"Super" would be an understatement.
Review written by
November 11th, 2013
Back in the early to mid 90s, the SNES's heyday, Nintendo and 3rd parties tended to put the word "Super" before anything, while many games bearing this word did not live up to that adjective's premise.
I can say with confidence that whether or not you have played this game, you should go for it. At eight US dollars, or at the time of this writing, 5.9 Euros, this game is an absolute steal.
If you're unfamiliar with the Metroid series, I suggest researching the lore a bit. It's a very deep series and proof that Nintendo really does know how to write an amazing story when they attempt to. In Super Metroid, you play the role of Samus Aran, an extremely brave and attractive intergalactic female bounty hunter who travels from planet to planet wiping out the evil "Space Pirates" and their master "The Mother Brain".
Super Metroid is also commonly referred to as Metroid III, as it shows in the game's opening sequences. Just off of the title screen alone, you know that this game means business. A remix of the original plays throughout the introduction, inspiring senses of both excitement and fear. Once you choose your options and start a new game, a story sequence begins....
"The last metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace.." states a soft, male voice. I would like to note that the digitized vocals offering this amount of clarity were almost unheard of at this time. The PSone was not yet released, and at the time, this game was pushing the SNES to unheard of levels - in sound, graphics and gameplay. The story continues. It shows you past events from the previous Metroid games. It even reverts to black and white to pay tribute to Metroid II as well as show you, the player, what happened before you returned to planet Zebes.
Planet Zebes is where the game takes place. This is the planet that Samus investigated during her mission in the original Metroid. The planet has since changed a bit in layout and general appearance, yet some of the items from the original game are still in their same locations. After your ship lands and you investigate the caverns below the landing site, there are no enemies to be found. You continue to descend further and further, until you collect a morph ball and some missiles. The morph ball allows you to curl up into a smaller, ball-like form that can navigate narrow passages. Missiles do more damage than your regular beam cannon, and are also necessary for accessing certain doors. After you exit this area, peering lights shine on you. The planet Zebes starts to awake and you are soon made aware that you are not alone.
Those same space pirates have been waiting it out for quite a while and it's obvious that The Mother Brain has been brought back to life. You'll be facing off against Ridley and Kraid again, as well as many other forms of alien life. Environments are as varied as the enemies - a haunted space ship, an underground aquatic continent, the plant world of Brinstar, the technological lair of Mother Brain called Tourian. You will fight enemies that fill up several screens, and you will die a lot. You will even run into some friendly faces that aid you in your quest. You will find various power-ups and new abilities. You'll start with a little "pea shooter" but by the end of the game you will be ripping through formerly difficult enemies like they are paper, and it will be extremely gratifying.
The music is very fitting and atmosphere is heavily emphasized. The graphics, for their time, are very hard to match in level of detail and style. There is not one pixel in this game not put to full use.
Once you figure out how to beat the game, you will probably want to do it again. Super Metroid was known for placing heavy emphasis on "sequence breaking". This is basically the act of playing the game differently by knowing a move or having a certain item at your disposal. In this case, it is the wall jump. And once you master it, you can really tinker with the so-called linearity in this game. And when it comes to replay value, this side-scrolling action adventure has more of it than many RPGs and strategy games do. You'll likely be eager to beat the game faster and with more items over and over again. The speed at which you beat the game and the number of items you collect determine what ending you get. Specifically, it determines how little clothing Samus Aran has on her body at the end.
This may come across as sexist, but it's a rather innovative means of motivation, and proof that Nintendo aren't as kid-friendly as some people often make them out to be. Samus is a highly-regarded female character, not just for her strength and interesting background, but also for her appearance. The multiple endings are a standard in the series.
Regardless of its weirdness and innovations, this game is a classic. I still play through this game at least once a year. I should warn that many gamers consider it to be very difficult. I would say that the difficulty isn't really that bad. It's nowhere near as hard as games like Mega Man or Ninja Gaiden, but do expect to have to continue and save regularly until you've mastered the game a few times. Save points are quite gratuitous, and if you are on your first play-through, then you will probably be glad that they are.
If you have 8 dollars, a Wii U, and 2-D platforming/action skills, I insist that you play this game.
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