The lights are on
Thanks to the boom in indie gaming, the past few years have offered
players countless great experiences that you can get through in a single day. However,
having an extra day to sit at home and play video games makes me nostalgic for
some of my favorite childhood gaming experiences, and Super Metroid is and will
always be right at the top of that list.
Warning: The following
contains spoilers for the ending of Super Metroid. If you haven't played it
yet, stop reading and do so now. Also, what is wrong with you?!
I was only about 12 when I first played Super Metroid, and
as such the adventure took me a heck of a lot longer than a day to complete.
Samus' harrowing journey to planet Zebes pushed my prepubescent gaming
abilities to their limits, as I tried to learn wall jumping from a trio of space
monkeys, get down the rhythm for bomb jumping, and best a steady stream of
terrifying, screen-filling bosses. I remember the 16-bit adventure as a
sprawling and surprisingly emotional epic that I thought would never end. Twenty years later, I still feel largely the same way, even if I can now comfortably
beat the game in a day.
That shortened game time isn't a deterrent, however – if
anything it embodies what a perfectly refined experience Super Metroid is. The
combat and platforming are tight, each new power-up expands your world and
abilities in meaningful ways, and every defeated boss feels like a significant milestone. Even the
graphics and music have a timeless beauty to them, providing just enough detail
to flesh out the history and tone of the universe, without limiting your ability to
fill in the gaps with your imagination.
To say Super Metroid left an indelible impression on me is
an understatement, and much of my fondness for game stems from the unforgettable
showdown with Mother Brain. The final boss battle was a whirlwind of emotions
for my own little-kid brain: Samus' apparent defeat (which I didn't understand
was a scripted moment); the intervention and subsequent martyrdom of
enemy-turned-ally Baby Metroid (which totally made me cry); the overpowered
awesomeness of the hyper beam (which I will always remember as the "tooty
fruity" beam, for some dumb reason); and the frantic, unexpected escape
sequence (which I almost botched and pushed the limits of how long I could unconsciously
hold my breath before passing out). These memories, along with dozens of
others, are why I'll never get tired of Nintendo's 16-bit masterpiece – and why
I'll never stop hoping they'd just make another one already.
It's been a long time since I've played Super Metroid, but even
just looking up a few random facts for this article (and watching the opening
to our Super Replay, seen above) has me yearning to pick up the controller
again. If you're looking for something to play, you really can't
go wrong with devoting your Labor Day to this old-school classic.
To read more about games you can beat in a day, check back at our hub over the course of the day.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.