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Metroid NES review

Let me tell you a little story all about how My life got flipped, turned upside down. I have a slightly annoying friend named Companion Cube who loves Super Metroid (well, who doesn't?), and I write lots of reviews of games. While I was in the process of reviewing the Advance Wars series, he kept on asking me to review Super Metroid next. I thought that would be boring; it'd be listing everything about the game and talking about how great it all was. I decided reviewing its more flawed predecessor would be more interesting. Btw, he reviewed SM himself, you can read that here


Metroid was the first 'Metroidvania" game. Metroidvania means that A) the person who came up with the name of the genre is horrible at naming things, and B) that you explore an initially limited world and search for upgrades of some sort, slowly but surely granting you access to more and more of the world. 

One problem is that there's no map to this world. On it's own, not much of a problem. But many of the corridors are identical, and you can easily get confused even with a map (I made one with a pen and paper, it was a fun lesson in cartography). Those two together mean that you aren't exploring so much as aimlessly wandering.

The physics are poor, and you can't hit low enemies without the Wave Beam (or, less effectively, Morph Ball bombs), making even the weakest enemy a nuisance for much of the game. You can't aim diagonally, so to hit something you need to either be straight below it or horizontal to it.

There are five or six types of enemy, but the game pretends there are more by having a very large number of enemies that look different but act exactly the same.

There's a numbeitr of upgrades for both combat and noncombat purposes. You can increase your beams range with the Long Range upgrade I don't know the name of, freeze enemies with the Ice Beam, and make your shots go through walls and move up and down with the Wave Beam. There's even something that weaponizes jumping into an attack that kills most enemies in one hit. You can also get bombs which are use for combat as well as reaching places that you couldn't previously. Let's not forget missiles, powerful weapons that have a limited supply, but can have their limit increased by finding missile expansions.

The number of noncombat upgrades is smaller. You have the Varia Suit which decreases the damage you take, the Morph Ball that allows you to reach areas that were previously too small, and the Hi Jump Boots that increase your jumping distance. Most of the upgrades are actually optional and can be gotten in many different orders. I've beaten the game twice and never found the Wave Beam, and probably never will because walkthroughs are for the weak.



The boss battles are bad. Ridley can be beaten by getting close to him and holding the shoot button, making him the easiest boss in the whole series. Kraid fires a large number of projectiles that are practically impossible to dodge, leaving you with two strategies; go into the morph ball and bomb him into oblivion in a battle of attrition, or freeze all of his projectiles. If you freeze enough he can't attack any more, and he'll be completely defenseless as you bombard him into oblivion. In the final part of the game, you have to fight through corridors of Metroids that can only be killed with missiles (after being frozen), then destroy a number of barriers that can only be damaged with missiles. Those barriers, if not completely destroyed, regenerate any damage. If you die or run out of missiles, have fun grinding enough health and missiles to try again.

There's no way to quickly replenish health or ammo. If you die, you come back at a different point depending on where you are with 30 energy - next to nothing - and however many missiles you had prior to dying. It's very tedious and repetitive, made worse by the fact that all that health you spent ten minutes getting can be lost very quickly. It also suffers from severe lag any time four or five enemies are on screen, and there are several bugs. You can also be attacked in transitions from one room to the next meaning that it's common to make it through a room with your last scrap of health, but be killed by the infinitely respawning enemies.

I like the original Metroid, even only having played it recently, but you can't deny time hasn't been kind to it. In spite of that, it's still much better than Other M.

6/10

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