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Metroid Roundup

On 02/28/2015 at 01:40 AM by Casey Curran

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I just beat Metroid Prime for the second time a half an hour ago. So I figured I'd end the month with one of gaming's greatest series, and one of my favorites. Granted, I have not played every Metroid to completion so I won't be able to get everything on here. But I think I have enough on each one to give something interesting.


Like many other NES games, this is something I appreciate a lot more than I like. It's scope and scale are great, it's just that I'm not a fan of how stiff the controls are, how barren the world looks, and the password system. I like the atmosphere the visuals to these games normally provide, but plain black backgrounds are not areas I want to explore, they do nothing for me. And while the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U offer save states, I don't like how I lose everything if I die. Yes, there are save states on the systems, but I always forget about them, something which save points would eliminate. I get why this was mind blowing at the time. It's just that it led to bigger and better things, which I played first.

Metroid 2

A game I actually can't remember if I played. If I did, I didn't play it for long. But hunting down Metroids does sound like a fun gameplay objective. I'd love if we could get a remake like the original got with Zero Mission.

Super Metroid

This is a game I enjoy a lot, but don't quite love it as much as most gamers. I think my issue was that I played Fusion and Zero Mission first and I just prefer how fast and smooth their controls are, which was a disappointment to me. I feel like they make the bosses and tough enemy encounters more fun on the GBA. Though it's more of a personal preference. And Super does have some higher points over them. I like how it does nothing specific to guide you, it's all about remembering clues and hints from past areas, really thinking about how you can use your tools to get to new areas.

Though (and I'm ashamed to admit this) I still haven't beat it. I've tried twice, the first time I got stuck near the end while....I don't exactly remember why I stopped the second time. I probably should fix that soon, especially since the Wii U gamepad makes playing retro games so much easier. I think I'd have more motivation if I didn't already know how it ends. That's the thing, the end has been talked about so many times that I already feel like I've beaten the game. Some of the magic of beating a game for the first time was taken out.

Metroid Fusion

The first Metroid I ever played. I got this shortly after I started an EGM subscription and reading their impressions on these games convinced me that I needed to give them a try. So I started it up and enjoyed it a lot. Nowadays I'm a little more critical on it, but it has a few points that still make it a great game. For starters, the objectives are usually pretty fun, the game rotates the areas very well and there's always something interesting to try. The boss fights are also fantastic, very challenging and really test your reflexes. And I actually really enjoyed the story. There's a lot of mystery to it, always making me want to see what happens next. Not to mention how creepy the villain SA-X is.

But there is some bad to it. The game is way too linear for one thing. I didn't mind this at all my first run, as I didn't know what Metroid is. But after playing other games in the series, I wanted to explore anywhere of my own free will, not where the game tells me I can explore. Though this is a bit of what I want the game to be vs what the game is, as it's still a fun setup. Just not as fun as exploring.

A less subjective negative: There is an absurd amount of dialog in this game. There are so many times where I'm just ready to get on with a mission and I have to go through a huge wall of text that could easily be summed up in half the time. It really hurts the game's pacing. But again, it's still a great game. 

Metroid Prime

While Fusion was a game that grew worse with time, Prime has only improved. It's the kind of game where everything just works. Every gameplay mechanic just goes hand in hand together flawlessly, the power ups are all interesting and fun to use while the areas incorporate creative ways to use them and while making areas where they are used pop out. You'll see something you want behind a giant pile of rubble or on an out of reach platform, making a mental note to revisit the area. It's brilliant.

Areas are fun to explore in and of themselves. There's so many secrets everywhere, encouraging exploration while the environments are incredibly varied. One second you'll be in a cave full of pools of lava, the next you'll be in a snowy abandoned lab. Everywhere also has their own initial areas followed by a second area full of hidden secrets, whether by the Space Pirates or ancient civilization of the Chozo, adding to the mystery.

Bosses are an absolute blast to fight. They all feel epic with many towering over Samus. They don't really fall into the Nintendo formula either of having to hit their weak point three times. Most instead feel like real fights, you're chipping away whenever you can while getting a sense of their attacks. 

It's such a fantastic games and one of the best of the 6th generation. An absolute must play. Unless you hate motion controls in any way, shape, or form with a passion, I'd recommend the Wii version. The Wiimote works wonderfully pointing and shooting while widescreen support is really appreciated. The Gamecube setup still works great, one of those games that was designed so smartly around that controller and has an easier setup for switching weapons and visors. I just prefer the freedom from the Wii version.

Metroid: Zero Mission

If there's any game that can compete with Prime, it's Zero Mission. It's a very short game and just a remake of the original, but man is it fantastic. This is the gold standard for remakes, what every other remake should strive to be.

It takes the basic world from the original, but doesn't decide to just stop at updating the visuals. Bacgrounds are much busier and more interesting while still retaining the dark look and atmosphere from the original. Boss fights meanwhile, have been completely overhauled with bigger enemies, more aggressive attack patterns and just more fun overall. They even have these neat cutscenes prior to each one which only help them feel more special.

It even adds a bonus mission after the main game is over. This has Samus outside of her suit where you have to sneak around and avoid enemies, able to only stun them. Eventually you get her suit back, stronger than ever and just destroy everything in your path until there's a final encounter with Ridley. Getting the suit back may very well be the most satisfying part of any video game I've ever played.

I can't count how many times I've played this game and I know I'll play it many more times in the future. It's just that good.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

I didn't get too far into Metroid Prime 2 and while sometimes I just lose interest in a game, here I have a very simple and specific reason: The dark world setup. It has you go through the same world, just with a few tweaks to it. It's a mechanic Nintendo loves and overall is kind of hit or miss with me.

To explain why, the best way would be to explain it in terms of the Link to the Past/Twilight Princess setup. The Link to the Past setup uses the second or "dark" world to flesh out the first world, it lets you find new secrets is a puzzle in and of itself. The Twilight Princess setup, meanwhile, has you do boring or frustrating objectives in the second world in a desperate attempt to bring variety to the second world. The second world is a chore to go through and makes exploring the world less fun.

Metroid Prime 2's falls closer to the Twilight Princess setup. The second world has a few domes which are immune to damage while the main world has Samus get hurt as she roams through it. It's not the best setup. Will I give it another go some day? Probably. But I'm not looking forward to the dark world setup here.

Metroid Prime Pinball

Never played it

Metroid Prime: Hunters

One of the original DS' flagship titles. And man was it awful. It takes everything good about Metroid and throws it out the window. The controls are awkward, either making you use the buttons to aim (without a lock on unlike Prime 1 and 2) or use the stylus to aim which is uncomfortable. And if you use the stylus, you have to double tap to jump which is just as bad as it sounds.

The setup is even worse. Rather than give new powers, the game just has different weapons which open different doors. That's it. And the weapons have ammo which gets annoying if you run out when you need to open a new door. Meanwhile rather than put you in a big world, the game has four smaller ones, each one ending with one of two bosses (seriously, they just designed two and the final one) then escaping to your ship. It's horribly repetitive and bland. 

Multiplayer I actually had a lot of fun with playing with my friends. There's a lot of characters to pick from and the arenas are fun to fight in. Their alt forms also give the multiplayer a really interesting twist. But it still has those awkward controls. I'd like to see another attempt on it with good controls, but Ninty first needs to pull Metroid out of the trash bin and give us another Metroid before they think of that.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

For a while this was my favorite of the Prime games. While I definitely like Prime 1 more now, I don't think it quite gets the respect it deserves. A few of the bad changes would be the lack of alternate weapons, instead giving you ice missiles and your beam with the corrupted mode (more on that later). I wish I could still have those four beams each with their special super missile. Another thing I dislike is how it wants to be a shooter more than the other two Prime games. You'll have to face off in enemy encounters with less weapons than before. I feel they should have made it an interesting shooter while keeping what works for Metroid rather than just keeping it Metroid then awkwardly shoving in shooter bits.

Most can just be beaten easily by corrupted mode anyways. This mode has Samus injected with Phazon which drains her health with every shot. If she stays in it too long, she becomes corrupted and the game's over. But it's very powerful and many enemies need are very difficult or impossible to be taken out unless you're corrupted. It's an interesting system which made combat a little more interesting, though not as interesting as an actual shooter. 

The planets are hit or miss. The original Norion is bland and boring. Bryyo is a lot better with a variety of locations in it, feeling a bit like a mini version of 1's world. Elysia meanwhile has great visuals and locations, but has a confusing and a bit tedious of travel system, having you grapple onto a zipline from one area to another. The Pirate homeworld hits everything perfectly from the visuals to the gameplay objectives to the boss battles, one of my favorite levels from any game.

Metroid Prime 3 may not be as good as 1, but it's still a great game that I highly recommend.

Metroid: Other M

The black sheep of the series, this game gets a lot of hate and it's easy to see why. The story is not just bad, it ruins Samus' backstory and character. It attempts to humanize her in cutscenes which make no sense in ways which make only make her look weak and stupid. That Ridley fight for instance. She's fought him four times before and NOW she's cowering in fear? I can see that happening the first fight against him. Not the fifth. It just makes her look weak for no good reason. And to add insult to injury, this is the worst Ridley fight in the series, little challenge and very formulaic.

Then there's that infamous lava bit where Adam refuses to give Samus protection even when she's burning to death. Why? What did that accomplish? But there's even more bad cutscenes. There's a cutscene where Adam sacrifices himself while Samus cryingly gives him a thumbs down that's supposed to be emotional but just comes across as stupid. Not to mention that the main story ends in an overly convoluted manner for no reason other than to connect it to Super Metroid. And there's no boss fight, only the epilogue gives the game an epic boss fight that it should end with.

But there is some good to it. For one thing, the combat is pretty damn fun. It's simple, sure, but it works pretty well and the enemies are agressive enough that just dodging and using your few weapons is enough to keep it interesting. Finding the upgrades is also more fun than other Metroids, as they're based around puzzles and problem solving more than ever, feeling almost like a Zelda dungeon.

There are some bad points, however. While I'd say the control scheme by tilting the Wiimote sideways works alright, it would be better with a real controller. I wanted a real analog stick to move in a 3D game, not a D-Pad. Tilting to aim at the screen is also pretty awkward, especially mid-battle. It's a mechanic that as a whole, I could have done without. Even worse is when you have to find something in first person and it is way too specific with where you need to point.

The game's also too linear. Not Fusion bad, but I could have done with more exploration and the game not dictating where I can go. It just works better for these kinds of games. 

So overall, it's decent as a game. It's fun to play in parts, not so fun in others and always terrible in the story department. It's nothing you need to play, but if you do there are some things here to enjoy. Other M just is not as good as the other Metroid games. And it's really hurt the series, as Nintendo hasn't even mentioned anything Metroid in five years. I hope they do give us more Metroid games, especially since I want to see what they can do with the Wii U's hardware.



Captain N

02/28/2015 at 06:35 AM

I also haven't beaten Super Metroid too, and funny thing is that I've also tried on 2 separate occasions and I own it twice. I haven't played all of them but at least have played most of them. I'm on the same page with Prime 2, I think I almost beat it but stopped. I haven't beaten Fusion and the original Metroid because of my 3DS. 

Agreed on Other M. Prime 3 was the first Metroid game I ever played and wa also the first one I ever beat. Could be why I like it so much. No comment on Pinball, Hunters, 2, and Zero Mission since I never played those.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:44 PM

Hope Zero Mission lands on Wii U soon. You'd love it.

Cary Woodham

02/28/2015 at 06:48 AM

I've played all the Metroid games except Hunters.  I enjoyed watching people play the NES game more than actually playing it myself.  I only played the Game Boy one for a few minutes, but it felt too much like the first game.  Super Metroid was the first Metroid game I beat.  My little brother was almost in tears when the baby Metroid died, but I've told that story lots of times on my blog.  Fusion was a bit linear but Zero Mission was a bit better.  I love the Metroid Prime games but I never beat 2 because it was too darn hard.  Other M was very disappointing.  Hope they don't do that again.  Even the pinball game was great because it was a pinball game first and a Metroid game second.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:44 PM

Huh, didn't know you were such a Metroid fan. Other M does not seem like your thing at all though, feels like how to get you turned off from the series. 


02/28/2015 at 11:56 AM

I do agree about the originial NES Metroid. It lead to great games, but other games and the series itself have improved the formula.

As for Metroid Prime, I love all three games really. They have the exploration that engages me and the excellent combat. I think you should give Prime 2 another try, as much later the Dark World gets less dangerous as you upgrade. And screw you, I loved the dark world in Twilight Princess.

Other M I wanted since the release, but after seeing some of the negative changes I kinda lost interest. I do want to buy it someday and maybe I can enjoy it for what it does good.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:43 PM

Since you tend to have a positive outlook on pretty much every game, I'd say give Other M a go. Just see its story in the same light as how Harry S Plinkett sees the Star Wars prequels and it may not be that bad.

As for TP, I love the look and atmosphere to the dark world. But it's not enough to make up for the limitations of the wolf form (when I'm complaining about transforming into a wolf, there's a problem), and ESPECIALLY those stupid collectathon fetch quests. Those were not fun at all.


02/28/2015 at 10:55 PM

I personally liked the wolf form and didn't mind the fetching, but that's just me.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:58 PM

I felt really limited as the wolf, I wanted my items back and the abilities Link had as him didn't do much to compensate. Once you could switch back and forth at will I liked it more because it felt like another tool in my belt though. I just don't like when Zelda games limit me based on where I am in the game. Which is why I think they messed up with the Twilight world. Which is a shame because it's so damn gorgeous and no video game has created anything like it since.

Super Step Contributing Writer

02/28/2015 at 05:12 PM

For me, It wasn't the sparse background in the original Metroid so much as the bullshit NES difficulty from enemies coming at you through doors when you're defenseless etc. The lack of save points you mentioned was definitely a big factor too. 

I'd like a remake of Metroid II as well. It seems like the odd duck of the series, not to the degree of, but maybe in the similar vein of Zelda II? I only ever played it on or some other online streaming website though, so don't quote me on that. 

As for Super, honestly, looking back I don't think I would have cried at the ending of it like I remember EGM staffers saying they did, but you're right; it's a shame not to at least experience that ending without knowing about it. I got stuck on a wall jumping section in my emulating days. I would always pass the game up at Blockbuster because Ridley being on the cover had me thinking "dragon=JRPG=genre I suck at." Embarassed

I got Fusion and Prime at around the same time, since they released at the same time and I found myself playing Fusion more because it was easier for me to get into. Like you, I had never played a Metroid before and I'd get stuck in Prime when the hints were too slow in coming, so Fusion's linearity helped ease me into the series. I honestly liked the story too, so I didn't mind the dialog the first time.

I still need to get a used Gamecube controller on Amazon so I can beat Prime on hard after all these years. It still looks good to this day.

Zero Mission was a bit on the short side for me and the boss battles felt like wars of attrition, but I'll certainly take that over the original Metroid's NES-hard design. I've completed it many times as well and it really is an awesome example of how to remake a game. I love the added stealth sequence at the end too. I think more games should be remade from that era with just the hint of added story and cutscenes Zero Mission succeeded with. It's a blast to play on the Game Boy Player. 

I also need to finally buy and sit down to finish Prime 2. I didn't like having to deal with the damn dark world bubbles either, as I felt I needed to pause several times to think about where to go next so I didn't suddenly lose my forcefield while planning. It might not have been that bad if they didn't also limit your ammo. 

I only played the demo of Prime Hunters and had fun with it. I planned to buy it despite the ugly-N64 look of the demo, but then the review hit.

I only ever played Prime 3 at a GameStop and thought the motion controls were cool (and new at the time), but my only other knowledge of it is the Retsupurae guys' Let's Play of it, which I recall being funny. Pretty sure they did the whole Prime trilogy.

Similarly, I've only seen the Other M "movie" ... as given the MST3K treatment by Retsupurae. And damn. Her relationship with Adam was just insulting. I still would like to play the actual game though.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:39 PM

Like I said in the blog, I do like Fusion's story. But it still was way too wordy, which is especially bad on replays. Why I prefer Zero Mission so much more, nothing but gameplay and short cinematics there.

Super Step Contributing Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:55 PM

True, they should have included an option to skip cutscenes in Fusion.


02/28/2015 at 08:34 PM

Super Metroid still stands head and shoulders over the rest of the series. As far as I'm concerned, it's possibly the most perfect 2-D game ever made.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

02/28/2015 at 10:38 PM

Super is kind of the middle of the road for me. I like its exploration and nonlinearity, but feel Prime does that better while I had more fun with Zero Mission's abilities and powers. Why those two are my favorites in the series.


03/01/2015 at 10:32 AM

It is kind of a bummer Other M turned out the way it did. I really wanted a great third-person 3D Metroid. I'm hoping Nintendo tries again in that regard. Not that there was anything wrong with the Prime games, just would also like a great third-person one.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 11:54 AM

I'd also like that but I think I'd rather take another Prime or first person one on the Wii U. Would love to see what Retro could do with the hardware.


03/01/2015 at 02:33 PM

Metroid - The first, hardest and most non-linear of the bunch; after you get a few key items, you can handle the bosses in whatever order you want.  This was Nintendo's "hardcore" game on the NES.

Metroid 2 - Hampered by the limitations of its platform. Doesn't do anything as well as the game that came before or next.

Super Metroid - The 2D Metroid formula reaching its zenith, and a high water mark in 2D game design. Boasts the biggest, most labyrinthine map yet, which wouldn't be equalled until Metroid Prime: Echoes. The greatest amount of secret passages and hidden rooms in the entire series. Music that evokes Jerry Goldsmith's work in Alien, creating perhaps the darkest ambience in the series and excelling the previous games in mood and atmosphere.  Still the prototypical Metroid game after all these years.

Metroid: Fusion - Perhaps the most polished of the 2D games, yet the least ambitious level design.

Metroid Prime - A successful conversion to 3D, the best console game of its generation imo. Level design is more labyrinthine and holds more secrets than Fusion, but doesn't go as far as Super.  Also, due to the power-up selection and limitations of 3D perspective, you never acquire the acrobatic agility of the 2D games. Music is excellent on its own, but has some techno-like/dance-like tracks that are quite an odd match.  Inspired visuals, great pacing, totally immersive.

Metroid: Zero Mission - Sacrifices the degree of non-linearity and difficulty of the original Metroid for a tigher, more polished take.  Good for beginners as it serves as a 2D middle ground between the poles of Metroid 1-3 and the more streamlined Fusion.

Metroid Prime 2: Echoes - So much is great about this entry, and in some ways superior to the first Metroid Prime. More challenging, more alien, better looking, possibly the most massive environment in the entire series. But I think the dark world would have worked better as a self contained world branch than it does as a mirror world. There is some tedium involved with finding the entryways scattered throughout the planet, and health draing aspect annoys rather than provide a satisfying challenge to overcome.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Another series bowing to the AAA industry cult of "streamlining." Not a bad game, but another irritating reminder of the continuing decline of 3D level design. Predictably, reviewers, averse to figuring things out, praised the game for its simplification and lack of "frustration."  Still, one of the better games on the Wii.

Metroid: Other M - A Metroid game made by people who don't understand Metroid or its brand of storytelling.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 09:05 PM

Wow, great job summarizing these games. 

Blake Turner Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 07:15 PM

I've only played Super Metroid...

Casey Curran Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 09:04 PM

I thought I remember seeing you praise Metroid Prime.

Blake Turner Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 11:04 PM

I've played prime, but only for like an hour or two. Super metroid is the only one ive spent an extended amount of time with.

Casey Curran Staff Writer

03/01/2015 at 11:20 PM

Ah, well you need to get on that then. Prime is right up your wheelhouse


03/02/2015 at 02:06 AM

I need to play many of these. Played some Metroid and Metroid Prime. I own almost all the games. I just have to get to them.

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