VC: Super Metroid

 

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Super Metroid is one of those games.  You know, one of those games.  A game so drenched in quality that it appears on many "Best Games of All Time" lists along with titles like Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of Time, Super
Mario Bros., Final Fantasy VI, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and
Metal Gear Solid.  I purposely stretched out this list so you could see
just what level this game is on, because it is on the highest level
possible in gaming.  

I remember my first experience with Super
Metroid.  Shortly after its release I rented this game from
Blockbuster.  I distinctly remember excitedly riding home and popping
it into my SNES to be greeted by the delightfully cinematic opening
sequence.  As I watched the intro my mind raced with thoughts of the
previous Metroid for NES that I had always thought was hard as hell
conflicting with all the hype from the Super Metroid advertising
campaign.  It wasn't that Metroid was a bad game, I was just too young
to appreciate it in its golden age and too spoiled by new games to
appreciate it later.  All that faded away as I began to play the game. 
The intro sequence with Ridley and the Metroid and to the crash landing
had me completely enthralled.

I still hadn't quite gotten used to
the Metroid gameplay at the beginning, and did get frustrated when I
didn't know exactly where I was going, but the game's excellent sense
of pacing combined with great powerups and bosses kept me coming back
for more.  I was  basically glued to this game for the 4 – 5 days I had
it rented and it still evokes the same sense of awe, excitement, and
fun to this very day.

Speaking of that, how has the game aged now
that it has been out for more than ten years.  Amazingly well.  After
playing all of the subsequent Metroid games I had a bit of a worry that
this game wouldn't evoke the same kind of feeling that it had all those
years ago, but something happened that has happened to me when playing
games of similar caliber.  When I play a truly great game such as Super
Mario Bros. or Chrono Trigger I usually enjoy it more the next time
around because I notice new things in the game that I didn't before. 
Especially since I played some of these games when I was a little kid. 
Super Metroid was much more fun this time around than it was the first
time.  The first time I was a bit rushed and had to beat the game
before I took it back to the store so the exploration aspect wasn't
quite as fully enjoyed as it should have been.  I've always liked Super
Metroid, but after playing it again I realized that it is definitely in
my top five.

For scores and screenshots, click Read More.

The graphics in Super Metroid are by
far some of the best on the system.  The never-before-seen areas look
amazingly detailed, and really pushed the SNES in its day.  The areas
that are from, or inspired by, the original NES Metroid look really
cool and are executed perfectly in their transition from 8 – 16 bit. 
Samus' sprite looks really great, and is animated even better.  You can
see little details such as when she takes in air, but my favorite is
the using the speedbuster to run through blocks.  It doesn't get much
better than this on the SNES.  18/20

This game contains some of my absolute favorite gameplay
of any game in existence.  As I play i, even today, I can't help but be
amazed at the level of thought that went into every single room in the
game.  Everything is so cohesive and well designed that it really makes
me wish that more games had this level of care go into them now. 
Samus' abilities are a lot of fun to use, and it makes it very exciting
to attain new ones and try them out.  All the abilities are spread out
nicely to make the pacing perfect in between abilities.  The boss
battles are also a lot of fun and the creativity you must use to defeat
a few of them is really a nice surprise.  My only complaint is the
location of the fire and jump buttons.  I really don't like it that
they but these two to X and A, respectively.  It just seems a little
odd when you sit down and play it.  You do get used to it, though, and
this is a minor complaint for such an amazing game.  This is the reason
for this not being 20/20.  Yes, I know you can configure this, but I'm going  by defaults.  19/20

The sound in Super
Metroid really adds to the atmospheric feeling that this game went
for.  All of the blasters and effects throughout the game perfectly fit
what they are supposed to be and also fit into the whole Metroid feel. 
There are a couple sounds here and there that don't seem to be quite up
to the overall awesomeness, but they do not detract from the game.  The music in this game is some of my favorite video
game music of all time.  The themes that are carried over from Metroid
are recognizable, but the spin that this game puts on them is original
and beautiful sounding.  The music from the different areas are
classic, and serve to provide a nice feeling of the area you are
exploring.  The opening theme, Brinstar, and Kraid are some of my all
time favorite songs.  19/20

This game is fun.  And by fun
I mean one of the most fun games of all time.  It's hard for me to
imagine any gamer not enjoying this game for one reason or another. 
There are just so many things to do and have fun with, and its not long
enough to get boring.  You'll love it.  20/20

Replaying
this game after all these years was more fun than my first time
through, so I can definitely recommend a second or third play through
for this game.  As with many of the classics, you'll find yourself
wanting to play through this game occasionally too so I can easily
recommend this to people who have played it before.  The lack of any
kind of multiplayer, like we need this in a Metroid game, does hamper
the replayability a little as you're not going to want to play through
it like 7 times a week, though.  17/20


Overall: 93/100

 If
you have any interest in 2d action-adventure games at all, you really
need to play this.  Beyond that, Super Metroid is so universally loved
that I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it if they give it a shot. 
This is one of my favorite  games of all time, and I think every gamer
owes it to themselves to play through the whole thing at least once.

______________________________
Second Opinion by Tyler Richardson 

I'd have to agree, Super Metroid is one of those games. One of those that has earned its place on just about every 'great games of all time' list. One that, when found on such a list, isn't questioned. It just belongs up there with the best.


Enough already
, you're thinking, we get it, it's amazing. But hold on, and picture this: Walking into a classroom of college freshmen, and ask if any of them have played Super Metroid. "Huh? Super what?" You might see a couple of knowing nods, but otherwise just looks of confusion and cluelessness. Ask them about Super Mario Kart, though, or A Link to the Past, and every single face will light up. "Hell yeah! I played that all the time! Zelda was awesome!" Everyone knows Zelda (That skank).

So why then, if Super Metroid is so friggin' amazing, is it so obscure?

That's the kind of question hardcore gamers have been asking ever since the gaming industry took shape. Why do games that we know to be excellent, like Ikaruga, or the original Mega Man series, fly right under the popular radar, but everyone knows how to yell 'MORTAL KOMBAT'? I don't have a good answer, nor do I know what that means for the underrated games themselves. But for the gamers that enjoy the obscure games of the industry, Super Metroid serves as a mark of the hardcore.

For the rest of the world, Super Metroid serves an entirely different purpose. Let's say you ask that college classroom about Metal Gear. "Uhhhh…you mean Metal Gear Solid? Yeah, I had that on PlayStation!" No, no Solid, just Metal Gear. The original, genesis for one of the most popular and well known series today. How about Final Fantasy III? Blank faces. Final Fantasy VII? "Yeah, the guy with the big sword!" Today, just about every Sony customer claims to be a fan of the Final Fantasy series. But how many of them know about genesis, where it all started?

Super Metroid, and games like it, serve as a reminder to clueless gamers everywhere that the great series we take for granted today – Metal Gear Solid, Metroid Prime, Final Fantasy – didn't start on the PlayStation or the GameCube.

Oh, and it's great fun, too.

Click on the image to see it full size.

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