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VC Review: Super Metroid

While the Metroid series has found its path as a 3D first person adventure as of late, fans of the franchise still look at the 2D entries as Metroid in its proper form. Super Metroid is the title that most point to as the pinnacle in the series, and for good reason.

The third entry in this classic sci-fi series has Samus Aran heading back to Planet Zebes to take on the Space Pirates yet again. The planet has changed since her last visit, but remnants of what once stood are still apparent. Like comparing the old Zebes to the new version, Super Metroid takes the concepts and design of the original NES title and polishes them to a glimmering sheen, producing what is arguably one of the finest 2D action/adventure titles ever seen with unrivaled pacing and atmosphere.

Once players are dropped on Zebes, they have no hand tugging on them to tell them where to go or what to do. It is up to the player to choose how thoroughly to explore the landscape, and those who take the time will be rewarded in spades with upgrades aplenty. Super Metroid sets a near perfect balance of speed with power-ups just far enough to require effort but not spread too thin, either. From the first step taken on the surface of Crateria to the epic end boss, this classic SNES adventure keeps players absorbed, always taunting them with the promise of new locales to explore and new abilities to obtain just within reach. At the outset, Samus may not seem like much of a hunter, but by the game’s final chapter, a great sense of satisfaction can be found in how powerful she can become. Maneuverability and firepower combine to enrich players with the feeling that the hours they’ve spent traversing Zebes’ corridors and secrets were well invested.

Not only is the game’s design top-notch in pacing, but its mechanics feel solid, from shooting to wall-jumping. The later abilities that Samus can earn grant her stylishly unconventional methods of transportation, as well, and every step up delivers a gratifying sense of power. The tight controls marry a spot-on engine to ensure that the brilliant level design and imaginative abilities don’t go to waste. Speedrunners can rejoice at this game’s cleverly constructed world — it’s clear that the developers knew full-well how the minds of gamers work, as Zebes was crafted in such a fashion that only the most skilled and clever can conquer it quickly. Thankfully, the amount of care given to the gameplay was also granted to its tone.

Super Metroid combines splendid art and superb sound to create an unparalleled ambiance, wrapping all of the brilliant execution of gameplay into a fitting form. From the cold and desolate caverns of Maridia to the dark and hazy halls of Norfair, every sector of Zebes builds its own unique atmosphere, giving incentive to press onward and experience all the planet has to offer to the senses. Whether you’re blasting puny monsters or battling epic bosses, Super Metroid feels just right in every way.

Of particular note is the game’s sense of storytelling. Players are given a moody monologue from Samus herself at the outset, but from that point onward, the entire story is told through a veil of stunning silence. Subtle pieces of lore are lightly peppered across Zebes, from the rare ally to the dead soldier to the startling climax. Using the gameplay itself to tell the story rather than breaking away was a big deal back in 1994, and it was pulled off without a hitch, topping off an epic package with that extra glimmer of detail that makes all of the difference.

 

Final Verdict:


Buy It!

 

Every aspect of Super Metroid comes together in sweet harmony as a testament to expert design. The slick gameplay and balanced pace form the bulk of this classic adventure, while the audiovisual elements and nuanced narrative culminate to top it all off with unrivaled effect. In the end, Super Metroid is a 2D masterpiece that any gamer should experience. It uses the sum of all of its parts to enhance a stellar game into something unforgettable. A benchmark achievement in video game development that is considered by critics and gamers alike as one of the best games ever made, Super Metroid is an SNES classic which demands your eight dollars.

Awards:

 

Superb Soundtrack

 

Outstanding Visuals

 

Innovation (Retrospective)

 

Intuitive Control/Gameplay

 

Deep Gameplay

 

Sharp Gameplay

 

Editor’s Choice

Score: 5/5

 

 

 

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One Response to “VC Review: Super Metroid”

  1. Excellent review. This is still my fav Metroid of all time.


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