks! If not, then you probably aren't even reading this. With the pleasantries gone, let's talk about something! More specifically, Metroid. Metroid is a series that solidified it's place in the gaming universe in it's first three games. It rewards gamers of all kinds, in many different ways. This is a massive achievement for game designers, and makes for one of the most wonderful game experiences you'll have. Now, Let's dig into this, our review of The third installment in the series, Super Metroid.
Like it's previous and future incarnations, you feel entirely alone in this huge, desolate planet, stuck using only your wits and what you can find in the environment. This is no different. But you begin with Samus telling you about the previous events that led up to the beginning of the game. She had taken out Mother Brain, who wanted to use the metroids for his/her/it's own nefarious purpose. After taking out the Mother Brain, Samus takes it upon herself to eliminate all of the metroids. She manages to eliminate all but one, which she hands over to some scientists for the sake of research. A few minutes later, Samus catches a distress signal from that very space station. She pulls a 180 in her ship (not really. Well, they don't show it, at least) and heads back to the station, and the game begins.
This game has an ingenious design. Especially this simple training level. You start in a vertical shaft, and have to go downward. This incites the player to take their steps carefully, allowing them to experiment and learn their way around. This is unique because it allows the player to truly learn by doing. The level is designed for you to experiment. The amazing thing is that the entire game is designed this way. The areas and levels, even the behavior of the enemies, to an extent, all just beg for you to experiment and try something new. It's safe to say this game requires you to play with the new item you get and try to find multiple purposes for it. This, combined with having multiple tons of items to find in the first place, really shows you that you need to take this game seriously. Another thing, and jumping back to the space colony for a minute, is that (and spoiler alert for those modern kids who have never played Super Metroid) the very first enemy you face is a boss. That boss being Ridley, to be specific. Ridley doesn't do anything too spectacular, but he throws you into this rush to try and find a way to kill him with what little weapons you've got. The fact is, you can't. But you don't know this, especially if this is your first playthrough, so you sit there, dodging and shooting Ridley as best you can, but he manages to hit you pretty well, and winds up doing way too much damage for your nerves to handle.
Eventually, he'll wire you down to around 28 or so health left. This is when he'll just up and leave you, and the station begins a self destruct sequence. You have a few minutes to escape the space station the way you came, requiring that you've mastered the beginning skills they've rammed into your head in an ever so subtle manner. You can't continue the game until you escape the space station successfully. This isn't very hard, but it really amps up the pressure, and ensures that you know all of the basics in the game. Can you guess what happens after you successfully escape the space station? Exactly! You see a cutscene! Don't worry, you won't see very many cutscenes at all, let alone any like this. After the station blows up, you'll find yourself gently landing your ship on the planet Zebes (Or is it SR388? Ive only finished this game a week ago and I already forgot.) Now, you begin exploring this land. This lonely, desolate land. Here's my one and only problem with this game. You are often made to memorize something you don't have access to, in order to return to it for a possibly important upgrade. This can make progression impossible if you either forgot any uses you may have had for your most recent item, or if you're a first time player. This alone definitely won't pull you away from the game, but it nags at you when you find a new item, and feel like you've done everything you can with it. This is a problem because we have the internet nowadays. That means we have video game guides we don't have to buy. A player with internet access can easily go and figure out where to go next. throughout my playthrough i was often tempted to just look up a guide. This can break the games immersion. And unfortunately, this can happen with MANY more than just the Metroid games.
But I'm confident most you will challenge yourself to find that next item, because, and though this may be true for others, (I only speak for myself) that's what this game is about. It's all about digging around, trying to find all the neat things hidden within the game. It's still mind blowing how games back then could keep someone so interested, even today. Another good thing about this game is that it always feels so fresh, no matter how much I play it. Call me a fanboy, but this game truly was Nintendo in it's prime (that reminds me of something else.) It was something that was given tons of love, and it shows in the game itself.
Now that I think of it, I do see more than one problem in this game. It's incredibly easy to get lost in this game, even with the map. You have to do some hellish backtracking in this game, but if you don't know your way entirely around the map, you can spend hours just trying to find the right hatch to get to in order to progress, or even find yourself running around in circles. Ordinarily, I'd hate something like this in a game, but the way they designed Super Metroid made this much less annoying. I'm not sure how, but I'm okay with getting trapped in a mental perpetual loop. I think it's because of the environments. The environments in this game, even for the dated graphics of the Super Nintendo, this game feels great to play today. This is one of those perfect examples of a game that ages well. That's good considering the modern age, where 2d games have jumped onto the back seat. Games like this deserve the praise they get, and this one got plenty of it. It made the genre what it is today.
I'd love to say more about this game, but there really isn't much more I could say without further spoiling the game in some form. I feel like we need more games like this, though. We need more games where you're just dropped in the game, and have to experiment in order to progress. It seems like the only time we see this mechanic anymore is in survival horror games. Well, I should end it there. Friday, we're going back to Ocarina of Time, but not for the sake of the beta mode. I want to point out the interesting things I found in the game itself. See you guys then, when we can really look into the interesting things!