Back when Super Mario Galaxy 2 was about to be released earlier this year, I wrote a blog in anticipation of it, sharing my most memorable and favorite Mario moments and games. With Metroid: Other M being released at the end of this month, I figured I would do something similar. So here’s a blog sharing my most memorable Metroid moments and games.
I have a hard time going back to the original NES game now. I’m spoiled with having a map and save points. But most of all, I’m used to playing it with a friend. You see, back when Metroid first came out, there really weren’t anything like strategy guides or GameFAQs. So when my friend and I played Metroid on the NES, we made our own maps. We would take turns playing the game and the other person would help navigate using the maps we made. Because of that, it’s hard for me to go back and play the game by myself now. We kind of did the same thing with others games back then, like Zelda, Dragon Warrior, and Final Fantasy.
It’s so obvious now, but back then, one of the biggest mysteries of the first game was Samus’ identity. Kids at the playground refused to believe Samus was a woman. Before my friend and I beat the game, I originally thought Samus was a robot, kind of like Mega Man’s cousin or something. Hey, they both have arm cannons and explode in the same fashion when dying, so it seemed like a logical conclusion back then.
Metroid II: Return of Samus (Game Boy)
This is one of the few Metroid games I’ve never played. Well, OK, I played a friend’s copy a long time ago, but it was only for about five minutes so I don’t really consider that playing it. When the Game Boy first came out, I really wasn’t very much thrilled with it. The first game that really impressed me on the Game Boy was Zelda: Link’s Awakening, which ended up being my all-time favorite Zelda game ever. That’s why I kind of wish Nintendo would put Game Boy games on Virtual Console or maybe on the DSi. Even though I’ve played it over and over again, and even more times with the DX color version, I would instantly buy Link’s Awakening again on the Wii or DSi. Same goes with Metroid II: Return of Samus.
Super Metroid (SNES)
This is most people’s favorite Metroid game, and mine, too. A map system, plentiful save points, and more refined gameplay. Not to mention cool boss fights against a HUGE Kraid (NES Kraid looked like a fireplug) and Ridley (awesome video game bad guy). One of my very favorite personal video game stories involves Super Metroid, too. I know I’ve probably told this story before on my blog, but I think it’s worth telling again.
I guess I should put a spoiler warning up, even though Super Metroid is more than 15 years old and the ending is pretty famous among gamers. But for those who don’t know, at the end of Super Metroid, Samus is at the end of her rope, weakened and nearly defeated by Mother Brain’s monster form. But just then, the baby Metroid that Samus saved in the prologue of the game crashes through the wall, and gives Samus its power before being sacrificed by Mother Brain. Very memorable scene, really.
Anyway, back when I first beat Super Metroid, little brother Jeff was about, oh, 3 years old or so. He loved to watch me play games, and Super Metroid was no exception, even if it was a little scary at times. I never thought about it, but the ending really affected him. After it was all over, he kept asking me, “Is the baby Metroid gonna be OK? Is he? Huh? Huh? Is he gonna be OK?” He was almost in tears! He actually kind of did the same thing when Zero ‘dies’ at the end of Mega Man X, too.
Another thing Jeff liked to do when he was itty bitty was play with action figures (as most little boys tend to do). He would even make his own stories and battles. Most of which involved a bad plush toy dinosaur terrorizing the land. His Power Ranger action figures couldn’t defeat it. Neither could Batman toys. But I gave him a Mega Man action figure once, and Mega Man could always defeat the dinosaur, no matter what.
That is, until the baby Metroid scene. Then, Mega Man wasn’t the last resort hero anymore in his action figure collection. He had a little Beanie Baby plush that was supposed to be a jellyfish (they made Beanie Babies out of everything back then). He said that was the Baby Metroid and he could always defeat the bad dinosaur, even if nobody else could. So, I guess in Jeff’s little imaginary play world, the baby Metroid really was OK after all.
Metroid Fusion (GBA)
Fusion was a pretty good 2-D action Metroid title with some slick creative elements. I liked how Samus ‘absorbed’ powers through her new Metroid hybrid suit. And it was neat how you had to fight a boss to get any of your abilities back. But there were a few things about Fusion that I didn’t like. At certain points in the game, they would close off sections of the giant space station you are exploring. So it would prevent you from backtracking too much. And that’s one of the major points of Metroid games is backtracking with new skills so you can explore new areas. So I didn’t like that Fusion kind of stymies that. But I still enjoyed it for what it was.
Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
I liked this next GBA Metroid title much better. It’s actually just a remake of the very first game, but with refinements and improvements found in Super Metroid, like a map, save points, and improved graphics. And they added a few levels and enemies to kind of flesh out the story and give it connection to the later games in the series, like Prime. I should try and replay this one sometime, but I don’t have time to replay games like I used to anymore.
Metroid Prime (GameCube)
I was like most people, pretty skeptical about a 3-D Metroid. Even worse is it looked like a first person shooter, one of my least favorite genres of games. But I’m glad I gave it a try anyway, as it turned out that I really enjoyed Prime! I think it’s because Prime is just a 3-D version of Super Metroid, and there is more puzzle solving than shooting anyway. That’s why I like Portal as well. I also think it’s cool that Retro Studios made the Prime games, because they’re located in Texas (where I live) so I think it’s slick that fellow Texans made such awesome games. Before they were Retro Studios, they were Iguana Entertainment and made a few of the Turok games. When I was in college, I interviewed them and they said they were working on a special project that they couldn’t talk about right then. I bet that special project ended up being Metroid Prime!
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
The sequel was still good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first game. Some of the Light World/Dark World stuff was confusing, and I also didn’t like how your energy drained in the dark worlds. And the only way to regain your energy was to stand under these lightpost things, so it kind of broke up the action. Finally, Echoes was just plain H-H-HARD! I think it’s one of the few Metroid games I never got around to beating! It’s a draining experience…literally!
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
I did like this one a lot better than Echoes. But not as much as the first Prime game. It was a lot easier than Echoes (maybe even easier than Prime). Plus it was neat how they kind of subtly worked Mother Brain into the story. And the Wii motion controls worked well. In fact, they reworked the controls into the Wii versions of the Prime games on the Metroid Prime Trilogy collection and the transition was great. If you haven’t gotten Metroid Prime Trilogy, better get it soon, as Nintendo has stopped production on it for some reason.
Metroid Prime Hunters (DS)
Aside from Metroid II, Hunters is the only other Metroid game I’ve never played. I tried a demo of it once and I didn’t like the controls and the fact it felt more first person shooter-ish rather than a puzzle filled Metroid game. So, yeah, I don’t have anything else to say about that.
Metroid Prime Pinball (DS)
I really enjoyed this one, but then, I do love me some pinball. What made Metroid Prime Pinball work is they made it a pinball game first and a Metroid game second. There was no dumb story about Samus travelling to the pinball planet Bumper to stop bouncy Metroids. They just used the themes and denizens from the Prime series into a pinball table setting. It was also developed by the same folks who made my favorite pinball games: the Pro Pinball series (Big Race USA especially). I hear they also made a DSiWare pinball game that I may have to download sometime.
Cartoons and Cameos
Would you believe that Metroid was in a cartoon once? Well, sort of. You see, back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when Nintendo ruled everyone’s childhood with the NES, there was a Saturday morning cartoon called Captain N: The Game Master. It had famous mascots like Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Simon Belmont working together to fight evil. I watched it as a kid, but even then I knew it was a horrible cartoon. Well, one of the main villains was a personified version of Mother Brain, but she talked like Aunt Jemima. But as dopey as the cartoon was, you have to admit, they were pretty creative on some things. If you’ve never heard of Captain N, you should check it out to see how bad it is.
And of course Samus has been in other games, too. Brief but famous cameos like at the inn in Super Mario RPG or as a strong playable character in all of the Super Smash Bros. games. But I think my favorite Samus cameo is in Kirby’s Dream Land 3. Yes, Samus and Metroids were in a Kirby game! In Dream Land 3, at the end of each level is a character who will give you a special item if you complete a task in each stage. Usually you have to collect certain items, or defeat certain enemies, or pass a mini-game. But in Samus’ level, you have to kill all the Metroids. So how does Kirby kill Metroids? With the ice power, of course! You can download Kirby’s Dream Land 3 on Virtual Console, and I highly recommend it.
Metroid: Other M (Wii)
So at the end of this month, I’ll be enjoying the newest Metroid game (of course my enjoyment will be interrupted by PAX, but I can live with that). I’m still a little leary about Team Ninja making it, as I’m not a big fan of their games (such as Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden). But I gave the Prime games a chance and loved them, so it’s only fair for me to give Team Ninja a chance, too. Besides, they can’t mess things up too much with Nintendo breathing down their necks. And it looks different enough to be its own game, so I’m still looking forward to it.
I’m not sure what the M in Other M stands for, though. Maybe it stands for Marshmallow? Yeah! Maybe Kirby is in the game and he’ll team up with Samus to fight Ridley and the Space Pirates! Yeah!
(aren’t you glad I’m not making games?)
Anyway, in the comments section, share with me your favorite Metroid moments! –Cary