Super Metroid… a game that is often called one of the greatest games of all time. But is this really true, or are people just nostalgic for one of their childhood games?
Super Metroid is the third game in the Metroid series. It was released on the Super NES in 1994. It did not sell very well in Japan, but sold better in North America, but still not great. It is a very popular game in the speedrunning community and is said to have made a huge impact on most action-adventure games in the future. Super Metroid may have been amazing in 1994, but how well has it held up?
If you are unsure what a Metroid game is like, the main idea is that you’re in a large world. Some areas cannot be accessed until Samus, the character you play as, obtains certain power-ups and abilities. Not only do these items open up new areas, but they also make Samus stronger.
Super Metroid changed the Metroid formula a bit, as it is not as linear as the previous Metroid games and requires a little bit of backtracking. I did not find the backtracking a problem, as the new abilities, I came back with added variety and sometimes opened new areas that have new missile or energy tanks.
Each of the new upgrades and abilities felt unique and helpful. They were also fun to use, especially the Grapple Beam and Screw Attack. New items were given out at a good pace, so there wasn’t a time where I was hoping to get a new upgrade, but they didn’t feel like they were obtained to close to each other, either.
Super Metroid also has great bosses. They feel great to fight and it’s very satisfying when you beat a challenging boss, especially when you find one of the secret ways to defeat it. Some of the bosses can be challenging, but they’re still fun and have a lot of variety.
Progressing through the game felt great, and this truly feels like the 2D Metroid formula at its best so far.
The game starts with Samus explaining how she found a Metroid larva on planet SR388. The larva believed that Samus was it’s mother and followed her around. Samus brought the Metroid to Ceres Space Colony, where scientists would try to harness the Metroid’s power. After she leaves, a distress call comes from the colony. She returns to the colony only to find all the scientists have been killed and the Metroid larva stolen by Ridley. Samus then follows Ridley to Planet Zebes.
That’s all the story given to you in the intro. There isn’t a whole lot of story after this until the end, which is kind of disappointing, but the game has a great ending. I won’t spoil it, but it’s something to look forward to if you play the game. Just don’t expect anything too amazing.
Since there are some platforming bits, it is essential to have good controls. I feel that Super Metroid does have good controls, but not quite as good as Samus Return’s snappy controls. But they’re not bad, either. There are some points where platforming can get kind of hard thanks to the controls, but I never found it frustrating.
Missiles are used differently in this game than in Metroid games that came after this one. In future games, R needs to be held to use Missiles. However, in Super Metroid, you must cycle through your missiles and it will stay selected, even when not pressing a button. This can be helpful against bosses, but it feels kind of slow when a missile is needed to break a block. There is a button that deselects any selected missiles instead of having to cycle through them, but it still feels a lot slower than simply having to let go of a button.
Since this is a SNES game, the game is limited to using pixel art and sprites. But this is by no means a bad thing. Everything has a nice amount of detail, but not so much that it starts to look rough. It has the perfect balance of detail and simplicity. Everything has variety, especially the areas. The areas have a large variety of visual themes, which is very nice.
Super Metroid has an amazing soundtrack, some even call it one of their favorite video game soundtracks of all time. Most of the tracks have great melodies that can easily get stuck in your head. Not only are these songs good to listen to, but they also give off a great atmosphere.
Lower Brinstar (AKA Red Soil Brinstar) is an excellent example this. It has a very mysterious and lonely feeling to it, which is perfect for the area it is in. The song also has a good tune rather than being purely atmospheric.
Being that this game is on the SNES, the songs are limited to the console’s sound fonts, but they are still great regardless.
This game has barely any negatives in my opinion, so the biggest problems are mostly regarding the ‘Quality of Life’. By this, I mean smaller things that are more convenient. Things like not being able to place pins on a map or being able to teleport to different areas.
In the end, I believe that every gamer should play this masterpiece. It is one of my top three favorite games of all time for a reason. Super Metroid deserves a 10 out of 10, even to this day. It has held up incredibly well. I am not persuaded by nostalgia when I say this because this was my first time playing a Metroid game, and I first played it was after this year’s E3. While playing it, I kept thinking to myself, wow, this is a SNES game? If you decide to get this wonderful game, it is best to go in as blind as possible. The experience is so much better that way.
If you’re interested in playing Super Metroid, you can buy it on the Wii U and New 3DS Virtual Console for only $8. You can find more details and purchase it on Wii U here, and New 3DS here. Super Metroid is also included in the newly released Super NES Classic Edition.