About as close to perfection as a game can get, Super Metroid launched in 1994 and remains a work of art. It’s a shining example of Nintendo’s ability as a games developer.
It’s also a big reason why we can confidently hail the SNES as the best games console of all time. Let’s have a gander.
The Genius of Super Metroid
Super Metroid is so influential it spawned the Metroidvania genre (along with Konami’s legendary Super Castlevania). a genre extremely popular in the indie scene right now on Steam.
The game’s extensive mapping system is also iconic and has been blatantly copied (lovingly so) in recent indie games such as Axiom Verge. Now there’s a legacy!
As most people who have played this will tell you, it’s absolutely phenomenal.
In 1994 it was also stunningly revolutionary, advancing on the equally revolutionary NES titles to take gaming into a bold new direction.
Heavily influenced by Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), the 2D action-adventure game sees you star as Samus Aran.
Famously, in the NES game players presume they’re playing as a man—on completing the game Samus removes her helmet and it’s a blonde woman!
She’s a bounty hunter. The plot is simple: the antagonist Ridley (a dragon) has stolen some important stuff and is hiding on the planet Zebes.
It’s Samus’ job to wipe her, and her horde of Space Pirates, out.
It sets the scene up nicely for a game crammed full of complexities and atmospherics. The map system is legendary, offering multiple routes to take.
It’s like you need a degree in physics to complete it.
As you advance, you gain power-ups which allows you to reach new areas (the fantastic gameplay style taken for the Metroidvania genre) and progress.
Complementing this heady mix of rewarding gameplay and outright challenge is a quite stunning atmosphere.
The music and overall ambiance makes for a claustrophobic and unnerving experience, but as Samus Aran you always feel empowered.
The result is just a flat-out masterpiece of a game and a historic landmark in gaming history. Super Metroid is legendary and one of the best games of all time.
You can now easily pick it up on the Wii U—download it for a few quid, plug in your earphones, and enjoy the experience on your GamePad.
Absolute perfection right there, sirs and madams. But you can also get it on the SNES Classic Mini.
Speedrunning Super Metroid
Once again, we have to highlight Summoning Salt’s brilliant YouTube channel that flags up epic speedrunning histories.
Super Metroid is particularly famous in this respect, with thousands of gamers the world over competing to lower the completion times.
Many have taken incredible efforts to drag the time down to as low as it can be.
Well worth checking out that video to see where it’s at, as the game remains one of the most popular in speedrunning communities.
The Metroid Series
Metroid is one of the most critically acclaimed gaming franchises in history. The Metroid Prime trilogy (developed by genius American company Retro Studios) is arguably the highlight.
A remarkable trio of first-person shooters, with Metroid Prime landing on the GameCube in 2002 and subsequent editions appearing on the Wii.
You can now download the trilogy on the Wii U for about £15 ($20). It’s worth buying the console for this alone.
Despite its popularity, Nintendo has underused the series. Happily, Metroid Prime: Federation Force launched on its handheld console the 3DS last week.
Despite the mixed reviews it’s garnered, it’s apparently an excellent game based on the more reliable games media sources (some are notoriously anti-Nintendo, such as GameSpot and Polygon – a bizarre and inexplicably childish approach to journalism).
Let us just hope there’s a big official release on Nintendo’s next console, as that would really be something. In the meantime, try out what’s available.
The Halo series steals a lot of Metroid’s thunder as it’s on the more popular Xbox, but the Metroid franchise is far superior.
If challenging, thrilling, and landmark action adventuring and shooting is your thing, the Metroid franchise is where to turn (along with Half-Life 2, of course).