Metroid

Date Completed: November 12th, 2011

Metroid was the last great NES era game that I had never completed.  Today this grave injustice is finally put to rest.

Thanks to the 3DS Ambassador program conditions were finally perfect for me to play through this classic.  I had a free portable copy I could play while enjoying my ultra mobile lifestyle.  The half-assed state save system eliminated the need to use Metroid’s build in 12 random character password system which I always found too cumbersome to use.

Metroid is completely non-linear.  You can go (almost) anywhere right from the beginning and tackle the game in any way you choose.  I was following a speed walk through with the hope of getting the best ending (which I failed to do) but I have played the game in the past and spent more time that I’d care to remember wandering around planet Zebes trying to find out what I need to do next to beat the game.  There are no cut scenes, no NPC’s to guide you, you’re dropped on a planet and left to your own.  This is a complete contrast to most of the games of today that coddle you through the entire storyline.

Metroid is all about exploration and killing stuff

In addition to wandering around you also have to kill stuff.  You have the ability to shoot left, up and right as well as turn your character into a ball and drop bombs on the ground (After you find some in-game upgrades).  You can also switch from your primary gun to a missile attack by hitting ‘select’ which is extremely frustrating on the 3DS because of the crappy location and design of the select button.  You can collect several upgrades to your weapon systems throughout the game as well as energy (life point) upgrades.  Very few of these are actually required so insane individuals who want a challenge can play through the game and collect as little as possible.

The game is fun but suffers from many of the problems of the early NES games.  If too many objects get on screen the animation slows down, or some of the objects might become invisible.  This is particularly frustrating in the final area where you have several things flying while you’re trying to kill the final boss.

What this game is really missing is a MAP function.  The graphics are all based off of palette swapped tiles which can make telling the various rooms apart difficult.  With no indication where you are on planet Zebes you may spend a long time wandering around before you find a location your recognize.  I can remember a friend of mine drawing out maps of Metroid on graph paper in an attempt to help him find his way through the game.  I don’t think he ever finished.  Now of course, through the magic of the Internet you can just download the maps and it isn’t an issue anymore (but it would still be nice.)

I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys classic gaming and open exploration.  It doesn’t really hold up well to today’s standards but it can still be fun for the right audience.

Pros

  • Open exploration.
  • Non-linear game play.

Cons

  • Slow animation when things get busy.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 7/10
Length:  ~5 hours
System: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Genre: Action
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