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  1. #1

    Retro|Spective 024: Metroid

    Across the vast empty expanse of space, Samus hunts down her prey from world to world across this series of games that seems to come and go with the generations as one of Nintendo's franchises with a fair amount of untapped potential...


    Mainline Entry 01 - Metroid
    Formats: NES and Game Boy Advance
    The first Metroid game set the formula for the franchise up early. Samus arrived on Zebes with a mission to track down a Metroid specimen across a sprawling map which saw her collect new abilities to progress past increasing obstacles. The key aspect of that being that Samus would be revealed to be a woman, a fact not all that surprising considering the obvious Alien inspiration the series had. The game set up so much of the hallmarks the series would adhere to later on including the introduction of Ridley, the Mother Brain and the end of game timed escape. So successful was the open exploration formula that all these years later fans continue to release a mass of Metroid inspired games.

    Mainline Entry 02 - Metroid II: The Return of Samus
    Formats: Game Boy
    Mainline Entry 03 - Super Metroid
    Formats: Super NES
    The third Metroid game followed that old mantra of being bigger and better looking, landing Samus back on Zebes and once again on the hunt for an infant Metroid. The game brought in multi-directional aiming, an inventory, mini-map and more tweaks to the gameplay systems whilst using the more advanced hardware to create a representation of Zebes that had much more atmosphere than the series had been able to portray previously. The result was a game that perfected the experience for many and became one of the early classics of the platform, a game used as a benchmark of quality for the series for years to come.

    Mainline Entry 04 - Metroid Fusion
    Formats: Game Boy Advance
    The success of the third game didn't prevent the first of the great Metroid droughts though and fans would have to wait eight years for the series return that saw the franchise come back via handheld. Whilst Fusion continued the general direction of the series from Super, it somewhat increased the emphasis on the action elements of the franchise leading to a well received if ever so slightly simpler title.

    Mainline Entry 05 - Metroid Prime
    Formats: Gamecube, Wii
    Released alongside the GBA title came this full fledged reworking of the series for home console, a new entry that had followed a troubled development. That long road had meant the series had skipped a generation of home console and so the new entry had to make a strong impression on gamers and Prime certainly did so, proving to be a flagship title for Nintendo's little purple cube. Inserting itself between the original game and its immediate sequel, this new FPA title kickstarted a trilogy with a proper storyline that literally put you behind the visor. The game immediately began to win numerous awards for how strong an adaptation of the series traditions it was in addition to the immense work Nintendo and Retro had put into every facet of the title.

    Remake Entry 01 - Metroid: Zero Mission
    Formats: Game Boy Advance
    Nintendo wasted little time capitalising on the series newfound popularity and another handheld entry was quickly in place, this time remaking the original game with more of Super Metroids sensibilities introduced.

    Mainline Entry 06 - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
    Formats: Gamecube, Wii
    A mere two years after the first Prime game arrived, the sequel was ready and on the market once again receiving praise. Despite the struggles the Gamecube was beginning to face, the game performed well but at the same time attracted criticism to the series amongst critics who felt the game indulged itself too much in it's own heightened difficulty. This made the title less newcomer friendly than the first entry had been in addition to player frustration about the light/dark mechanics. Prime 2 weathered this none the less and is still considered a strong title for the platform.

    Spin Off Entry 01 - Metroid Prime Pinball
    Formats: Nintendo DS
    For the first time the series deviated into full fledged cash in spin-off territory with this somewhat random title which looked to be a follow up of sorts to the Mario pinball title that had launched previously. The game wasn't received too poorly but sales slacked hard on previous entries.

    Spin Off Entry 02 - Metroid Prime: Hunters
    Formats: Nintendo DS
    Set between the first and second Prime games, this handheld title was targeted to be something of a showcase for Nintendo's DS handheld and it just about managed to be so by presenting the Prime experience in your hands, in 3D, for the first time. Control issues marred the title thanks to the lack of analogues and dependency on touch screen aiming with the buttons the system had available. Once again though, the game was a reasonable success for Nintendo however.

    Mainline Entry 07 - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
    Formats: Wii
    Closing out the trilogy, the new game balanced out the experience whilst introducing motion controlled aiming that was becoming a common feature amongst the platforms releases. The game proved more successful than its immediate predecessor and so became a fitting swansong for Retro's involvement in the franchise though its success always seemed overshadowed by the huge casual audience success the Wii was enjoying and so Metroid began to take up an awkward space.

    Mainline Entry 08 - Metroid: Other M
    Formats: Wii
    Metroid needed a new guide in order to continue and Nintendo felt they had found that with Team Ninja. As a result the new entry returned the series to its third person roots whilst introducing full story sequences and simplified controls to try and broaden the series appeal to the Wii's newfound audience. The result was a game that overall reviewed well but seemed to aim to please many and in the end pleased few. Nintendo's estimated placed the game as a similar success to the Prime series and yet the series would now fall into its second great hibernation.

    Spin Off Entry 03 - Metroid Prime: Federation Force
    Formats: Nintendo 3DS
    Fans had waited patiently for a new Metroid and the latest reveal was for a game that seemed to carry only a passing resemblance. Designed as a co-op title that focused more on shooting than exploration, the handheld title caused an uproar from disgruntled fans on reveal and things didn't improve upon release with the game failing at retail and receiving the series poorest reviews.

    Remake Entry 02 - Metroid: Samus Returns
    Formats: Nintendo 3DS
    Mainline Entry 09 - Metroid Prime 4
    Formats: Nintendo Switch

    What are your thoughts and memories of Nintendo's alien hunting series?

  2. #2
    The two times the series wowed me were, firstly, having stupidly ignored all the praise for years I picked up a tatty old second hand cart of Super Metroid for a couple of quid. That same night, with no instructions or idea of the game's structure I started feeling my way through it ... and just got deeper and deeper into it, in every sense. Embarrassingly it's a game I've never managed to finish, despite a fair few attempts. I generally get so far and then hit a brick wall. Maybe it's time to give it another go on the Mini.

    The second time was Metroid Prime. I knew the pitch but I wasn't expecting much. And the game was outstanding. I bought Metroid Prime Trilogy to play it again but I think I prefer the original GC controller method.

    I can't wait for MP4 ... I really hope they nail it.

  3. #3
    I picked up Super Metroid on import US just after launch, just by going with mag reviews, wasn't disappointed with it in any way, the difficulty level was just right, started slowing and just got better and better, opening up new areas and upgrading weapons.

    The graphics were just amazing at the time, and the soundtrack i think is one of the best around.

    Next and only other foray with metroid was Prime on the cube, didn't really take to it at first but it grew on me, but never put any real time into it, got the trilogy on the Wii i hope to get into at some point.
    Last edited by beecee; 31-01-2018 at 02:56 PM.

  4. #4
    I still remember picking up the Pal version of Super Metroid (that came with the guide) with fondness. Back then, we would always go to Cardiff every 3 weeks or so, to shop for games and play in the Arcades (when game shops were worth going too and the same for Arcades). So in Virgin Mega Store (which used to be ace for games), I picked up Dracula Unleashed for the Mega CD and also Super Metroid for the Snes, while one of the boys picked up Tomcat Alley for the Mega CD and on the train home we all couldn't wait to play our latest pickups.

    Super Metroid just amazed me from the start, the game was so atmospheric and that soundtrack just helped the game so much, loved the sense of exploring creepy worlds and how with each new power up more and more of the game opened up, games like this made my Love the Snes over the MD. There was nothing on the MD that could touch this.

    Prime just reminded me of a Sc-Fi version of Exhumed along with the same exceptional level design and when one heard that music in Phendrana Drifts one was memorized by this magic of the game.

    Either not played the rest, or didn't like them.

  5. #5
    I definitely remember having Metroid for the NES, but I can’t remember who I borrowed it off. I found it very confusing... I had a general idea of what was going on but no real idea of how to get there. And it wasn’t as much fun as Mario or Megaman so that was the end of that.

    I didn’t play another game in the series until the legendary Prime came out on the Cube. I was so impressed I also got Fusion for the GBA to play on the Bus to work. Oh, and also to do the link up thing and get the Fusion suit in Prime. I ended up going back to the original with Zero Mission and also went through the rest of the Prime trilogy on the Wii.

    The first Prime is still my favourite game in the franchise. One of these days I’ll get around to Super Metroid...

  6. #6
    I've got a spotty history with the Metroid series. The little I played of the first game has always left me cold and that continued up through Super Metroid too, something about the 2D entries never clicked with me.

    There was one exception to that and that was Fusion, that was an entry that I enjoyed throughout though if it's a more action orientated version I can imagine that's why. Other M was a massive let down as well.

    It mostly hangs on Prime, they did such a wonderful job of adapting the series to 3D with that game and the little touches like the face reflections etc made it feel uber polished. The motion controls made the game feel a little easier but Prime 3 was a good one too.

    For some reason I skipped Prime 2 and it remains one I keep meaning to go back to but the idea of a harder Prime doesn't appeal as Prime 1 was about the upper limit for me.

    Glad Prime 4 is coming though, it begins and ends with this sub-series for me

  7. #7
    Never played any of them before. Which one is the best overall in terms of conveying the metroid experience folks?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by replicashooter View Post
    Never played any of them before. Which one is the best overall in terms of conveying the metroid experience folks?
    I've not played all of them but it's got to be Super Metroid.

  9. #9
    I'll be that guy that goes against the flow as usual, I've never enjoyed Super Metroid. I tried getting in to it again recently when I had the SNES mini, but found that my opinion hadn't changed any. Of the few I've played on the list, I did hugely enjoy prime on the cube.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Atticus View Post
    I've not played all of them but it's got to be Super Metroid.
    Yep, I may say other than Castlevania is the best 16 bit platform style game ever made and only gets better with age. One of the very few 16 bit games that hasn't aged for me and is still just as wonderful and brilliant as it was when I played it in 94.

    Its a masterpiece


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