The lights are on
With the Wii U out in full effect, it’s only a matter of time before some of Nintendo’s longstanding franchises make the overdue jump into glorious HD. Metroid is an excellent series that features my favorite female protagonist: Samus Aran. Before the Nintendo delivers the goods on the inevitable next Metroid, here are some guidelines on making the game the best it can be.
Universe Travel – Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Samus is a galactic bounty hunter and shouldn’t always be restricted to just one planet or space station. Corruption got it right, allowing you to travel between a few different planets and an abandoned space station. A good variety of different locales and appropriate atmospheres are a must. Add in the possibility of stumbling upon a hidden planet, and you have a great game to explore.
Personality – Metroid Fusion
I mentioned Samus in my silent protagonist piece on the awful portrayal of her character in Metroid: Other M, but Metroid Fusion got it right. Samus is a heroine in every sense of the word and still has a feminine and nurturing side. She is a mercenary who killed her friends without a second thought in the line of duty, yet spared an innocent baby Metroid. In Fusion you get to see both sides of her, at times showing compassion, but still not buckling under the pressure of what needs to be done.
Pacing – Super Metroid
Metroid games fall into two categories: too short or too long. Super Metroid has the right pacing to fit comfortably in the middle. It gives you the right tools when you need them, preventing the game from being tedious like Echoes, and it provides more content and areas to explore so it doesn’t feel too short like Fusion.
Music – Metroid Prime
In terms of setting a tone, Prime hits all the right notes, starting with the first time you step onto Tallon IV’s overworld. Metroid Prime’s soundtrack puts you in the mindset to go exploring and discover the secrets of the world. From raising the tension in the Phazon Mines to bringing serenity to the frozen wastelands of Phendrana Drifts, the music of the Metroid Prime is exquisite.
Story – Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
The galaxy is a vast place, but Samus is a lone wolf. Echoes portrayed this perfectly along with the need to have other characters present without having them (or a computer) constantly barking orders or trying to engage in conversations. The Luminoth is there for support, guiding you on your journey and giving you a reason to want to save the planet. You can talk to him occasionally if you feel the need, but otherwise you’re left to your own devices in true Metroid fashion. Metroid Prime 3 had way too many characters and the world felt too populated for the series. The Other M took things in different direction and was a full-on soap opera. The original might be to deserted for today’s taste, but Echoes finds the perfect balance of making you feel alone in the world.
Suit Abilities/Third-Person Boss Battles and Platforming – Metroid: Other M
Other M is the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to the Metroid universe, yet it still did some interesting things. Every one of Samus’ suits has been stripped of its abilities due to some type of misfortune. You’d think she would have a failsafe system in place by now. Other M took a much more logical approach by not having Samus lose her powers, but getting clearance to use them as the situation got worse.
The platforming and boss battles were fun when everything worked right. Using the speed boost from a third-person view was a thrill and the boss battle with Ridley was truly epic. The game could still be fun in first-person, but having boss battles and certain platforming sections switch perspective could add a new level of depth and excitement to the series.
Completion Reward – Metroid
It’s no surprise Samus is a woman now. The original Metroid revealed her gender if you completed the game in less than five hours. Other games in the series treat you with a helmetless Samus or something else, but none of them live up to that first twist. Next time I beat aMetroid game fast or with 100-percent completion, the Easter egg should be on par with that surprising reveal.
Pinball Machine – Metroid Prime Pinball
There should be a pinball machine in her ship that you can play, and before you start to question this awesomeness, just ask yourself, “why not?”