Monday, March 10, 2008

Super Metroid review

Originally Released
1994 on SNES

Also Released On
Wii Virtual Console

The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace

This is first thing you’ll hear before the game begins. You’ll then see our heroin, the infamous bounty hunter Samus Aran. You see a flashback from the original Metroid showing the defeat of Mother Brain on Planet Zebis. On the way back to her ship, Samus finds an egg which then hatches into a Metroid. This new born baby follows her thinking that she’s its mother. Samus captures the Metroid and gives it to some scientists on Space Colony for research. After a short period, Samus receives a distress call from the Space Colony and goes back to investigate.

Space Colony Distress Call

The game beings with Samus coming down a lift into the space station. You soon find that it’s derelict and without power. When you continue onwards you’ll see the research station where the Metroid was being studied. The Metroid is missing and there are scientists dead around it. If you continue further on you’ll finally get to a room where the Metroid has been left.

Hidden behind it is Ridley who’ll quickly fight you for control of the Metroid. You’ll be easily overpowered and Ridley will escape with the Metroid. When Ridley escapes it’ll set off the space station’s self destruct sequence. You’ll have two minutes to get back to the lift at the start. This isn’t too easy because the space station is falling apart. You’ll have steam and falling debris hindering your escape. Once you’re back on your space ship the space station will explode. Samus will then follow Ridley back to Planet Zebis.

Return to Planet Zebis

Once you land on the planet you’ll see that it’s raining outside and looks deserted. When you go through a door to your left you’ll be greeted to a large deserted area. Once you’re inside there’s only one exit further below to your left. This leads to a series of strangely nostalgic areas, which are all deserted.

The first room is the final escape point from the original Metroid. When you take the enormously long drop down it leads to Mother Brain’s chamber. You then continue onwards to a lift which goes down to the very first room from the original Metroid.

When you go left and jump over a large wall you’ll collect the ‘morph ball’. This will allow Samus to transform into a ball and navigate through narrow passages. If you go right you’ll be able to go under a small gap in the next room. In this room is a Chozo statue which will give you five missiles. These can be used to open red doors or as a power shot. Once you’re done here you can go back up the lift where you came down. All the areas you passed before will be full of enemies. You’ll go back to the first room on the planet and continue to explore the world.

Continuing Your Adventure

Planet Zebis is quite large and has a variety of different areas to explore. Each area has a distinct theme so is easily distinguishable between other areas. There are usually themed variations of the standard enemy types in each area as well. About half the areas you’ll visit are from the original Metroid. These aren’t exactly the same and are completely new. A lot of the enemies from the original Metroid are in this game as well.

As well as revisiting old areas there’s also two boss that have returned. You saw the first in the prologue stage which was Ridley. The other is Kraid who is two screens big. There are a number of interesting boss and sub-bosses throughout the game. When you defeat each of them you’ll get an important upgrade. This will give you access to new areas or further exploration of existing areas. Each boss is varied and will be a challenge to defeat. There are four statues near the start of the game showing the bosses you’ve defeated. You’ll need to defeat all four bosses to gain access to the final area. Each statue has a jewel that’s destroyed when you defeat a boss.

You’ll have to look at your map from time to time because of the size of the areas. You can find computer terminals where you can download a map of the area you’re in. The map itself is easy to follow and shows key areas like save points, missile/health re-chargers and even where the boss is. Each area has its own map which makes exploring easier. It’ll show you which areas are connected to each other if you find a lift to another area.

Weapons and Powerups

There are a number of different weapons, some are optional and some are required to progress further in the game. The major upgrade you’ll need is the ice beam. When you freeze an enemy and you can use their body as a platform to jump on.

You can turn off and on any weapon or upgrade at any time. This is works best when choosing your weapon. When you pickup new weapon upgrades they’re added to your existing weapon. Some weapons have hidden special moves when combined in certain ways. This means you may need to turn off some abilities to gain the special moves.

Almost all the original Metroid powerups are in this game. These include morph ball bomb, high jump boots and the others mentioned in the previous paragraphs. There are upgraded versions of classic powerups like super missile, power bomb and morph ball jump. Other new powerups include grappling hook, x-ray scope (see secret areas) and reserve sub-tanks.

As well as weapon powerups you can get two upgrades for your space suit. The first is the Varia Suit which reduces your damage taken and allows you to withstand extreme heat. The Varia Suit also changes Samus’ appearance by adding to her original space suit. This increases her space suit size and changes the colour to orange. The other is the Gravity Suit which allows you to walk through water with the same speed as you do on land. The only difference is that is makes your space suit purple this time.

Controls, Sound and Music

The controls are fluid and responsive so you’ll have no problems moving around. It’s really easy to perform complex actions like attacking in multiple directions. You can even do this in mid-air with no without any hassle. You can use ‘L’ to position Samus’ gun down and ‘R’ for up. This can be used for great accuracy and easy aiming.

The sounds and music are excellent and you’ll have to try hard to find something bad. The sounds are what you might expect if you’ve played Metroid before. They’re not too futuristic and really suit the game well. The music is great and really sets the mood for each area you’re in. Most areas have sub-sections so the music will change quite frequently. Some classic Metroid music also makes an appearance which great.

Final Thoughts

Overall this is a fantastic 2D side-scrolling adventure game. It’s easy to pick up and play and hard to put down. It’s really fun and you get a great sense of achievement while exploring the environment.

This is quite a long game and will take you at least ten hours to finish. Once you’ve completed the game you’ll find yourself going back for more. You’ll want to explore the world further finding everything there is. There are a lot of secrets, some of which are extremely hard to find. About 40% of the items in the game are hidden so you’ll be playing for at least another ten hours.

I highly recommend you play this and I give it a THUMBS UP.

Score: 9.5/10


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