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Super Metroid Review Rewind


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On 05/20/2013 at 02:23 PM by Matt McLennan

It's going to be thirty cents for a month on Wii U, and that is a steal.
RECOMMENDATION:

If you haven’t experienced Samus’ third adventure yet, you can for thirty cents starting May 16. Highly recommended for everyone.

More stunning confessions from me to you! I didn’t get into the Metroid series until Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion, and didn’t even play Super Metroid until maybe two years after I played Metroid Prime. While the first Prime title took many design inspirations from Super Metroid, I didn’t enjoy Super Metroid at first, mostly because I played it through less than reputable means. Once I got to play it on the Wii Virtual Console, I finally understood why this game is considered an SNES classic. Super Metroid sports great game design, with a wonderful atmosphere unparalleled on any 16-bit system. At only 30 cents on the Wii U eShop until June 16, there’s little reason to not give this excellent title a shot.

Unlike the second Metroid game on the Game Boy, which was a slightly more linear quest to eliminate Metroids, Super Metroid follows and expands upon the non-linear exploration that was found in the first game. Various areas on Zebes are inaccessible unless you have certain power ups at your disposal. While classic Metroid items like the Morph Ball, Ice Beam, and Missiles return, the power-ups Samus can collect have doubled. Famous Metroid items like the Power Bomb, Super Missiles, and Grapple Beam made their debut in this game, and they are used constantly in exploring new areas.

Coupled with the great level design, this emphasis on exploration is what made Super Metroid a classic. I got lost many times and had to backtrack to find new power-ups to advance, but it never got boring, because experimenting with Samus’ unlocked abilities further expanded my missile and power bomb count, as well as those all-important energy tanks. These upgrades are vital, because the enemies and bosses are now more of a threat; certain enemies cannot be destroyed without certain weapons or power-ups.

As much as I love Super Metroid, I deducted half a star from the overall score because while the gameplay is great, I took issue with some of the controls. This is one of those few SNES titles that utilize the entire SNES game pad, which can be optimized in the options menu before you start or restart your save file. As someone who enjoyed the simplistic controls in Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission, having to press ‘Select’ to cycle through your power ups on hand during a chaotic battle with either enemies or bosses lead to some frustration for me. Additionally, Samus’ speed boost can’t be activated unless the dash button is held down. While this is a minor inconvenience, my enjoyment of the streamlined controls of the GBA games made this stand out.

Visually, this game is a great showcase of the SNES’ abilities. While Donkey Kong Country became one of the most popular examples of visual and audio being done well on the SNES, in all honesty Super Metroid was a real showcase of what the SNES was capable of.  Character sprites are animated extremely well with little tiny details showing in their movements and attacks, with bosses standing out as prime examples of its artistry. The various areas are crafted with tons of little touches in the backgrounds and foregrounds, with great use of Mode 7 effects to fit the brooding atmosphere of the game. Occasionally I encountered some slowdown, but it didn't occur often enough to be an issue, especially with the game's smooth frame rate.

This is easily my favorite SNES soundtrack; Kenji Yamamoto composed tons of mood-setting tunes for the game’s different areas, from entering the deserted surface of Zebes for the first time to the heart-pounding boss battle with Kraid. The sound design is executed well, from various laser blasts and explosions to Ridley’s trademark screech before attacking.

If you have not experienced Super Metroid yet, now is the time to do so; while I found the controls to be a little problematic, the entire experience is grand, making for one of the best games on the SNES. For thirty cents, this classic title is an absolute steal and deserves a spot on your Wii U menu. Buy it, you won’t regret it.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

05/20/2013 at 02:34 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I agree about the controls. I've been playing over the GBA games lately, and man - Zero Missions controls (and overall feel) were really tight and refined. It took some adjusting to go  back to Super and while its fine once you get used to it, I prefer the way it works in the newer games.

Other than that, I agree with the review. GO OUT AND BUY IT! ITS 30 cents dammit! lol

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

05/20/2013 at 02:56 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I'm having a blast playing this game. The off-TV mode is so convenient. I try to play it with my headphones on whenever I can. It's just so enthralling.

transmet2033

05/20/2013 at 03:28 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

One of my favourites.  I have been itching to play Super Metroid again since I started reading the anatomy of metroid.  

As far as the controls, when I went back to play Super Metroid after I had beaten Fusion and Zero Mission a dozen or so times I did have problems.  The nice thing is that you can customize the entire game pad.  So, I moved the weapon select to a shoulder, and may have put the booster button on the other shoulder.  I rarely if ever used the look up/down buttons so moving those to a different place didnt bother me. 

 

The Last Ninja

05/20/2013 at 10:31 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

One of the best games ever! Possibly no Metroid game will ever surpass it. 

daftman

05/22/2013 at 10:55 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Just downloaded this onto my new Wii U last night Laughing Haven't played it in probably in 15 years, so I'm looking forward to exploring the depths of Zebes again.

bullet656

05/22/2013 at 11:37 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I just downloaded it a few days ago and played through the intro level.  Although I haven't played it since first came out, it still remains one of my favorite games of all time.  I'm looking forward to playing through it again.

AnonymousJ

05/23/2013 at 02:19 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

I'm betraying my age but I grew up with the original Metroid and raced to the store when Super Metroid came out.  It was in my top 3 for SNES games back in the day and still is.  I really have not played it since but at 30 cents I recommend anyone who likes good games or even a remote interest in gaming's past take advantage of that deal.  Come to think of it, I still have my original copy and my SNES.  I may just dig it out again!

kilroy

05/31/2013 at 11:37 AM Reply | Permalink | Report

Super Metroid is my favorite Metroid game and one of my favorites on the SNES. I must say though, if you ever get the chance to play this game on the SNES as intended, you realize how much tighter the controls are and even how much better the sound is.

I have played this game on the Wii Virtual Console, and loved it, but recently my parents finished their basement and found my SNES and carts carefully preserved in a tupperware bin. I immediately picked it up, came home and popped in Super Metroid and the exerience was just SOOO much better on the SNES. Exactly as I remembered.

retroyoshi

06/04/2013 at 10:23 PM Reply | Permalink | Report

I really agree with kilroy there.  Still waiting for some kind of wireless adapter that lets you use your SNES controller with the Wii U...

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